Rights body to contest Dawaram's posting

The Times of India News Service

CHENNAI: A human rights organisation has announced that it willcontest the Tamil Nadu government's appointment of Walter Dawaram as chief of the Special Task Force (STF) deployed to capture forest brigand Veerappan.

The People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) said Dawaram's appointment by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha was against the ``principles of natural justice''.

PUCL Joint Secretary S. Balamurugan told reporters in Erode district that the organisation would file a writ petition against Dawaram's appointment in the wake of the charges filed against him for violating the rights of a tribeswoman when he was STF chief in the mid-1990s.

Deposing before the Justice Sadasiva Commission, which is investigating alleged excesses by the STF in 1992-93, Thangammal, the tribeswoman, charged Dawaram with violating her rights. Dawaram retired as assistant director-general of police when the DMK came to power in Tamil Nadu in 1996.

Several rights organisations, like the PUCL, allege that the STF under Dawaram harassed villagers and tribespersons living in the forested border districts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka when the search for Veerappan was on.

According to PUCL, three years ago at least 200 tribespersons, deposing before the Sadasiva Commission in Gobi and Kolathur, blamed the STF under Dawaram and Shankar Bidari, a senior police officer from Karnataka, for the excesses. The commission, set up in 1997, could not complete its hearing as police officials being investigated for the alleged atrocities obtained stay orders.

When Veerappan kidnapped Kannada actor Rajkumar on July 31, 2001, he demanded that the stay orders against the Sadasiva Commission be vacated. Following Rajkumar's release, police officials obtained fresh stay orders against the publication of the Sadasiva panel report.

``The matter is pending before the courts -- the Mysore special court, the Madras High Court, the Sadasiva panel and the NHRC. It is not correct to appoint Dawaram as chief of the STF again,'' the PUCL said. (IANS)


Forum objects to Dawaram’s appointment DH News Service

“The Campaign for the Relief and Rehabilitation of Tada Detenus from MM Hills undergoing detention in Mysore Central Jail” has urged Tamil Nadu government to rescind the order of appointment of former Tamil Nadu Director General of Police Walter Dawaram as the chief of the Special Task Force till he is cleared of the charges of human rights violation.

In a release here, Campaign convenor Prof Hasan Mansur has said that more than one witness had testified on Mr Dawaram’s role in the police excesses before the panel set up by the National Human Rights Commission to inquire into the cases of human rights violations by the joint forces of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka while engaging in their task of nabbing forest brigand Veerappan.

He pointed out that these cases are yet to be disposed of following a stay on the panel and were pending before the Karnataka High Court.

Hence the Campaign was shocked to learn the appointment of Mr Dawaram as chief of STF, he said demanded that the appointment order should be rescinded till Mr Dawaram is absolved of the charges. Meanwhile, Prof Mansur also appealed to the Karnataka government not to associate with either Mr Dawaram or any other officials, charged and named by victims in these hearings, till they are absolved of the charges if the government had any concern for the human rights of the victims.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: June 7, 2001
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