PUCL has been extremely dismayed by the statement of the State Home Minister Shri Nankiram Kanwar, issued in response to the Congress party forming a fact finding team into the incident, that, “half the Congress leaders are Maoists”, showing the extent to which all dissent is sought to be viewed with suspicion and is even criminalized in the State.
It referred to the National Human Rights Commission, through its guidelines issued on 29.03.1997 and revised guidelines issued on 02.12.2003 have made very clear that in these circumstances the following should be done:-
(a) Since in this case an allegation of crime has been made against the security forces, an FIR must be registered to this effect and the investigation into the allegation must be conducted by an agency independent of the concerned police, such as the State CBCID.
(b) Though the State has already announced a Magisterial Enquiry, that is mandatory in all cases of death in police action, however it should be ensured that the next of kin and the villagers who were witness to the incident are associated with the Enquiry. While the Guidelines clearly state that the next of kin should be “invariably” associated, most magisterial enquiries in the State, such as recently in the case of killings of Meena Khalkho (Sarguja) and Gautam Patel (Mahasamund), have been merely empty formalities.
(c) Prompt prosecution as well as disciplinary action has been mandated against the delinquent officers in the Guidelines which have also explicitly stated that no out-of-turn promotions or gallantry awards should be bestowed on the concerned officers soon after the occurrence.
Chhattisgarh PUCL demands that the guidelines of the NHRC be followed by the State meticulously in letter and spirit in respect of the fake “encounter” of 28th-29th June in the Kotteguda Panchayat, district Bijapur of the Bastar region.
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