NCHRO strongly condemns the Bastar police for foisting false murder cases against eminent intellectuals and HR activists like Delhi University sociology professor Nandini Sunder and others. It is said that armed Maoists killed one Shamnath Baghel with sharp weapons last Friday at his home in Nama village in Tongpal area in Chhattisgarh. It is also said that this Baghel is a police agent and was spearheading a movement against Maoists. Now the Bastar range inspector general of police SRP Kalluri has claimed that an FIR was lodged on Saturday against Sunder, JNU professor Archana Prasad, Vineet Tiwari, who is with Delhi’s Joshi Adhikar Sansthan, Chhattisgarh CPI (Marxist) secretary Sanjay Parate and some other Maoists on the basis of a complaint by Baghel’s wife.
It should be remembered that it was on the basis of a petition filed by Prof Sunder the Supreme court condemned the Chhattisgarh state govt for forming an armed gang called ‘Salwa Judum’ to tackle the Maoists. The court said arming deploying poor adivasi youths in this way is illegal and unconstitutional and ordered to dismantle it.
The present FIR filed against Sunder and others is not only totally absurd and vindictive but also against the letter and spirit of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1998). As the Madras high Court has once observed HR activists should be considered as a “third investigating agency” whose findings are useful in fixing the actual culprits and the investigation agencies should seriously consider their findings and recommendations. The first HR Defender in modern India is none other than Mahatma Gandhi who headed a fact finding mission on the infamous Jalianwala Bagh massacre (1919) and released a genuine report on that. It doesn’t mean that when a HR agency condemns an atrocity against any militant group that it is either supporting or colluding with it.
The Inspector General SRP Kalluri who is notorious for excesses against adivasis has said now, ““strongest possible action will be taken against those guilty after the investigation”.
We demand immediate withdrawal of the FIR filed against Sunder and other HR activists. The IG Mr.Kalluri should be suspended and enquiry should be initiated against him for filing fake charges against these highly respectable HR defenders.