Much hope was invested in the National Human Rights Commissions visit to violence-scarred Chhattisgarh. On Friday,it was all but dashed. For all the commission did was hear 27 selected cases of rights abuse in Raipur,recommend Rs 20 lakh relief for some victims and visit a relief camp in Dantewada.
The camp for violence-affected people was chosen by the state government so it wasnt surprising that,as NHRC chief K G Balakrishnan told reporters in Raipur,inmates expressed satisfaction over facilities being given to them. They did not mention it was the brutal state-funded Salwa Judum that forced them flee their homes and instead blamed Maoists for their exodus and requested the delegation to impress upon the government to check Naxalism in the state so they could return to their houses.
The NHRC also visited jailed tribal teacher Soni Sori in Jagdalpur. Sori informed the team she has been treated better since NHRCs last visit. The commission has expressed hope that jail authorities would continue to give proper treatment to Sori, Balakrishnan said.
The 27 cases the NHRC heard included a few of fake encounters and custodial deaths. In the case of Kunjami Joga,the commission held that he was an innocent villager who was killed,perhaps not intentionally,by the police and recommended Rs 5 lakh compensation. Similar compensation was proposed for alleged Maoist Ramesh Barumana,whose was also not found to be a genuine encounter.
The NHRC also held Jagdalpur jail authorities responsible for the death of Kunjami Kosa,an undertrial who had died for want of proper treatment,and recommended Rs 3 lakh compensation. The same amount was proposed for the custodial death of rape accused Santosh Dehriya in Raipur Jail. Compensation aside,why didnt the commission seek action against officers responsible for these crimes? That is not possible unless there is strong evidence against them,it reasoned.