Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (CHRO), Keralam hereby endorses the following campaign to protect the Freedom of the Press.
National Human Rights Commission,Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg,
Sub: Complaint against the illegal detention and torture of AfzalKhan, a correspondent of HindSat News paper based in Bhopalpatnam,District Dantewada on 15 November 2006
I am writing to seek immideate intervention of National Human Rights Commission against the illegal detention and torture of Afzal Khan, a correspondent of HindSat News paper based in Bhopalpatnam,District Dantewada on 15 November 2006.
According to Afzal on the evening of 15th November Salwa Judum reached Bhopalpatnam. He with his brother Zahir Khan ( reporter, Jansatta) and few more reporters were called by leaders of Salwa Judum including Budhram Rana and Hanif Khan. Salwa Judum leaders accused them of helping the Sarpanchs who went to Raipur few days back to request Govt to stop Salwa Judum entering their area.Afzal told the leaders that they should check with the Sarpanchs when they are back whether they helped them to go to Raipur or not. After that they were asked to go after threatening "not to repeat same acts".After sometime Afzal was called again. This time he was asked to witness the Putla Dahan ( effigy burning) of anti Salwa Judum leaders. During this function he was again asked similar questions by the SPOs and blamed for writing anti Salwa Judum news. Afzal told them that "today is the first day of Salwa Judum in Bhopalpatnam area, so how come I may be writing against Salwa Judum ?The reports about our representatives not wanting Salwa Judum was written by reporters from Raipur".But SPOs were not happy with the reply and Afzal was taken inside a room and was badly beaten up. In the process he has fractured two of his fingers.Afzal is frightened to go to file an FIR. " They have threatened to kill my entire family if I complain against them", Afzal told.
Afzal also told that "Patel of Gullaguda was beaten up badly when he went to save a girl from his village being molested by Salwa Judum. He has got 11 stitches but police has refused to file his complaint". Afzal could not recount the Patel's name."Deputy Sarpanch of Tamlapalli Saddu and Hingaram of Gullapeta were also beaten up by Salwa Judum and police have refused to file their FIRs too". Afzal says "Kotwars from all the villages from this area were beaten up that day. The Salwa Judum members ate our chicken and goats and rampaged the whole area".
While talking to FFDA, Afzal told that he has also injury on his head, and he has been threatened not to file any report with police and/or any where.In this context,I would like to request you to intervene and take following measures:
- Direct the State government of Chhattisgarh to make an independent inquiry and report NHRC within four weeks time;
- Direct the State government of Chhattisgarh to bring the perpetrators into the court of law;
- Direct the State government of Chhattisgarh to prevent such attack on journalists and other fact-finders on Salw Judum;
- Direct the Sate government of Chhattisgarh to pay interim compensation of INR 500000/- (Five lakh) and immediate medical eexpenses; a
- and Please take anyother measures that NHRC deems fit.
With kind regards
Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy
MIG-22, Sahayog Park
(In Front of Back Gate of Prem Park),
Mahaveer Nagar, P.O.:Ravigram, Raipur, Chhattisgarh 492 006, India
Tel: 91 771 4022587/4022906
A similar older incident, Read here