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PUCL Bulletin, December 2006

PUCL defends its Salva Judum report

[ See full report and a press release on the report ]

Chhattisgarh PUCL statement by Rajendra K Sail, President, People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Chhattisgarh.

The Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh, Shri O P Rathore, has made a crude attempt to drag the name of Naga people in the ongoing Salva Jurum campaign in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

After going through the text of the letter of the Director General of Police (DGP), Chhattisgarh Sri O P Rathor addressed to the Nagaland counterpart, the PUCL unit of Chhattisgarh would like to state that it stands by its Report (along with other Human Rights Organisations) on violation of people's rights during the Salva Judum campaign in Dantewada District of Chhattisgarh (based on a visit of 14-member Team in November 2005).

The PUCL Chhattisgarh would also like to state that the PUCL Reports on human rights violations in Chhattisgarh during the last 30 years have never been found to be false and baseless. This is true not only in Chhattisgarh, but all over the country. These reports and record of the PUCL have stood the test of times, and also the scrutiny of the courts in the country. In fact, various courts, including the Supreme Court of India, have acted on the PUCL reports and recommendations, and passed landmark judgments upholding the findings of the PUCL.

Only recently on 20th July, 2006, the Chhattisgarh High Court passed a landmark judgment in the case of Custodial Death of a Tribal, Ram Kumar Dhruv, and ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to thoroughly investigate the cause of death of Ram Kumar Dhruv. As a result, four police personnel of Suhela Police Station, Raipur, have been charged with murder u/s 302 Cr. P. C. along with two government doctors who conducted false autopsy (Please see, Writ Petition No. 2653 of 2004: Forum of Fact Finding Documentation And Advocacy, Raipur, CG Versus State of Chhattisgarh. in the Chhattisgarh High Court, Bilaspur).

As to the credibility of the Police Department that Mr O P Rathor heads, the Chhattisgarh High Court had to make the following observations:

"It appears to us that by paying a meagre sum of Rs. 5,00,000/- and offering some land to the widow of the deceased, a curtain has been attempted to be drawn to cover up the very grave and apparent human right violations committed by the very custodians of human persons and their liberties. It we may say so, the story of suicide by Ramkumar Dhruv by hanging himself in the toilet enacted by the police appears to us to be a concocted story and a desperate attempt to avoid responsibility for the acts committed by A.S.I. Subhash Kumar Pradhan and 4 other officials while Ramkumar was in custody."

The above observation has been made by no less than the Hon'ble Chief Justice S R Nayak and Hon'ble Justice D R Deshmukh. The Hon'ble High Court was compelled to observe further about the police department of Chhattisgarh headed by Sri O P Rathor that "It appears that they have attempted to pull the wool over the eyes of this Court". So much so for the credibility of police department headed by Sri O P Rathor.

Referring to the statement of Sri O P Rathor, DGP that "there was 'absolutely' no basis nor hard facts to these ambiguous allegations", the Chhattisgarh PUCL challenges the DGP to follow the democratic tradition and appoint a High Court Judge to conduct a Judicial Enquiry in to the human rights violations by the Jalwa Judum/Security Forces/ NAGA IRB, including the extra-judicial killings, rape and lootings etc.

The Chhattisgarh PUCL would also like to remind the Chhattisgarh DGP that the most reasonable demands raised by the All India Team (consisting of creditable representatives from PUCL, PUDR, APDR, IAPL), and also by the Independent Citizen's Initiative (consisting of prominent citizens) in their respective reports have received wide support, but the Chhattisgarh Government is failing to adhere to any form of democratic process to find a peaceful solution to the "civil war-like situation" in Dantewada District of Chhattisgarh.

These demands are:

1. That the government stop using people as a shield and creating armed Village Defence Committees as part of its anti-naxal operations; 2. That paramilitary forces be withdrawn from the area and the civil administration be resorted; 3. That all killings by the state, the Salva Judum and the Maoists be stopped; 4. That sincere dialogue with the Maoists be initiated, and a political resolution to the situation be found; 5. That FIRs be registered for all crimes committed by Salva Judum and security forces and the culprits be prosecuted; 6. That the government and the CPI (Maoists) ensure that people return to their homes in peace and security; 7. That people be assisted in regaining their livelihoods in their villages and camps be dismantled.

Lastly, the Chhattisgarh PUCL would like to add that the Reports of the All India Team and the Independent Citizen's Initiative have also been translated into Hindi and widely appreciated and well received by the democratic and peace-loving citizens in Chhattisgarh.

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014