The National Human Rights Commission issued notices to the Union home ministry and the Chhattisgarh police on Monday after taking suo motu cognisance of articles published by the Hindustan Times on December 16th and December 17th on alleged gang rapes, assaults and looting by paramilitary and police.
The alleged violence by security forces took place from October 19-24 when they were conducting an anti-Maoist military operation in South Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, witness to a decade-long conflict between security forces and Maoist rebels.
In its notices, the apex human rights watchdog has asked the Union home secretary and the Chhattisgarh director-general of police to submit “detailed reports within four weeks” on the alleged human rights violations.
Reporting from three of the five affected villages, HT carried the accounts of several assaulted women, including of two gangrape survivors. The newspaper reported how investigators had made no arrests close to 50 days after a FIR was registered by the Bijapur police against ‘suraksha bal’ on November 1.
HT also reported how, despite a police investigation and a magisterial probe being ordered, investigators were yet to visit the site of the alleged crimes, ascertain the scale of the violence, or collect potentially crucial evidence, like the clothes of the rape survivors.
The NHRC on Monday observed, “The reports, if true, indicate gross violation of human rights of the victims.” The NHRC also noted how no arrests had been made in the case so far.