Chhattisgarh government ignores Supreme Court, still supporting killings!
CHHATTISGARH GOVERNMENT IGNORES SUPREME COURT, STILL SUPPORTING KILLINGS, DRIVING PEOPLE FROM THEIR HOMES
In October 2008, the Government of Chhattisgarh assured the Supreme Court that it would rehabilitate all villagers who had been affected and displaced by Salwa Judum and Naxalite violence. Till date nothing has been done. Instead, the government continues to encourage and support killings, rapes and the destruction of people's homes and villages.
• The Supreme Court's orders to register cases for the atrocities committed in the area, as well as to engage in rehabilitation, have been totally ignored. The Chhattisgarh government has not rehabilitated a single village in the seven months since the rehabilitation order was passed.
• On May 17, 2009, the offices of the only organisation that has attempted any rehabilitation at all – Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, run by the Gandhian Himanshu Kumar – were demolished by over 500 policemen with a few hours' notice.
• Mr. Kumar has since been warned by the SP of Dantewada that the government intends to implement a “Sri Lanka model” in the area and that he should leave the district if he values his life.
• A fact finding team of the People's Union for Civil Liberties that visited the area in the wake of the demolition, including senior journalists and well known human rights lawyers and activists, found that the demolition was clearly unwarranted and intended to penalise the organisation for its opposition to Salwa Judum and its efforts in rehabilitating villagers. The interim report of the fact finding team is being released at this press conference.
• Meanwhile, the Salwa Judum continues to engage in rapes, killings and arson, such as the attack on the villages of Biayampalli and Badepalli on April 25, 2009 when 10 and over 20 houses were burnt respectively, the looting of residents of village Gorkha on 23 february 2009, and the burning of grain stores of village Chinger on March 9 2009. Most recently, in June, village Kamaram was attacked.
• Even though the Government has admitted in the Supreme Court that the Salwa Judum is an armed organisation that has burnt houses and destroyed property, it continues its support for this illegal militia. The Chhattisgarh government has till date not made a single statement dissociating itself from the Salwa Judum, nor have the police taken any action against its members or leaders.
The Chhattisgarh government continues to engage in open, brazen and unconstitutional attacks on the rights of lakhs of innocent men, women and children.
Himanshu Kumar from Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, Dantewada, Sumit Chakravarthy, Veteran Journalist and Editor Mainstream, Arundhati Roy, the booker prize-winner and social activist and Prof. Nandini Sundar, University of Delhi, addressed the media representatives. An open letter to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh protesting these atrocities is also being released at this press conference. Simultaneously, an open letter to the CPI (Maoist) is being released, asking them to desist from acts of abduction and killing, and anything, which could interfere with the process of peaceful return and rehabilitation of villagers.
A fact-finding report conducted in October 2008 by a group of independent women professionals detailing cases of rape is also being circulated, as background information. Let the new UPA Government which says it believes in widespread participation by women take note of what it is helping to support in Chhattisgarh.
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