SC Advises Govt To Initiate Peace Talks To End Maoist Violence In Chattisgarh, Compensate Victims Under CrPC [Read Order]

The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Adarsh Kumar Goel, today strongly advised the Central Government to initiate peace talks to end Maoist violence in Chhattisgarh. The bench reminded the Additional Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, who represented the State of Chhattisgarh, about the message from the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for the resolution of the Colombian government’s war with FARC, (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia, a guerilla movement) as well as the Nagaland and Mizoram settlements.

Mehta promised to take up the subject of peace talks with the government at the highest levels. He also conceded that police action was only a momentary step, there had to be a longer-term solution.

The bench proposed peace talks, when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) apprised the bench today about the results of its investigation into the violence perpetrated by the security forces, in the garb of “combing operations” in March 2011 in Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timpuram villages,” as per the orders of the then Senior Superintendent of Police, Dantewada, S.R.P.Kalluri.

In the course of the operations, three men were killed – Madvi Sula of Bhanda Morpalli, Badse Bhima of Pulanpad and Manu Yadav of Pulanpad. Three women were raped, two in Morpalli and one in Tadmetla. Thirty-three houses in Morpalli, 59 houses in Timapuram and 160 houses in Tadmetla village, were burnt. When Swami Agnivesh tried to deliver relief to the villages on March 26, 2011, he and his companions were brutally attacked by Salwa Judum leaders at Dornapal.

On 5th July 2011, the Supreme Court ordered a CBI enquiry into these incidents of violence.

On 17 October,, the CBI chargesheeted seven former Special Police Officers (SPOs), who were the gang leaders, in the Special CBI court in Raipur. They have also charged 26 persons, including leading members of the Salwa Judum, such as P. Vijay, Dular Shah, Soyam Mooka and others for the attack on Swami Agnivesh. The cases of rape and murder are still under investigation.

In a statement released today, academic and author, Nandini Sundar and activist, Swami Agnivesh said:

“The CBI enquiry has totally exposed the police lie that the houses were burnt by the Naxalites, and instead shows that these unlawful activities were carried out by the SPOs/police/CRPF. The CBI report notes that 323 SPOs/policemen as well as 114 personnel of Commando Battalian for Resolute Action (COBRA) and 30 personnel of CRPF participated in the operation.

It also points to the concealment of rapes and murders by the Chhattisgarh police. The FIRs filed by DS Marawi, after the media had exposed the attacks, make no mention of the rapes and murders. Media reports on this were dismissed as propaganda by SRP Kalluri and the Chhattisgarh government.”

It must be noted that the CBI was repeatedly attacked and intimidated during the course of the investigation.

“The fact that the SPOs have been held responsible also shows that the Chhattisgarh State Government’s action in converting all SPOs into Armed Auxiliary Forces, with effect from the date of the SC judgment banning them, (5 July 2011), was malafide. The state was directed to weed out and prosecute all those held guilty of human rights violations. It has completely violated its obligations to the Court”, Sundar and Agnivesh noted.

Many well known Salwa Judum leaders, now members of new vigilante organisations like Samajik Ekta Manch and AGNI, have been charged under Sections 34, 147, 149, 323, 341, 427 and 440 of the IPC.

The bench directed the CBI to make a copy of the papers available to the petitioners, as represented by Senior Advocate Ashok Desai.

The bench also allowed the petitioners to file a protest petition in cases which have been closed (relating to Morpalli).

The bench noted that in cases of rapes and murders where the victims were unable to identify the perpetrators, they should be given compensation under Section 357 A of Cr.P.C., for which a dedicated fund is available.

The Solicitor General, Ranjit Kumar, represented the Centre.  He promised the Court that the report under Section 173 Cr.P.C. in the five cases under investigation, would be handed over to the senior counsel for the petitioner, Ashok H.Desai within three days.

Image from here.

Read the order here.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.

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