Asian Centre for Human Rights

Dedicated to promotion and protection of human rights in Asia



I. Overview

Ruled by the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition, Karnataka stepped up operation against the Naxalites in 2004. On 12 October 2004, over 1,000 police personnel were deployed to flush out the Naxalites in the Western Ghat region. [1] Although Chief Minister Dharam Singh invited the Naxals to the negotiation table in June 2004, [2] the People’s War Group (PWG) placed various demands including the dismissal of the Rapid Action Force, government apology to the family members of the alleged slained Naxals, release of some Naxals being lodged in Gulbarga jail and Chikmagalur jail, and an end to the evictions of the people from Someshwar, Mookambika and nearby forest areas for holding talks. [3] No dialogue took place in 2004.

The security forces were responsible for human rights violations particularly torture, rape and custodial killings. On the night of 16 March 2004, Mehboob Pasha died in police custody after he, along with five others, was arrested by a police team led by Sub-Inspector Balakrishna from the outskirts of Pavagada town in Tumkur District. [4]

The Naxalites have been responsible for human rights violations, including violation of the right to life. On 22 November 2004, one Hemmige Chandrakanth, a farmer, was brutally beaten up at his house in Talagaru near Bukkadibail in Chikmagalur District by a group of Naxal cadres. The wooden piece used to torture him had pierced through his legs, fracturing them. Chandrakanth suffered multiple injuries. He had to be admitted in the Manipal hospital. [5]

Atrocities on Dalits, threats of forced relocation and eviction of the indigenous and tribal peoples were reported.

Prison conditions remained deplorable. Ill-treatment of prisoners, unhygienic cells, sub-standard food and lack of medical attention were widely reported. Hundreds of undertrials have suffered from judicial delay.

While official figure of child labourers in the state is put over 39,000, non-governmental organizations put the figure much higher. Many of the child labourers are forced to work in hazardous conditions, and subjected to sexual and physical exploitation.

There are about 2.5 lakh sex workers in the state. Majority of them are under 18 years of age and hail from socio-economically marginalized families in tribal and rural areas. Although the Karnataka government has taken some measures to combat trafficking of women and children, the problem has been growing alarmingly.

[1] . YSR neighbour Dharam stays garam on Naxals, The Pioneer, 13 October 2004

[2] . CM invites Naxals for talks, The Deccan Herald, 24 June 2004

[3] . PWG urges govt to fulfil various demands, The Deccan Herald, 6 July 2004

[4] . Lock up death: Pavagada inspector suspended, The Deccan Herald, 18 March 2004

[5] . Naxals attack farmer for helping police, Deccan Herald, 23 November 2004