THE CHHATTISGARH government has announced the setting up of a committee headed by former Justice A K Patnaik to reassess cases against tribals who are in prison in Maoist-affected areas of the state.
The Indian Express had first reported on February 13 that the government was looking to set up such a committee, and that Justice Patnaik had given “in-principle approval”. The promise to reassess cases against tribals, especially in Bastar, has since been repeated by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on several occasions, including in the assembly.
When contacted by The Indian Express, Baghel said, “This is the difference between the Congress and the BJP government. That was a fascist government, which used to impose fake cases against innocent tribals of Chhattisgarh. Then, the tribals of the state were fed up of endless atrocities inflicted upon them by an insensitive government. That time, the government formed a committee which ended up being just a delusive one. We had promised the tribals and now we have constituted this high-powered committee to review the cases imposed upon them.”
“We believe that the innocent tribals living in prisons will get justice and freedom from a humiliating life,” he said.
A state government release said based on the instructions from the Chief Minister, a high-powered committee had been set up to reassess cases against tribals in Maoist-affected areas.