An Independent Enquiry into the Police Firing at Tapkara and Resistance to the Koel-Karo Project, Jharkhand

The state of Jharkhand came into existence on 15th November 2000.The formation of the new state was the outcome of the long struggle by the people of Jharkhand, mainly consisting of tribal people. Unfortunately, not even 3 months had passed that the newspapers carried the report of killing of 8 persons and injury to many in a police firing at Tapkara. The social groups and individuals fighting for human rights through out the country had reacted with concern and dismay.

Tapkara is situated in Torpa Block, Sub-Division Khuti of District Ranchi, where people of the region had gathered to lodge their protest against the police excesses, which had taken place on 1st February 2001. It will be appropriate to point out that there has been a people’s movement going on for decades against the proposed Koel Karo Hydro -Electric

A preliminary Fact-Finding Team of INSAF (Indian National Social Action Forum) visiting the site shortly after the incident found evidence of human rights violations. The Team recommended that a People’s Tribunal headed by a retired judge of a superior court be constituted to (i) investigate the incident, (ii) suggest steps to provide relief to the
affected, and (iii) recommend appropriate measures to the State Government.

It was thus that a Tribunal of the Indian Peoples Tribunal (IPT) chaired by Shri Rajindar Sachar (Retd. Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and former President of PUCL) was constituted, along with Sanjay Parikh- Advocate, Supreme Court; Shri Chittaranjan Singh – Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Uttar Pradesh; Dr Vinod Raina- Educationist
and Environmentalist; and Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj-activist of Chhattisgarh Mahila Mukti Morcha. This tribunal held public hearings at Ranchi and Tapkara on 1st and 2nd November 2001.

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