RAIPUR: Taking cognisance of NHRC’s notice to the Chhattisgarh government over alleged rape, sexual and physical assault of 16 women in Bastar by state police personnel, state Home Minister Ramsewak Paikra said misconduct against tribals will not be tolerated.
The main opposition Congress has sought resignation of Chief Minister Raman Singh and imposition of President’s rule in the state, contending that the government has failed to tackle the deteriorating law and order situation, particularly in Bastar.
“The state government is committed to the safety and security of our tribal brother and sisters. It will not allow any kind of misconduct or undignified behaviour against tribals,” Paikra said in a statement last night.
“Whoever acts against the law and carries out acts of misconduct against tribals, they will be subjected to severe punishments irrespective of whether they are police personnel or others,” he said.
Notably, the NHRC recently sent a notice to the Chhattisgarh government over alleged rape, sexual and physical assault of 16 women by the state police personnel in Bastar division (in October 2015 and January 2016), observing that the government is “vicariously liable” for it.
The commission issued the notice to the government through its Chief Secretary, to show cause why it should not recommend interim relief of Rs 37 lakh to them, which include Rs 3 lakh each to eight victims of rape, Rs 2 lakh each to six victims of sexual assault and Rs 50,000 each to two victims of physical assault.
“When the state government carries out offensive against Naxals, it also takes into consideration safety and security of tribal population in the affected area.
“In this case (allegation of rapes and sexual assault on security personnel), police has also registered FIRs and keeping in view the seriousness of the issue, the state government had handed over the investigation to CID in July last year,” the state home minister said.
“The NHRC team had come to investigate the cases and submitted their preliminary investigation report which carries our remarks too. It has issued notice to the state government, which will submit its reply as per law,” Paikra said.
Meanwhile, Congress sought resignation of Chief Minister Raman Singh and imposition of President’s rule in the state over the issue.
“The NHRC’s report has once again proved that police personnel are involved in rape and sexual assault of tribal women in Bastar. The Chief Minister is not only trying to protect these police personnel but also keeps on praising them,” state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel alleged.
“The law and order situation has collapsed in the state, therefore the Chief Minister should immediately step down from his post,” he demanded.
“We also urge the Governor to recommend the Centre to impose President’s rule in the state,” Baghel said.