Joint Press Release on Police Harassment of Civil Rights Activists in Chhattisgarh

We strongly condemn the threats being held out by the Superintendent of Police, Raipur, to activists of PUCL, Chhattisgarh and other democratic activists. Dr Binayak Sen, Mr Gautham Bandopadyay, Ms Rashmi Dwivedi, and others have been branded as Maoist sympathisers, and the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act is being invoked to jail them.

There is nothing original or new about such threats. It is well known that the Chhattisgarh Government has been indulging in the most brazen brutality in the adivasi areas of the State to suppress the Maoist movement. In the erstwhile Bastar district in the South it has fostered a private army called Salwa Judum and has licensed it to indulge in killing and arson against Maoist sympathisers, working in tandem with the police and the paramilitary. In the northern districts, especially Sarguja, the police are indulging in torture and staged encounter killings.

The PUCL, Chhattisgarh and other democratic activists have been raising their voice and campaigning against these illegal and inhuman practices, and for this service to democracy, the familiar allegation of being a 'Maoist' is made against them. When the Chhatisgarh Special Public Security Act was enacted, we expressed the apprehension that it would be used against democratic movements and activists, and the apprehension has been proved right.

We condemn this action and demand that the police, Raipur should immediately withdraw the case against them.

(K.Balagopal)
General Secretary
Human Rights Forum, A.P.

(G.K.Ramaswamy)
Convenor
Peoples Democratic Forum, Karnataka

(Nagraj Adve)
Secretary
Peoples Union for Democratic Rights

D. Suresh Kumar
Joint Secretary
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee

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