Furore in Rajya Sabha over alleged police atrocities in Chhattisgarh

RSTV Bureau

A scene in the Rajya Sabha during the winter session, in New Delhi on Wednesday, 07 December, 2016.

Rajya Sabha on Monday witnessed a heated exchange between the Opposition and Treasury benches after Congress party demanded dismissal of the Chhattisgarh government over alleged police atrocities against tribals and locals, including rape and molestation.

Countering the charge, the government strongly questioned the allegations and dismissed them as the one defaming forces who are doing a difficult job by staking their lives.

Raising the issue of alleged atrocities by security forces in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, senior Congress leader BK Hariprasad said tribal women are gangraped and molested but no action is taken against the policemen involved.

“It has become a fashion in Chhattisgarh, way back in 2012, a 14-year girl was raped and murder by the police force and later she was labelled as the Naxalite… In 2015, the judicial commission submitted its report to the Assembly concluding that victim wasn’t a Naxalite and it is nothing but a ‘state-sponsored murder’,” Hariprasad said.

“Recently the Indian Express (national daily) has reported the NHRC report indicting the police and state government of atrocities against tribal women in Bastar,” he added.

Cases have been filed against lawyers, NGOs and journalists who were trying to focus on the plight of the victims but the state government is yet to file a case against the police officers and men who were at the centre of the allegations, he alleged.

Citing several other cases of alleged atrocities, he alleged that “no action” has been taken against those police officers for it.

Venkaia-Naidu

Attacking the BJP-ruled state government further, Hariprasad demanded that the dismissal of Raman Singh government.

This drew a sharp reaction from Union minister Venkaiah Naidu, who said “Zero Hour cannot used be for condemning the forces.” Police, he said, is undergoing untold miseries and doing a “difficult job” by “staking their lives”.

“It is the Naxalites and Maoists who are killing people… The police and CRPF are doing a difficult job and staking their life,” Naidu said adding Chhattisgarh is one of the best performing states and a forward looking one.

Amid counter charges by Hariprasad and some Congress members, he further went on to allege that opposition members have sympathies for the naxalities and Maoists and condemnation of the forces will not be allowed.

“What is the evidence of rapes and other crimes? You are using the Parliamentary forum for making a sweeping statement,” said Naidu.

As Left members joined the protest, Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien said blanket allegations will be expunged.

Tapan Sen (CPI-M) said no one was questioning the important role the forces play but atrocities on common persons and rights abuse are concerns which can be raised. Nobody including a minister can raise a question over the right to raise such issues during Zero Hour, he asserted.

Kurien said for the misdemeanours of some individuals, the entire force cannot be blamed.

(With inputs from the PTI)