Naxal link: Cops' U-turn on charges against activists | india | Hindustan Times
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Naxal link: Cops' U-turn on charges against activists

The Chhattisgarh police did an about face on Thursday, saying that the security forces fighting Maoists in the state had nothing against human rights activists. HT reports.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2010 01:07 IST
HT Correspondents

The Chhattisgarh police did an about face on Thursday, saying that the security forces fighting Maoists in the state had nothing against human rights activists.

State police chief Vishwaranjan said the controversial unsigned statement by Dantewada SSP SRP Kalluri was, in fact, meant to point out that alleged Maoist activist Lingaram Kodopi was involved in the July 6 killing of Congress leader Avdhesh Singh Gautam.

But Kalluri's statement issued to the media alleged that rights activists, such as Arundhati Roy, Nandini Sundar and Medha Patkar, had close links with the Maoists.

The activists named by the police responded strongly. While Roy said the police were "showing signs of cracking up under pressure", Patkar lambasted the police for making unfounded allegations. Nandini Sundar was not available for comment.

Vishwaranjan said, "The statement merely added that he (Lingaram) was in touch with the activists named by the SSP. This does not mean a serious issue for us."

But Patkar maintained that the charges against Lingaram were unfounded and it was not a new phenomenon.

She said, "The police, as often, are keen on randomly naming activists and journalists."

She said, "This has been a deliberate strategy adopted by the Chhattisgarh government to question and corner all well-meaning activists… and acclaimed authors without ascertaining the truth."

The police chief even declared that in a democracy, "everyone has a right to have an opinion. Some may like Maoists".