Activist’s family alleges harassment by Chhattisgarh police

New Delhi, Nov 27 ( A rights organisation has highlighted the case of an activist in Chhattisgarh who they claim has been arrested by the state police and was being coerced to join the Salwa Judum, an anti-Maoist civil militia. Police has denied the charge.

According to Citizens Initiative for Peace, the parents of Linga Ram Kodopi, an activist in Chhattisgarh, have alleged that police had arrested their son and were forcing him to join the Salwa Judum.

Kodopi’s father Joga Ram, a resident of Sameli village in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, said his son was arrested Nov 26 night and “continues to be in illegal detention at the Dantewada police station”.

The family has learned that “he is being tortured by police”.

However, Superintendent of Police Amaresh Mishra in Dantewada denied the allegation and said Linga Ram Kodopi was not in their custody.

“This is not true. Linga is not with us and if at all he has been picked up how can a detention of only 24 hours be illegal,” Mishra told IANS over phone from Chhattisgarh.

Joga Ram, a farmer and former village head, alleged that police ransacked their house when they came in search of Kodopi, 24.

Kodopi was earlier arrested Aug 31 and freed Oct 6 after the intervention of the Bilaspur High Court on a habeas corpus petition filed by his family, Joga Ram said.

“During the period of illegal detention Linga was physically and mentally tortured by police and was pressurized to become a special police officer (SPO),” according to the father.

The family has also filed an affidavit in the court detailing how their son was tortured.

Joga Ram alleged that he was also detained and was asked by police to revoke the affidavit.

However, the police officer said Kodopi had volunteered to join the SPO in September as he was from an interior village and knew some Maoist guerrillas by face.

“He wanted to become an SPO. He knew the Naxalites by face,” Mishra said.

“They (the family) later went to the high court saying their son wants to resign from the job. The court examined him in-camera and ordered that he may be permitted to resign and he was allowed to do so,” said the officer, adding that the police have no knowledge about him after that.