Human Rights Forum (HRF) was formed in October 1998 with a strong understanding that violation or denial of rights arises in all situations of structured oppression and inequality and the democratic aspirations arising from all such situations, and resistance to such oppression, whether organized or not, whether collective or isolated, are equally important for the Rights movement: theoretically, practically and organizationally.[ Read More → ]
The death of 25 persons on April 7 in Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Telangana (TS) in alleged encounters has led to much disquiet across the nation. However, the police averment that the killings are the result of “firing in self-defence” is in serious doubt.
Seshachalam: In respect of the Seshachalam killings, the highest number killed in any single “encounter” in these two States, we were pleasantly surprised by the NHRC’s direction to the Andhra Pradesh government to constitute an inquiry by a judicial first class magistrate under Section 176 (1A) of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Commission has also asked the government to submit the names of all police and forest personnel of the Special Task Force who were involved in the alleged encounter. The AP police were also cautioned against tampering with any evidence or documents and were also asked to keep all weapons used by the STF and by those killed in safe custody.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the police personnel who participated in the alleged encounters on the Warangal-Nalgonda border in Telangana and the Seshachalam forest near Tirupati in Chittoor district of AP resulting in the death of 25 persons today be booked under IPC 302 (murder) and other appropriate sections and criminally prosecuted. The criminal investigation into both the cases must be handed over to the CBI.
HRF believes that five undertrial prisoners who were unarmed, in handcuffs and under heavy escort were shot dead by the police while enroute Hyderabad for a court hearing. Going by preliminary reports, we also think the Seshachalam deaths were not the result of the STF resorting to the firing in the face of a serious threat to them from red-sanders smugglers but because the police shot to kill without sufficient threat. We recall that last year the STF shot dead 11 persons (5 in Kadapa district and 6 in Chittoor district) in several fake encounters in the Seshachalam forest. In all those cases they took the extra-judicial option even though in most of them they could have easily apprehended those who were cutting down the red-sanders. HRF would be soon conducting a comprehensive fact-finding into the Seshachalam killings.
The police simply cannot wash their hands off after declaring that they were under attack and they had to fire in self-defence. Whether there was a justifiable plea of self-defence is a matter to be decided by the courts and not the police. The law will not have it any other way.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the Government revoke the lease granted to Singam Bhavani for mining of laterite in an extent of 35.84 hectares (86.05 acres) near Asanagiri village of Sarugudu panchayat, Nathavaram mandal in the Agency region of Visakhapatnam district. We urge the District Collector, who is custodian of the Constitutional rights of adivasis, to immediately intervene and cancel the public hearing for the proposed project slated for February 19 at Sundarakota village. Not doing so would amount to a mockery of the environmental clearance regime.[ Read More → ]
Fact-finding report in the Jawahar Nagar death case: an enquiry into the extremely unfortunate death of a young boy and the biased investigation by the local police
Ricky James a boy aged 13 years and studying in 8th class died on 9 November 2014. The individuals the parents hold responsible for Ricky’s death, the local police and the media’s account is that Ricky hung himself to death.Ricky’s parents say they have reason to believe Ricky did not commit suicide as reported. Upon coming to know that the investigation into this case is not being done in an impartial manner, a fact-finding team comprising of 4 members of the Human Rights Forum looked into this matter over the course of 4 days, 5-8 December, and came to the following conclusions.
The Human Rights Forum (HRF) calls upon the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments to bring about a comprehensive ‘Drought Relief Code’. This Code should encompass measures that must be implemented towards effective drought relief and mitigation. The duties of the State to the people affected by drought and the rights and entitlements of those who suffer from drought must be codified in this law. Such a code is imperative at the earliest because governments continue to exhibit adhocism and tokenism in the matter of addressing agrarian crisis and even providing relief to the drought-hit.[ Read More → ]