J. Venkatesan, The Asian Age, April 21 2016
The Supreme Court has slammed the Chhattisgarh government for fake encounter killings and harassment of journalists and activists in the guise of controlling Maoist activities. A bench of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and Arun Mishra, hearing a writ petition filed in 2009 relating to fake encounter killings, observed “We want to know what is happening in the state. This type of reactions should not be there. People are to be given protection by the state government.”
The petition was filed by Himanshu Kumar and certain other tribals whose family were allegedly massacred allegedly in 2009 by security personnel in collusion with the now-disbanded salwa judum, formed to contain Maoist elements. There are a number of extra-judicial killings in the state, it was alleged.
Earlier, solicitor-general Ranjit Kumar defended the security forces, saying hundreds of police and Army personnel were killed in ambushes by the Maoists. Further, the court should also consider the fact that innocent security personnel were also being killed with increasing frequency through landmine blasts and various other methods by the Maoists who are deeply entrenched in the state.
Senior counsel Colin Gonzalves, appearing for families of certain victims, alleged that in several alleged extra-judicial killings, the police was not registering even the mandatory FIRs. “Both are not good. This is not done… in a situation like this what should be done?” the judges asked the S-G.
Mr Gonzalves urged the court to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to probe these extra-judicial killings.
The S-G submitted that he had no objection to such a team. The court then asked both Mr Kumar and Mr Gonzalves to give a list of officers mutually acceptable to both the parties for constituting such a team. It listed the matter for further hearing after four weeks.
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