A petition was sent to the Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission requesting the commission to dispose the final order on the long pending case of Human Rights Violations by the Joint Special Task Force operations in Karnataka and Tamilnadu during the hunt to nab Veerappan.
More than 1000 victim of human rights violations have yet to be addressed since the last order of the NHRC on 15th January 2007 recommending compensation for 89 victims of atrocities by the STF both in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There has been a lot of disappointment on the part of the victims that the series of complaints pending before the NHRC have not been followed up for long with a final order. There are several other victims who had also cases registered against them, detained illegally for long and tortured and even raped. In spite of their acquittal most of them have not had any occasion to experience the intervention of the NHRC. !! But the police personnel from both the states were promoted, and given cash awards and sites. The police and the state have not been caring for the rights of these unfortunate souls. This will make them lose their belief in the rule of law that was brought to them by the action of the NHRC resulting in the interim order of 15th Jan 2007.
Meanwhile, the appointment of Mr. Shankar Bidari, who was the Commanding officer of STF during the time when all those atrocities were committed, as the DG and IGP of Karnataka about a month ago. Meanwhile, Mr.A.R.Infant, I.P.S whose seniority was over looked in the appointment raised the issue at the Central Administrative Tribunal. Mr Infant also raised the issue that the Sadashiva Panel Report and the involvement of Mr. Bidari in Human Rights Violations was not placed before the UPSC. Further, the Karnataka branch of the CAT disqualified the appointment of Mr Bidari to the post of DG & IGP in its order dated 16th March 2012.
Perhaps this is the first time an Administrative Tribunal in India setting aside a top level appointment in the Police Department on the grounds of allegations of Human Rights Violations.
Mr. Shankar Bidari and the State government appealed to the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka against the CAT order, and the High Court of Karnataka upheld the CAT’s order and dismissed the petition. It should be noted that the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka described Mr Shankar Bidari as worse than Saddam Hussain or Gaddafi for alleged atrocities by STF led by him from 1993-94
The petition carried the following prays,
- the Hon’ble Commission once again takes up all these cases and passes orders with reference to the over 1000 victims who are yet to benefit by its careful attention;
- the Hon’ble Commission requests civil society organizations like PW-TN, SOCO Trust, SICHREM, Tamil Nadu Tribal Welfare Association, People’s Union for Civil Liberties TN and KAR(PUCL) and People’s Watch to provide it updated details on the victims in these pending complaints to ensure that all details with the victims are well established;
- the Hon’ble Commission takes immediate steps to further request both the state Governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to ensure that their promised compensation amounts of Rs. 5 Crores per state are paid and that this is properly further disposed of by the NHRC to the victims;
- that the Hon’ble Commission is further requested to ensure that criminal prosecutions are recommended against the police officers to be initiated by the State Legal Services Authority of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu;
- that the Commission further recommends to the Governments of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to withdraw all the gallantry awards and rewards conferred on the STF personnel.
- that the Hon’ble Commission further recommends to the Governments of the Centre and the two states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to ensure that long term medical attention, particularly physiotherapy on a daily basis is, made available at state costs to each of the victims who deserve it as early as possible through civil society run rehabilitation measures that are being undertaken there.
- that the Hon’ble Commission further recommends to the Governments of the Centre and the two states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to ensure that proper livelihood programs to ensure the right to life of each of the victims are undertaken urgently and on a war footing.