The National Human Rights Commission in March had directed Chhattisgarh government to pay Rs 1 lakh each as compensation to 13 human rights activists, academicians and lawyers who faced “false” police cases in 2016 — but they are yet to receive the sum.
A copy of the order, which was to be implemented within six weeks, was made available to the complainants in July. While state government officials acknowledged that they had received the directives, police said they hadn’t received any such communication.
The beneficiaries include DU professor Nandini Sundar and seven lawyers from Telangana. The cases against them, including one relating to the alleged killing of a person in Sukma, were filed by Bastar Division Police at police stations in the district in 2016.
According to the order, the commission took suo motu cognizance of these FIRs. “The case pertains to alleged harassment and intimidation by Chhattisgarh police in general and Bastar police against the human rights lawyers, academicians etc,” it read.
Besides Sundar, rights activists Archana Prasad, Manju Kawasi, Vineet Tiwari, Sanjay Parate and Mangla Ram Karma were booked on November 5, 2016 under sections of IPC and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for the alleged murder of a person in Nama village. “The case was supposedly filed on the written complaint of Shyamnath Baghel’s widow, Vimla Baghel,” they said in a press release. “However, she is on record saying she did not name anyone.”
The Supreme Court granted them protection from arrest on November 2016, but they filed a fresh plea in 2018 as the matter had not been looked into or closed. The case registered under the then BJP government was probed by the Congress government. In February 2019, the activists’ names were removed from the FIR.