In 2013, the villagers of Village Kondasawali, Police Station Jagargunda, district Sukma, Bastar Divison, Chhattisgarh had lodged a complaint with the Collector regarding the fact that a few years before that, in 2007, some SPOs and Salwa Judum leaders had come to their village, burnt 95 huts in three settlements in their panchayat, killed 7 people, and threatened the villagers against telling anyone about these incidents.  The villagers had been forced to leave their village after the arson attacks, and had only come back to the village after the end of Salwa Judum.

 

In 2013, they (villagers) wrote a complaint asking for compensation and investigation to the Collector and NHRC, which was subsequently taken up by the Chhattisgarh PUCL and forwarded to the NHRC. The said complaint was registered with the NHRC as Case No. 657/33/3/2013.

 

Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj, being General Secretary of the Chhattisgarh PUCL and the complainant in Case No. 657/33/3/2013 received a letter from the National Human Rights Commission dated 16.06.2017 in respect of the aforesaid case directing her to gather further information in the complaint which was filed on 22.08.2013 and for that purpose visit the villages under Gram Panchayat Kondasawali, Police Station Jagargunda, Block Konta, District Sukma, Chhattisgarh.

 

She assigned JK Vidhya, Delhi and Soni Sori, on her behalf to visit the concerned area and gather information in regard to the case. Vidhya and Soni along with two other male companions, an interpreter, two journalists and the Personal Security Officer assigned to Ms Soni Sori were able to undertake the visit to the villages on 21st-22nd August 2017.  After which video testimonies of the villagers along with a report was submitted last month to the NHRC.

Now, NHRC has passed an order (http://nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=657/33/3/2013)  observing :

the Commission concludes that these incidents had come to the notice of police, revenue and other officials of District Sukma soon after they had taken place but police and district officials had deliberately turned a blind eye to these killings and incidents of arson. iv) In fact, the omission by the state and district Sukma Officer to take cognizance of these incidents for seven years is also a very strong circumstance to show that these crimes had been abetted by the district officials of Sukma/or state government officials of the State of Chhattisgarh. v) This willful omission of taking cognizance of these incidents for such a long period is also a very strong circumstance indicative of the fact that these ghastly crimes had been committed by the SPOs of Jagarguda base camp as has been alleged by the complainant of case FIR No.10/2013 P.S. Jagarguda. vi) That the objective of the state machinery, both the police and the magistracy is not to ascertain the truth about these incidents but to gloss over these crimes is also amply clear in the manner the investigation of case FIR No.10/2013 P.S. Jagarguda is being conducted and the manner in which the Tehsildar, Konta, District Sukma has conducted his enquiry. A mere reading of the enquiry report of Tehsildar Konta and the statements recorded by the I.O. shows that his objective is not at all to dig out the truth and that he is only conducting a cover up operation. These acts of omission by the public servants of State of Chhattisgarh constitute a gross violation of human rights of the deceased residents of village Kondasawali, Kamaraguda and Karrepara and of those residents of these villages whose houses/huts were burnt.

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