(New York, November 20, 2008) - The Indian government should take immediate steps to carry out the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission to end human rights abuses committed by all parties to the conflict in southern Chhattisgarh state, Human Rights Watch wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2008/11/20/letter-prime-minister-india ). The state-backed anti-Maoist vigilante movement called Salwa Judum has exacerbated violence in the region and displaced tens of thousands of people since mid-2005.
"The people in southern Chhattisgarh state have been attacked from all sides," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The National Human Rights Commission has made important recommendations, and the government should quickly carry them out."
Many of the commission's recommendations are consistent with those Human Rights Watch made in its July 2008 report, "'Being Neutral Is Our Biggest Crime': Government, Vigilante, and Naxalite Abuses in India's Chhattisgarh State".
The commission also found that all parties to the conflict have been responsible for serious abuses in the region. Salwa Judum members were responsible for killings, arson, looting, and forced displacement of villagers. The Naxalites, an armed Maoist group that claims to defend the rights of the poor, were found to be responsible for killings, abduction, extortion, and forced recruitment. The commission also found evidence of involvement by the security forces and special police officers in unlawful acts and called for additional investigation.
For more of Human Rights Watch's work on India, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/en/asia/india
For more information, please contact:
In New York, Jo Becker: +1-212-216-1236; or +1-914-263-9643 (mobile)
In London, Brad Adams: +44-20-7713-2767; or +44-790-872-8333 (mobile)
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