An undeclared civil war-like situation prevails in three villages of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district where hundreds of Koya commandos (local armed militia) and anti-Naxalite Special Forces allegedly burnt houses, grain reserves and moveable properties of tribal people on March 11, a Supreme Court p anel has said.
The court’s special commissioner on right to food, Harsh Mander, was asked by SC to visit the villages and submit a report after PUCL filed a petition alleging it feared that conditions of acute hunger and starvation were rampant in Morpalli, Timapuram and Tarmelta.
Q: Can you feel relaxed at this point of time? While the Supreme Court has let you out on bail, your case continues, the life imprisonment term that was handed by the Raipur sessions court is being challenged by you and will be heard in the Chhattisgarh High Court, isn’t it?
A: Yes, I am hopeful that people will see the reality of the situation. The Supreme Court in the process of granting me bail made some verbal observations that there is no evidence of sedition against me. Even on the other charges against me, our lawyers have told us what we already know and that is there is no evidence against me. And there cannot be because I have not taken part in the activities of which I am accused. So, it is a made up case, and it is made up evidence.
I THINK I GRASPED THE FULL IMPORT of the case against Binayak Sen on one shadowless March day, as I walked through the “new” village of Bokrakachhar, in a remote corner of Chhattisgarh, while the noonday sun beat mercilessly down. From one end, I looked along two ruler-straight rows of identical pista-green blocks that made up the village, searching for a tree, or even a large bush, that could give me some shade. There was not one to be found—and that’s when the case hit home for me.
The recent outpouring of public outrage at the spate of corruption, scandals, and scams involving public money, and the real possibility of a strong Lokpal Bill appears to have shaken sections of politicians, the media and the business interests that control both. After being in limbo for almost four decades, the public pressure to move ahead with the Lokpal Bill, has been sought to be stymied by a series of personal attacks on the probity of civil society members in the Joint Drafting Committee. Instead of discussing the details of the proposed Lokpal Bill, and vigorously debating ways of making it more effective, the media are focused on character assassination of members of the Committee.