Human Rights

Gallantry awards need substantiation

Kolkata: In wake of several fake encounters staged by security forces for seeking gallantry awards; the union government has hardened its stand. It now wants each ‘encounter’ to be substantiated with a post-mortem report. This stand has created an unusual situation for the West Bengal police. The problem becomes compounded by the fact that in most cases the Maoists take away the bodies of their comrades-in-arms killed during an encounter. On 15 Feb five Maoists were reported killed in an encounter at Silda camp. However, no body could be recovered. The dead bodies (or those who died later succumbing to their wounds) were quickly consigned to flames before the police could raid the funeral site. Slain officer Rabilochan Maitra’s name was recommended for a posthumous gallantry award. But in his case, the Maoists had taken away the body of their comrade. Thus no post-mortem of any Maoist could be undertaken. The state government and union ministry for home affairs are discussing the matter to evolve a formula and finalise the award list.

 

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 December 2010 on page no. 11

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