Monday, February 08, 2010

SC questions Chhattisgarh's anti-naxal operations in Dantewada

TNN, 9 February 2010, 01:54am IST
NEW DELHI: Chhattisgarh's Raman Singh government may have some cause for concern as the alleged disappearance of 12 tribals during its anti-naxal

operations in Dantewada district evoked sharp reaction from the Supreme Court on Monday.

Quoting eyewitness accounts, a petition filed by Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram alleged that anti-naxal forces took away 12 villagers in Dantewada district and even after 10 days, there was no news about their whereabouts.

The levelling of fresh allegations in the midst of hearing of the petition accusing the state of being instrumental in the disappearance of tribal woman Sodhi Shambo, a Bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar ordered the Raman Singh government to produce the persons in court next Monday. It directed the chief secretary to file a compliance report.

What irked the Bench most was the recurring allegations about disappearance of persons when it was hearing a petition on the same issue. It said, "If during the course of hearing, such things happen, what can citizens of this country expect. Unless you seem to suggest there are two categories of citizens based on your thinking or you prescribe to a theory that nobody else has a right to live."

Attorney general G E Vahanvati, who appeared for the Centre, expressed serious concern over the allegations but maintained that such petitions could be aimed at impeding the progress achieved on the ground against naxals. "Things have to be balanced out. On the ground, there is progress made against naxalism and these kind of things slow the progress against them," he said.

AG's caution had a mellowing effect on the Bench, which said, "We are not proceeding on the assumption that you (the state) have taken them away, but we are saying you are under a duty to protect them."

When the AG reminded the court about the sensitiveness of the issue, the Bench said, "On your statement we passed the orders on the last occasion and now the government (Chhattisgarh) says they do not know where they are." To ascertain these facts, the Bench wanted the state to bring the missing persons to the court and satisfy itself about the facts first hand.

1 comment:

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