Raipur (22 March 16/Press Statement): The Chhattisgarh PUCL expresses its deep grief at the killing of a 55 year old woman Muchaki Hidme, resident of Village Gorkha, due to an IED blast on 18th March 2016. The incident took place on a ‘kuchha’ track, which is often used by the security forces during their patrolling in the region, near Kottacheru village under Bhejji police station limits, as Sukma Superintendent of Police D Shrawan informed the PTI. A day earlier an 8 year old girl child Muchaki Anita, resident of Kanhaiguda village under Bhejji police station, also lost her life to an IED blast. Similarly two labourers were killed on 6th March at around 9:30 am at Amdai Ghati (valley) under Chhote Dongar police station limits. Superintendent of Police Narayanpur Abhishek Meena had told PTI that Maoists detonated a powerful IED when a joint team of district police and the Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) was escorting a group of labourers through the valley and this was followed by a gun-battle, lasting for about two hours, after which the Maoists fled.
The Chhattisgarh PUCL condemns land mining by the Maoists which causes extreme hazard to life and limb of non-combatant tribal villagers carrying out their normal life activities in the region. It reiterates its demand that in order to protect non-combatant civilians in this war zone, the Government of India should declare a state of internal armed conflict and allow strict independent monitoring under the Geneva Protocol of human rights violations by both parties to the conflict. Even earlier on 26th November 2013, the Chhattisgarh PUCL had written to the NHRC for directions to restrain the practice of using civilians for demining operations or as “police sahyogi” in land mined areas when one villager had been killed and two others grievously injured.
The Chhattisgarh PUCL also expresses its concern that an outspoken journalist Shri Prabhat Singh, who was reporting for the Patrika as well as ETV, was suddenly picked up from his shop at 6 pm on 21st March 2016. He has informed a friend on 22nd March that he was taken to Parpa Police station in Jagdalpur, beaten up all night and was not even given food. He also expressed apprehension that since the Baarsoor Police Inspector and an Additional SP are present in Parapa police station and old records are being checked, that he is likely to be implicated in some old cases.
Chhattisgarh PUCL demands that Shri Prabhat Singh be immediately produced before the concerned Magistrate, be medically examined and be provided a legal representative as per the provisions of law. Since this incident comes on the heels of the harassment of journalists Alok Putul, Malini Subramaniam and the arrests of Santosh Yadav and Samaru Nag, the Chhattisgarh PUCL expresses serious apprehension that the police and district administration are trying to silence all journalists who are attempting to give any other version of events in Bastar other than the police version. The demands of journalists of the area have still not been properly addressed.
Finally Chhattisgarh PUCL expresses shock at the insensitive behavior of the police in arresting an extremely well respected citizen and doctor committed to treating workers and peasants of Chhattisgarh for the past three decades – Dr Saibal Jana, Chief Medical Officer of the Shaheed Hospital , Dalli Rajhara – in a 24 year old case connected with the Rail Roko Satyagraha of Bhilai workers on 1st July 1992. Dr Jana and his ambulance and staff of the Shaheed Hospital had been on the dharna site to treat ailing workers and their families in the preceding 35 days, and he has been falsely implicated in a criminal case. Chhattisgarh PUCL demands that he be granted unconditional interim bail on personal bond and the false case against him be quashed.
Dr. Lakhan Singh, President
Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj,General Secretary