Apex court asks Chhattisgarh to locate 12 missing people


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday ordered the Chhattisgarh government to find and bring before it 12 people who have gone missing after moving the court for a probe into the alleged killings of over a dozen villagers by security forces in state’s Dantewada during anti-Maoist operations.

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Taking serious note of the allegations that the state police had abducted the people for moving the court against the killings of their relatives, a bench of Justice B.Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar ordered the state government to locate the missing people and present them before it by next Monday (Feb 15).

“We are shocked and amazed at the attitude of the state government that while the matter is pending before us, these things are taking place,” the bench observed while hearing a lawsuit by human rights activist Himanshu Kumar, who made the allegation aganst the state police.

As senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, repeated the allegations, the bench observed: “The government is behaving as if those who do not agree with it have no right to live.”

Gonsalves also alleged that all those who approached the apex court against the killings at Gompad village were being intimidated.

Kumar, in his lawsuit, said a 28-year-old key witness Sodi Sambo, who was undergoimg treatment for a bullet wound, was last seen here at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, but has gone missing from there.

Atul Jha, the Chhattisgarh government’s counsel, said the court’s order would be promptly communicated to the government.

“We will take all possible steps to produce the alleged missing persons,” he said, while denying that the state police have to do anything with their disappearance.

Jha also questioned Himanshu Kumar’s credentials for approaching the apex court, contending that it has to be seen that this kind of petition does not delay the operations against Maoists.

Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati told the court that the central government was looking into the matter.