Statement on SRP Kalluri by Organizations and Individuals

January 24, 2019

*Why we think giving offices of responsibility to SRP Kalluri without full investigation into his service tenure is a betrayal of democracy*

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) Advisor, UNICEF

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 

8. Sundar Burra, IAS (retd)

9. Keshav Desiraju, IAS (retd) former Health Secretary, GoI

10. J Harinarayan, IAS (retd), former Chief Secretary Andhra Pradesh 

11. Sumantra Guha, IAS (retd)

12. KP Fabian IFS (retd) former Ambassador to Italy

13. Arun Kumar IAS (retd)

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. Adv Indira Jaisinh, former Additional Advocate-General of India, Delhi

33. Vandana Mahajan, feminist activist, Bangalore

34. Adv Lara Jesani, Mumbai

35. Lena Ganesh, feminist activist

36. SAHELI, Delhi 

37. Vani Subramaniam, film-maker, Delhi 

38. Dr Sadhna Arya, Saheli, Delhi 

39. Anuradha Banerji, Saheli, Delhi

40. Anjali Joshi, Saheli, Delhi

41. Shraddha Chickerur, PhD candidate, University of Hyderabad

42. Vimochana, Bangalore

43. Lakshmi Krishnamurthy, Alarippu, Bangalore

44. Chayanika Shah, Queer feminist activist, Mumbai

45. LABIA, Mumbai

46. Anuradha Pati, development expert and entrepreneur, Bangalore

47. Sujata Gothoskar, labour rights activist, Mumbai

48. Soma KP, researcher and land rights activist, Delhi

49. Ashima Roy Choudhury, Saheli, Delhi

50. Amrita Shodhan, independent researcher, Hong Kong

51. Dr Mira Shiva, Jan Swasthya Andolan, Delhi

52. Richa Aushidhaya, Jan Chetna Sangathan, Rajasthan

53. Meena Seshu, SANGRAM, Maharashtra

54. Dr N Indira, Independent researcher, Hyderabad

55. Malini Ghose, feminist activist, Delhi 

56. Seema Kulkarni, MAKAAM

57. Arshie Qureshi, Kashmir Women’s Collective

58. Niti Saxena, AALI

59. Natha Wahlang, Thma u Rangli-Juki, Shillong

60. 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

100. Shikha Pandey, Advocate

101. Chandni Chawla

102. Manshi Asher, Himachal Pradesh

103. Karthik Bittu Kondaiah

104. Sohini Shoaib

105. Tanmay Nivedita

106. Kalyani

107. Felix Padel

108. Kavya Chowdhry

109. Arundhati Dhuru

110. Nandini Rao, New Delhi

111. Nandini Sundar

112. Madhushree Basu, Dancer, Chennai

113. Alok Laddha, Chennai Mathematical Institute

114. Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, Anhad

115. Arjun Sheoran, Advocate, National Secretary, PUCL

116. Bhamati S. Filmmaker

117. Deepika, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Chhattisgarh

118. Trishna Senapathy, Cornell University

119. Taru Dalmia, New Delhi, musician

120. Manisha Sethi, Delhi

121. Oishik Sircar, Legal Academic

122. Uma V. Chandru, Bangalore

123. Manasi Pingle

124. Ajitha, WSS

125. Riddhi Pandey, Student, Graduate Institute, Geneva

126. Suratno Basu

127. Nidhi Joshi

128. Rishika Sahgal

129. Saswati Ghosh, Kolkata

130. Kalyani Badola

131. Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

132. All India Progressive Women’s Association

133. Jan Jaagran Shakti Sangathan, Bihar