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  • Chhattisgarh

    I. Overview. 1

    II. Human rights violations by the security forces 2

    a. Violations of the right to life. 2

    b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture. 3

    III. Violations of International Humanitarian Law by the AOGs 4

    a. Violations of the right to life. 4

    c. Destruction of public properties 6

    IV. Repression on human rights defenders 6

    V. Violations of the rights of indigenous peoples and Dalits 7

    VI. Violence against women. 8

    VII. Violations of the rights of the child. 8

    VIII. Violations of the prisoners’ rights 9

     

     


    I. Overview

     

    Ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, Chhattisgarh continued to be the epicentre of the Naxalite conflict in India during 2007. The Salwa judum, a counter insurgency operation launched by the state government Chhattisgarh to tackle the Naxalites in 2005, has caused massive displacement and heavy loss of lives. According to the estimate of Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), 208 persons including 46 civilians, 134 security personnel and 28 alleged Naxalites were killed in Chhattisgarh in the Naxalite conflict from January to September 2007 alone.[1]

     

    On 12 April 2007, Chhattisgarh government extended the ban on the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and five of its front organizations – Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangh, Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangh, Krantikari Adivasi Balak Sangh, Krantikari Kisan Committee and Mahila Mukti Manch under Section 3 (1) of Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act, 2006 for a period of one year. The government had brought a Bill, banning separatist organisations, including the CPI (Maoist), in April 2006 following a rise in violence in the State.[2]

     

    As the conflict intensifies, civilians increasingly become the target. There were about 43,740 displaced Adivasis living in the anti-Naxalite Salwa Judum camps in Dantewada district. Their conditions remained deplorable in the absence of adequate assistance from the government. Further, on the night of 25 August 2007, alleged Naxalites stormed into the unguarded Patarpara relief camp at Bhairamgarh block in Bijapur district and killed two villagers identified as Hapma Badaldeo and Jaggu Kursa and injured 18 others.[3]

     

    All the prisons were overcrowded and administration of justice was clogged. There were 12 vacancies out of the sanctioned strength of 18 judges in the Chhattisgarh High Court as on 1 January 2008 and 18 vacancies in the District and Subordinate Courts against sanctioned strength of 241 as on 30 September 2007. There were a total of 74,701 cases pending with the Chhattisgarh High Court and a total of 2,63,980 cases were pending with the District and Subordinate Courts as on 30 September 2007.[4]

    The State government continued to use the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act against the human rights defenders.

    Children too have been severely affected by the Naxalite conflict. Despite a clear violation of humanitarian law there were repeated reports of security forces being stationed in the school buildings. [5] Around 250 school buildings were blown up by the Maoists over the past two years.[6]

     

    II. Human rights violations by the security forces

     

    According to the 2006 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 1,444 complaints were received against police personnel in Chhattisgarh during 2006. Of these, departmental inquiry was ordered into 355 cases and magisterial inquiry was ordered into 1 case. 13 police personnel were sent to trial during the year. Of the 4 police personnel whose trials were completed, 1 was convicted and 3 acquitted. The NCRB does not report human rights violations committed by the army and the paramilitary forces.[7]


    a. Violations of the right to life

     

    The security forces were responsible for extrajudicial executions, custodial deaths and killings of indiscriminate police firings.

     

    According to the information obtained by Asian Centre for Human Rights under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the NHRC received three cases of deaths in police custody and one case of encounter death in Chhattisgarh during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007. The National Crime Records Bureau of the Ministry of Home Affairs had recorded one death in police custody and killing of 138 civilians in police firing during 2006.[8]

     

    The Asian Centre for Human Rights documented the killing of at least 35 persons including 28 alleged Naxalites and seven civilians by the security forces in the Naxalite conflict in Chhattisgarh during January - September 2007.[9] However, the figure of civilians killed by the security forces could be much higher as the security forces often classify those killed as “Naxalites”.

     

    On 31 March 2007, seven tribals, including Madiyam Fagu, Madiyam Lakhma, Kudiyan Musa, Markam Sanko and Marvi Mangu from Ponjer village and Kudiuyam Bojha, a former Special Police Officer (SPO) from Santoshpur village were allegedly picked up by Chhattisgarh Armed Police and Salwa Judum members and then killed at Santoshpur village near Bijapur. The police claimed that they were Sangham members (Naxalite sympathizers) and were killed in encounter. But the villagers of Ponjer village claimed that the tribals were picked up and taken to nearby Santoshpur where they were killed. At least four of the victims were allegedly hacked to death using axes and machetes and the rest were shot dead. Two other tribal villagers identified as Kodia Mura and Podia had been missing since the incident and it is feared that they have also been killed. On 7 May 2007, bodies of four victims - Madiyam Fagu, Madiyam Lakhma, Kudiyan Musa and Markam Sanko were exhumed from Ponjer village by doctors of Dantewara district hospital in the presence of family members of the victims and senior administrative and police officials. The post-mortem report prepared by doctors from Dantewada District Hospital, R L Gangesh, B R Pujari and Sanjay Baghel reportedly found gunshot wounds and deep gashes caused by sharp-edged weapons like axes or machetes.[10]

     

    On 13 March 2007, 11 minor children and man belonging to tribal community were allegedly shot dead by the members of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) from Nagaland posted in Chhattisgarh and members of the Salwa Judum in Nendra village of Dantewada district during a search operation against the Naxalites. Seeing the children, the IRB personnel reportedly without any provocation opened fire at the children hitting them point blank and killing them all instantaneously. Later, on their way they also shot dead Mr. Soyam Nareya (20) of the same village who was returning from his work. The deceased children were identified as Soyam Rama (16), Soyam Raju, (2), Vajam Rama (11), Madakam Ramily (5), Madakam Buddaraiah (14), Midiyam Nagaiah (5), Sodi Irma (12), Podium Adama (7), Vetti Raju (9), Madakam (13) and Soyam Raju (12).[11]


    b. Arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture

     

    According to the information obtained by Asian Centre for Human Rights under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the NHRC received one case of illegal arrest, four cases of unlawful detention, 38 cases of other police excesses and 90 cases of failure in taking action in Chhattisgarh during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007.

     

    The police were accused of illegally detaining innocent civilians on frivolous charges under pressure to crack down on the Naxalites.

     

    On 3 January 2007, 79 Maoists surrendered at the police headquarters in Raipur.[12] However, ten days after the ‘Naxal surrender’ ceremony, the police reportedly quietly released 19 of the 79 because the charges against them were found to be “frivolous”. The police allegedly tried to pump up “surrender” figures by detaining 19 villagers on charges of pasting posters, collecting firewood and cooking food for Maoists.[13]

     

    The police also used disproportionate force to control protests. On 24 May 2007, an aged man was punched, kicked, his hair pulled and brought to the ground as the police rained lathis, sticks, on him when the police resorted to lathi charge and fired in the air in Sarguja district to quell protests by villagers which turned violent leaving 59 persons including 35 police injured.[14]

     

    III. Violations of International Humanitarian Law by the AOGs

     

    Naxalites were responsible for gross violations of international humanitarian law in including using explosive devices, abduction, hostage taking, torture, hacking to death, shooting from point blank range and executions after trial by its so called Peoples' Court, Jana Adalat.


    a. Violations of the right to life

     

    Chhattisgarh has been the epicenter of the Naxalite conflict. According to the estimates of Asian Centre for Human Rights, the Naxalites killed 134 security forces and 37 civilians in Chhattisgarh from January to September 2007.[15]

     

    The Maoists extensively used explosive devices to target security forces and civilians.

     

    On 8 February 2007, a civilian driver identified as Dinesh Baharia was killed along with five security personnel when a bom planted by alleged Maoists exploded while being defused at Bhairamgarh in Dantewada district.[16]

     

    On 5 June 2007, three employees of the Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board were killed in a landmine blasts triggered by the Maoists at a cement-laden truck in Narayanpur district of Bastar region.[17]

     

    On 26 May 2007, a truck conductor was killed by alleged Maoists-triggered explosion on Pakhanjore-Bhanupratappur road, 13 kms away from Pakhanjore in Kanker district.[18]

     

    On 5 June 2007, three labourers of State Electricity Board were killed in a landmine blast by Naxalites near Kapsi area of Narayanpur district in the Bastar region.[19]

     

    The Naxalites continued to kill innocent people accusing them of being “police informers”, members of anti-Maoist civilian militias Salwa Judum and for not obeying their diktats. Innocent tribal civilians were killed for participating in the anti-Naxalite Salwa Judum campaign, irrespective of whether they had participated voluntarily or by force.

     

    In July 2007, the Maoists banned farming in Bastar region of “to protest against the exploitation of the state’s natural resources by the Government”.[20] According to the police, at least 11 tribal farmers were murdered by the Maoists for working in their fields in July 2007 in Bijapur police district alone.[21] Most of the victims were killed after brutal torture. For instance, on the night of 8 July 2007, two farmers identified as Kalmu Dulla and Marwi Mura were abducted from Chintagufa village in Bijapur police district, beaten up and then hacked to death.[22] On 17 July 2007, four farmers identified as Sukdas, Hemla Lachhu, Hemla Somu and Hemla Somlu were caught while farming their fields at Mallapara village near Gangalur in Bijapur police district and tortured them to death.[23] Again on 25 July 2007, two tribal farmers, identified as Kudhi Mangru of Chareli village and Potai Mangu of Bedka village were tortured to death in Bijapur district for the same reason.[24]

     

    On 1 April 2007, alleged Naxalites killed two farmers identified as Amit and Hungaram by slitting their throats. They were killed for having handed over their land to Essar Steel who were setting up asteel plant in Bhansi village in Dantewada district.[25] 

     

    The Naxalites also continued to kill alleged police informers. On 12 March 2007, two tribal youths were reportedly killed with sharp-edged weapons by Naxalites in Kanker district.[26]

     

    The Naxalites continued to organise Jana Adalats, Peoples Court, to impose ‘justice’.

     

    On the intervening night of 7 and 8 January 2007, the Naxalites allegedly killed a villager identified as Alam Sannu, son of Bhuja of Koitpal under Bijapur police district, after dragging him out from his house. He was interrogated in front of other villagers about the Salwa Judum campaign and the movement/operational strategies of the police. Later, the Maoists slit his throat with a knife in full public view.[27]

     

    Some other victims who were killed in Jana Adalats included:

     

    -          Suklu Korsa who was beaten to death at Ghumra village under Bijapur police district for supporting the Salwa Judum on the night of 16 February 2007;[28]

    -          Sarhuram of Chindbhata and Kogeram of Temrupani who were beaten to death at Temrupani under Durgakondal police station in Kanker district on the night of 28 February 2007;[29] and

    -          Sarpanch Mahadev who was killed by slitting his throat at Kadenar village under Narayanpur police district on 13 March 2007.[30]

     

    The Maoists also targeted political activists during 2007. On 19 November 2007, Congress leader, Buddharam Rana and his son Kamlesh were killed by the Maoists at Musalur village in Bijapur district.[31]

    c. Destruction of public properties

     

    The Maoists continued to be major obstacle to development. On 27 May 2007, alleged Naxalite activists blew up a railway bridge and track and burnt properties of Essar Steel in Dantewada district as a part of a bandh triggered two landmine blasts.[32]

     

    On 31 May 2007, alleged Naxalites blew up three high tension 220 KV Bhilai-Barsur electricity transmission towers between Chhotepalli and Kapsi near Pakhanjore in Narayanpur district.[33]

     

    On 10 June 2007, alleged Maoists attacked the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) and burnt over 100 metres of a conveyor belt in Dantewada district.[34] On 24 June 2007, Maoists blew up a 33 KV power transmission line near Bodli village in Bijapur district.[35]

     

    IV. Repression on human rights defenders

     

    Civil society organizations and human rights defenders operating in the state faced repression of the State.

     

    On 14 May 2007, Dr Binayak Sen, General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh unit of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) was arrested and detained under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2006 and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967) as amended in 2004 on the charges of having links with the Naxalites.[36] He was not released by the end of 2007.

     

    On 24 May 2007, Rajendra Sayal, president of Chhattisghar unit of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) was arrested by the police in Raipur in connection with a contempt of court case. However, PUCL alleged that the arrest was part of the state government’s attempt to thwart a civil rights demonstration scheduled for 31 May 2007.[37]

     

    In August 2007, the state government of Chhattisgarh allegedly sought to expel the Medicines Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) from Dantewada district. ACHR strongly condemned the move and warned that it will be “counter-productive measure that can only help the Naxalites”. The State Government of Chhattisgarh was forced to take a U-turn and clarified that the State government has not even contemplated on barring the NGO from working in any part of the State. The Government is sensitive to the humanitarian medical aid that has been provided by the Medicines Sans Frontiers across the Globe and in India”.

     

    V. Violations of the rights of indigenous peoples and Dalits

     

    According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of the Ministry of Home Affair, Government of India, a total of 583 cases of crimes against Scheduled Tribes (STs) and a total of 444 cases of crime against Scheduled Castes (SCs) were reported in Chhattisgarh during 2006. These included 27 murder cases, 97 cases of rape, 3 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 161 cases under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act of 1989, among others, against the STs, while 10 murder cases, 49 cases of rape, 1 case of kidnapping and abduction, 120 cases under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocity) Act of 1989, among others against the SCs respectively.[38]

     

    Hundreds of tribals have been arrested under false charges when they tried to access minor forest produce. In April 2007, the government of Chhattisgarh decided to drop criminal charges against 2,20,613 persons including 1,08,890 Scheduled Tribes and 36,298 Scheduled Castes registered under various forest and wildlife protection laws.>[39]

     

    The conditions of the tribals remained deplorable due to lack of development. The Chhattisgarh Human Development report, commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme and published in 2005, revealed that little has changed for the inhabitants of the state’s tribal districts who continue to be engaged in traditional employment. The report revealed that 78 per cent of the rural households were farmers. Of them, only 1.5 per cent were familiar with modern agricultural practices like use equipment, chemical fertilisers and high yield value seeds. The report also revealed that the tribal districts of the state also witnessed an alarmingly high number of infant mortalities due to poor health services and facilities. While the state infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births was recorded at 73 in 2003, in the tribal-dominated districts of Bastar recorded 104, Korea recorded 103, Rajnandgaon recorded 112, Kabirdham recorded 96 and Kanker recorded 86.[40]

     

    VI. Violence against women

     

    According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 3,757 cases of crimes against women were reported in Chhattisgarh, accounting for 2.3% of total incidents in India during 2006. These included 995 cases of rape, 103 cases of dowry deaths, 178 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 1,689 cases of cruelty by husband and relatives, 1,598 cases of molestation, 13 cases under Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act of 1956, among others.[41]

     

    The security forces engaged in the Naxal conflict are the subject of accusation of sexual violence. On 13 February 2007, a tribal woman filed a complaint alleging gang rape by some personnel of the India Reserve Battalion of Mizoram in Dantewada district. The Mizo Battalion, composed of mostly tribals, was deployed to fight the Naxalites in Chhattisgarh.[42]

     

    Women continued to be victims of witch-hunting. On 4 May 2007, Yashoda along with her husband Gajanan Narayan Bramhankar were reportedly axed to death by one Shirkrishna Bhaiyyalal Chute suspecting them to be practicing witchcraft on a buffalo at Malitola Anjora village in Amgaon tehsil.[43]>

     

    VII. Violations of the rights of the child

     

    According to the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 1,238 cases of crimes against children were reported in Chhattisgarh, accounting for 6.5% of total incidents in India during 2006. These included 40 cases of murder, 448 cases of rape, 113 cases of kidnapping and abduction, 5 cases under Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1978, among others.[44]

     

    The Naxal-conflict had badly affected the child education especially in districts falling under Bastar region. Despite a clear violation of humanitarian law there were repeated reports of security forces being stationed in the school buildings. [45]

     

    The Maoists were also accused of blowing up school buildings. Around 250 school buildings were blown up by the Maoists over the past two years. The state government blamed the Maoists for the parlous state of the education system.[46] Both sides bare a responsibility for the falling education indicators.

     

    Chhattisgarh has a job scheme for children of its dead police personnel. Minor children were recruited as child police officers in Chhattisgarh. There were at least 75 child police officers in Chhattisgarh as of January 2007. These children were asked to do filing and chores like bringing tea and water for seniors. They were paid about Rs 2,500 a month for the job.[47]

     

    VIII. Violations of the prisoners’ rights

     

    According to the information obtained by Asian Centre for Human Rights under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the NHRC received 50 cases of deaths in judicial custody in Chhattisgarh during the period of 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007.

     

    On 21 August 2007, Balram Sharma, a convict, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Raipur Central Prison. Jail authorities reportedly recovered a suicide note.[48]

     

    Chhattisgarh jails remained overcrowded. For instance, there were as many as 139 inmates in Katghora Sub-Jail as against the sanctioned capacity 50 as on 10 April 2007.[49]

     

    The prisoners were not provided adequate security while moving out of jails. On 5 April 2007, undertrial Harish Patel, detained at Ambikapur jail, was allegedly shot dead by his elder brother at his house in Babupara after he had come out of the jail for going to hospital along with two other inmates. It remained unclear how he managed to reach his house where he was murdered.[50]



    [1]. http://www.achrweb.org/ncm/NCM-VOL-02-03.pdf

    [2]. C’garh bans CPI (Maoist), The Hitavadaonline, 13 April 2007

    [3]. Rebels kill two, injure 18 in relief camp, The Telegraph, 27 August 2007

    [4]. Supreme Court of India, Court News- October – December 2007, available at: http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/CtNewsOct_Dec07.pdf

    [5]. Another blow by Naxals, this time it’s kids’ education, The Indian Express, 30 June 2007

    [6]. Another blow by Naxals, this time it’s kids’ education, The Indian Express, 30 June 2007

    [7]. 2006 Annual Report of the National Crime Records Bureau

    [8]. 2006 Annual Report of the National Crime Records Bureau

    [9]. See ACHR’s quarterly newsletter “Naxal Conflict Monitor” series, available at  http://www.achrweb.org/ncm/ncm.htm

    [10]. http://www.achrweb.org/ncm/NCM-VOL-02-02.pdf

    [11]. Asian Human Rights Commission, Eleven children and a young man shot dead in Chhattisgarh by the Indian Reserve Battalion, Available at: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2007/2557/

    [12]. 79 Maoists surrender in Chhattisgarh, The Pioneer, 4 January 2007

    [13]. Days after Naxal ‘surrender’ ceremony before CM, Bastar police set free 19, The Indian Express, 16 January 2007

    [14]. 59 hurt in Chhattisgarh clash, The Tribune, 26 May 2007

    [15]. See ACHR’s quarterly newsletter “Naxal Conflict Monitor” series, available at  http://www.achrweb.org/ncm/ncm.htm

    [16]. Naga police die in Maoist zone - Bomb explodes while being defused, The Telegraph, 9 February 2007

    [17]. Naxal Conflict Monitor, ACHR’s data

    [18]. Naxal Conflict Monitor, ACHR’s data

    [19]. 3 labourers killed, five jawans injured in Bastar mine blast, The Times of India, 5 June 2007

    [20]. Maoists enforce ban, kill farmers, The Indian Express, 10 July 2007

    [21]. 11 farmers killed by Maoists in a month, The Hitavadaonline, 31 July 2007

    [22]. Maoists enforce ban, kill farmers, The Indian Express, 10 July 2007 

    [23]. 11 farmers killed by Maoists in a month, The Hitavadaonline, 31 July 2007 

    [24]. Bastar: Naxals kill two farmers for flouting diktat, The Indian Express, 26 July 2007 

    [25]. Naxals kill 2 farmers for giving land to Essar Steel, The Indian Express, 2 April 2007

    [26]. Maoists kill two Chhattisgarh tribals, The Times of India, 13 March 2007

    [27]. http://www.achrweb.org/ncm/NCM-VOL-02-01.pdf

    [28]. http://www.achrweb.org/ncm/NCM-VOL-02-01.pdf

    [29]. Ultras beat two villagers to death, The Hitavada, 3 March 2007

    [30]. Maoists kill sarpanch, Anganbadi worker, The Hitavada, 14 March 2007

    [31]. Congress leader, son killed by Maoists, The Asian Age, 20 November 2007

    [32]. Maoists blow up railway bridge, The Statesman, 28 May 2007

    [33]. Bastar plunges into darkness as Naxals blow off HT towers, The Hitavadaonline, 2 June 2007

    [34]. Maoists attack NMDC facility in Chhattisgarh, The Hindu, 11 June 2007

    [35]. Chhattisgarh, Bihar hit as Naxal economic blockade begins, The Indian Express, 26 June 2007

    [36]. http://www.achrweb.org/ncm/NCM-VOL-02-02.pdf

    [37]. Arrests aimed at stopping rights movement: PUCL, The Indian Express, 27 May 2007

    [38] . 2006 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [39] . Tribal-friendly, eco-unfriendly, The Indian Express, 5 April 2007

    [40] . C’garh tribals still beyond growth loop: Report, The Indian Express, 29 June 2007

    [41] . 2006 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [42] . Mizo police reported in gangrape case, The Newslink, 14 February 2007

    [43] . Couple axed to death, suspecting witchcraft, The Hitavada, 6 May 2007

    [44] . 2006 Annual Report of National Crime Records Bureau

    [45] . Another blow by Naxals, this time it’s kids’ education, The Indian Express, 30 June 2007

    [46] . Another blow by Naxals, this time it’s kids’ education, The Indian Express, 30 June 2007

    [47] . Raipur in a fix over ‘boy orderlies’, The Indian Express, 31 January 2007

    [48] . Raipur: convict on death row found dead, The Indian Express, 22 August 2007

    [49] . Prisoners take control of Sub-Jail, The Hitavada, 10 April 2007

    [50] . Undertrial shot dead, The Hitavada, 6 April 2007

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