Killing Of Kishenji: Demand For Prosecution Of Security Personnel

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that a case of homicide under 302 IPC be booked against concerned security personnel in connection with the killing of CPI (Maoist) functionary Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji in an alleged encounter near Burisole village of West Midnapur district in West Bengal on November 24.

The version of CRPF and West Bengal Counter Insurgency Force officials that Kishenji died in an exchange of fire cannot simply be accepted at face value. The law is clear on this. Every such incident must be registered as a crime under Section 302 of IPC (read with other appropriate statutes) against those who participated in the said encounter, and the concerned police personnel have to be put on trial for culpable homicide amounting to murder. The final decision on whether a genuine encounter did take place and life has been taken in permissible circumstances that would exonerate the police has to be taken by a competent court and not by the police themselves.

Importantly, the investigation in the case must not be done by the West Bengal police, but by an agency as independent of the local police as possible. It must be handed over to either the CBI or a truly independent criminal investigation team under the aegis of the National Human Rights Commission. A magisterial enquiry or a judicial probe is no substitute for this lawful procedure.

Even though it has become customary for all governments to declare that Naxalism is not to be viewed only as a problem of law and order alone but as a socio-economic issue, that declaration remains an empty phrase. All governments are treating it as exclusively a law and order problem and dumping killer police forces in the affected areas, leading to unacceptable violation of the right to life and liberty of the people. The government must direct the police to stop these illegalities in the name of counter-insurgency operations and to function within the ambit of the law fully respecting people’s rights. The Central and various State governments must stop the ongoing policy of brutal suppression of the Maoists and address that movement politically.

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)

S Jeevan Kumar
(HRF State president)


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