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  • Karnataka

    1. Overview. 1
    2. Human rights violations by security forces 2
    a. Deprivation of the right to life. 2
    b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture. 3
    c. Impunity 3
    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs 3
    4. Violations of the rights of the Dalits 4
    5. Violations of the rights of the child. 4
    6. Violations of the prisoners' rights 5
    7. Status of the Internally Displaced Persons 5


      

    1. Overview 

    Ruled by the Indian National Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance, Karnataka was increasingly being afflicted by the Naxalite conflict. Following the killing of seven Karnataka State Reserve Police personnel and one civilian in an attack on a police camp at Pavagada in Tumkur district on 10 February 2005, then Chief Minister N Dharam Singh announced setting up of two anti-naxal squads to tackle the menace.[1]

    The security forces were responsible for gross violations of human rights such as custodial killings, arbitrary arrest and detentions, and torture. The NHRC registered 9 cases of deaths in police custody, 51 cases of deaths in judicial custody and 2 cases of deaths in encounters during 2004-2005.[2] Asian Centre for Human Rights documented death of four persons in police custody in the State during 2005. Often, such deaths were dismissed as suicides. On the night of 26 April 2005, S. Yesu died in Ashok Nagar police station in Bangalore. The deceased was picked up from his house by the crime staff of Ashoknagar police station during the day for interrogation in connection with a robbery case.[3] The police claimed that the deceased used the bed sheet provided to him to hang himself from the ventilator of the toilet.[4]

    The Naxalites were also responsible for blatant violations of international humanitarian laws. On the night of 17 May 2005, suspected Naxalites shot dead a Congress tribal leader, P Seshaiah at Menasinahadya village in Koppa taluk of Chikmagalur district.[5]

    Untouchability against the Dalits was common. The statue of Dr BR Ambedkar was  desecrated by some identified miscreants on the office premises of the Nipani Town Municipal Council on the night of 10 April 2005.[6]

    The State Government of Karnataka failed to protect the rights of the child. There were reportedly more than 35 lakh children working in different sectors like industries, agriculture and domestic in Karnataka.[7]

    Following the suicide of 14-year-old Santosh, an inmate of the Observation Home in Madivala police limits in Bangalore allegedly by hanging himself with a rope from the ceiling of the toilet, in January 2005, the NHRC raised a series of concerns about the protection of human rights of juveniles lodged in the observation homes in Karnataka.[8]

    Prisons in Karnataka were reportedly flooded with drugs.[9]

    2. Human rights violations by security forces

    a. Deprivation of the right to life

    The NHRC registered 9 cases of deaths in police custody and 2 cases of deaths in encounters during 2004-2005.[10] The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of the Government of India recorded deaths of three persons in police custody during 2005. Of these, autopsy was conducted only in two cases and a case was registered in one case.[11]

    Asian Centre for Human Rights documented death of four persons in police custody. Often, such deaths were dismissed as suicides. On the night of 26 April 2005, S. Yesu died in Ashok Nagar police station in Bangalore. The deceased was picked up from his house by the crime branch staff of Ashoknagar police station during the day for interrogation in connection with a robbery case.[12] The police claimed that the deceased used the bed sheet provided to him to hang himself from the ventilator of the toilet.[13]

    The other victims included Abdul Rauf alias Rauf of Arakere in Hosur who died in the custody of Jayanagar police, Bangalore on 9 May 2005;[14] Abdul Hameed of Tannery Road, Bangalore who was allegedly tortured to death in the custody of Jnanabharathi police station, Bangalore on 25 August 2005;[15] and Hanamanthappa Shivappa, son of Shivappa of Ganganagar area in Gulbarga district, who died in police lock up on 15 October 2005.[16]

    There were also allegations of killings in fake encounters. On 6 February 2005, two Naxalites identified as Saketh Rajan alias Prem, State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Shivalingu were shot dead by the police in alleged “fake encounter” at Kallugudde forest area of Menasinahadya village in Chikmagalur district.[17] Following protest by the Citizens' Initiative for Peace, Chief Minister N Dharam Singh on 7 February 2005 ordered an inquiry into the encounter by the Development Commissioner Chiranjeev Singh.[18] Despite assurances by the Chief Minister to hand over the bodies to Citizens' Initiative for Peace, the police reportedly forcibly removed the dead bodies from the Bowring Hospital mortuary and performed the last rites at Kalpalli crematorium under Fraser Town police station.[19] Such acts of the police only strengthened the suspicion that the deceased had been extra-judicially executed.

    b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture

    There were reports of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture. On 6 January 2005, the police allegedly assaulted Tauseef Nayeen, a student of NDRK College, Hassan district on charges of theft. The victim had to be admitted in a hospital in a critical condition.[20]

    In one particular case, on 3 August 2005, the Director General of Police, B N P Albuquerque directed the Corps of Detectives to inquire into the alleged police atrocity on Janata Dal(U) National General Secretary B Sreepathi Rao in Bangalore, who was allegedly illegally detained and assaulted by the Sampangiramnagar police, Bangalore.[21]

    There were also allegations that the police booked false cases against several innocent villagers of Venkatammanahalli under Pavagada district.[22]

    c. Impunity

    The State government granted impunity to the State police for their human rights violations. One such glaring case of impunity was the protection given to the Special Task Force personnel who had been accused of perpetrating atrocities upon the tribals while pursuing notorious forest brigand Veerappan. On 23 February 2004, the NHRC sought the replies of the state governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu within three months on the report of Justice Sadashiva Panel set up by the NHRC to investigate the allegations of atrocities committed by Joint Special Task Force during anti-Veerappan operations. The NHRC sent repeated reminders to both the state governments in June 2004, September 2004 and on 8 February 2005.[23] But it was only after the NHRC on 7 March 2005 threatened to exercise its powers to inquire into complaints in absence of any reply from the governments' side that the Karnataka and the Tamil Nadu governments sent their responses on 2 May 2005 and 5 May 2005 respectively.[24] Non-cooperation by the state authorities resulted in inordinate delay in delivery of justice on one hand, and provided impunity to the accused on the other hand.

    3. Violations of international humanitarian laws by the AOGs

    The Naxalites, also known as the Maoists, continued to increase their presence in the State and violated international humanitarian laws. On 11 February 2005, the Maoists blew up a camp of Karnataka State Reserve Force (which was a primary school building) in Venkatamannahalli in Tumkur district killing five policemen and a civilian passerby.[25]

    On the night of 17 May 2005, suspected Maoists shot dead a Congress tribal leader, P Seshaiah at Menasinahadya village in Koppa taluk of Chikmagalur district.[26]

    On the night of 17 May 2005, suspected Maoists shot dead a bank official identified as Seshiyya of the Primary Land Bank at Menasinadya in Koppal taluk of Chikmagalur district.[27]

    4. Violations of the rights of the Dalits

    The NCRB recorded 1,780 cases of crimes against the Dalits in Karnataka which amounted 6.8% of the total crimes against the Dalits in India during 2005.[28]

    Untouchability was widespread. According to Dalit Sena State Vice-President Hanumanth Yalasangi, of the 1,530 villages in Gulbarga district, untouchability was being practiced in 542 villages. He claimed that on an average, six Dalits were being killed, and there were 40 atrocity cases reported in the district in a month.[29]

    In October 2005, two upper caste landlord families arbitrarily constructed a compound wall and blocked the pathway used by the hundreds of Dalit families in the village of Kodlady village under Udupi district. When some Dalits protested, the two upper caste landlords threatened them with dire consequences.[30] On 18 October 2005, the workers of Karnataka Dalit Sangharsha Samithi staged a dharna in front of the Vemagal police station protesting against the atrocities on Dalits in Sithi Hesuru in Kolar district of Karnataka. They alleged that sub inspector N Krishnappa of Vemagal police station failed to take action against those involved in the attack on the Dalits and demanded his immediate suspension.[31]

    The Dalits also faced discrimination in respect of carrying out development of their areas in Karnataka. On 12 December 2005, the Dalit Sena took out a protest rally in Gulbarga against willful deprivation of the Dalits of Gulbarga district from the benefits of various development schemes. According to Karnataka State Vice-President Hanumanth Yalasangi, Rs 5.4 lakh had been sanctioned to construct a government school at Muddadaga Dalit village but the construction of the building was yet to start. Similarly, 63 Dalit families in Nimbarga village had been allotted houses under the Ashraya scheme but the families had not been given the title deeds.[32]

    5. Violations of the rights of the child

    The National Crime Records Bureau recorded 191 cases of crimes against the children in Karnataka during 2005, including 42 murders, 48 rapes and 35 abductions during 2005.[33] 

    There were reportedly more than 35 lakh children working in different sectors, including industrial, agricultural and domestic sectors, in the state.[34] The employers of child labourers were seldom convicted in courts. Out of the 22 cases of child death which came to the notice of the Campaign against Child Labour, Karnataka since 1997, court conviction reportedly took place only in three cases while six cases were settled for paltry compensation and seven other cases were still pending.[35]

    In May 2005, taking cognizance of a report by the HAQ-Centre for Children Rights, the National Human Rights Commission directed the State Government of Karnataka to look into allegations of child labour in the mines of Hospet and Sondur in Bellary and Ilkal in Bijapur district. In its report, the HAQ-Centre for Children Rights alleged that children, from the age of five, were employed in the mines at Hospet, Sandur and the Ikal belt in violation of child and labour laws. They were forced to carry out digging, breaking stones, loading, dumping, transporting and processing of iron ore with no safety equipment, fixed wages and working hours. They handled a high-level of toxic wastes and were exposed to mine dust, which was above the permissible level. The report said the mine-owner was blatantly violating labour laws by employing children and making them work under exploitative and inhumane conditions.[36]

    In January 2005, the NHRC raised a series of concerns about the protection of human rights of juveniles lodged in the observation homes in Karnataka. On 13 December 2004, 14-year-old Santosh, an inmate of the Observation Home in Madivala police limits in Bangalore, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself by a rope from the ceiling of the toilet. Allegations have been made that the staffers in the Observation Home were not trained properly to handle juveniles.[37]

    6. Violations of the prisoners' rights

    The NHRC recorded 51 cases of deaths in judicial custody during 2004-2005.[38]

    On 2 May 2005, an undertrial prisoner identified as Chikkayya died at Chikmagalur Sub Jail. While the police claimed that the deceased died due to ill health, the deceased's wife stated that her husband did not suffer from any disease.[39]

    There were also reports of rampant use of drugs in the prisons. In June 2005, proceeding in a writ petition filed by Srirama Babu, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court N.K. Sodhi stated that use of drugs inside the jails in the country including Karnataka was alarming. Among others, the petitioner alleged that there was rampant use of drugs in jails. He also alleged that the authorities had failed to control use of drugs in jails. The petitioner had also raised the issues like overcrowding, staff shortage, medical problems that were found common in the jails in Karnataka.[40]

    On 4 November 2005, jail warden Mahesh Babu of Parappana Agrahara Central prison in Karnataka was reportedly caught red-handed by Superintendent of the Prison, C.S. Raju while he was allegedly supplying a packet of ganja to a prisoner.[41]

    7. Status of the Internally Displaced Persons

    The Karnataka Planters' Association (KPA) raised strong objections to the proposed Upper Bhadra Project to be constructed on river Bhadra at Magundi village in Chikmagalur district. KPA alleged that an estimated 10,000 acres of prime forest land and about 12,000 acres of coffee, areca, pepper plantations and paddy fields would be completely submerged under water if the dam is constructed.[42]

    The state government decided to regularize the lands encroached by 1300 tribal families in the Kudremukh National Park area in Chikmagalur district. On 17 February 2005, the State Cabinet decided to implement a Rs 23 crore package for rehabilitation of 201 tribal families who had agreed to move out from the Kudremukh National Park area. The government promised to rehabilitate these tribal families  within a year by providing an assistance of about Rs 11 lakh per familiy.[43]



    [1]. CM talks tough, sets up squads, The Deccan Herald, 13 February 2005

    [2]. 2004-2005 Annual Report of NHRC

    [3]. Man dies in police custody, The Times of India, 28 April 2005

    [4]. Arrested youth found hanging in police station, The Deccan Herald, 27 April 2005

    [5]. Naxals kill Congman, STF rushed, The Deccan Herald, 19 May 2005

    [6]. Statue defiled, Nippani tense, The Hindu, 15 April 2005

    [7]. Child labour: NHRC seeks factual report from State, The Deccan Herald, 3 January 2005s

    [8]. NHRC directs State to enquire into boy's death, The Deccan Herald, 28 January 2005

    [9]. HC seeks report on status of jails, The Times of India, 1 July 2005

    [10]. 2004-2005 Annual Report of NHRC

    [11]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [12]. Man dies in police custody, The Times of India, 28 April 2005

    [13]. Arrested youth found hanging in police station, The Deccan Herald, 27 April 2005

    [14]. One dies in custody, The Deccan Herald, 10 May 2005

    [15]. Man dies in custody, City police deny torture, The Deccan Herald, 26 August 2005

    [16]. Lockup death: Angry mob lays siege to police station, The Deccan Herald, 17 October 2005

    [17]. Leaders cry hoarse over ‘killings, The Deccan Herald, 9 February 2005

    [18]. Dharam orders probe into Naxals' ‘encounter' death, The Pioneer, 8 February 2005

    [19]. Police cremate Saketh Rajan's body, The Hindu, 9 February 2005

    [20]. Students demand action against police, The Deccan Herald, 12 January 2005

    [21]. CoD to probe alleged police atrocity, The Deccan Herald, 4 August 2005

    [22]. Naxal attack: Villagers allege harassment, The Deccan Herald, 22 February 2005

    [23]. NHRC slams Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, The Hindu, 19 March 2005

    [24]. Sadashiva panel report, responses to be sent to complainants, The Hindu, 21 October 2005

    [25]. Naxalites spill blood in Karnataka, The Telegraph, 12 February 2005

    [26]. Naxals kill Congman, STF rushed, The Deccan Herald, 19 May 2005

    [27]. Vendetta killing: Naxals gun down bank official, The Pioneer, 19 May 2005

    [28]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [29]. Protest demanding measures against atrocities on Dalits, The Deccan Herald, 19 July 2005

    [30]. Action sought against landlords for blocking pathway of Dalits, The Hindu, 7 October 2005

    [31]. Attack on Dalits: DSS workers stage protest, The Deccan Herald, 19 October 2005

    [32]. Dalit sena seeks basic amenities for villages, The Deccan Herald, 13 December 2005

    [33]. 2005 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [34]. Child labour: NHRC seeks factual report from State, The Deccan Herald, 3 January 2005

    [35]. Death of another child labourer in Davangere, The Deccan Herald, 13 December 2004

    [36]. NHRC directive to Karnataka on child labour, The Hindu, 27 May 2005

    [37]. NHRC directs State to enquire into boy's death, The Deccan Herald, 28 January 2005

    [38]. 2004-2005 Annual Report of NHRC

    [39]. Villagers demand judicial probe into death of undertrial, The Deccan Herald, 3 May 2005

    [40]. HC seeks report on status of jails, The Times of India, 1 July 2005

    [41]. Jail warder arrested, The Hindu, 18 November 2005

    [42]. Karnataka planters' body opposes Upper Bhadra project, The Hindu, 8 November 2005

    [43]. Tackling Naxals: Rs 23 cr package for tribal families, The Deccan Herald, 18 February 2005

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