“Governor apathetic to alleged harassment of tribals by security forces”

Social activist Swami Agnivesh on Tuesday sought President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention to check alleged harassment of tribals by security forces deployed in Chhattisgarh to carry out anti-Maoist operations in remote villages. He has accused the security personnel of sexually exploiting tribals and lodging them in jails.

Swami Agnivesh, who met the President, alleged human rights of the tribals were being violated and innocent people, including children, being killed or harassed. He claimed that over 1,500 tribal people were languishing in jails in the State.

Accusing Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt of ignoring exploitation of tribals and other innocent citizens under the rule of Chief Minister Raman Singh, Swami Agnivesh urged Mr. Mukherjee to recall the Governor and order a probe into the matter. “The Chhattisgarh government headed by Raman Singh is responsible for these atrocities. But the silence and inaction of the Governor and his dereliction of duties under 5th Schedule of the Indian Constitution are making it all the more inhuman and tragic,” he said.

Citing examples, the social activist claimed that the State and the Centre had not taken any action in the case of alleged massacre of tribals at Sarkeguda village of Bijapur district in June last. Similarly, at Jhaliyamari village in Kanker district, tribal girls were sexually exploited in a government hostel for two years. The government was being apathetic to such serious crimes committed by security forces in the name of fighting Naxals, Swami Agnivesh said and urged the President to visit a tribal girls hostel in Kanker to get a first-hand account of how girls there were living in inhuman conditions.