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Media Management of NHRC Reports

Post Box No. 87, Main Post Office, Raipur – 492001: Chhattisgarh: India
Press Release:
Raipur, 16th October, 2008:
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has cited several incidents of heinous crimes committed by Salwa Judum, Security Forces, State Police & SPOs in its report submitted to the Supreme Court of India. In spite of these facts mentioned in the NHRC Report, the media reports giving misinformation and spreading falsehoods have become a matter of concern, demanding corrective measures the false impression being created in the mind of the public
Chhattisgarh PUCL has drawn the attention of the Justice Shri S. Rajendra Babu, Chairperson, NHRC through a letter containing detailed discrepancies between the media reports and NHRC findings. Copies of the letter have been sent to the Press Council of India and the Supreme Court of India.
Quoting heavily from Chapter 6 entitled FINDINGS of the NHRC Report, the CG PUCL President, Rajendra K Sail has said that several instances and incidents, verified and substantiated by the NHRC Fact-Finding Team include heinous crimes like murder, arson, looting, fake encounters, etc. committed by Salwa Judum, Security Forces, State Police and SPOs.
PUCL has also challenged the State Government to take seriously the recommendations made by the NHRC in this regard, all of these are based on such complicities of the Salwa Judum, Security Forces, State Police & and SPOs. It has
further demanded from the State Government to chalk out a concrete plan of action to implement the Recommendations contained in Chapter 9 of the NHRC Report, as the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in its order dated 19h September, 2008 that “Meanwhile, the State Government may consider the recommendations given by the Commission to do anything regarding law and order.”
In its recommendations, the NHRC has specifically asked for registering of FIRs on receipt of information of congizable offences, and in cases registered against police and security forces the investigation be conducted by an independent agency like CB/CID. What is significant is that one of the recommendations clearly indicate towards violation of human rights by the security force personnel, when it says that “The security forces personnel who are deployed in the area, especially for the protection of Camps, should be sensitized about human rights in order to minimize the violations of these rights at their hands”.
The recommendations also point towards several irregularities in maintaining proper police records and malpractices in the distribution of rations and other relief materials in the Relief Camps, lack of compensation to those who have lost their houses/belongings in arson/looting irrespective of perpetrators, improper transfer policy for the police forces, and indifferent and inaction in finding missing persons, etc.
PUCL has expressed pain and concern at the media management and manipulation, obviously at the behest of State apparatus, of such a sensitive issue like Salwa Judum, and has appealed to the media persons to beware of such mechanisms being adopted by the vested interests. PUCL has, time and again, stood by the principle of freedom of the press, and considers it to be one of the effective pillars of healthy democratic structure.
Rajendra K Sail
Mobile: 094242-01288