S.O.S e – Clarion Of Dalit – Weekly Newspaper On Web
Working For The Rights & Survival Of The Oppressed
Editor: NAGARAJA.M.R… VOL.11 issue.06…… . 15 / 02 / 2017
Editorial : Supreme Court of India – Anti Dalit ?
The track record of apex court is not clean. There is secrecy involved in selection , promotion , transfer of judges to high court & supreme court. Supreme court judges take huge pay , perks from public exchequer ( now on the verge of getting triple fold increase in pay ) but are not accountable to public. They don’t give information to public , concerning judges and national security , public welfare.
Consider the case of Dalit judge of sukma , chattisgarh , he was removed for being honest , for upholding law ?
If at all , Supreme Court of India is impartial , without bias , let it come out clean :
- To immediately stay contempt proceedings against Justice Karnan and Order impartial enquiry against judges accused of corruption , impropriety by Justice Karnan and all other issues raised by him. Take the help of Justice Karnan in collecting evidences.
- Order impartial enquiry against almost half of former chief justices of india accused of corruption by NGOs.
- Immediately give justice to past Sukma Dalit Judge who was unjustly removed.
- Immediately give truthful , full information , answers to RTI questions sent to Supreme Court of India by our publication years ago. Inspite of several appeals , majority of questions are unanswered & for few questions got ambiguous answers.
- Immediately take action to protect fundamental rights , human rights of whistle blowers , RTI Activists & Human Rights Activists.
- Immediately admit PILs presented before supreme court of india by our publication . Read full details at following web pages ;
Traitors in Judiciary & Police
Crimes by Khaki
FIRST Answer Judges Police
“There is a higher court than the court of justice and that is the court of conscience It supercedes all other courts. ”
– Mahatma Gandhi
“Contempt Proceedings” should not be used as a weapon to silence voices seeking justice , accountability of judiciary. Respect of judiciary doesn’t come out of fear rather spontaneously it comes out of a person’s heart when he sees a honest judge doing his duties honestly.
Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.
Nagaraja Mysuru Raghupathi
Contempt notice shows Supreme Court’s anti-dalit bias, says Justice S C Karnan
In what might be a first, Calcutta high court’s Justice S C Karnan, facing a notice from the Supreme Court in a contempt case, has lashed out at the apex court, accusing it of harbouring a caste bias against him.
In defiance of the SC’s decision and sharply escalating the confrontation with the apex court, Karnan accused the CJI J S Khehar-led seven-judge bench of uppercaste bias in initiating proceedings as he belonged to the Dalit community.
Karnan virtually alleged that the court order amounts to an offence under the law to punish atrocities against Dalits and tribals and challenged the court to refer his case to Parliament.
He said: “The suo motu order against me, a Dalit judge, is unethical and goes against the SC and ST (Prevention of) Atrocities Act. It is certainly a national issue and a wise decision would be to refer the issue to the House of Parliament.”
The judge argued that since the order against him was “harsh”, the contempt case should be heard after CJI Khehar retired or placed before Parliament if this was not possible.
In his anxiety to respond to the SC’s February 8 judicial order, Karnan addressed a four-page letter to the SC’s registrar general, a post that no longer exists as it was redesignated years ago as secretary general.
Karnan, who has been at the centre of several controversies, was issued a notice and asked to present himself in the Supreme Court on February 13 to explain “scurrilous” allegations against sitting and former judges.
In response to the apex apex court’s contempt proceedings, Justice Karnan said: “The suo motu petition is not maintainable against a sitting judge of the HC… I have sent representations to various government authorities regarding high irregularities and illegalities occurring at the judicial courts.
I am also a responsible judge to control such high irregularities, especially corruption and malpractice. I have furnished comprehensive proof of unethical practices happening with the respective courts.
‘Upper caste judges taking law into hands’
He had earlier written to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, levelling charges of anti-Dalit bias against the chief justice of the Madras high court in 2014 when he was a member of the bench there.
Referring to the February 8 order that also stripped him of judicial and administrative work, Karnan said: “The characteristic of this order clearly shows that the upper caste judges are taking law into their hands and misusing their judicial power by operating the same against a SC/ST judge (Dalit) with mala fide intention to get rid of him.”
Referring to the “harsh order” passed earlier by a bench headed by Khehar, Karnan said: “Therefore, my deep request is to hear the suo motu contempt after retirement of the Chief Justice of India. In the meanwhile, my administrative work and judicial assignment could be restored.
My main contention is only to uproot the corruption prevailing at the Madras high court, and not to spoil the sanctity and decorum of the court.”
“I (had) issued a list of the corrupted judges wherein an inquiry is mandatory, as such the suo motu petition is not maintainable. The order of the apex court in the suo motu contempt petition is erroneous and has been wilfully and wantonly and with mala fide intention was passed.
Therefore, these proceedings may be referred to Parliament, wherein I will establish the high rate of corruption prevailing with the judiciary at the Madras high court.”
Indicating that he might not present himself before the seven-judge bench of the SC on February 13, he said: “The Supreme Court had not granted stipulated time (for him to respond to the contempt notice), which is highly irregular.”
DALIT Judge dismissed for being HONEST ?
– An Appeal to Honourable Chief Justice of India
Chief Judicial Magistrate of Sukma District in Chhattisgarh state of India Mr. Prabhakar Gwal is a Dalit , from oppressed class. Being from an oppressed class , he best understood the sufferings of oppressed sections of society , sufferings of people , tribals displaced from forests to make way for big industries , MNCs. He understood the oppression of common public by police , state machinery resulting in common man’s human rights , constitutional rights violations. He understood the machinations of state machinery to favor big industrialists , also he understood the misuse of office by public servants all against the rule of LAW.
Sukma CJM Mr. Gwal sincerely did his constitutional duty , to uphold rule of law and earned the wrath of powers that be , Criminal Nexus , he was repeatedly interfered in his judicial duties , repeatedly transferred and now unjustly dismissed from service without ANY ENQUIRY giving a chance for Mr.Gwal to make out his case. Whereas some other selfish judges turned their blind eyes to the sufferings of public , violations of law by public servants , intentionally failed to uphold the law and got smooth sailing for their own career.
Hereby , We urge the Honourable Chief Justice of India to order the Chhattisgarh State Government :
- To immediately reinstate Mr.Gwal into judicial service.
- To make posting at the same place , same court of Sukma , so that he can complete the cases concerning the powers that be to the logical end.
- To initiate criminal legal prosecution against district collector , police officials , public servants who directly & indirectly interfered in the judicial duties performed by Mr. GWAL.
- To initiate criminal legal prosecution against Chhattisgarh High Court Judges who instead of upholding rule of law , supporting Mr. Gwal in his duties took sides with criminal nexus , powers that be and repeatedly transferred him and now dismissed him from service without enquiry.
- To reopen all the buried cases which were dealt by Mr. Gwal and buried by transfer of judge Mr. Gwal. To take action against ministers , public servants involved in those cases.
- To initiate criminal action against sukma district collector , police officials and Chhattisgarh High Court Judges on charges of Atrocities against DALIT Mr. Gwal who was repeatedly harassed by them.
- To initiate criminal prosecution under anti terror laws , against present and past chattisgarh state government ministers , central government ministers , police officials , public servants who were and are responsible for creation of terror outfit SALWA JUDUM , it’s recent terror child salwa judum – 2. These public servants have indulged in terror acts of salwa judum , by aiding & sponsoring it , which is against law.
Date : 30.04.2016…………………………..Your’s sincerely
Place : Mysuru………………………………Nagaraja.M.R.
1.Honourable Chairman , National Human Rights Commision (NHRC) , New Delhi.
2.Justice THAKUR , Honourable Chief Justice of India , SUPREME COURT OF INDIA , New Delhi.
Previous CJIs and present Honourable Chief Justice of India Justice THAKUR have failed in their constitutional duties. It is the duty of Supreme Court of India to Protect , Guard the constitutional rights , fundamental rights of every Indian citizen . Since 25 years I am appealing to SCI about issues concerning public welfare , national security , etc and as a result suffering injustices , my constitutional rights , human rights are repeatedly violated but SCI is mum even when repeated appeals were made to it. Paradoxically , after these appeals for justice , I have suffered more injustices , attempts on my life were made , physically assaulted , livelihood / jobs were denied , news publication closed , press accreditation denied , received threatening calls , blank calls, even to date rough elements follow us , rough elements scout near home at mid night. Does not these indicate some ties between rough elements & SCI Judges ?
I ,NAGARAJA.M.R. Editor , SOS e Clarion of Dalit & SOS e Voice for Justice ( web news papers ) hereby do declare that information given above are true to the best of my knowledge & belief. If i am repeatedly called to police station or else where for the sake of investigations , the losses i do incurr as a result like loss of wages , transportation , job , etc must be borne by the government. prevoiusly the police / IB personnel repeatedly called me the complainant (sufferer of injustices) to police station for questioning , but never called the guilty culprits even once to police station for questioning , as the culprits are high & mighty . this type of one sided questioning must not be done by police or investigating agencies . if anything untoward happens to me or to my family members like loss of job , meeting with hit & run accidents , loss of lives , death due to improper medical care , etc , the jurisdictional police , revenue officials , District Magistrate & Chief Justice of India together with above mentioned accused public servants will be responsible for it. Even if criminal nexus levels fake charges , police file fake cases against me or my dependents to silence me , even if my unnatural death occurs this complaint is & will be effective , valid. In such a situation also , in the absence of me the original complainant still the supreme court must take forward the case in public interest as the issues I have raised in my appeals , PILs concern public welfare , national security and are relevant for ever.
If I or my family members or my dependents are denied our fundamental rights , human rights , denied proper medical care for ourselves , If anything untoward like hit & run cases , murder attempts , unnatural deaths , etc happens to me or to my dependents or to my family members – In such case Justice T S THAKUR Honourable Chief Justice of India together with the jurisdictional revenue & police officials will be responsible for it , in such case the government of india is liable to pay Rs. TWO crore as compensation to survivors of my family. if my whole family is eliminated by the criminal nexus ,then that compensation money must be donated to Indian Army Welfare Fund. Afterwards , the money must be recovered by GOI as land arrears from the salary , pension , property , etc of guilty police officials , guilty Judges , guilty public servants & guilty Constitutional functionaries. Please don’t refer the case to police , they don’t have powers to enquire high and mighty , previously police have failed. Supreme Court monitored enquiry , investigation is a must to unearth the truth.
Read full details at : Justice THAKUR above Law ? Accountability ?
Please protect our HUMAN RIGHTS and provide us JUSTICE. Thank You.
Date : 30.04.2016……………………..Your’s sincerely,
Place : Mysuru………………………….Nagaraja.M.R.
The Raman Singh government has dismissed Sukma district’s Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhakar Gwal from service in “public interest”, following the recommendation of the Chhattisgarh High Court. Mr. Gwal, a Dalit Magistrate was dismissed on the basis of “available material” (not in public domain) without a internal/departmental inquiry.
On April 4 afternoon, Mr Gwal had updated the news of his termination via his Facebook account-
“DISTRICT COURT DANTEWADA (918982620495):- //ORDER//
Raipur, dated 01.04.2016
“Government of Chhattisgarh state hereby, dismisses Shri prabhakar gwal, Member of lower Judicial Services, Civil judge class-I and Chief judicial magistrate, Sukma, from service in public interest with immediate effect.
District and sessions Judge
South Baster dantewada C.G.”
Earlier, Gwal had hit the headlines for alleging that a BJP legislator, Ramlal Chouhan, had threatened him after he convicted five people in connection with the leak of PMT question papers in 2011. His wife too had written to the President alleging harassment, claiming that Gwal was transferred to Sukma as a result of his judgment. Mr Prabhakar had accused a ruling BJP MLA of threatening him over the judgment.
Mr. Gwal has had a history of exposing corrupt officials and politicians. While Gwal was posted in Bilaspur, he had ordered an inquiry against government officials and Police officers, for the infamous ‘Bhadaura Land-Scam’. The land scam is known for involvement of a senior minister of BJP (Amar Agrawal). Similarly, he had ordered for inquiry of Bilaspur RTO officials. He was then transferred to Raipur, where he rejected to accept Closure Report in the case of IPS Rahul Sharma’s suicide. After that he was transferred to Dantewada. Recently his phone conversation with Dantewada Collector had gone viral, in which Collector had asked Gwal to consult him before ordering to file any case.
He is known for taking strong actions against the executive arm of the government and enjoys a public image of being an upright man. His dismissal comes after his wife filed a civil case against 19 people including judicial officers for harassing her husband. HC stayed that case, meanwhile his dismissal was recommended.
A Dalit officer being dismissed in such a one-sided, clouded, swift manner raises larger questions on the system itself. Was he an inconvenient man who didn’t understand the system and it’s ‘norms’? Did his voice against BJP MLA (Ramla Chauhan), Mr Amar Agarwal and Mr Neeraj Bhansod (for interfering in judicial work) made higher ups uncomfortable? These questions are being raised after his dismissal. The ball is in the judiciary and government court to clear and come out clean. A dismissal order by merely stating, that ‘it is in public interest’ doesn’t fit the democratic norms in 2016.
Protests greet Chhattisgarh government’s dismissal of Sukma’s Chief Judicial Magistrate
On 14 April, the Chhattisgarh government dismissed Sukma’s Chief Judicial Magistrate Prabhakar Gwal. A 2006 batch judicial officer, Gwal, belongs to the Dalit community and has questioned the manner in which the police have been indiscriminately arresting tribals in the conflict zones of Chhattisgarh.
On 8 February, the Sukma Superintendent of Police complained to the District Judiciary against Gwal stating that among other things he has been granting bail to naxal accused and such decisions have “adversely affected the morale of the security forces” and “weakens the judicial process”. It is based on such complaints that Chhattisgarh government dismissed Gwal on the grounds of “public interest” following the recommendation of the Chhattisgarh High Court. The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), in a press release, has protested
against the dismissal of Gwal, calling it unjustified. It said: “Police high-handedness and harassment of those involved in the administration of justice is nothing new to the conflict zones of Chhattisgarh. Recently advocates of the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group (JagLAG) have been forcefully evicted from Jagdalpur and pressure is being mounted on them by the police administration and police backed vigilante groups to cease their legal practice. JagLAG has been providing legal Aid to many tribals incarcerated in Jagdalpur and Dantewada. Similarly Social activists such as Soni Sori and Bela Bhatia and journalists like Malini Subramaniam,
Prabhat Singh, Santosh Yadav and Somaru Nag who have been raising issues of Human rights violations by the police administration have been threatened, attacked or even arrested. “ The IAPL has alleged that under the pretext of “Mission 2016”, i.e., the present offensive launched by the government to wipe out the Maoist movement in Chhattisgarh, the police in these areas have been taking steps to see that no alternate voice emanates from these areas. The IAPL has raised the larger issue of keeping the judiciary away from police interference , following this dismissal. “Chhattisgarh jails are filled with tribals who have been arrested,
several false and fabricated criminal cases are foisted upon them and they remain incarcerated for several years. Anyone who supports such tribals and questions the policies of the state are branded as “terrorists” or “anti-national”. In such a situation, the judicial system is their last hope. Hence, it is vital that the judiciary be allowed to carry on its functions in accordance with law and without any interference from the police”, it has said. That the dismissal coincides the recent briefing by the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval for the Supreme Court Judges at a retreat at the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal, has led to concern among the observers. If police excesses in the name of security concerns in conflict zones are to be tolerated by the judiciary, and the judiciary meekly accepts such advice from the Government, then the signs are ominous, according to an activist lawyer, who has been fighting cases involving civil liberties. The IAPL has alleged that executive interference in judiciary in this manner militates against the basic structure of the Constitution which emphasises separation of powers and independence of judiciary. Lawyers point out that if the Executive is unhappy wih Gwal’s decisions, it has the option to appeal against them in the higher courts. Dismissing a Judge, soley on the ground of his decisions which were in favour of citizens, is inconsistent with the concept of independence of judiciary, they suggest. IAPL has called upon all, especially those from the legal fraternity to resist these moves to prejudice the judiciary and also demanded the immediate reinstatement of Prabhakar Gwal as the Sukma CJM. The press statement has been signed for IAPL, among others, by wellknown advocate from Raipur, Sudha Bharadwaj.
In a blow to both the Chhattisgarh government and the Centre, the Supreme Court has declared as illegal and unconstitutional the deployment of tribal youths as Special Police Officers – either as ‘Koya Commandos’, Salwa Judum or any other force – in the fight against the Maoist insurgency and ordered their immediate disarming.
The ruling – issued on Tuesday by Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar on the writ petition filed by social anthropologist Prof. Nandini Sundar and others – strongly indicted the State for violating Constitutional principles in arming youth who had passed only fifth standard and conferring on them the powers of police.
The Bench said “the State of Chhattisgarh shall forthwith make every effort to recall all firearms issued to any of the SPOs, whether current or former, along with any and all accoutrements and accessories issued to use such firearms. The word firearm as used shall include any and all forms of guns, rifles, launchers etc., of whatever calibre.”
Writing the order, Justice Reddy directed the State of Chhattisgarh to immediately cease and desist from using SPOs in any manner or form in any activities, directly or indirectly, aimed at controlling, countering, mitigating or otherwise eliminating Maoist/Naxalite activities in the State of Chhattisgarh.
The court directed the Centre and the State of Chhattisgarh to provide appropriate security forthwith, and undertake such measures “as are necessary, and within bounds of constitutional permissibility, to protect the lives of those who had been employed as SPOs previously, or who had been given any initial orders of selection or appointment, from any and all forces, including but not limited to Maoists/Naxalites.”
The Bench made it clear that the State of Chhattisgarh should take all appropriate measures to prevent the operation of any group, including but not limited to Salwa Judum and Koya commandos, that in any manner or form seek to take law into private hands, act unconstitutionally or otherwise violate the human rights of any person.
The Bench said “the measures to be taken by the State of Chhattisgarh shall include, but not be limited to, investigation of all previously inappropriately or incompletely investigated instances of alleged criminal activities of Salwa Judum, or those popularly known as Koya Commandos.”
The Bench held that the policy of the State violated the rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of those being employed as SPOs in Chattisgarh and used in counter-insurgency measures against Maoists/Naxalites, as well as of citizens living in those areas.
The Bench was of the view that effectiveness of the force “ought not to be, and cannot be, the sole yardstick to judge constitutional permissibility. Whether SPOs have been effective against Maoist/Naxalite activities in Chhattisgarh would seem to be a dubious, if not a debunked, proposition given the state of affairs in Chattisgarh. Even if we were to grant, for the sake of argument, that indeed the SPOs were effective against Maoists/Naxalites, the doubtful gains are accruing only by the incurrence of a massive loss of fealty to the Constitution, and damage to the social order.”
The Bench said “The primordial value is that it is the responsibility of every organ of the State to function within the four corners of constitutional responsibility. That is the ultimate rule of law.”
It said “Indeed, we recognise that the State faces many serious problems on account of Maoist/Naxalite violence.Notwithstanding the fact that there may be social and economic circumstances, and certain policies followed by the State itself, leading to emergence of extremist violence, we cannot condone it.”
The Judges said “The attempt to overthrow the State itself and kill its agents, and perpetrate violence against innocent civilians, is destructive of an ordered life. The State necessarily has the obligation, moral and constitutional, to combat such extremism, and provide security to the people of the country.”
A controversial state-backed militia has been reincarnated to take on leftist rebels in central India.
The violence that took place in this village nearly a decade ago is still visible. Charred logs are all that remain of a razed home, and barren land has replaced a once-thriving forest.
Residents of Bijapur district, in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, fear the prospect of more fighting as a once-banned militia, Salwa Judum, has been reincarnated to fight communist groups opposed to resource extraction in the area.
Chhattisgarh has witnessed armed conflict for several decades now, partly over the region’s rich deposits of coal, iron ore, and bauxite. The Indian government, which uses these minerals for electricity generation and steel and cement production, has fought Maoist groups known as Naxalites.
They oppose large-scale mining, arguing it disrupts the socioeconomic fabric of the forest-dwelling tribal people and harms the environment. The Naxalites began their armed campaign in the 1970s because of what they say is an unequal distribution of wealth.
In 2005, however, after nearly three decades of fighting the Naxalites, the Indian government began arming a civilian group to fight its battles. This militia, Salwa Judum, had a better understanding of the terrain and the local language – and was more ruthless than Indian security forces. Many villagers were forced to join the militia.
“The state was making us fight its battles,” said Rosan Nikam, a Bijapur resident for the past three decades, speaking of how civilians were armed. “That had never happened before. The security forces fought the Maoists, not common villagers.”
Many Salwa Judum members were civilians who received arms training from the state government. The young tribal members who were trained by the government came to be known as Special Police Officers (SPOs) and Koya Commandos.
“It was clearly a state-sponsored counterinsurgency programme,” said Nandini Sundar, an academic who petitioned India’s Supreme Court against Salwa Judum in 2007, a case that led
.02to the organisation’s banning four years later.
About 670 villages in the Bastar region were affected by the ensuing violence, and although the residents have by now rebuilt their homes, many of them remain destitute.
The Supreme Court of India banned Salwa Judum in 2011, in light of the human rights violations it found it had committed.
But in May this year, shortly after the Chhattisgarh government signed agreements to build massive steel plants in the Bastar region, a group called Vikas Sangharsh Samiti was launched by Chhavindra Karma, with the aim of continuing Salwa Judum’s struggle.
Salwa Judum had been led by Karma’s father, the late Mahendra Karma, a Congress party leader assassinated by Naxalites along with 12 others as their convoy traveled through a forest in May 2013.
Chhavindra Karma claims that the Naxalites have killed 93 members of his extended family.
“Salwa Judum started with peace marches in villages. The objective of these marches was to make the people aware of Maoist excesses,” said Karma. “It is the state that began to train tribals with guns.”
The militia’s critics say it is impossible to think of Salwa Judum as separate from the state. The SPOs and Koya Commandos drew their salaries from the state, earning as much as 9,000 rupees ($138) per month.
The Supreme Court ruling banning Salwa Judum forbids the creation of similar groups, but Vikas Sangharsh Samiti hopes to get around this by using a different name and a different structure.
Authorities in the Home Ministry in Delhi and the state government in Chhattisgarh did not respond to Al Jazeera’s repeated requests for comment.
Chaitram Attami was a central figure in Salwa Judum, and used to call the shots in the mineral-rich Dantewads region.
He is now a local politician and travels with four rifle-wielding bodyguards. Attami lives in the Kaasoli camp, which is covered with barbed wire on all sides and has armed paramilitary men manning the entry and exit points.
Given the public outcry against Salwa Judum’s new incarnation, Attami is taking a cautious approach.
“We will try and make it peaceful,” he said. He admitted that Vikas Sangharsh Samiti has begun to go into the villages to warn their residents against supporting the Maoist agenda – which is exactly how Salwa Judum began its activities.
Meanwhile, villagers who are not affiliated with Salwa Judum or the Naxalites say they have borne the brunt of the violence. Many people in the south Bastar region give dreadful accounts of how their lives were turned upside down during the Salwa Judum era.
“We haven’t completely recovered from the violence unleashed on our villages a few years ago, and there is already talk of more violence coming our way,” said a 26-year-old man, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from either government security forces or the Naxalites.
Nikam, the Bijapur resident, said: “My house was burned twice in 2007. Everything I had, including my land documents, grains, bedding and clothes, were burned down.”
Today, he cultivates what he believes to be his land. He is not sure because he no longer has his documents. If the authorities decide to evict him from his land, he will have no proof to fight his case.
He said he does not dare to take on the security forces for fear of false arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings.
And the Naxalites have been known to turn violent when villagers do not support them with information, food, water, and shelter when asked to do so.
“I think we live between a rock and a hard place,” Nikam told Al Jazeera. “Sometimes, one is softer than the other; but mostly, we are crushed.”
Will the Supreme Court’s Commissioners, ordered to carry out a fact-finding inspection, be allowed to visit the cut-off villages in Dantewada and Sukma in Chhattisgarh, and engage with the people on a long-term basis? KAVITA SRIVASTAVA
The Supreme Court order of March 29, 2011 asking its Commissioners and the District Collector to carry out a joint inspection in the three villages of Tademtla, Morapalli and Teemapuram, in the Chintalnaar area of Dantewada District is very significant and let us hope that the Apex court engages with the situation in these villages on a more long-term basis so that relief actually reaches and the people can rebuild their ravaged lives.
It maybe recalled that these three villages were attacked and burnt down by COBRA and Koya Commanders and SPOs of the Chhattisgarh Police on March 11 and 16, 2011. The plan of the Government of Chhattisgarh is very clear, which is to use the front of the Salwa Judum and SPOs and push these people out from their villages into either migrating out of their homelands into the Salwa Judum camps or to join the IDPs in Khammam, AP or go deeper into the forest area and join the Maoists or stay in the village and die of hunger. This tactics is not new. All this is being done in order to shrink the mass base of the Maoists.
Documented state violence
This is how it was done in 2005 and the first report of the PUCL, PUDR, carried out under the leadership of Dr. Binayak Sen, called “When the State makes War against its own People”, clearly documented this. This was also highlighted in subsequent human rights reports by various organisations and individuals. After all, in the first phase of the Salwa Judum, they pushed people out of their homes, hearth, farms, fields from hundreds of villages. It is ultimately a game of who will actually control these lands. So, as it was then so now, prevent people from being accessed, cut all communication and supply lines to the village and let them either join “us” or “them” or “die”.
Thus it is a test whether the SC Commissioners will be allowed to go to the area by the Chhattisgarh Government as the five earlier attempts in the last one week made by people to reach these areas from the Raipur-Jagdalpur-Sukma route was thwarted by stage-managed obstructions. And if they do manage to go, will it be sustained by allowing supplies and communication from being established?
The latest in the series of preventing the affected villagers from getting any aid was that of the team of 10 Congress MLAs whose attempt of going on March 29 with relief supplies was obstructed by the same set of people with the support of the police.
Ex-Minister turned back
The Congress team was led by Ex Home Minister Nand Kumar Patel. They left Sukma with food supplies at about 10.00 a.m. and proceeded towards Chintalnar. This team too was stopped at the same village Polampalli, where the Collector was stopped on March 24, 2011, by a group of about 25 SPOs and Salwa Judum persons only. The IG, Long Kumar of Bastar who was escorting them, instead of stopping the hoodlums prevented the Congress MLA team from going, saying that he could not provide security to them as there was a risk involved in going to the villages of Tadmetla, Morapalli, Teempuram. When the MLAs insisted that they would go as they argued that this kind of resistance was routine for politicians, they were told they would not be allowed. The IG, instead of using his command and stopping the SPOs and Salwa Judum personnel from breaking the law, arrested and brought the MLAs to Dornapal, where they were released on personal bonds. The Congress MLAs left for Raipur by evening to raise the issue in the State Assembly.
A day earlier, on March 28, on the instructions of the District Collector, the Dornapal village Naib Tehsildar, Vijendra Patil, tried to take relief to the three villages. At around noon he was stopped and not allowed to proceed. When the ASI Dhruv tried to clear the obstruction at Polampalli he was stopped by an SPO.
In the police hierarchy the SPO would be at the lowest rung, but here they are the war lords. They even refused to take instructions from the District Collector and the Divisional Commissioner who tried to go there with supplies on March 24. They threatened the SDM who went ahead with the supplies, then on March 26, Swami Agnivesh was stopped twice, although he was being taken by the Additional SP Marawi in his own vehicle, they did not spare their own senior and threw stones and smashed the vehicle. It took the Additional SP two days of struggle to get an FIR lodged as the local police station would not lodge a case against the Salwa Judum and SPO lords of the region. And, of course, IG Long Kumar also does not want to exercise his control over them.
Which means that till now, all those who have attempted to visit those areas from the Sukma end have been prevented by the Government from going there. On March 20 and 21, the Times of India and The Hindu reporters were prevented from going to the area. They could only reach there through a longer and difficult alternate route. The All India team of members from the democratic rights organisations who went there on the same dates as Swami Agnivesh could reach and conduct a fact finding could do so because they took a third route to get there. This the first fact-finding team that visited the area after September 2009, since the PUDR team had gone to Gompad area when 16 people were killed by CRPF and other forces in its Operation Green Hunt intervention. And subsequently teams were not allowed to go to the affected areas (A women’s team was not allowed to visit Samsetti village to study a gang rape case on December 15, 2009. Professors Nandini Sundar and Ujjwal Singh of DU were chased out of Dantewada and Sukma, were not allowed to stay in any hotel on the eve of the new year of 2010. Then Medha Patkar and Sandeep Pandey led a NAPM team of 40 people in early January, 2010 and they too were harassed and were not allowed to move freely into the areas to hear the woes of tribals and then in May 2010 a team led by Prof. Yashpal and 40 other intellectuals met the same fate).
Now suppose the SC Commissioners are taken by chopper from Raipur to these villages, then they will have to go alone and not with a local team of journalists or villagers who can be objective local guides for such visits. And then having gone once will they be able to sustain the access of supplies with the help of the Supreme Court? Who will monitor it there? Till public access of these villages is not assured nobody will know what is happening there.
The news of how a Government lets its “lesser people” be killed, raped, their houses and granaries burnt, allows them to live in conditions of food scarcity, perhaps even die of starvation does not even make it to the national channels. Soon this will be forgotten, till the Maoists strike back and then we will only see channel after channel breaking news, calling the poor tribals, terrorists, monsters and killers. And the human rights workers will be verbally flogged with the pitch of the anchors going higher and higher on these very channels.
Would not the Chhattisgarh Government be responsible for that eventuality, if it ever happens? We should all raise our voices and stop this from happening.
Kavita Srivastava is a national secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan and is the petitioner in the Supreme Court in the PUCL petition on the Right to Food.
having gone once will they be able to sustain the access of supplies with the help of the Supreme Court?
Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma’s son Chhavindra Karma and former leaders of the anti-Maoist militia formed “Vikas Sangharsh Samiti” on Monday in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, which will carry forward the work of Salwa Judum in Bastar.
“I had invited all the leaders and workers associated with the Salwa Judum for a meeting on Monday. The new samiti will strive to bring peace to Bastar,” Chhavindra Karma told The Hindu .
Asked if it could be called Salwa Judum part two, Mr. Karma said, “Yes, you can call it so. The new outfit will undertake padyatra (marches) in various parts of Bastar to spread awareness against Maoism. We will seek the help of the State government so that our awareness campaigns would be followed by development works in the region.”
The Supreme Court had declared the Salwa Judum “illegal and unconstitutional” and had ordered its disbandment in 2011.
Led by former Congress leader Mahendra Karma, the anti-Maoist militia was blamed for large-scale “forcible displacement” of Bastar tribals and extra-judicial killings.
“The Salwa Judum part two will be peaceful. Our main aim is to finish Maoism in Bastar and bring development.
Already more than 18 village panchayats have banned the entry of Maoists in their villages,” claimed Mr. Karma.
Chaitram Mattami, P.Vijay, Sattar Ali and Sukhram Dadi, who had led Salwa Judum in their respective areas in its first edition, attended the meeting on Monday.
Chaitram Mattami, P. Vijay and Mr. Chhavindra Karma would be leading the new anti-Maoist outfit and its first major event will take place in Karma’s ancestral village Faraspal in Dantewada on the second death anniversary of Mahendra Karma on May 25. He died in a Maoist attack in 2013.
All Salwa Judum leaders from Konta block in Sukma to Bhopalpattnam block in Bijpur district of Bastar attended Monday’s meeting, claimed Mr. Karma.
In Chhattisgarh’s Bastar, a front similar to Salwa Judum is taking shape
A decade after Mahendra Karma launched Salwa Judum, the slain Congress leader’s son Chhavindra is trying to start another movement against Maoists in Chhattisgarh.
A decade after Mahendra Karma launched Salma Judum, the slain Congressleader’s son Chhavindra is trying to start another movement against Maoists in Chhattisgarh, looking for police and government support and raising fears of a rerun of the violence. Ashutosh Bhardwaj reports from Bastar
The coincidence is stark. Exactly a decade ago, on June 4, 2005, the Chhattisgarh government signed an MoU with the Tatas for a mega steel plant in Bastar, with Maoists being the only hurdle. The following day, Salwa Judum was launched to evict Maoists from the region, a move that went on to define the last decade of the insurgency.
Last month in Dantewada, in PM Narendra Modi’s presence, the Raman Singh government signed MoUs for an ultra mega steel plant and a rail line in Bastar. Meanwhile, a front similar to Salwa Judum has been taking shape. The earlier movement was led by the late Mahendra Karma; the new one, called Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, is headed by his son Chhavindra.
The beginning of the Samiti too sounds eerily familiar. In 2005, Karma began padyatras across South Bastar urging tribals to come out of their villages and live in camps for a decisive battle against the Maoists. Now, Chhavindra plans similar campaigns with former Judum commanders. He has sought government support and police protection, and said he is ready for any “qurbani”.
The possibility of what this will lead to chills many people. In the 30 months of Salwa Judum before it fizzled out in 2007, Chhattisgarh saw the deaths of 325 security personnel, 609 civilians and 165 suspected Maoists. That’s 1,099 deaths, or a death a day; Judum leaders say the number is far higher.
A little away from the Faraspal home of Karma stand a series of monuments built in the memory of his relatives. Near the home is Karma’s statute with folded hands.
“Including my papa, 95 people of my family have been killed in this battle. They say I am doing raajniti. I carry the family responsibility of freeing this area from Naxals,” says Chhavindra, 34. He insists there won’t be any violence this time, but with police already declaring support, he knows what he’s preparing for. “Is ladai men qurbaniyan deni hi padengi (this war won’t be won without sacrifice). Let the first bullet hit my chest.”
As of now, Chhavindra or the new front has little popular support or military strength. It hopes the government support will turn things its way. The plan is to go on padyatras and tell villagers to stop supporting Maoists — just like Karma had done once.
Remains of Salwa Judum
At its peak, Judum had around 100 major leaders. Just around 15 are alive today.
Mahendra Karma had three chief lieutenants heading a district each — Soyam Muka in Sukma, Chaitram Attami in Dantewada and Mahadev Rana in Bijapur. Rana was killed. Attami, uprooted from his village a decade ago, lives in a Salwa Judum camp, while Muka, also uprooted, says he has lost more relatives than anyone else. “You will find maximum Soyams in the list of the killed,” he adds, as he mentions his deceased elder brother Soyam Mukesh.
A primary teacher, Muka had picked up the gun at the call of his mama, Karma. Chhavindra wants him to join the new movement, but Muka says, “After Karma’s death, I lost faith. When he was alive I thought if he could defeat death, so could I.”
Another Judum leader, Sattar Ali, was in Karma’s vehicle when Maoists attacked the Congress convoy in May 2013. “When the Maoists opened fire, Karmaji came out. He offered his life and saved all of us.”
Chhavindra, who accompanied his father during the Judum campaigns, is banking on his father’s stature. “When Salwa Judum was on, whose statements were published? The CM’s? No, it was Karmaji’s,” he says.
During the assembly election campaign for their mother Devti, Karma’s sons had accused Raman Singh of betraying their father. “It was a mistake to have taken the support of the government during Salwa Judum. Raman Singh withdrew later,” they had said. Of late, Chhavindra has been making public calls for government support again.
The government imprint
Dantewada stands at the confluence of rivers Dankini and Shankhi, names with diametrically opposite meanings. Dankini means a sting, Shankhi the holy conch. Led by a Congress leader, supported by the BJP government, Salwa Judum too had dichotomy as an intrinsic part.
That continues. Dantewada BJP zilla panchayat member Chaitram Attami was on stage when Chhavindra, a Congress secretary, and others announced the formation of the new Samiti. Days later, Attami was overseeing laying of a helipad in Dantewada for PM Modi to land on.
Attami had controlled Judum operations in Dantewada the last time too, earning Z category security. Guarded by 16 cops, he lives with his wife and a baby in a camp at Kasauli.
Speaking at Karma’s death anniversary last month, Bastar IGP S R Kalluri declared his support for the Samiti. “The national media has misrepresented Vikas Sangharsh Samiti and wrongly compared it with Salwa Judum so that someone gets a chance to go to the court against it,” he said. Kalluri asserted Salwa Judum was not properly defended in court, and should anyone challenge the legality of the new front, he will defend it.
Chief Minister Raman Singh believed that “Salwa Judum was a people’s movement, a jan andolan.” He hinted at government support to the front: “On the issue of garnering consent among people, making them ready and creating a certain atmosphere — there should be awareness. If we stand up against Naxals on the streets and bring villagers along, I have to ensure they are protected.”
The state Congress has rejected the new campaign. “The Supreme Court banned special police officers. The Congress distances itself from this venture,” says PCC chief Bhupesh Baghel.
The forgotten camps
Across the road from Bastar’s first fortified police station, in Dornapal of Sukma, is the largest Salwa Judum camp. It once had over 25,000 uprooted tribals from 72 villages.
Tiny huts crowd narrow lanes. A wistful Janaki Kawasi, 32, rushes closer. “Have you been to Jagargunda? My village Milampalli is not far from there. How is it now?” she says. Then, her voice drops. “I know, nothing can be left now. It’s all deserted.”
Since she came here in 2007 with her husband, she has become a zilla panchayat member from the BJP. Yet she longs for home. “What’s here? Everything got left there.”
Over two dozen such camps came up in South Bastar as around one lakh tribals left their villages, not all of them by choice.
Most Judum camps came up along highways or roads, but the heavily fortified one in Jagargunda is in the wilderness. It houses over 4,000, who wanted to stay closer home and ended up vulnerable. Janaki’s father-in-law Kawasi Hadma was among those who stayed back. He was killed last November.
Vetti Meena recently gave birth to a son in the Dornapal camp and grieves that he is confined. Her husband was an SPO and is now posted 50 km away. She resigns herself to fate: “Policewale kabhi nahin laut payenge. Yahin marna hai ab (Policemen won’t ever be able to go back. We will die here.”
There are 184 families still at the camp where Attami stays, at least 100 of SPOs. The government has stopped providing rations. Guarded by police, they live in constant fear of attack. Maoists had attacked a Salwa Judum camp in July 2006 in Errabore, leaving 32 dead, including two babies. They had also abducted 42 and publicly executed six.
In the 2013 polls, which Karma’s wife Devti contested, his sons promised to ensure the return home of camp inmates. Eldest son Deepak calls the conditions in the camps Judum’s biggest failure. “Tribal girls faced the worst sexual harassment by security forces,” he says.
“How could my father have checked or foreseen that? It was the task of the government to run these camps. But the government stopped giving them even rations.”
The renewed fear
Salwa Judum had effectively given the Maoists a boost. Though present in Bastar for over two decades, they had limited dominance or military capacity. As Judum leaders pushed villagers out of their homes, the SPOs were accused of torture. At least 5,000 locals joined the Maoist ranks during those months. From small dalams, Maoists graduated to platoons, companies and battalions.
Kichhe Nanda is among the SPOs facing rape charges. He denies that at first, then lashes out bitterly, “We were young, given rifles, and told to hunt for Naxals.” There were “atrocities” from the other side too, he says.
Editor of daily Bastar Impact Suresh Mahapatra recalls the Rani Bodli attack of March 2007, when 55 policemen and SPOs were killed. “This incident was the defining point in my life. When I saw half-burnt and beheaded bodies, it occurred to me that this war had no rules now,” he says.
Attami, among the earliest SPOs to sign up, says: “You talk about police atrocities, but do you know what the Naxals did? Agar beta ko maarna hai to maa aur baap ko us par patthar marne ko bolte the (If they wanted to kill someone, they forced his parents to throw stones at him).” Accusing the Maoists of dragging them into battle, Attami adds, “They had a grudge against capitalists. Why didn’t they kill them themselves? We tribals knew nothing about the world, but they made us fight their battles. Is it janvaad?”
Sukhdev Tati reflects they were left with little choice: either become Maoists or fight with police. “We wanted it to be peaceful, but Salwa Judum had aggression. It failed as we could not tell people what our aim was.”
However, many of the tribals have no enmity towards the Maoists. “Adivasi log hi to mar rahe hain. Yahan bhi adivasi, wahan bhi,” says Janaki. Teacher Mandavi says it emphatically. “They (Maoists) are our own people. We don’t want this violence.”
“Once again the terror and oppression of Salwa Judum is going to start. Bastar could be protected only if this campaign is defeated,” said a recent Maoist statement urging people “to rise against the proposed Salwa Judum-2”.
Where they are now: Key survivors from Salwa Judum
Soyam Muka: Congress member, lives in Konta away from his Gaganpalli village he left during Judum. Farming. Moves without vehicle.
Karma family: Mahendra Karma’s wife Devti Karma is a Congress MLA, two of her four sons hold positions in the Congress.
Chaitram Attami: Dantewada BJP zilla panchayat member, uprooted from his village, lives in a Salwa Judum camp in Kasauli, Dantewada.
Sukhdev Tati: BJP member, farmer in Dantewada.
Sattar Ali: Contractor, runs trucks, lives in Jagdalpur.
Vikram Mandavi: Congress member, contested 2013 assembly polls from Bijapur.
O, JIHADIS, FREEDOM FIGHTERS, TERRORISTS & NAXALITES
Kashmiri militants claim they are fighting for kashmiris, when the very same kashmiris were suffering from loses due to earthquake why didn’t the so-called jihadis didn’t make any relief efforts? Why didn’t their foreign master – Pakistan didn’t make any relief efforts? Within the pak occupied Kashmir ( pok) itself, Pakistan didn’t make appropriate relief efforts. It is government of India & international community who provided proper & timely relief.
The foreign powers are not at all interested in your well being. They are ready to spend millions of dollars for aiding terrorism, but not ready to spend a few hundreds for your education , health care or self employment schemes through NGOs. The fact is they don’t want your well being, they don’t want you to prosper, live peacefully. The ultimate objective of these foreign powers is to take you on the path of self destruction, destruction of your motherland & to finally usurp the power, to subjugate you into slavery in turn looting the resources of your country.
Ofcourse, in India there is rampant corruption. Still democracy is live & kicking in India, it is the best form of governance. You have got real examples of countries in Africa, latin America, wherein the countries have secured independence through separatist / terrorist movements. The terrorist leaders themselves have become prime minister / president of newly independent countries. Now, they are more corrupt & barbaric than their predecessors . even after getting independence, the lives of commonfolk has become bad to worse. By independence , only leaders have benefited. Will you lead another struggle ? this is endless, as the selfishness , greed of leaders knows no bounds.
In the past, government of India aided tamil separatists, Pakistan terrorists, etc, butchering innocents. The government of U.S.A aided terrorists in Africa, afghanisthan, latin America , murdering innocents. Various countries have aided terrorism while preaching peace. These barbaric acts were motivated by selfish, corrupt, ego-centric leaders. Now, in the bomeerang effects of their actions, innocents are dying in bomb blasts, etc.
Violence breds violence. Peace & compassion results in all round harmony, prosperity. Every human being must struggle against injustices in a peaceful & legal manner. The struggle must be against the corrupt system, for that peaceful struggle democracy is the best forum. Don’t be pawns in the hands of foreign powers, politicians. They are not at all interested in your welfare, well being. At the end, it is the leaders who become ministers & amass wealth through corruption. The common folk like you will remain as fiddlings, minions forever.
Just imagine yourselves in the place of victims of delhi serial bomb blasts (29/10/2005) or Mumbai blasts of 26/11/08 . just imagine the plight of little child MOSHE who has lost both his parents , imagine Your mother & wife are crying, your children are dead , your father’s hands & limbs are ripped apart in the blast. How does it feel to be one ? no religion, no god asks it’s followers to cause destruction. All religions, gods are full of eternal love & compassion. Let that god shine his light, upon you all on the violent path.
Whether it is in india or else where , democratic system is best form of governance. The people in those countries suffer due to corrupt public servants . in all such cases , the legal , non violent fight must be against the corrupt people , corrupt police , corrupt judges , CORRUPT public servants but not against the system itself.
Let us build ram rajya of mahatma’s dream through non violent means within the existing democratic framework . Jai Hind. Vande Mataram.
India is a democratic country with self governance of people. Members of Legislative Assemblies and Members of Parliament are elected by people to be their representatives in the respective houses. These MPs , MLAs must represent the aspirations of people in their constituency in the floor of the house. They must not work against the aspirations of people , in that case representative role ceases. When a people say in bastar district doesn’t want a particular industrial project in their area and communicate it to the government through their MPs & MLAs , who the hell MPs , MLAs , State Government Ministers & Central government ministers are to impose it on those particular area people. It is illegal , breach of democracy. In these type of impositions , public servants take sides with big industries , MNCs which flout many laws and pays a pittance as compensation to people. Gross injustices are meted out to public , which raises discontent in public. Fertile ground of discontented public is used by criminal elements to raise terror out fits like naxalites , salwa judum , etc. Law must be held high , naxalites , salwa judum cadre must be dealt with the same footing on the same ground and root cause must be addressed by government. Any displacements of people , invite to big projects must be done as per the aspirations of people , if people don’t want a project , a skewed model of development , reject it. Who the hell government ministers are to impose it on people . Ministers are public servants not dictators to impose on people.
A B C D of Democracy – A Lesson for all people’s representatives
HOW MPs ,MLAs , Ministers – PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVES MUST FUNCTION
People are the kings , self rulers in a democracy . Peoples representatives must just represent the wishes , aspirations of people. Example : PEOPLE are nothing but land owners , MPs , MLAs , people’s representatives are just GPA Holders. The Electorate – Citizens of India are SUPREME than Parliament , Ministers and all Other Institutions. When people in Jaitapur , Maharashtra state of India and People of Koodankulam , Tamilnadu are totally against a nuke plant in their area and they don’t want it , still the authorities are forcing this project over their head.
Since 68 years of independence , In India the learned IAS babus & Netas are forcing their agendas , SEZs , Projects over the people for their own selfish gains , against the wishes of people. This is not DEMOCRACY.
In india, indirect democracy is the form of governance. In this form, people’s representatives are bound to raise the questions , issues concerning their constituents on their behalf , on the floor of the house. However the sad part in india even after 68 years of democracy , is the lobbying is at it’s peak. The lobbying is a gentleman’s white collared crook’s way of forming favour seeker’s group , creating a corpus to pay lumpsum bribe & influencing decision making.
The people’s representatives are bound to represent their people first , then their party & party think tanks. India has come to this sorry state of affairs , widespread corruption , huge black economy & rampant poverty, all due to inefficient legislations & enforcements.
These think tanks & IAS lobby, consider themselves as most super brains on earth & gives out suggestions . the present state of affairs is a barometer of their brilliance. Take just one case for the brilliance of our cabinet ministers & IAS babus , In India nearly 50 crore people are barely surviving on a single piece meal per day , hundreds of people are dying due to HUNGER & MALNUTRITION at one end at the other end thousands of tonnes of food grains are rotting away , wasted in FCI Godowns (ie the food procured by the government) , what brilliant ministers & IAS officers ? These think tanks & IAS lobby are the hand maidens of lobbyists / bribers.
Now consider the following example :
Mr.raj gandhi is a member of parliament from mandya constituency in karnataka state. He is a MBA graduate & member of ruling Indian progressive party. The multinational giant M/S GREY HOUND CORPORATION wants to enter into paper manufacturing business in india. It’s sight falls on the public sector paper giant mandya national paper mills (MNPM) in mandya district of karnataka. The MNC effectively lobbies with the government. The ruling party think tank & the cabinet advisory group recommends to the government to make strategic
disinvestment in the PSU M/S MNPM. They bring out graph with full power point presentation stating that it is good for the company as well as the government. The lobbyists follows it up with media reports on the positive aspect of strategic disinvestment. A favourable impression is created in the minds of literate public. The cabinet
committee okays it.
The ” strategic dis investment issue ” comes before the parliament for legislation / approval. The ruling party issues a party whip to it’s members to vote in favour of dis investment. However M.P mr.raj gandhi who is an MBA in his own wisdom also favours the dis investment. However ,most importantly the constituents – people in mandya parliamentary constituency through protest marches , mass post card campaigns lakhs in numbers expresses their disagreement with the dis investment & urges their MP mr.gandhi to vote against the disinvestment legislation.
On the D-day in parliament , mr. Raj gandhi as per his party whip & his own wisdom votes in favour of strategic disinvestment legislation, much against the wishes of his people , constituents & mis represents them in parliament. the democracy has failed here. in This way democracy is being derailed since 68 years in india.
In democracy, party whip , MP or MLA’s own wisdom / brilliance, think tank & IAS lobby recommendations are all secondary , the constituent’s of his constituency , people’s wishes aspirations are of primary importance & supreme. What people need is a honest
representative, who simply delivers the people’s aspirations on the floor of the house back & forth , without superimposing it with his own ideas & party ideas. For true democracy , the people’s representatives must be true postmans.
Towards this end , the people must be educated about their democratic rights & responsibilities. This is an appeal to the honest few in the parliament & state legislatures to weed out their corrupt colleagues , lobbyists, to uphold the dignity of the house & to install democracy in it’s true form.
Naxalism a result of an oversight of statutes, says SC
Emphasising on validation of rights of tribals and forest-dwellers over the forest lands, the Supreme Court has said that Naxalism was a result of an oversight of constitutional provisions relating to administration of schedule areas and tribes of the country.
“Nobody looks at Schedules V and VI of the Constitution and the result is Naxalism. Urbanites are ruling the nation. Even several union of India counsel are oblivious of these provisions under the Constitution,” said a Bench led by Justice A K Patnaik.
The Bench made a reference to Schedules V and VI as they contain various provisions relating to administration and control of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes in several parts of the country. These provisions apply to states like Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Rajasthan and Northeastern states such as Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. Essentially these Constitutional provisions, with the help of plethora of judgments by the apex court, act as a guarantee to indigenous people on the right over the land they live in and its produce.
During a recent hearing on fresh guidelines over tiger reserves, the Bench made certain queries from Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising over the Centre’s proposal to relocate indigenous people who were still living in the core areas of tiger reserves.
The ASG had informed the Bench there were around 43,000 families still residing in core areas of tiger reserves and that the plan was to gradually move them out after proper consultation with Gram Sabhas. On being asked about the legal provisions to support the argument, she also read out from the 2006 Forest Rights Act and the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act.
Asserting that all stakeholders should first ensure the legal rights of the tribals are not violated, Justice Patnaik said their rights must be settled in accordance with the provisions of the law.
“There is apparently no human-tiger conflict at least as far as these tribals are concerned. Everyone must remember that forests belong to forest-dwellers. British government considered forests of immense value and said through laws that all forests belonged to government. These people were brought down to poverty and they couldn’t earn their living. They will be arrested for consuming the forest produce; such was their law,” said Justice Patnaik.
His concerns were echoed by senior advocate Dushyanat Dave, who said forest-dwellers used to get arrested trying and collect wood or pick fruits from the forests.
The Bench, however, seemed satisfied with the promulgation of the 2006 Forest Rights Act and said this situation was sought to be reversed by the new legislation as it sought to identify their rights.
“One law can make a big difference. Zamindari abolition law is a good example how a law can reverse the situation,” said Justice Patnaik, adding it was not the state but its forest departments’ officers who did not want to give up their control over the forests.
At this, the ASG said the Centre was conscious of its duty towards protecting the rights of forest-dwellers and would relocate them after following the legal process.
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