Democratic Rights, Human Rights


Chhattisgarh Government has registered a criminal case involving murder against academics Prof. Nandini Sunder of Delhi University and Prof. Archana Prasad along with some others who had investigated human rights abuses in Bastar and Dantewada districts of Chhattisgarh. The team visited these areas during May, 2016. The team was accused of supporting Maoists and the State Home Minister had branded them anti-national. The fact is that the academicians were investigating into violence unleashed on tribals by a vigilante group enjoying patronage and protection by the police and the government.

These academicians are framed by the state police for their alleged role in murder of Shyam Nath Baghel of Nama village in the name of the wife of the deceased. This is obviously at the instance of the police officers. This is a crude attempt to harass and intimidate anyone who question police narrative and bring to the public domain the atrocities and violence unleashed by state sponsored vigilante groups on poor tribals in the name of combating Naxalites. Police in Chhattisgarh operates with impunity, has become a law unto itself and the Govt. has been openly supporting and encouraging police atrocities against the people. Govt. and the senior police officials do not tolerate anyone who question their acts or even investigate their conduct. Any such attempt is sought to be silenced by the heavy arm of the state, registering such fake cases being part of this strategy.

In the present case it is evident that the case against Prof. Nandini Sunder and others is also a vendetta against these academicians who fought a case in the Supreme Court against the atrocities committed by Salwa Judum, a vigilante group patronized and protected by the govt. and police. Supreme Court had held Salwa Judum to be an unlawful organization. The filing of this case is an attempt to punish her up to seek revenge for such an attempt.

Registration of such a case also demonstrates the tremendous powers enjoyed by the police under the present criminal law which was framed by the British colonial rulers to suppress and hold down the people of India to preserve their colonial rule over this country. The rulers to whom power was transferred in 1947 and those who subsequently came to power in India have preserved, perpetuated and in many ways further strengthened the power of the police over the people. The impunity with which this case registered also shows utter disregard govt. and police have for the highest judiciary, the Supreme Court, before whom the case on Salwa Judum was filed and who had likened the rule in Chhattisgarh to that described in the “Heart of Darkness.”

Registering of this case poses a big attack on the democratic rights of the people and a challenge before the democratic rights movement. It must be resisted with full force. We demand that the case be withdrawn forthwith and strict action be taken against the police officers responsible for framing this case.

November 9, 2016