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Congress govt appointing "tainted" police official on key post sends "wrong signals"

A Chhattisgarh village helmet razed to ground during "anti-Maoist" operation in 2011
Counterview Desk
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Chhattisgarh, has protested against the appointment of police officials with "poor record on human rights front" by the newly-formed Congress government in the state. In a statement*, PUCL-Chhattisgarh, objecting to the appointment of SPR Kalluri, controversial former Bastar Inspector General of Police, as head of the Economic Offences Wing EOW) and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the state capital Raipur, said the appointment is sending “a wrong message” to the world that the state government “has scant regard for human rights and freedom of speech and expression.”
Accused of human rights violations, Kalluri was transferred out of Bastar in February 2017 after a mob attacked activist and scholar Bela Bhatia. He was posted in the training department in the police headquarters. A month later, he was sent notices for indiscipline after he attended an event where a police officer said human rights activists should be crushed on the roads.
A leaked internal memo of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) reportedly suggested that the agency suspected Kalluri’s involvement in the violence that took place in three Adivasi villages in 2011. The villagers of Tadmetla, Morpalli and Teemapuram alleged the security forces burnt down over 300 homes, killed three men and raped three women in the course of an anti-Maoist operation.
Kalluri, who was then the senior superintendent of police in Dantewada, has been indicted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which has earlier sent him notices for hearings into allegations of human rights violations, yet he has avoided them, citing personal reasons.
The Congress government led by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel was widely expected to investigate Kalluri’s track record of alleged human rights violations. In October 2016, as the state Congress president, Baghel had asked for Kalluri to be jailed. Yet, his government has rewarded the controversial officer by appointing him to key posts.

Text of the PUCL statement:

People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Chhattisgarh (CG) Unit has expressed its displeasure at the appointment of tainted police officials, such as SPR Kalluri, in key positions by the State Government despite full knowledge of their poor and controversial record at the human rights front. PUCL-CG strongly believes that the last fifteen years of BJP rule in the state witnessed the worst violation of human rights; even then the former BJP Government had sidelined these police officials due to reservations expressed against these police officials by the established human rights institutions.
Thus, the PUCL-CG is alarmed that the newly elected Congress (I) Government is not only reinstating such tarnished police officials, but sending a wrong message to the world that it has scant regard for human rights and freedom of speech and expression. It may be recalled that till a few months ago, the current Chief Minister had been demanding the arrest of Kalluri for his involvement in killings and rapes in the Tadmetla encounter, and yet, he is being feted as the new IG of EOW and ACB departments, a position requiring utmost probity and integrity.
Kalluri
PUCL-CG has decided to write to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, providing detailed documentation of the misdeeds of these police officials primarily on the human rights front, including their systematic support to Salwa-Judum, which was declared as illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, criminal intimidation of and filing of false and fabricated cases against human rights defenders, social activists, journalists, lawyers and academics, even using abusive and sexists language, providing patronage and logistic support to the criminal and fascist outfits, demonstrating utter disregard for established parliamentary institutions and judiciary, including the National Human Rights Commission, etc.
Equipped with such a detailed documentation of utter violation of human rights and indulgence in illegal activities of these police officials, PUCL CG would approach the State Government to immediately withdraw their postings, order a detailed enquiry by a former judge of the Supreme Court of India and, subsequently, take appropriate action as per its report and recommendations. Till then, these officials must be kept out of action and circulation from duty.
PUCL-CG has also communicated to the State Government that it would continue to act as a Watchdog on these violations of human rights, would provide constructive criticism to government’s policies and programmes, and continue to mobilize public opinion and people’s struggles to restore democracy, resist corporate agenda, and fight fascist forces in the State.
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*Signed by state president Dr Lakhan Singh and secretary Adv AP Josy

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