Skip to main content

108 encounter killings in four months "undermine" Supreme Court guidelines, India's tribal autonomy laws

By Our Representative
The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), apex body of tens of civil rights organizations of India, has estimated that, over the past four months, the toll of alleged Maoist killings has risen to 108. In a statement issued in the wake of the latest encounters at Gadchiroli (Maharashtra) and Bijapur (Chhattisgarh), NAPM has said, "Killings of this scale, which should have shocked and shaken the collective conscience of this nation, unfortunately does not even evoke the necessary outrage."
Signed, among others, by well-known social activist Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan; Aruna Roy of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan; Prafulla Samantara of the Lok Shakti Abhiyan; Lingraj Azad of the Samajwadi Jan Parishad; Dr Binayak Sen of the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties; Sandeep Pandey of the Socialist Party, among others, the statement regrets that the state is "ever-ready to package these as deaths as necessary, rather inevitable, for safeguarding ‘national interests’."
Especially referring to the recent series of "killings of adivasis" by the CRPF and C-60 elite anti-Naxal force, NAPM says, at least 39 people, including 19 women were killed on April 22-23 at Gadchiroli and 8 people, including 6, women were killed on April 27 at Bijapur, adding, "Some of those killed and/or have gone missing are, reportedly, minors." A month esrlier, Telangana's elite anti-Naxal force Greyhounds "gunned down 10 suspected Maoists, including 6 women."
The statement comes amidst several civil liberties groups having raised disturbing questions about the circumstances of these encounters, the unilateral nature of the attack and deaths, the unpreparedness of the Maoists who had reportedly camped nearby for a wedding party, disproportionality of the use of force with Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGL) bound to cause excessive causalities, more bodies fished out vis-à-vis arms recovered.
"Following ruthlessness of the attack, what left us dumbfounded was the celebration of these killings by certain jawans. Encounter killings both in the Maoist-infested regions as well as in certain other states has crept into the state policy in an unannounced way and is being brutally employed to shut down dissenting voices and people", the statement says.
Pointing out that "Uttar Pradesh shines brightly on this front with over 1,000 encounter killings to its credit in the past one year", NAPM says, "It is important to also note that, since 2014, concerned of the increasing number of such unaccounted and unaccountable encounters, the Supreme Court laid down elaborate guidelines to be followed while inquiring into encounter deaths and directed that these guidelines shall serve as law of the land under Article 141 of the Constitution".
"This set of 16 guidelines includes", says NAPM, " Recording of tip-off of any criminal activity, registration of FIR and prompt forwarding of FIR, diary entries, panchnamas, sketch, etc. to the competent court, independent investigation by CID or a police officer above the rank of officer leading the team that indulged in encounter, magisterial inquiry under Sec 176 CrPC, furnishing all information to NHRC/ SHRC, expeditions trial."
The guidelines also talk of "six-monthly report by DGPs of all states to NHRC on encounter killings/police firings, compensation to family of deceased, disciplinary action against concerned officers, refraining from glorification and grant of gallantry awards without establishment of facts, option for family to approach sessions judge in case of questions about the impartiality of inquiry". However, NAPM says, "One finds that in a large number of instances, meticulous compliance of even these minimum guidelines is not ensured."
Pointing out that these encounters have taken place in "heavily forested areas inhabited by countless adivasi communities", NAPM says, "These areas are supposed to be administered and governed by Governors of these regions along with consultation by Tribal Advisory Committees constituted with three-fourth members from Scheduled Tribes. The Governors are directly answerable to the President of India regarding the political situation of these areas."
"However", says NAPM, " What we have been witnessing is an absolute police-raj and paramilitary-raj in these areas in the name of ‘eliminating Naxalism’, backed by state-impunity, at the behest of corporate interests. Indias anti-insurgency and anti-terrorism laws like Section 121 of IPC and UAPA are implemented with a heavy hand, whereas talk, let alone implementation, of Schedule V, Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996; Forest Rights Act, 2006; Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989..."

Comments

TRENDING

Ganga world's second most polluted river, Modi's Varanasi tops microplastics pollution

By Rajiv Shah  Will the new report by well-known elite NGO Toxics Link create a ripple in the powerful corridors of Delhi? Titled “Quantitative analysis of microplastics along River Ganga”, forwarded to Counterview, doesn’t just say that Ganga is the second most polluted river in the world, next only to Yangtze (China). It goes ahead to do a comparison of microplastics pollution in three cities shows Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – is more polluted compared to Kanpur and Haridwar.

Pro-corporate? New GoI circular 'blatant attempt' to control Adivasi lives, livelihoods

By Hemant Das*  The Indian Community Activists Network (ICAN) condemns the anti-forest dwellers circular jointly issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and the (Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Government of India (GoI) on July 6. 

Madhya Pradesh tops India's 145 instances of 'anti-Christian atrocities' this year

Counterview Desk  A report prepared by the Religious Liberty Commission the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), founded in 1951 as the national alliance of evangelical Christians of the Protestant denomination, in its just-released report, “Hate and Targeted Violence against Christians in India: Half Yearly Report 2021”, has said that an analysis of 145 cases of violence it has documented against Christians, mainly by non-state actors, “stems from an environment of targeted hate.”

Demolition drive: Why aren't high-end hotels, farmhouses treated same way as Khorigaon?

By Our Representative A public hearing, sponsored by the civil rights group National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) to hear the affected citizens of Khorigaon, off Faridabad, Delhi NCR, has seen local people complaining how their houses are being demolished even as the entire area was converted into a prison through heavy police deployment.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Meaningful? Punjab govt's debt waiver offer for agricultural workers, landless farmers

By Dr Gian Singh*    On July 14, 2021, the Punjab government announced that it would hold a state level function on August 20 to waive the debt of agricultural labourers and landless farmers(pure tenants) of Punjab to the tune of Rs 590 crore. Prior to the 2017 elections, the Congress party had promised in its election manifesto and public speeches that the Punjab government would waive all the institutional and non-institutional debt of farmers and agricultural labourers of Punjab.

Why no human rights mechanism in South Asia, but other regions in world have them?

Counteview Desk A civil rights group, Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), has floated an online petition  titled "Governments of South Asia: Time for the Establishment of a South Asian Human Rights Mechanism", stating that South Asian states should work towards the establishment of a regional mechanism for human rights at the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) SAARC level in order to create better conditions for peace in South Asia.

How BSF, police, court turned Bangladeshi woman slave victim into accused in crime

Counterview Desk  Civil rights leader Kirity Roy has strongly objected to the manner in which the Border Security Force (BSF) , the police and the judiciary in West Bengal have treated a 35 years old Bangladeshi woman victim of human trafficking, who was subjected to sexual exploitation for 15 long years, has been declared guilty of violating the Foreigners Act, violating all human rights norms.

Covid impact on menstrual cycles? Young girls 'relapsing' back to unhygienic old-cloth rags

By Dr Sudeshna Roy*  Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world in health and economic shock. Combating this public health crisis has diverted development resources earmarked for adolescents and the youth. India; having world’s second largest population; 1.38 crores as per UN mid-year 2020 estimation, also shelters the largest adolescents and young adult population, which at 243 million constitute 20% of the world’s 1.2 billion adolescent population.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".