Friday, October 26, 2007

Karnataka: People may have to be armed against naxals: Nayak

Special Correspondent

'There is a need for confidence-building in Malnad'

Bangalore: Karnataka State Human Rights Commission Chairperson S.R. Nayak has said that "a time may come" when people will have to be armed to counter the "naxal menace".

Briefing presspersons on his recent visit to the site of the "police encounter" in Menasinahadya in Chikmagalur district, where five persons were killed, he said that there was a need for confidence building measures in the "once peaceful Malnad region".


Besides reaching basic amenities to inaccessible and deprived villages such as Menasinahadya, local people also needed to be given adequate protection from "extremist elements", he said.

Arming them may be an option in "effective confrontation", he said.

Mr. Nayak cited the Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh as an example of what he called people's resistance to naxalism.


Asked if Salwa Judum, a counter-insurgency force, could be a model given its alleged human rights violations and the civil war-like situation it has resulted in, he claimed it was not an armed force.

Coming down heavily on naxalism, he said that nobody had any business to assume "extra-constitutional authority" in a democracy and it was against the "basic tenets of our civilisation".

Speaking about the commission's inquiry on whether the Menasinahadya "encounter" was a fake one, Mr. Nayak said that a final decision on it was kept in abeyance, since two inquiries were pending on the incident.

One was a magisterial inquiry ordered by the Deputy Commissioner and the other by the Superintendent of Police. They were also awaiting directions from the National Human Rights Commission, he added.

"Expressing any opinion now will be premature," he said. The team may visit the village again, he added.


On the commission's inquiry into the suicide by a Dalit student on the Indian Institute campus, allegedly due to caste harassment, he said that the Home Secretary had been instructed to institute an inquiry by an officer of the rank of the Inspector General of Police. A report was awaited, he added.

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