Dantewada op: NHRC stops short of action

While expressing doubt at the genuineness of police encounters with Maoists in Chhattisgarh in 2009, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) expressed its inability to start prosecution against the “guilty” policemen without substantial evidence, and restricted itself to arguing for monetary relief for the victims.

The NHRC took up 27 cases for hearing during its visit to the state and recommended around R20 lakh as compensation in different cases of alleged human rights violations. Six cases were closed after it was satisfied with the state government responses.

The NHRC pointed out shortcomings in the police investigation of the alleged encounter with Maoists in Dantewada, where seven tribals including four women were killed on January 8, 2009.

“The state DGP has assured us the matter will be investigated and submit a detailed report,” said the commission, which is headed by Justice KG Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of India.

To a question as to why there should not be action when there were doubts on the encounters, the commission expressed helplessness.

“Evidence must link the accused to the crime, leaving nothing to doubt ... Otherwise what will be the fate of the prosecution,” asked a member of the delegation.

“It would be appropriate for the state to offer relief to the next of kin of the deceased,” the commission recommended.

In another alleged fake encounter at Kurtem in Dantewada, the commission held that a villager by the name Kunjami Joga, who had been killed, was a non-combatant.


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