Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Salwa Judum PILs

The PILs on Salwa Judum were heard by the SC yesterday (Justices Balakrishnan, Raveendran and Tarun Chatterjee). The newspaper reports on the case need some correction.

There are two PILs - Nandini Sundar and ors vs State of Chhattisgarh and Kartam Joga and ors vs State of Chhattisgarh and Union of India. Notice in the first was issued on May 17 2007, and the CG government responded only on January 23rd 2008, after 8 months.

The counter does not address any of the specific allegations of violations, and denies that there is any violation of rights. It instead resorts to name calling. The CG government was not successful in having the petition dismissed. Notice on the second (Kartam Joga and ors) was issued on October 12 asking for a reply within four weeks. CG government has not responded even to date.

The Court has now given them three weeks time to respond to this petition. This petition is filed by three persons who are themselves affected - one had his house burnt down and is now a refugee, one was severely beaten by Salwa Judum and had to have an operation, and one barely escaped assault from Salwa Judum. The petitioners are all current or former elected representatives in Dantewada district.

The PIL provides a list of 537 persons who have been killed by the Salwa Judum and security forces from June 2005 till the present, including 33 children, 45 women, 416 men and 43 unnamed persons. This is a small fraction of the likely killings, most of which have gone unreported. At least 2825 houses have been burnt in the undivided district of South Bastar (Dantewada). At least 99 women have been raped.

The petition includes statements from the residents of over a hundred villages detailing incidents of killing, rape, arson and loss of property at the hands of the Salwa Judum.


Nandini Sundar Professor, Department of Sociology Delhi School of Economics University of Delhi, Delhi 110007 Co-Editor, Contributions to Indian SociologyPh: 9868076576, Fax: 27667858

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