IGP Kalluri, the man alleged to have committed untold atrocities on clueless tribal people in Bastar, and the scores of human rights activists who have tried to intervene time and again in order to demand at least a semblance of justice for these innocent people, (who have been mercilessly mass-murdered, raped, beaten ruthlessly, maimed etc.) has been very graciously asked by the government to proceed on ‘medical leave’. This, after the activist Bela Bhatia was openly threatened and forced to leave Bastar, and the NHRC took notice and put the government and IGP Kalluri in the dock. This is not the only incident though, where the man has been accused of hounding human rights activists. In the recent past, there have been a series of incidents where any human right activist who has tried to stand up for the people of Bastar, has been either abused and hounded out of the state, and in some cases, even slapped with a murder case, by the State actors themselves, under the able leadership of IGP Kalluri.
It is pertinent to understand here that any action or inaction by the police force under Kalluri’s leadership has to be read as the action and inaction of the State as well. The declared agenda of Kalluri against the tribal population of Bastar, and any human rights activists trying to represent the concerns of that tribal population, could not have been practiced so blatantly without the implicit and tacit support of the State. It is in fact the best indicator of the State policy. Keeping in line with this very policy, Kalluri has been asked to proceed on leave. There has been no requirement felt by the State to suspend the man and at the least institute an enquiry against him. Instead, he has been rewarded with a gracious period of long leave, on medical grounds (where none existed), after which he can be quietly asked to re-join service at some other place and the horrific crimes committed by him during his tenure at Bastar, can be easily forgotten about.
In all this hogwash, where should one look even for a ray of hope for justice, even if delayed, for the innocent tribal population that has faced wrath at the hands of the State itself, the State which is constitutionally and legally bound to protect them? How will justice be delivered to those who dared and keep daring to stand up to this State repression, incidentally forced to step in because the State chooses not to do its job? This whole ‘proceed on leave’ drama is just another wily step by the State to wriggle out of the mess it has created for itself.
The big question, however, still remains unanswered. The Constitution and the legal-justice system emanating out of it has divided the State into three organs, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The Legislature is responsible for passing laws and ensuring their compliance. The Executive is responsible for implementing these laws and maintaining law and order in the State. It is responsible and answerable to the Legislature. The Judiciary is responsible for administering justice to the common man when their rights are trampled upon by the State or the non-state actors. All these three organs are collectively responsible to the Constitution, and finally to the people of the nation, as it is “We, the people” who have given ourselves this Constitution. Now, if this very State and the humungous system created (at least theoretically) by the people and for the people, turns against those very people, to whom should the people turn to? Why is it that justice should have to be demanded and struggled for and snatched from the system, by few individuals and groups who care? Human rights, as the term itself indicates, are rights that every human being has, just by virtue of being a human. Why is it then that there is a need for a special category of people called the ‘’human rights activists”, fighting incessantly (against the State itself) for these basic minimum human rights to be guaranteed to the people?
The proceeding on leave by Kalluri may be a brief respite for the harassed people of Bastar, however, in effect it is only a tactical move by the State, a move out of compulsion. The State should not be allowed to get away with trying to mask a necessity as a virtue.
Nivedita Dwivedi is pursuing my MA in Elementary Education from Tata Institute of Social Sciences.