Kolkata, : A prominent member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asserted that the state could not authorise its police or paramilitary to kill Maoists, and called upon authorities to address the needs of the country’s tribals.
Years of neglect and exploitation have turned some villagers and tribals into Maoists, or made them sympathetic to the philosophy, NHRC member Satyabrata Pal said while delivering the Sisir Kumar Bose Memorial Lecture on “An empty cup: Human Rights in the new India,” at the Netaji Research Bureau here Saturday.
“A vicious cycle has been set in motion. The denial of economic and social rights bred Naxalism (Maoism); now the state wants to make amends but cannot, because the Naxals (Maoists) will not let them,” he pointed out.
Pal said the NHRC had drawn up a critical list of “least developed, the most disadvantaged and the most neglected districts” to monitor whether the political, social and economic rights of the inhabitants were being protected.
“There is another list of critical districts now prepared by the home ministry, of those most ravaged by Naxal violence. It should not surprise you at all that, up the spine of India where the Naxals are most active, the same districts figure on both lists,” he said.
He observed that the people in the backward areas were getting sandwiched between the guns of the Maoists and the police.
“The millions of people who live in these huge swathes of our countryside, where the writ of the government hardly runs, feel that they are being ground between two millstones (police and Maoists).”
He said the NHRC has investigated several complaints about mass displacements forced by large projects, and found that commitments given to the tribals, and to others who have been uprooted in the name of growth, have hardly been honoured.
Regarding rights activist Binayak Sen, who has been sentenced to life for his alleged links with Maoists, Satyabrata Pal said the NHRC could do little.
“The court has given a judgment. We have no role to play. He has to go through the due process of law,” Pal said.CourtesyIANS