The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday summoned the chief secretary of Chhattisgarh and Bastar inspector general of police to explain the allegations of hostility and abuse of power against human rights defenders in the state.
Taking suo motu cognizance of “the nationwide outcry and protest” following the registration of an FIR at Tongpal police station on November 5 against teachers and activists, the Commission asked Chhattisgarh chief secretary SRP Kalluri and the IGP, Bastar Range to appear in person before it on November 30 at 11am.
The NHRC asked them to come with all reports to explain the allegations made against the police and administration in the media and by human rights defenders.
“The Commission is deeply disturbed by the state of affairs in the State of Chhattisgarh over last one year or more,” it said asking them to explain “why the investigation in the FIR should not be handed over to an independent agency like CB CID or CBI.”
Police have registered an FIR against Prof Archana Prasad, Prof Nandini Sundar, Vineet Tiwari, Sanjay Parate of CPI(M) and Manju Kawasi for offences of murder, criminal trespass, conspiracy and for offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. It has been alleged that she and Prof Nandini Sundar and other associate professors are being threatened by Bastar police for arresting these activists in the said FIR.
“The reports in press and media over last week have alleged that Chhattisgarh Police has named Prof Nandini Sundar and ten others as accused in the murder of a tribal Mr Samnath Baghel in Sukma district on November 4,” it said.
The police action seemed to be coloured by malafide, hostility and abuse of power on the allegations of false implication to silence the human rights defenders, it noted.
“Though, the Commission is aware of the direction of the hon’ble Supreme Court given on November 15 directing issue of notice of four weeks before their arrest, yet the acts on the part of police stand on independent footing for the Commission to intervene,” the commission said.