India’s peace initiative with the Maoists was sabotaged by Andhra Pradesh Police who killed Maoists representative Cherikuri Rajkumar alias Azad (above) along with alleged Maoist sympathizer Hemchandra Pandey in an alleged fake encounter at Jogapur in Adilabad district on 2 July 2010. Azad was representing the Maoists before social activist, Swami Agnivesh, who was appointed by the Ministry of Home Affairs as the interlocutor for talks with the Maoists.
On 24 August 2010, former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Gegong Apang was arrested by a Special Investigation Cell constituted by the Guwahati High Court in connection with the Rs. 1000-crore Public Distribution System scam in the state.
Except Paresh Barua, Commander-in-Chief of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Assam has netted leaders of all the armed groups but peace remained elusive. On 15 September 2010, the Central government interlocutor, Mr P C Haldar met ULFA Chairman, Arabinda Rajkhowa at the Guwahati Central Jail but peace remained elusive.
Law finally caught up with the culprits of the Bhagalpur riots of 1989 in Bihar. The court of Second Additional District and Session Judge, Bhagalpur convicted ten more accused to seven years of rigorous imprisonment. The total number of conviction rose to 300 with 125 sentenced to life imprisonment.
In Chhattisgarh, the Border Security Force personnel allegedly tortured civilians arrested from Pachangi and Aloor villagers at Kanker district on 5 September 2010 and 6 September 2010. Medical examination of the five hospitalised men revealed that two had swollen feet and contusions on the hips and buttocks. Hairline fractures were found on the feet of a victim named Bidde Ram. BSF Director-General Raman Srivastava promised a thorough inquiry into the incident. The Chhattisgarh Commission for Scheduled Tribes also initiated an inquiry into the incident.
While alleged corruption of Rs 1,35,000 crores in the run up to the Commonwealth Games hogged the limelight, on 26 August 2010, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram admitted in the Rajya Sabha that over Rs 678 crore from the Schedule Caste Sub Plan were diverted for the scam tainted game by the government of Delhi.
Two activists, Amit Jetwa and Vishram Laxman Dodiya exposing corruption by using the Right to Information Act, were murdered in Gujarat. Jetwa was exposing alleged illegal mining by Dinu Solanki, Member of Parliament; and Dodiya was exposing illegal electricity connection obtained by a company, Torrent Power.
Haryana continues with its dubious distinction of
being the most unsafe place for the Dalits. On 26 August 2010, the Supreme Court while questioning the failure to arrest the accused who attacked the Dalits at Mirchpur village in Hisar district asked “If those responsible for committing atrocities cannot be arrested, then what right does the director general of police have to continue in office. If you (Haryana police) are not able to arrest them, we will ask some paramilitary force to arrest them.”
While the Shukla Committee (Abay Shukla, Additional Secretary, Forest) raised questions of viability of the dams in Himachal Pradesh in August 2010, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) rejected the request of the state government for the diversion of forest land for the Renuka Dam.
Over 100 persons were killed during June to September 2010 in Kashmir. Indian government announced a package minus accountability for the killings, and sporadic protests continued in Jammu and Kashmir.
One endangered tribe namely Kumarbhag Paharia disappeared from Santhal Pargana region of Jharkhand; 10 members of another endangered tribe, Paharia, died between 24 August and 30 August 2010 at Duggu Karma Toka village in Barhet block of Sahebganj district due to lack of basic medical facilities.
Karnataka was in the news following resignation of Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde on 23 June 2010 in protest against the failure of the state government to act against corruption and illegal mining. The State government banned export of iron ore from Karnataka on 29 July 2010 as a measure to check illegal mining in the state but illegal mining continues.
Kerala, ruled by the Communist Party of India (Marxist), failed to safeguard the land rights of the tribals who constitute only about 1.14 percent of the total population. Since 1960, a total of 10,796.19 acres of tribal land were alienated in Attappady region under Palakkad district. As of 24 July 2010, only two acres have been restored!
Tribals are being denied forest rights and they are dying in thousands because of hunger and malnutrition. Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Anup Mishra stated in the State Assembly on 11 July 2010 that 1,22,422 children, mainly tribals, died due to malnutrition during four years from 2006 to 2009.
Maharashtra witnessed several protests against development projects that are set to increase displacement. On 1 July 2010, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court stayed the clearance given by the MoEF to the Lower Penganga irrigation project.
In September, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed the chargesheet case against nine Manipur Police Commandos for extrajudicial execution of Chungkham Sanajit and Mrs Thokchom Rabina in a fake encounter at Imphal on 23 July 2010. The State government failed to arrest the accused.
In July 2010, the MoEF told the Supreme Court that Lafarge Umiam Mining Private Limited could resume limestone mining in Meghalaya under the revised Conservation Plan provided it pays up Rs 130 crores towards afforestation and development of tribal area. It was the same MoEF which submitted a report to the Supreme Court in February 2010 which among others reported that the Company had fradulently obtained the permission by showing the forest land as barren land.
On 31 August 2010, about 60 Myanmarese refugees were arrested and deported to Myanmar by the Mizoram authorities reportedly under the instructions from the Central Government to appease the Burmese junta.
Cease-fire in Nagaland led to sharp rise in extortion and abduction by the armed opposition groups.
In August 2010, the MoEF rejected permission granted to the Vedanta Aluminum Limited for its US$ 1.7 billion bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri Hills in Kalahandi district of Orissa. Will the MoEF follow the same standards with regard to the Posco project and Polavaram irrigation project?
Despite of hunger deaths continuing across India, about 48,315 tonnes of wheat rotted in Punjab.
In Rajasthan corruption over the NREGA funds surfaced after an evaluation by the Ministry of Rural Development while the State spent a whopping Rs.4823.53 crores during May-September 2010.
The fate of about 6.51 lakhs tribal population of Tamil Nadu hangs in balance as the Madras High Court’s interim order staying any grant of pattas under the Forest Rights Act continues. According to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, 16,314 claims were filed at the Gram Sabha level and 2,312 titles were ready for distribution as on 30 September 2010, subject to the High Court’s final order.
Tribals are being denied forest rights in Tripura as the District Level Committee has been given the right to allot in clear violation of the Forest Rights Act that gives the power to the Gram Sabha level Forest Rights Committee.
The death of three persons, including two farmers and a policeman, and injury to several others during protests by the farmers on 14 August 2010 against the Yamuna Expressway project at Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, once again called for repeal of the draconian Land Acquisition Act.
In Uttarakhand too the MoEF rejected the proposal for diverting 217.522 hectares forest land for constructing the 261 MW Rupsiabagar-Khasiyabara Hydroelectric Project in Pithoragarh district in July 2010.
The suicide of Rouwanjit Rawla, a student of premiere La Martiniere for Boys School, Kolkata, West Bengal raised national attention to the menace of corporal punishment. The school authorities rejected the recommendations of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to withhold two increments to the accused teachers. On 4 October 2010, the police arrested the principal and four other teachers for voluntarily causing hurt.