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SPR Kalluri

We are shocked and dismayed by the recent appointment of SRP Kalluri to two positions of responsibility — as Inspector General, Anti Corruption Bureau and Economic Offences Wing – of Chhattisgarh state government. SRP Kalluri, in his service tenure, has a track record of engaging in human rights violations accompanied with a brazen impunity that has exemplified him as an officer who has scant respect for the ‘Rule of Law.’ Operations by police and security forces under his leadership have included many fake encounters, large-scale sexual violence on women, fake surrenders, arson, looting, arbitrary arrests and forced displacement. Indeed, the “Kalluri way” of handling counterinsurgency has been illegal, counterproductive and has eroded the basic trust that citizens need to have in the police and government.

There is evidence to suggest that Mr. Kalluri has not only led such operations but also participated in them. He was accused of having allegedly raped a tribal woman in Sarguja district when he was serving as Superintendent of Police, Balrampur, in 2007 In 2011, he was transferred out of Dantewada for his role in the burning, looting, raping and killings in Tadmetla, Timmapuram and Morpalli villages of Sukma district while he was Senior Superintendent of Police, Dantewada. Leaked CBI documents also directly implicate Mr. Kalluri in the arson at Tadmetla village, and he himself has admitted that he was in charge of the operations. In 2017, he was discharged of his duties as Inspector General, Bastar, after national government bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission took cognisance of his direct role in police and vigilante activities that led to human rights violations in South Chhattisgarh.

His strategy of forming and using vigilante groups to further hidden agendas was effective in eroding the social fabric of democracy and destroying several lives. Despite the Supreme Court verdict in 2011 that ruled against the use of Adivasi youth in counter-insurgency operations while calling for the disbanding of the Salwa Judum, Kalluri was quoted as saying that the members of the District Reserve Guards are “former Naxalites of lower cadres, Maoist sympathisers, villagers displaced during Salwa Judum, who are fondly called sons of soil, strongly passionate to reclaim their lost land from rebels.” In stark contrast, the judgement warns against precisely this, saying that using Adivasi youth to counter the Naxalite movement would be “tantamount to sowing of suicide pills that could divide and destroy society”(Para 20). Para 17-18 of the judgement points out that “Such misguided policies, albeit vehemently and muscularly asserted by some policy makers, are necessarily contrary to the vision and imperatives of our Constitution…” The judgment goes on to say that the use of local Adivasi youth in the identification of Maoists or Maoist sympathizers would not only result in the branding of persons unrelated to Maoist activities as Maoists or their sympathizers but would also “almost certainly vitiate the atmosphere in those villages, lead to situations of grave violation of human rights of innocent people, driving even more to take up arms against the state.” (Para 51) It is telling that Kalluri publicly declared his disagreement with this view. He claimed that activists had been misleading the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

The policies and methods that Kalluri embodies has built and reinforced a culture of impunity and unaccountability that outlive his tenure. He went after pro-democracy articulations with malicious vengeance and his response to public criticism was far from democratic and at times even overstepped the requirements of basic decency. During his tenure, all those who attempted to safeguard constitutional rights were sought to be silenced by vicious labelling, smear campaigns, defamatory tactics and physical attacks. Such a dictatorial response has a lingering negative effect and instils deep fear and prejudice amongst people. He has not only inflicted great violence and broken the law on multiple occasions, he has also done great harm to the institutions of policing by reinforcing the negative qualities attributed to the institution itself. A policeman is supposed to be upright, honest and law-abiding, qualities that Kalluri demonstrably lacks. If the people stop trusting the police, and the police itself becomes a lawless institution, we create more reasons for the people to move away from the promise of constitutional democracy.

One expects positions of responsibility to be given to officers who have a track record that is above board and who invite confidence. We ask the Congress Government, what is it in Mr. Kalluri’s service tenure that merits this treatment? We recall that not so long ago leading Congress leaders, while in opposition, had condemned the actions of Mr. Kalluri in strongest terms. To our minds, what we are seeing today is a continuation of political patronage that has enabled him to be promoted repeatedlydespite having a career marked with serious blemishes. Injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Amongst the undersigned are professionals who are social workers, human rights activists,journalists, lawyers, social scientists, educators, members of civil society groups, students,and others. Many of them have suffered at the hands of the often vindictive actions adopted by the police under the leadership of Mr. Kalluri. For every one of the undersigned there are many others in the villages who have suffered miserably and would sign this statement more than willingly. In the interest of fairness and justice, we demand that the government set up a Special Investigating Team, under the leadership of a retired Supreme Court Judge, to investigate into the crimes that Mr. Kalluri has been accused of, time-and-again, while holding positions of power in north and south Chhattisgarh. As in all such cases, he should be suspended pending the results of the enquiry.

Endorsed:

  1. Ardhendu Sen, IAS (retd) former Chief Secretary, West Bengal
  2. Amitabha Pande, IAS (retd) former Secretary, National Integration Council
  3. G Balagopal, IAS (retd)
  4. MG Devasahayam, IAS (retd)
  5. V Ramani, IAS (retd) former Director, YASHADA
  6. Dr KS Subramaniam, IPS (retd) Delhi 7.
    C Balakrishnan, IAS (retd) former Secretary Coal,, GoI
  7. Sundar Burra, IAS (retd)
  8. Keshav Desiraju, IAS (retd) former Health Secretary, GoI
  9. J Harinarayan, IAS (retd), former Chief Secretary Andhra Pradesh
  10. Sumantra Guha, IAS (retd)
  11. KP Fabian IFS (retd) former Ambassador to Italy
  12. Arun Kumar IAS (retd)
  13. Adv Indira Jaising, former Additional Advocate-General of India, Delhi
  14. Abha Bhaiya, Jagori (Rural), HP
  15. Prof Sujata Patel, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla
  16. Ritu Menon, publisher and writer, Delhi
  17. Nandita Gandhi, Akshara, Mumbai
  18. Pamela Philipose, journalist and writer, Delhi
  19. Ritu Dewan, feminist economist, Mumbai
  20. Geeta Seshu, journalist, Mumbai
  21. Dr Panchali Ray, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  22. N Sarojini, SAMA, Delhi
  23. Purnima Gupta, Delhi
  24. Virginia Saldanha, Mumbai
  25. Tarangini Sriraman, TISS, Mumbai
  26. Hasina Khan, Bebaak Collective, Mumbai
  27. Dr Veena Poonacha, SNDT University
  28. Dr Mary John, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, Delhi
  29. Runu Chakraborty, feminist activist, Delhi
  30. Gabriele Dietich, NAPM and Pennurimai Iyakkam, Madurai
  31. Radhika Khajuria
  32. Vandana Mahajan, feminist activist, Bangalore
  33. Adv Lara Jesani, Mumbai
  34. Lena Ganesh, feminist activist
  35. SAHELI, Delhi
  36. Vani Subramaniam, film-maker, Delhi
  37. Dr Sadhna Arya, Saheli, Delhi
  38. Anuradha Banerji, Saheli, Delhi
  39. Anjali Joshi, Saheli, Delhi
  40. Shraddha Chickerur, PhD candidate, University of Hyderabad
  41. Vimochana, Bangalore
  42. Lakshmi Krishnamurthy, Alarippu, Bangalore
  43. Chayanika Shah, Queer feminist activist, Mumbai
  44. LABIA, Mumbai
  45. Anuradha Pati, development expert and entrepreneur, Bangalore
  46. Sujata Gothoskar, labour rights activist, Mumbai 4
  47. Soma KP, researcher and land rights activist, Delhi
  48. Ashima Roy Choudhury, Saheli, Delhi
  49. Amrita Shodhan, independent researcher, Hong Kong
  50. Dr Mira Shiva, Jan Swasthya Andolan, Delhi
  51. Richa Aushidhaya, Jan Chetna Sangathan, Rajasthan
  52. Meena Seshu, SANGRAM, Maharashtra
  53. Dr N Indira, Independent researcher, Hyderabad
  54. Malini Ghose, feminist activist, Delhi
  55. Seema Kulkarni, MAKAAM
  56. Arshie Qureshi, Kashmir Women’s Collective
  57. Niti Saxena, AALI
  58. Natha Wahlang, Thma u Rangli-Juki, Shillong
  59. Prof Archana Prasad, JNU
    61.Soni Sori
    62.Bela Bhatia, Advocate and Social Scientist
    63.Rajeev Dhavan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India
    64.Kalyani Menon Sen
    65.Shalini Gera, Advocate, Bilaspur High Court
    66.Nisha Biswas
    67.Freny Manecksha, Journalist
    68.Pyoli Swatija, Advocate, Supreme Court of India
    69.Radhika Chitkara, Independent Legal Researcher
    70.Shreya Sangai
    71.Madhur Bharatiya, Advocate, Quill Foundation
    72.Guneer Kaur, Advocate, Delhi
    73.Meera Sanghamitra
    74.Anupama Potluri
    75.Baljeet Kaur, Quill Foundation
    76.Aritra Bhattacharya, Independent Journalist
    77.Isha Khandelwal, Advocate, Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group
    78.Kritika, Government Law College Mumbai
    79.Nikita Sonavane
    80.Arundathi Vishwanath, Bangalore
    81.Karuna D.W., Chennai
    82.Sarah Jacobson 83.Padmaja Shaw
    84.Dunu Roy
    85.Puja, Independent Legal Researcher, Patna
    86.Shobha R., Human Rights Activist
    87.Atindriyo Chakrabarty, Legal Researcher, Kolkata
    88.Nikita Agarwal, Advocate, Bilaspur High Court
    89.Rosamma Thomas, Pune
    90.Shailza Sharma, Lawyer
    91.Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh, Lawyer
    92.Uma Chakravarti
    93.Kiran Shaheen
    94.Sharanya Nayak
    95.Kavita Krishnan
    96.Kamayani Bali Mahabal
    97.Vidhya A.
    98.Shivani Taneja
    99.Jenny Sulfath
  60. Shikha Pandey, Advocate
  61. Chandni Chawla
  62. Manshi Asher, Himachal Pradesh
  63. Karthik Bittu Kondaiah
  64. Sohini Shoaib
  65. Tanmay Nivedita
  66. Kalyani
  67. Felix Padel
  68. Kavya Chowdhry
  69. Arundhati Dhuru
  70. Nandini Rao, New Delhi
  71. Nandini Sundar
  72. Madhushree Basu, Dancer, Chennai
  73. Alok Laddha, Chennai Mathematical Institute
  74. Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, Anhad
  75. Arjun Sheoran, Advocate, National Secretary, PUCL
  76. Bhamati S. Filmmaker
  77. Deepika, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Chhattisgarh
  78. Trishna Senapathy, Cornell University
  79. Taru Dalmia, New Delhi, musician
  80. Manisha Sethi, Delhi
  81. Oishik Sircar, Legal Academic
  82. Uma V. Chandru, Bangalore
  83. Manasi Pingle
  84. Ajitha, WSS
  85. Riddhi Pandey, Student, Graduate Institute, Geneva
  86. Suratno Basu
  87. Nidhi Joshi
  88. Rishika Sahgal
  89. Saswati Ghosh, Kolkata
  90. Kalyani Badola
  91. Malini Subramanium
  92. Saurav Dutta, Journalist
  93. Kaladas Dehariya
  94. Mamata Dash
  95. Shabnam Sengupta
  96. Priyanka Shukla
  97. Ajay TG
  98. Abinash DC
  99. Stan Swamy, Tribal Rights Activist, Ranchi
  100. Padmaja Shaw
  101. Vasantha Kumari
  102. P. Pawani
  103. Rinchin
  104. Sharanya Nayak, Koraput
  105. Vikas Dubey, PhD, IIT Kanpur
  106. Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
  107. All India Progressive Women’s Association
  108. Jan Jaagran Shakti Sangathan, Bihar

One Comment

  1. What else can we expect from the Congress party (which rules Chhattisgarh today) whose leader Mahendra Karma formed the notorious Salwa Judum to suppress Adivasi protests in the name of `anti-Maoist operations’ ? If Rahul Gandhi wants to establish his party’s credibility among the Adivasis of Chhattisgarh, he should advice his party’s chief minister in Chhattisgarh to publicly apologize to them for the misdeeds carried out by Salwa Judum (which were condemned by the Supreme Court), and to punish SRP Kalluri for presiding, as the police chief, over the killing of innocent tribals – instead of promoting him, an act which is an insult to his victims among Chhattisgarh Adivasis, who voted for the Congress expecting justice.