The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), taking suo motu cognisance of the March 23 report published by The Hindu on murders, violence and rape in a Chhattisgarh village, has sought a report within two weeks from the Union Home Secretary, Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police (DGP).

Agnivesh attacked

Social Activist Swami Agnivesh, who was attacked twice by members of the Salwa Judum and Special Police Officers (SPOs) of Chhattisgarh when he and some others tried to take relief materials to the people of Chintalnar and other villages on March 26, has sought President Pratibha Patil's intervention to render justice to the villagers.

He demanded a judicial probe by a retired Supreme Court judge into the incidents and despatch ofimmediate relief to the starving villagers.

The NHRC, in a sitting on Monday, considered the incidents and observed that the contents of the press report, if true, raised serious issues of violation of right to life of the tribal communities.

It wanted the officials to explain the steps being taken for the rehabilitation of those whose houses were burnt; and whether monetary relief was being considered for the victims.

The Hindu published reports and photographs, saying 350-members of the police forces of the State and Central governments, during a five-day anti-Maoist operation in the villages of Tarmetla and Timapuram from March 11, torched about 300 homes, granaries and wood-sheds, killed three men and sexually assaulted three women.

Journalists, who tried to visit the affected villagers, were intimidated.

The reports said the Koya commandos of the Chhattisgarh police and CoBRA battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force let loose violence while conducting the operation to destroy an arms factory, reportedly being run by Maoists at Morpalli in Dantewada district.

Buildings burnt

The Koyas burnt about 50 buildings, including homes and granaries in Chintalnar.

In Tarmetla village, the police burnt about 200 structures, including homes, granaries and woodsheds.

They shot dead Sulla (30), a villager who was picking tamarind from a tree and left his body hanging from the tree. Some women were kept in the Chintalnar police station and allegedly raped by policemen.