NHRC summons Chattisgarh Chief Secretary, Bastar IG

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday summoned the Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary and Bastar Range Inspector General of Police S.R.P. Kalluri over alleged hostility and abuse of power against human rights defenders.

The NHRC took suo motu cognisance of a “nationwide outcry and protest” against Kalluri over the FIR registered against Delhi University Professor Nandini Sundar, Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Archana Prasad and others.

“The media reports over the last week have alleged that the Chhattisgarh Police named Prof. Nandini Sundar and 10 others as accused in the murder of tribal Somnath Baghel in Sukma district.

“It is reported that he was killed by Maoists as he had been leading a campaign against their activities since April. There is no apparent connection between murder and visit of these human rights activists and, therefore, it has been alleged that they have been framed in a mala fide manner by police to settle scores,” an NHRC statement said.

The commission also took note of Sundar’s petition in the Supreme Court against the alleged police atrocities on Bastar tribals by burning their homes.

“The commission took suo motu cognisance of unprecedented acts of hostility and indiscipline by the Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Police in burning the effigies of Sundar and other lawyers and journalists as they were instrumental in exposing police deeds,” said the statement.

“The NHRC is also of the view that since allegations are made against Kalluri, it would like to know from them why the investigation in the registered first information report should not be handed over to an independent agency like the Crime Branch, Crime Investigation Department or the Central Bureau of Investigation,” it added.

The Chhattisgarh Police said on November 8 that the case was registered against Sundar, Archana Prasad and others on November 5 at Tongpal police station.

According to police, armed Maoists killed Baghel at his home in Nama village in Tongpal area of Chhattisgarh on November 4. The police said six months ago, the accused had issued death threats to the villagers on behalf of the Maoists.

Maoist leaders Vinod and Shyamla and Communist Party of India leader Sanjay Parate were among those booked under the Indian Penal Code sections dealing with murder, attempt to murder, trespassing and rioting, and the Arms Act.