Sunday, February 24, 2008

Petition against ‘harassment’ by Naxal supporters

Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, Feb 24: Expressing grave concern over the post-Nayagarh operations, civil rights activists have decided to submit a petition to the National Human Rights Commission to examine the reports of alleged harassment of innocent villagers and whether all prescribed legal procedures were bei-ng followed.

Addressing a Press conference here today a fact finding team comprising activists of People’s Union for Democratic Rights ( PUDR), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), An-dhra Pradesh Civil Lib-erties Committee (AP-CLC), Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties (CPCL) and All India Students Federation (AISF) also urged upon the government to enter into a dialogue with the Maoists and other Naxal organisations.

They emphasised that the current law and order approach, which is guiding the government response should be replaced by a comprehensive socio-economic-political and legal response.

They said that Gosama village where combing operations had led to recovery of arms and ammunition remained tense and the tribals were scared a lot, . Mr Manoranjan Mohanty, Prasanta Jena and others claimed that they had met innocent people who alleged that they were picked up by the security personnel and interrogated. “We even met people who have been beaten up to coerce them to giving information, charged the human rights activists.

“Everybody keeps referring to ‘several casualities’ on the Maoists’ side but no specific figures are being given. None of the villagers told us that they had seen bodies being carried away by fleeing Maoists and yet the government claims it had received such reports from villagers.

The entire question of dead bodies remains ‘open’ both for the government and us because once someone is killed in an encounter several prescribed legal procedures of preserving and handing it over to relatives should be followed,”Mr Mohanty said.
Replying to a question Mr Mohanty said the fact-finding team had not received any complaint of missing or dead villagers. He also said the team had had a discussion with the Home Secretary Mr T K Mishra, the DGP Mr Gopal Nanda and other officials.

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