Justice deliverance slowing down in Chhattisgarh district, RTI reveals
A series of RTI queries have revealed that only 4.3 per cent of criminal trials end in convictions in south Bastar, partially dominated by the Maoists, compared to a national average of 38.5. The accused individuals – who almost entirely belong to Gond community – are arrested as naxals and spend three to six years in prison in different cases as under-trials before being acquitted by the court. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, Raman Singh, while talking to The Hindu has said that many tribals are languishing in jails for years and ‘‘should be brought out.’’ RTI queries filed by a group of lawyers have also revealed that the deliverance of justice has increasingly slowed down over the last decade.
Dantewada court, located in the hotbed of Maoist movement, registers maximum cases among district courts where tribals face trial for aiding the red rebels. Any persons arrested in far flung areas are produced in Dantewada court and hence the lawyers chose the same court to authenticate their apprehension that nearly all the accused gets acquitted after spending years in jail. ‘‘We wanted to know if nearly all the accused in naxal cases finally gets acquitted or not and the RTI replies revealed that we were right,’’ said Shishir Dixit, the lawyer who filed the queries.
RTI data of cases were collected from 2005 to 2012. The queries revealed that 95.7 per cent of all sessions trials end in complete acquittal of all accused on all charges, hence the rate of conviction is 4.3 per cent. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the national average of conviction rate under Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 2012 was 38.5. Moreover, the conviction rate for crimes under Arms Act and Explosives Substances Act, is also much higher nationally i.e. 61.9 and 52.8 respectively. While the majority of the tribals are charged under Arms Act and Explosives Substances Act, along with other laws, the conviction rate here is again very low – three out of 425 cases in Arms Act, and zero out of 157 cases in Explosive Substances Act lead to conviction in the past 8 years.
The analysis of the RTI data reveals many more facts regarding relationship between judiciary and the tribals, albeit only in south Bastar. For example, 190 cases were started in 2005 and half of those were disposed off that year, while in 2012, only 10 per cent of the cases, instituted in the same year, were disposed off. Further analysis of the data shows that the longest of cases in 2005 lasted for three years. But in 2012, a significant number of 15 cases were disposed off, six years after registration. ‘‘This clearly highlights how the delivery of justice is slowing down in tribal areas, rather than speeding up’’, one of the lawyers filing the RTI said. Number of cases disposed in the period, from 282 in 2005, has also fallen sharply. Data shows that 229 cases were disposed off in 2011, whereas 211 and 208 in 2010 and 2009 respectively. In 2008 only 148 cases were disposed off, while 158 in 2006.
The committee set for reviewing the cases of under-trials in Chhattisgarh jails reviewed ‘‘235 cases’’ till May, this year, according to the head of the committee, Nirmala Buch. She said the committee recommended the Chhattisgarh government “not to oppose the bail pleas of 110 under-trials, of which 63 were cases of naxalites.’’ However, only a couple of dozens of accused got bail or acquittal since the recommendation was made.
‘‘Those who are arrested for small, petty crimes and in jails for years…(the allegations) should be relaxed and they ought to be brought out of jail. We have discussed the issue with the police chief and the Buch Committee is working on it,’’ Chief Minister Raman Singh told The Hindu. However, he added that a general amnesty could not be granted as proposed by some officials. “We can grant (amnesty) for all, at the same time. But definitely look into cases one by one,” he said.
In Chhattisgarh, Maoists ask villagers to use NOTA
Maoist groups are reportedly holding meetings at villages in Chhattisgarh, asking them to press the newly introduced None Of The Above (NOTA) option in the EVMs during the upcoming assembly elections in the state, a senior CRPF officer said. The meetings assume significance as the Maoists have been asking villagers and locals to boycott the polls. “We have come to know that the Maoists are holding meetings with villagers and asking them to press the NOTA button.
Their first attempt is to dissuade the people to go to the poll booths of course and if at all they go they have been asked to take the NOTA option,” said CRPF DG Dilip Trivedi. The CRPF has been appointed as the nodal agency for force mobilisation during the assembly elections next month. The maximum deployment is in Chhattisgarh. “They have made plans to disrupt the elections by attacking the security forces,” said a senior CRPF official.
The DG said they had deployed more than 7,000 personnel only to sanitise the routes and roads in the Maoist-affected state. The CRPF has also asked its men to refrain from using anti-landmine vehicles, terming them as “fancy vehicle” as its use makes them easy identifiable and emphasised on using private and unmarked vehicles for movement inside the jungles. Trivedi said Monday that one of the most challenging jobs for his force was to ensure that around 56,000 policemen sent from other states apart from the one-lakh odd Chattisgarh policemen were inducted safely.
Chhattisgarh: Naxal arrested ahead of elections
Raipur, Oct 29: Just before the beginning of elections, a naxal was arrested in the Maoist-hit Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. The Naxal had a cash reward of Rs 8000 on him and was arrested when he was trying to flee the site of raid. The cadre was nabbed with the joint effort of the CRPF and the CAF (Chhattisgarh Armed Force) from a forest area at Usoor. Named Nuppo Bhima, the cadre was nabbed during a search operation in Usoor, 400 km from Raipur. On reaching the forest of Galgam village, the security forces spotted him fleeing from the site, which is when he was chased and nabbed. On interrogation, the cadre confessed to several cases of loot, arson, murder and attempt to murder in the region.
Bengal government to shift key Maoist leaders from Midnapore jail
KOLKATA: West Bengal government has decided to shift some key Maoist leaders who have been languishing in Midnapore Jail to some other jails following an intelligence input which said that these leaders were trying to flee from Midnapore jail. A senior state government official said on Wednesday that they had recently got an intelligence input which claimed that some Maoist leaders were preparing for a jailbreak. Immediately after getting the input, state government has instructed jail department to shift these Maoist leaders from Midnapore jail to some other jails in the state. Important among these leaders are Sudip Chongdar, Prasanta Patra, and Sukhshanti Baskey.
It is learnt that Chongdar and Patra will be shifted to Dum Dum central jail and Baskey will be shifted to Bankura jail. Another Maoist leader Dhritiranjan Mahato will also be removed to Dum Dum jail, sources said. Kalpana Maity, a woman Maoist activist will also be shifted to Bankura jail along with Sukhshanti Baskey. Raja Sorkhel, another Maoist leader will be removed to a jail in Hooghly district. Prasun Chatterjee will find his new home at Purulia jail. All these Maoist leaders have been languishing at the Midnapore jail. The shifting process of these Maoist leaders will start from Wednesday itself, the senior official informed. Chhatradhar Mahato, leader of the Peoples Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCPA) which has links with the Maoists, will also be shifted to Alipur Central Jail in Kolkata. Mahato is also an inmate of Midnapore jail.
Maoists to boycott LS polls
The ultra Left CPI-Maoist will boycott the 2014 general elections in West Bengal, two years after Kishenji, a politburo and central military commission member of the outfit, who was later killed in an encounter, had asked the cadres to take part in the 2011 West Bengal Assembly elections and vote for the Trinamool Congress. The banned outfit’s central committee has issued a circular stating they “will give a vote-boycott call in Bengal and implement it with its full strength”.
According to the circular, “Bengal is an important and integral part of the red corridor. The party has suffered a huge loss in the state too. However, the party has decided…it will give the vote boycott call in Bengal… All frontal organisations, over ground and under ground cadres are directed to start preparations…” The message reached Maoist cadres early this month. “The boycott call will be executed in Bengal under the leadership of Kishen da,” said a source in Maoist ranks. The outfit had called for boycott of the 2011 West Bengal Assembly elections too, but Kishenji had defied the party line and wrote in a press statement that he wanted to see TMC chief Mamata Banerjee as the “chief minister of Bengal.”
However, Kishenji was killed within four months of Mamata Banerjee assuming the CM’s office. Significantly, the Maoists had not given a poll boycott threat during the recently-concluded panchayat polls in Bengal and three tribal-dominated districts in Junglemahal —- West Midnapore, Purulia and Bankura —- witnessed almost 85 per cent voter turn out. Moreover, in two years, no incident of violence has been reported from Junglemahal —- the area where the Maoists are likely to enforce the boycott. When contacted, Varavara Rao, a Maoist ideologue based in Andhra Pradesh, said, “There will be a vote boycott call in Bengal and the party will try to implement it. But it depends on the people of Junglemahal also.” Rao claimed that that Maoists have not left Bengal.
Maoist allege Agri Dept of monopolizing urea distribution
IMPHAL, October 29: The Agriculture department is pilfering the supply of Urea which is meant for distribution to farmers, according to secretary of publicity and propaganda, Nonglen Meitei of the proscribed Maoist Communist Party of Manipur. The release states that the Agriculture department had procured 3 lakh bags of urea for the paddy season and to be sold to farmers at a subsidized rate of Rs 286 per bag. But, the farmers had bought a bag at the rate of Rs 700 as the subsidy was not tendered in actuality. If the 3 lakh bags were distributed on time and subsidy was provided to help the farmers , at least 150 bags could be distributed to each Leikai across the State.
The announcement by the department that all the bags have been distributed to the farmers is a fictitious statement and the Maoist has investigated the matter. It is not only marginalizing of the farmers who are still poverty ridden but oppression to the public by the concerned authorities. The department must have conducted a sales upto the tune of Rs 6 crores from the bags but mostly the sale was monopolized for the profit of some section and not in the interest of the farmers. Hence, the Maoist take the stance that the matter will not be taken lightly and in the general welfare of the farmers will take up necessitate action. The release also invites suggestion from the general public and the state on the issue within 5 days.
Maoists threaten to stop banks from recovering farm loans
KOZHIKODE: Maoists have threatened that they will block any attempt by banks to initiate recovery proceedings against farmers in Wayanad who have failed to repay the loans. The rebels also warned of people’s trial against illegal moneylenders in the district who are responsible for the farmer suicides in the district. Kattuthee (Forest Fire), the bulletin issued by Kabani dalam of People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) of the CPI (Maoist), also threatened to eliminate the loan sharks and the resort mafia operating in the district. The bulletin, a copy of which is in possession of TOI, delineates the immediate agenda of the Maoists in the tribal areas in the state.
They foresee a larger role for themselves in intervening in issues hitherto neglected by the mainstream political parties. The torching of the earth mover at Kavilumpara near Thottilpalam on Sunday is seen by security forces as the first step in this regard. The bulletin claims that the guerrilla army, with the help of people, will give exemplary punishments to those who ‘torture and exploit’ tribals in Wayanad. “If there is any farmer suicide in the area we will hold a public trial on elected representatives, including MLAs,” the document said. Maoists have also declared that PLGA forces will resist any attempt by security forces to evict tribals from their habitat in the name of setting up tiger reserve and conserving forests.
“We will launch agitation with the support of people against projects that are dangerous to the environment,” the bulletin said. The document also claimed that the members of PLGA had held meeting at Karinkanni colony in Wayanad on August 14 and apprised the tribals of the resistance movements under the leadership of Maoists in central parts of India. The bulletin lashed out at CPM district secretary C K Saseendran for taking the side of security forces and trying to replicate Salwa Judum in Wayanad. “He reached the Karinkanni colony along with the Thunderbolts and Scorpios and wanted the tribals to be evicted from the colony,” the document said.
Rebels kill villager
BHUBANESWAR: Maoists on Monday night killed one of the four men kidnapped by them on Friday, at Gatibeda near Sunabeda tiger reserve in Nuapada district, branding him as a police informer. The deceased was identified as Bishnu Meher of Balangir’s Kushapali village. Of the other three, while Karna Meher escaped from the camp, whereabouts of Brundaban Meher and Guna Meher are not known, police said.
“The body of Bishnu was found near Gatibeda. We found Maoist posters near the spot. The villagers had stopped supporting the Maoists. The extrimists, in their desperate attempt to terrorize villagers, killed him. He never worked for police,” said SP (Nuapada) Umashankar Das. He said no complaint of four persons missing has been lodged in any police station of the district. The posters revealed that Maoists suspected Bishnu to be a police informer. “Three women Maoist cadres went to Bishnu’s house on Friday and called him for a discussion. They took him to the nearby forest. Villagers found his body after three days and informed us,” said a police officer. He said the Red rebels’ have claimed responsibility for killing Bishnu.