Chhattisgarh violated Supreme Court’s rehabilitation order: Rights group

June 9th, 2009 - 7:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 9 (IANS) A civil rights group Tuesday accused the Chhatisgarh government of violating a Supreme Court order on rehabilitating villagers “affected and displaced” by the government-backed militia Salwa Judum and Maoist violence in the state.
“Instead, the government continues to encourage and support killings, rapes and the destruction of people’s homes and villages (in Chhattisgarh),” according to the Campaign for Peace and Justice in Chhattisgarh (CPJC).

The Chhattisgarh government in October 2008 assured the Supreme Court that it would rehabilitate all villagers affected and displaced by Salwa Judum and Maoist violence.

“But till date nothing has been done,” the CPJC said in a statement.

Salwa Judum is a state sponsored militia movement launched in 2005 to counter Maoist movement in the state.

“The Supreme Court’s orders to register cases for the atrocities (and) engage in rehabilitation have been totally ignored. The Chhattisgarh government has not rehabilitated a single village in the seven months since the order was passed,” Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar told reporters here.

Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram in Dantewada (Chhatisgarh), veteran journalist Sumit Chakravarthy and booker prize-winner social activist Arundhati Roy were also present at the news conference.

The CPJC alleged that over 500 policemen May 17 demolished the office of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram - a rehabilitation centre run by Gandhian Himanshu Kumar.

“Kumar has since been warned by the superintendent of police of Dantewada that the government intends to implement a ‘Sri Lanka model’ in the area and that he should leave the district if he values his life,” the statement said.

“A fact finding team of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties found that the demolition was clearly unwarranted and intended to penalise the organisation for its opposition to Salwa Judum and its efforts in rehabilitating villagers,” Sundar said.

The CPJC said, “Salwa Judum continues to engage in rapes, killings and arson, such as the April 25 attack on the villages of Biayampalli and Badepalli where 10 and over 20 houses were burnt respectively.”

“Even though the government has admitted in the Supreme Court that Salwa Judum is an armed organisation that has burnt houses and destroyed property, it continues its support for this illegal militia,” the CPJC said.

The Chhattisgarh government could not be reached immediately for comment, but it has denied similar charges of human rights violations in the past.

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