The Chhattisgarh government on Friday transferred the superintendent of police (SP) for Sukma for allegedly saying human right activists needed to be crushed on the roads of Bastar.
Following pressure from the opposition, Indira Kalyan Elesela, the Sukma SP, was transferred to the special investigation unit.
The Jagdalpur SP, RN Dash, in whose presence Elesela made the comments, was moved to Baloda Bazar district.
Sukma and Jagdalpur are the two districts of the state’s Bastar region which are most prone to Maoist activity.
Leader of opposition in the state legislative assembly, TG Singhdeo, had raised the matter in the assembly and a Congress delegation also met chief minister Raman Singh demanding a probe in the matter.
“We condemn the statement of the Sukma SP and demanded a probe into the matter. You cannot expect this from an administrative officer who is in a sensitive region for the security of the people,” Singhdeo told Hindustan Times.
Singhdeo said chief minister Singh assured them of strong disciplinary action if the IPS officer was found guilty as such “misbehaviour” was not acceptable.
The remarks were allegedly made at a private function in Jagdalpur where controversial former inspector general of police, Bastar, SRP Kalluri was also present.
However, no action has been initiated against Kalluri who is currently attached to police headquarters, Raipur. Kalluri is currently facing allegations of abusing human right activists following an attack on activist and author Bela Bhatia’s home.
Local newspapers on Friday quoted Elesela as saying: “Manvadhikaar karkartya ko sadak pe kuchal dena chahiye..” (Human rights activists should be crushed on the roads of Bastar).”
The newspaper also quoted him as saying that human rights activists were “Maoists sympathisers” and they should be treated like Maoists.
“The action has been taken after the statement they have made in a private programme in Bastar on Thursday. A police officer cannot make such statement in public,” said a senior police officer posted in Raipur.
Speaking to Hindustan Times before the transfer orders came through, Elesela rubbished the reports and denied saying anything against human rights activists.