Chhattisgarh rapped for calling rights activists Maoist sympathisers

New Delhi, Feb 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday rebuked the Chattisgarh government for raising the Maoists’ fear to run down civil society activists raising their voice against human rights violations.

A bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar snubbed the state government while also expressing outrage over its decision to exhume bodies of 10 tribals allegedly killed by the local police in a village of Dantewada district for fresh post-mortem examination without its permission.

‘Suppose somebody fights their (victims) case, so what does that imply? First, you say they are Naxals (Maoists), then you say they are sympathisers, then you say they are sympathisers of symnpathisers. Why all these innuendos?’ the bench asked the state government counsel Ranjit Kumar.

The bench’s query came as Ranjit Kumar insinuated that petitioner Himanshu Kumar, who moved the apex court for protection to eyewitness of alleged police killings, was a Maoist sympathiser.

‘What do you mean by sympathisers?’ asked the bench. ‘Sympathy is fighting for their cause (victims). Nobody is advocating their cause. They are not saying their action should be condoned.’

‘You mean to say they (human rights activists) should not be concerned with human rights and fundamental rights? Don’t keep bringing this Naxal issue. The only issue before this court is whether any such incident has happened or not,’ the bench told Ranjit Kumar.

Ranjit Kumar sought to impress upon the bench that petitioners were trying to discredit the government by misleading the court and media, but his argument did not move the court.

‘Naxals are not before us. Why is the issue being repeatedly raised before us about those who are not before us? Is it your case that the petitioners are Naxals?’, the bench asked.

Yet Ranjit Kumar stuck his gun saying there was ‘some degree of sympathy’ for Maoists in them.

The bench told the state that it was primarily concerned if the ten tribals, allegedly the Maoists’ sympathizers, were killed by security personnel.

‘We are concerned with the short question whether security forces had conducted themselves in such a fashion. If prima facie there is something….. even if there is a slightest suspicion, we have to examine,’ the bench said.

The bench also wondered if the police could exhume the bodies for a post-mortem examination when the petition seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or any other independent investigation agency was pending before it.

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