Firing case: panel summons Chief Secretary
The Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary, Mr K.S. Sharma, has been directed to appear before the National Commission for SCs and STs in New Delhi to explain the state government’s stand on the Mehndikheda police firing of April 2. Four tribesmen were killed in the firing.
This was disclosed here today by the Commission Chairman, Mr Dileep Singh Bhuria, who had earlier visited Mehndikheda and found the police firing unwarranted. Mr Bhuria told mediapersons that the Collector of Dewas district had constituted a task force for the demolition of encroachments. The ancestral house of tribesmen in several villages were demolished as the district administration felt that they had used timber unauthorisedly.
Mr Bhuria said the Collector, Superintendent of Police and DFO of Dewas had accompanied him when he toured the affected villages. As they charged the tribesmen with illicit felling of trees, he expressed his desire to visit the house of the DFO at Dewas to see for himself that the DFO had not used the timber unauthorisedly. The SC/ST Commission Chairman said not only the DFO but the Collector and the SP also quietly disappeared from his entourage after that.
Mr Bhuria was also critical of the Madhya Pradesh Governor, Dr Bhai Mahavir, for his utter failure to discharge his constitutional obligations to protect the interest of the tribesmen. He said the Governor of a State had been given exclusive powers under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution for protection of the interests of the tribesmen. He was “sorry” that the Governors in the country, including the Madhya Pradesh Governor, had not fulfilled their responsibilities.
Mr Bhuria said the Central Government had recently sanctioned diversion of forestland which had been occupied by the poor prior to October 24, 1980 for cultivation and residing. Involved are over 1.42 lakh families — 80 per cent of them tribesmen and the rest belonging to the SCs, the OBCs and others