Since the Congress and Telangana
Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) coalition won the State Assembly
elections in May 2004, the State government has taken measures
for holding talks with the Peoples’ War Group, a radical
left wing armed opposition group also known as the Naxalites.
Following the declaration of ceasefire in June 2004, Andhra
Pradesh government lifted six-year-old ban on the PWG on
21 July 2004. The first round of talk between the government
and the Naxalites was held on 16 October 2004.
Though an independent cease-fire
monitoring is in place, peace remained on the edge.
The cease-fire with the
Naxalites helped to reduce human rights violations during
the second half of the year. However, two and half decades
of insurgency, which has already claimed about 6,000 lives, has institutionalised the brutality of
the police. Andhra Pradesh Police personnel have been responsible
for arbitrary arrest, torture, rape and summary executions
in fake encounters. The newly elected State government failed
to take action on as many as 47 lock-up deaths and 732 incidents
of police firing in which inquiries have been ordered. Some
of the cases have been pending for more than a decade since
The State police authorities
refused to take action against the culprits despite the
High Court judgement of October 2003 pertaining to the custodial
death of Musalaiah. He was picked up by the police from
Rajahmundry town of East Godavari district on 8 August 1999
on charges of selling illicit liquor and was tortured to
death. Only after the victims’ family members assisted by
human rights activist, M Subba Rao approached the High Court
again for contempt of court that the Superintendent of Police,
East Godavari district suspended 10 policemen pursuant to
the fresh direction of the High Court in July 2004.
The Dalits continued to
suffer violence at the hands of the upper caste Hindus and
denied access to places of worship, water wells etc.
The indigenous peoples,
Adivasis, also continued to suffer from discrimination in
the administration of justice, denial of access to health
care and denial of the right to land. On 8 March 2004 the
Supreme Court took strong exception to the application of
Criminal Procedure Code, 1898, instead of the CrPC, 1973
in the Scheduled Areas. This led to more period of incarceration
than provided in the conviction orders for more than 3,000
prisoners in the Scheduled Areas.
The Naxalites were responsible
for serious violations of international humanitarian law
including torture and killing of alleged police informers,
political activists and socalled class enemies.
In the first 200 days of
the Congress-TRS alliance government, there were reports
of death of more than 2,00 farmers through suicide and starvation. According to official sources more than
1,381 farmers have reportedly committed suicide between
1998-2004. Unofficial sources put the deaths at over
On 1 November 2004, the
state government announced its decision to establish the
State Human Rights Commission. But at the end of the year no concrete
measure was taken.