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PUCL Condemns Detentiion of Gandhian Himanshu Kumar

Vanvasi Chetna Ashram before it was demolished in May 2009

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns the detention of Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA), Dantewada and PUCL State Executive member of Chhattisgarh at Kanker Police Station today 3rd January, 2010.  This detention has been made on the eve of the Public Hearing that was being organised by VCA on the atrocities being committed by police and security forces in that area.

According to the VCA, the detention of Himanshu at this stage is to clearly sabotage the hearing. According to PUCL national president Prabhakar Sinha and General Secretary Pushkar Raj  Himanshu’s detention follows a series of harassment that he and his organisation have been subjected to which include:

· Demolition of his ashram outside Dantewda.

· Arrest of Sukhnath on 1st August, ’09 and of Kopa Kunjam on 10th December, ’09, both senior activists of VCA , under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005, who were trying to implement the SC [Supreme Court] orders of implementing the Internally displaced people.

· Preventing Himanshu from taking out a padyatra [journey on foot] through the villages of Dantewada district in December, ‘09.

· Intimidation by the police and Salwa Judum activists to harass women’s groups who were prevented from reaching Dantewada on 15 December, ’09.

· Illegal detention and intimidation of the 5 women who were fighting their own cases of rape by salwa judum members. They were forcibly made to sign papers by SPOs [Special Police Officers] and Police when they were illegally detained after 15 December, ’09 for 5 days at Dronpal Police Station, that they were not wanting to pursue their cases.

· Intimidation by the administration of the landlord who rented the house to Himanshu following which he is being forced to vacate the premises.

· Preventing Himanshu and VCA from even booking rooms at the local Dharmashala including forcing one owner to return the money of rooms he had booked for VCA.

He was arrested, when he was trying to escort Shambhu to Raipur, a victim of Operation Green Hunt who sustained bullet injuries in her leg and had to get to Delhi for treatment.  She was prevented by the Police from undertaking the travel so Himanshu with others boarded the vehicle and were detained at Kanker, Jagdalpur.

PUCL demands that the Chhattisgarh State Government release Himanshu and Kopa and Sukhnath immediately along with ending all harassment of Himanshu Kumar and other members of the VCA who have a right to exercise their democratic rights.

PUCL demands that the State Government implement the SC orders of rehabilitation of internally displaced people which was the main work of Himanshu and the VCA which the local administration and the Government did not like. PUCL also demands stopping of all operations like Green Hunt and others that are responsible for human rights violations and letting activists and media to freely move in the areas.

June 1, 2009



  • The Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA) was implementing various government schemes in the area including Mitanin health programme , watershed development, water and sanitation programme in villages and Salwa judum camps and Himanshu Kumar was also on various government committees including district legal aid committee. It is inexplicable why an ashram run by him should have been demolished.
  • We think the government should have been grateful to him as he has been doing this constructive work in the region for the last 17 years, without any vested interest.
  • As the matter of land is subjudice the action of the demolition of the ashram by the district administration was unwarranted.
  • The authorities’ contention that the land which was earlier agricultural land in government records was changed to revenue forest land , is unprecendented, We think that the due process was not followed in this case.
  • The VCA was engaged in the important task of resettling the internally displaced persons in their original villages which no government agency had undertaken inspite of the Supreme Courts instruction to the CG government.
  • The team spoke to various persons ( villagers, civil society activists and local media persons ) in Kanwalnar, Lingagiri, Basagudha, Kamaram, Bijapur and Dantewada. All of them confirmed and acclaimed the constructive work that the VCA has been doing in the region
  • The resettled villagers need immediate provision of facilities like PDS, primary health, primary education and ;public transport and also to meet their immediate needs for foing agriculture We hope the government would do the needful in this regard without delay.

We sincerely hope the authorities would take remedial measures at the earliest to mitigate the problems of the VCA and enable to it continue its constructive work in the area.

MyNews, January 4, 2010