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Supreme Court dismisses plea for probe into 2009 Chhattisgarh tribals’ killing, imposes Rs 5 lakh cost

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The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by activist Himanshu Kumar and 12 others seeking an independent probe into the killings of 17 tribals in Chhattigarh during anti-Naxal operations in 2009.

The bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice J.B. Pardiwala refused to entertain the demands of the petitioner and imposed an exemplary fine of Rs 5 lakh on Himanshu Kumar. The cost has been ordered to be paid within four weeks to the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee.

Besides this, the Centre had also pleaded to pursue a perjury case against the petitioners, which, however was dismissed by the Apex Court. Although the Supreme Court has left it to the State of Chhattisgarh to press charges against the petitioner against the offence of levelling false charges under Section 211 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Apex Court has suggested to take action not only for making false charges against the petitioner but also for criminal conspiracy.

Petitioner Himanshu Kumar, who runs Vanvasi Chetna Ashram in Dantewada, had contended that security personnel had not only committed extra judicial killings but also abused and tortured and have outraged the modesty of the family members of those encountered in Chhattisgarh’s anti-Naxal operations. Kumar claimed his petition is based on testimonies of villagers about the anti-Naxal operation in Dantewada district in 2009.

The Centre, in its plea, said the petition filed by Himanshu Kumar has been submitted on the basis of false and fabricated evidence. The Centre argued that these petitions seek to prevent security forces from taking action against the leftist extremists.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted before the court that State Police had registered FIRs in the associated killings and chargesheets were also filed in many cases. The SG informed that Himanshu Kumar’s FCRA license has also been suspended for not accounting foreign contributions. The Apex Court has decided to take time to clarify on giving the central agency the permission to probe.

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