Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia



I. Overview

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. [1]   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, [2] 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 1993. [3]

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. [4]

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. [5]

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. [6] According to official sources more than 1,381 farmers have reportedly committed suicide between 1998-2004. [7] Unofficial sources put the deaths at over 3,000. [8]

On 1 November 2004, the state government announced its decision to establish the State Human Rights Commission. [9] But at the end of the year no concrete measure was taken.

[1] . Andhra lifts ban on PWG, The Tribune, 22 July 2004

[2] . Naxal menace: CMs of 9 states to meet, The Pioneer, 10 September 2004

[3] . State yet to take action on reports of custody deaths, The Deccan Chronicle, 13 December 2004

[4] . The Pioneer, 5 July 2004

[5] . SC raps AP govt on jailed tribals, The Deccan Herald, 13 March 2004

[6] . Farmers’ plight, The Deccan Chronicle, 26 November 2004

[7] . CM blames TD for farmer suicides, Deccan Chronicle, 23 November 2004

[8] . 4 farmers end life in AP, The Deccan Herald, 20 May 2004

[9] . Andhra to set up human rights panel, The Central Chronicle, 2 November 2004