Retd SC Judges to Head Panels on Press & Illegal Arrests in C’garh
The Chhattisgarh government will announce a commission headed by retired judge of the Supreme Court, Justice AK Patnaik, to look into police excesses and wrongful arrests, The Indian Express reported.
The state will also announce a committee dedicated to drafting a Bill aimed at strengthening freedom of speech for journalists in the state, which will be headed by another retired SC judge, Justice Aftab Alam.
According to The Indian Express, Justice Patnaik’s commission will be assisted by local journalists, lawyers, police and civil society members, to which, Patnaik had given his “in-principle” approval.
“In almost each case, along with some specific persons picked up and charged as Maoists, many unnamed persons, mainly tribals, are picked up and put behind bars for an indefinite time,” an official told IE.
Chhattisgarh Police recently cleared Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar, Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Archana Prasad and four others of the charges of murdering a tribal in Sukma district in 2016, for lack of "concrete evidence".
Police also gave clean chit to activist Vineet Tiwari, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sanjay Parate, and Manju Kavasi and Mangla Ram Karma.
The tribal, identified as Shamnath Baghel, was allegedly killed by Naxals with sharp weapons on the night of 4 November 2016 in Nama village under Tongpal police station limits.
As per the complaint lodged by Shamnath's wife Bimla, the ultras had accused her husband of disobeying Sundar and five others who are their "well-wishers", a police officer said.
The complainant had claimed that Sundar and others had visited Nama village and asked Shamnath to support the naxal cause, the officer said.
Sundar and others were never arrested.
"During the investigation, no concrete evidences were found against Sundar and five others,” police had told PTI.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and PTI)