The District Magistrates of eight districts in Chattisgarh were asked to withdraw cases against Scheduled Tribes in Naxal-affected areas on Thursday. The Law and Legislative Affairs Department wrote letters to the district magistrates asking them to take "immediate" action and take back the cases registered by the police. The department asked the magistrates to withdraw the cases under the provisions of Section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel-led state government had constituted a seven-member review committee, earlier this year in March, expressing deep concern over the harassment of scheduled tribe residents and villagers of Naxal-affected areas of the state, especially in Bastar region. He had asked the magistrates to review cases pertaining to tribals in particular.
The records show that 115 cases were registered in Jagdalpur, 7 in Dantewada, 8 in Kondagaon, 3 in Bijapur, 3 in Sukuma, 34 in Kanker, and 1 in Narayanpur in Chhatisgarh, however, the review Committee recommended withdrawing the cases following which the Law and Legislative Affairs Department has decided to withdraw the prosecution on these cases as well. The Committee headed under the chairmanship of Supreme Court Justice AK Patanayak had earlier sent the matter to the Law Department in their first meeting on April 24, recommending the return of 313 cases registered under the Chhattisgarh Excise Act 1915.
Recently a Naxal, carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head, was killed in an encounter with security forces in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. The skirmish took place at around 3 pm in the forest of Gachanpalli village under Bhejji police station area when a joint team of security forces was on a counter-insurgency operation. Naxals have since the last couple of years been desperately trying to set up their new base in the tri-junction forest of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (MMC zone). The security forces from the three States have been making joint efforts to curb the menace for the last two years in these areas, he added.
(With ANI Inputs)