Delhi University (DU) professor Nandini Sundar has been booked along with a professor of JNU and others on charges of murder of a tribal villager in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, police said Tuesday. “An FIR was lodged against DU Professor Nandini Sundar, Archana Prasad (JNU Professor), Vineet Tiwari (of Delhi’s Joshi Adhikar Sansthan), Sanjay Parate (Chhattisgarh CPI (Marxist) State Secretary) and others along with Maoists for the murder of Baghel based on the complaint of his wife on Saturday,” Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) SRP Kalluri told PTI.
They were booked under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 and 149 of IPC at Tongpal police station, the IG said, adding, “strongest possible action will be taken against those guilty after the investigation”. Though the case was registered on Saturday, the matter came to light late Monday evening.
Armed Naxals had allegedly killed the villager, Shamnath Baghel, with sharp weapons on late night on Friday (November 4) at his residence in Nama village under Kumakoleng gram panchayat in Tongpal area, around 450 km away from here. Baghel and some of his associates were learnt to be spearheading the protest against Naxal activities in their village since April 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,” the IG said.
His wife has sought action against Sundar and others accusing them of murdering her husband, Kalluri added. Notably, Baghel and other villagers of the region had earlier given a complaint with Tongpal police in May this year against Sundar, Prasad, Tiwari, Parate and an unidentified woman activist from Sukma for allegedly inciting tribals against the government and seeking their support for Maoists. Villagers of Nama and the neighbouring Kumakoleng village (both under Kumakoleng village panchayat) had started a self-motivated protest against Maoist activities in their villages after forming their own security group named “Tangiya (axe) group” in April this year.
“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 a 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.