CHHATTISGARH LOK SWATANTRYA SANGATHAN
(PEOPLE’S UNON FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, CHHATTISGARH)
1st August 2015
PRESS RELEASE -IMMEDIATE AND EFFECTIVE ACTION MUST BE TAKEN AGAINST THE POLICEMEN RESPONSIBLE FOR RAPE AND MURDER OF MEENA KHALKHO
The Chhattisgarh PUCL welcomes the placing of the long awaited Judicial Enquiry Commission Report in the case of murder of a tribal girl Meena Khalkho on the floor of the Vidhan Sabha. (Kindly see attachment). It is shocking indeed that the Government of Chhattisgarh is silent on the action proposed to be taken on the basis of the Report.
The conclusions of the Judicial Enquiry Commission conducted by Judge Smt Anita Jha are clear and unambiguous and support the fact findings conducted by the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, independent journalists, and the Chhattisgarh PUCL nearly 4 years ago.
The Report of the Commission has held that:-
1. Meena Khalkho was not a Naxalite or in any way connected with Naxalites as claimed by the police, but a simple village girl who after studying upto Class V used to graze goats and also used to work as a domestic help in several houses in her Village Kharcha/ Navadih, Police Station Chando, district Balrampur.
2. The story of the police that there was a police encounter with 30-35 Naxalites of the “Vir Say” group who had come in from Jharkhand is not at all credible. For the purpose the Commission has elaborately dissected how only 3 members of the police team have said to have fired thei r firearms, very few cartridges have been seized, no-one has been injured apart from the deceased Meena Khalkho, the distance claimed to have been covered by the police in the search is highly improbable, the respective positions of the police and Naxalites during the encounter as stated are not credible etc.
3. The Commission has also held that the killing of Meena Khalkho was not from a distance as claimed in the story of encounter/ cross fire, but from a closer range. She was clearly killed by police weapons. It was improbable that she would have survived till the morning and confessed to be being part of the Naxal party as the police claimed.
4. The Commission has held that forcible sexual assault had also been carried out on the girl which was evident from the fact that the urinary bladder had been ruptured, upper part of uterus was torn, there was a lacerated wound in the thigh, and all these injuries were ante mortem in nature. Sperm had been found on her seized clothing. She had also been shot below the waist.
The extent to which the police had gone in concocting a story including showing seizures of detonator, country made gun, a “pithoo” with Naxal literature is shocking indeed. The Learned Enquiry Judge has however successfully established the falsity of the story.
The Chhattisgarh PUCL demands the following:-
1. The concerned police party consisting of 25 policemen of the Chhattisgarh Armed Force as well as of the Police Station Chando should be immediately arrested for the crime of murder, rape, destruction of evidence, and concoction of a false case against Meena Khalkho.
2. Investigation into this crime cannot be left to the Chhattisgarh police whose track record in the instant case has not just been dismal but clearly one of protecting its officers. This should be carried out by an independent and credible high power investigating authority.
3. The crime of sexual assault which clearly preceded the murder must be specially and thoroughly investigated, being possibly the heinous motive of this entire incident.
4. Many efforts had been made to force the villagers of Village Kharcha and Navadih, and other independent witnesses to change their statements. Now initiative must be taken to instill confidence in those villagers who may still have further information to aid the investigation.
5. The crime of rape and murder of the minor tribal girl Meena Khalkho occurred four years ago. Justice has been greatly delayed. Special efforts have to be made to see that it is not denied.
Lakhan Singh Sudha Bharadwaj
(President) (General Secretary)
Mobile – 07773060946 Mobile – 09926603877
Address for Correspondence:
C/o Sudha Bharadwaj
Ring Road No. 2, Maharana Pratap Chowk,