Delhi University professor Nandini Sundar and Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Archana Prasad have been booked along with Maoists and others on charges of murder of a tribal villager in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, police said on Tuesday. Sundar also termed the filing of the FIR against her ‘absurd.’
The list of the accused also included activist Vineet Tiwari and CPI-Marxist leader Sanjay Parate, who were named in a complaint filed by the wife of Shamnath Baghel. Shamnath was killed with sharp weapons by armed Maoists last Friday at his home in Nama village in Tongpal area.
In her complaint, Baghel’s wife mentioned that he was getting threats from Maoists after he and other villagers complained against Sundar in May this year.
“As per the complaint lodged by the victim’s wife, her husband had been getting threats from Maoists since he and other villagers had complained against Sundar in May this year. Even armed Maoists were referring to that complaint and anti-Maoist demonstrations while attacking Baghel on Friday,” said Shivram Kalluri, Inspector General of Police of Bastar.
“The family of Sham Nath Baghel is in grief and hence we will take their statements in next few days. We have enough evidences and documents and we will produce them (Sundar and others) in court to ensure that strict action is taken against them,” said Kalluri.
“Following the development, according to villagers, Sundar and others went in the village to allegedly threaten them not to oppose the Maoists,” the IG said.
Sundar had gone to the village with fake name Richa Keshav, he added.
A letter was then written to the Vice Chancellors of both DU and JNU informing that Bastar police was conducting an inquiry against both the professors following complaint received against them, he added.
In her Defence, Sundar termed the allegation as patently absurd. She said, “Right from May, it is the police who have been forcing some people to name us, in some way, inciting them. We would be crazy to go around supporting the Maoists…For the last 10 years, I have been condemning Maoists for killing informers. I have been condemning the police for their fake encounters. I have been talking about peace.”
“How can we be charged with murder and rioting when we are not even there? This is clearly part of IG (SRP) Kalluri’s attempt to intimidate and harass journalists, lawyers, researchers, political leaders and human rights activists who have exposed the reign of fake encounters, gang rapes etc,” Sundar said.
The accused are booked under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 and 149 of IPC at Tongpal police station. The report further adds that the Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) SRP Kalluri has said that “strongest possible action” will be taken against those guilty after the investigation.