ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Lawlessness in Chhattisgarh

Where the upholders of the law are a law unto themselves.

In the state of Chhattisgarh, a different set of laws prevails. It appears to grant complete impunity to the police and law enforcement. And denies fundamental rights to its citizens and those from other parts of India. You do not need anything like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Chhattisgarh. The police there already have special powers without anyone questioning their use. If you happen to be an individual or a group that dares question these powers, or expose the impunity with which the police act, you are liable to be arrested, intimidated, harassed and even charged with murder.

Thus, it was not entirely unexpected that on 7 November, Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar and three others were charged by the Chhattisgarh police with the murder of an Adivasi man even though there was no evidence that they had any connection with his death. On 4 November, in village Nama of Sukma district, Shamnath Baghel was killed by unidentified assailants. On 7 November, the police claimed that his wife, Vimala, had filed a first information report (FIR) naming Sundar and others as well as Maoists who control parts of the district of murdering her husband. The fraudulent FIR stood exposed when within days of it being lodged, Vimala told a television channel that she had not seen the assailants. A few days later, villagers told a print reporter that they did not think Sundar and others, who had visited the village in May as part of a fact-finding team, had anything to do with the murder. None of this made a difference to the Chhattisgarh police. For having filed this story, the Chhattisgarh correspondent of Hindustan Times was threatened. When he tried to speak to Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) S R P Kalluri to get his response, he was told, “In any case, we don’t care a damn about what you write.”

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