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Archive for October 22nd, 2009

Burnt in oil: A fact-finding report on operation Green hunt in Dantewada in September-October 2009

Posted by Admin on October 22, 2009


October 21 2009. A report from PUCL (Chhattisgarh) , PUDR (Delhi), Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (Dantewada), Human Rights Law Network (Chhattisgarh) , ActionAid (Orissa), Manna Adhikar (Malkangiri) and Zilla Adivasi Ekta Sangh (Malkangiri).

Woman killed by Salwajudum -file picture

Woman killed by Salwajudum -file picture

Down load PDF Document

Till now, no substantive information has been given in the media regarding the Gachanpalli killings of 17th September 2009 (during Operation Green Hunt) and 1st October killings at Gompad and Chintagufa villages by security forces. Nor have any reports appeared regarding detentions and arrests of several young men on 1st October.

Information regarding looting, burning and torture which accompanied these operations have also remained unknown. Also, that people have fled their villages, are living in make shift sheds in the forest has gone unnoticed. The fact that on both these days, security forces (Cobra, local police and SPOs and Salwa Judum leaders such as Boddu Raja) went on a rampage stabbing and killing people, looting, burning houses and forcibly picking up young men is the other side of Operation Green Hunt which has been carefully kept away from public scrutiny. In order to ascertain these facts, a 15 member fact-finding team visited Dantewada area between 10th and 12th October 2009. The team comprised members from PUCL (Chhattisgarh) , PUDR (Delhi), Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (Dantewada), Human Rights Law Network (Chhattisgarh) , ActionAid (Orissa), Manna Adhikar (Malkangiri) and Zilla Adivasi Ekta Sangh (Malkangiri).

The team was initially denied permission and was repeatedly questioned and interrogated at Dornapal and Errabore police camps on the way. The team spent a night in Nendra village (a rehabilitated village) and met witnesses and victims from several villages and gathered testimonies from them. Subsequently, the team spoke to District Collector and Superintendent of Police, Dantewada. While a detailed report is in the making, some of the important and significant issues are given below.

Adivasi women raped by police personnel hold a protest - File picture

Adivasi women raped by police personnel hold a protest - File picture

17th September 2009

1. Gachanpalli murders: In the early hours of 17th September, 6 villagers were murdered by security forces in this village. Dudhi Muye (70 yrs) who could hardly walk was murdered after her breasts were cut off. Family members who had fled the scene on seeing the security forces, found her lying dead in a pool of blood. Similarly, Kawasi Ganga (70 yrs) who could barely see was stabbed and murdered in his bed. He too was found by his family members who had fled from the house and had taken shelter in the forest. Madvi Deva (25 yrs) was tied to a tree and shot at three times and then beheaded. His grandfather who was accompanying him back to the village was a witness to this. The family hasn’t found his body. Three other villagers, Madvi Joga (60 yrs), Madvi Hadma (35 yrs) and Madkam Sulla were stabbed and murdered. The last two were killed in front of one witness, the wife of Madkam Sulla. Madvi Joga was killed after being stripped naked while ploughing his little plot of land. All the houses were ransacked, broken and burnt down. Family members are either living in sheds in the forests or have taken shelter with relatives. Many others have also taken similar shelter as their houses were burnt down by the security forces.

2. The case of Madvi Deva: This young man was a resident of Singanpalli village and had gone out in the morning of 17th for some family work. When he did not return his family searched for him. Two days later, a Patel from another village informed the family that he had been shot and killed by the security forces and his body was buried in the compound of Chintagufa PS. The Patel was asked to supervise the burial in the PS.

Chhattisgarh 223. Burnt in hot oil: Muchaki Deva (60 yrs) of Onderpara was grazing cattle on the morning of 17th September. He was caught, beaten and dragged into the village by security forces. He was hanged upside down from a tree and a pot of hot oil was lit below and he was dropped into it. He was then pulled out and poured over with water. As a result, the upper part of his body is severely burnt and he has developed maggots in his wounds. He is still gravely ill and has no access to medical aid. Needless to say, he is afraid to leave his village.

4. Tied and paraded: 6 villagers, including 3 women were tied and paraded through Gachanpalli and other villages where the security forces went. Fortunately, they escaped as timely rains made it possible for them to flee.

5. Forced displacement and terror: families of those who were murdered by security forces and those whose houses have been burnt down vengefully, have fled the village and are living in make shift sheds in the forest. The condition of the others is no better as the entire village has been terrorized by security forces.

1st October 2009

Grief-stricken Villagers who retrieved the bodies the next day said the women were half-naked

Grief-stricken Villagers who retrieved the bodies the next day said the women were half-naked- (file)

1. Gompad “encounter”: SP Dantewada described the operations in Gompad village on 1st October as an `encounter’. An encounter with a difference: while 9 villagers were killed by security forces in the village and their bodies were left there, no casualties were inflicted on security forces. This too the SP confirmed. 4 members of one family, Madvi Bajar, his wife, Madvi Subbi, their married daughter, Kartam Kanni and their young daughter, Madvi Mutti were stabbed and killed inside house. So too were two other villagers from Bhandarpadar, Muchaki Handa and Madkam Deva, who were staying the night over at Madvi Bajar’s house on their way home from Andhra Pradesh where they had been working. Another couple, Soyam Subba and Soyam Jogi were stabbed and killed inside their house. Yet another villager, Madvi Enka was stabbed inside the house and then dragged all over the village. Before leaving the village, the security forces shot him and left his body. All 9 deaths, like the ones on 17th September, were preceded by stabbing and the bodies were left in the village. When the team asked the SP about recovery of bodies from the encounter site, the SP stated that Naxalites had “taken them away”.

2. More killings: In Chintagufa, a 45yr old man, Tomra Mutta was stabbed and shot inside his house. On seeing the sudden arrival of the security forces, Tomra Mutta ran to protect his family. He was shot in the process. The team confirmed 10 murders that had taken place that day but there is apprehension that the total number of killings may be much higher as many villages could not be contacted or accessed. The SP confirmed that two sets of raid parties set off that day comprising of Cobras and local police. Hence, the details with the team do not give the entire and exact picture of how many villages were attacked and targeted.

Old woman siting inside a hut at singaram village, On 8th jan 2009, 18 villagers were killed in a fake encounter. Her granddaughter (sitika) also killed by police & spos

Old woman siting inside a hut at singaram village, On 8th jan 2009, 18 villagers were killed in a fake encounter. Her granddaughter (sitika) also killed by police & spos

3. Travails of a 2yr old: Madvi Bajar’s grandson was not spared. He is all of two and yet the security forces beat him, cut four of his fingers, broke his teeth and cut off part of his tongue.

4. 8 arrested and 2 missing: Ten young men between 18-32 years were beaten and picked up by security forces from Mukudtong and Jinitong villages on 1st October. Eight have been shown as arrested in a case that was registered on 3/10 at Konta PS under various sections of IPC, Arms Act and Explosives Act. They are currently lodged in Dantewada jail. However, two still remain missing. Female relatives who went in search of those missing at the Konta PS were harassed, made to affix their thumb impression on blank documents and driven away. When they returned two days later, they were abused, told not to return and informed that the men had been taken to an unknown place.

5. Looting and Burning of property and houses: As many as 9 instances of looting and burning by security forces were reported to the team. Unlike the 17th September killings which were followed by arson and burning of the houses of those murdered, security forces on 1st October looted homes. They took away paddy, pusles, brass pots and poultry from many homes. Money, ranging from 300/- to 10,000/- was stolen from these houses. Destruction of property, particularly burning down of houses was carried out in as many as seven instances.

6. Harassment and torture: Witnesses reported several instances of harassment at the hands of the security forces. In Gompad, one villager was caught and interrogated and then shot at in his leg. He managed to run away but still has the bullet injury and has had no medical treatment. In Chintagufa, security forces tied another man and made him walk to Injaram PS. They severely beat him and also attacked him on his toe with a knife. He was finally let off in the evening.

singaram village, On 8th jan 2009, 18 villagers were killed by police & spos

singaram village, On 8th jan 2009, 18 villagers were killed by police & spos

7. Presence of SPOs and Salwa Judum leader with security forces: Residents of Mukudtong village confirmed that the `raid’ party was accompanied by known Salwa Judum leader, Boddu Raja of Injaram camp and they recognised SPOs Pande Soma of Phandeguda village and Ganga of Asarguda village. Residents of Gompad village were able to recognize SPO Madvi Buchcha who belongs to their own village.

8. Forced displacement and terror: Several families are living in makeshift sheds in the forest area as their houses have been burnt down. Those who are unable to run and flee are living in terror in the villages and residents and relatives have helped them to repair their houses and have given them other support.

Conclusion:

While the team could only meet residents of some of the villages, there is apprehension that a much larger number of people were killed on both days in other villages. The same is true for instances of torture, loot and detentions. The clamp down on information makes it impossible to know what exactly is happening in distant and far flung villages. However, what is clear is that the operations conducted by security forces have compelled villagers to leave their villages, flee into the forests and/or take shelter with relatives in other villages.

The condition of those who are residing in their villages is precarious and vulnerable. Given that the government has not complied with the Supreme Court order on rehabilitation of displaced families (families which were displaced in the earlier phase of Salwa Judum violence), the new and current phase of violence by security forces has added to the crisis in these remote and inaccessible villages. Instead of rehabilitating people, the government, in the name of combating Maoism, is bent upon unleashing its lethal paramilitary forces and evicting people from their villages. It is imperative to immediately end to this policy of eviction and terror and enable people to settle in their villages.

Salwajudam atrocities: The ravaged remains of Gothi Koya lives,after forest rangers burnt down their houses. (File)

Salwajudam atrocities: The ravaged remains of Gothi Koya lives,after forest rangers burnt down their houses. (File)

Demands

1. That the government must accept responsibility for murders committed on 17th September and 1st October by security forces and file FIRs against those responsible. Further, the government must acknowledge all instances of torture, illegal detention and destruction of property. FIRs must be lodged in each case and compensation given in each instance.

2. That an impartial inquiry (comprising civil society representatives and representatives of organizations working in the area) be conducted into the incidents of murder and acts of arson, loot and torture on 17th September and 1st October by security forces. The focus should be to bring out the truth behind these killings an also investigate the extent of the operations carried out on both days.

3. That the government must immediately take steps and show its conviction in the Supreme Court order on rehabilitation of villages and implement it immediately. The above described incidents of 17th September and 1st October have created fear and panic and compelled villagers to flee. Unless the government implements the SC order, villagers will not be able to live in their villages.

4. That along with the implementation of the above mentioned order, there be an immediate end to cordon and search operation carried out by security forces in these areas. Lack of rehabilitation coupled with an ever increasing size of the paramilitary forces in such backward areas with low population density raises fears of repeated incidents, such as the ones described above.

Signed by

Sharmila Purkayastha
Asish Gupta
Himanshu Kumar

On behalf of fact-finding team

Posted in Fact Finding Report | 1 Comment »

A message of solidarity from Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Philippines

Posted by Admin on October 22, 2009


Dear Comrades and Friends,

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance for the Defense of the Ancestral Domain and for Self Determination, an independent federation of progressive peoples’ organizations, mostly grassroots-based organizations among indigenous communities in Northern Luzon Cordillera, Philippines, hereby endorses the statement against the Indian government’s plans for launching an unprecedented military offensive by army and paramilitary forces in the adivasi (indigenous people)-populated regions of Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal states.

We are in solidarity with the indigenous peoples and movements opposing this plan which would result in massive human rights violations and oppression of the advasi and democratic sectors if this plan is pushed through. What is happening there in India especially in indigenous territories is very real here as militarization and military terrorism in indigenous communities in the Philippines and political repression continue under the US-Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya (”operation plan defend freedom”) resulting in the killing of more than a thousand activists and human rights advocates, hundreds of victims of enforced disappearance, and thousands of people and communities affected. Our situation is the same, hence, our solidarity has become more urgent and strengthened.

We are with you in your struggle against state terrorism and fascism.

In solidarity,

Mr. Windel Bolinget
Secretary General, Cordillera Peoples Alliance

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Champions of democracy forget India’s Mamlocks

Posted by Admin on October 22, 2009


lalgarh1.jThe concern expressed by about 150 scholars, writers and political activists over the “unprecedented military offensive in the adivasi-populated regions of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal” in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh puts a huge question mark on our polity. “To hunt down the poorest of Indian citizens in the name of trying to curb the shadow of an insurgency is both counterproductive and vicious. The ongoing campaigns by paramilitary forces have created a civil war-like situation in parts of Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, with hundreds killed and thousands displaced”, they stated.Signatories include Noam Chomsky, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, film maker Mira Nair and Arundhati Roy.

In West Bengal civil rights organisations were stupefied when sleuths took away Chhatradhar Mahato, convenor of Police Santras Birodhi Janaganer Committee (PSBJC: People’s Committee against Police Atrocities) blindfolded in broad daylight from Midnapore to Bhabani Bhaban, state CID headquarters in Kolkata on the plea of interrogation, assuming that PSBJC is a front organisation of CPI(Maoist). This was a first, at least in Independent India. Only when one is hanged is the face of the convict covered.As for the Left, especially the CPI(M), champion of democracy, one is reminded of the play Professor Mamlock, about a Jewish professor who was tortured during the Weimar Republic. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in West Bengal | Leave a Comment »

Jharkhand: Bengal Moaist fights for life at MGM Medical College

Posted by Admin on October 22, 2009


Bengal rebel fights for life at MGM
22jhanaxal-1.jpgKUMUD JENAMANI
A policeman on guard at MGM Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday. Picture by Srinivas

Jamshedpur, Oct. 21: A suspected woman rebel from Bengal, who was lodged in Ghatshila sub-divisional jail, is undergoing treatment at MGM Medical College and Hospital.

Down with acute jaundice and malaria, Geeta Murmu (20) is being treated under tight security at the government-run hospital.

A resident of Belpahari police station area of West Midnapore district, Geeta was arrested along with eight others on May 31, when the Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities was trying to organise a rally at Chakulia. The suspected Naxalite was forwarded to judicial custody the next morning.

Deepak Kumar, the officer in charge of Chakulia, said that Geeta was a hardcore Naxalite. He added that eight criminal cases were pending against the woman at various courts in Jharkhand and Bengal.

Kumar, who had arrested Geeta and carried out investigations, said that she was wanted in connection with Naxalite activities in Bengal too.

“Geeta is suspected to have been involved in the killing of JMM parliamentarian Sunil Mahto,” the OC said.

Sources in the medical college and hospital said that the condition of the woman was unstable. She is suffering from malaria and jaundice. The hospital employees said that take extra care was being taken of the ailing rebel.

Posted in Jharkhand | Leave a Comment »

Sankrail a model: Rebel Maoist warns of ‘war’

Posted by Admin on October 22, 2009


22sank3.jpg 22sank7.jpg The ransacked office of the abducted OC; bloodstains being removed from the chair on which a sub-inspector was shot dead. Pictures by Samir Mondal

Calcutta, Oct. 21: Maoist military wing chief Koteshwar Rao alias Kishanji today said the operation in Sankrail yesterday was the beginning of a “full-fledged guerrilla warfare” in Bengal.

He told The Telegraph over the phone that the earlier stray attacks on police, mostly by detonating crude bombs, would now be replaced with Sankrail-like strikes.

“Yesterday, we opened a new chapter in guerrilla warfare in Bengal,” Kishanji said. “This will now be our strategy. We shall introduce in Bengal what we had so far done in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.”

So far, the Maoists had restricted themselves to ambushing police vehicles or kidnapping the odd cop. Yesterday’s attack on a police station was a first by the Maoists in Bengal. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Lalgarh | Leave a Comment »

Dutta will be treated like any other prisoner-of-war: Maoist leader

Posted by Admin on October 22, 2009


Atindranath’s wife and daughter at Writers’ on Wednesday. Picture by Amit Datta

Atindranath’s wife and daughter at Writers’ on Wednesday. Picture by Amit Datta

Assuring “total safety” of the police officer who was abducted by Maoists from the Sankrail thana in West Bengal’s Paschim Medinipur district on Tuesday, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) Koteswar Rao, alias Kishanji, announced that the officer will be treated like “any other prisoner-of-war” until the State government accedes to the Maoist demands.

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from an undisclosed location in the district’s Lalgarh region on Wednesday, Kishanji said: “Since we are at war with the State, we have to abide by the rules of warfare and take hostages. But we will take care of Mr. Dutta and even welcome his father and wife to come and stay with him till the State government makes up its mind.”

The Maoists have demanded the release of all the tribal women arrested by the police over the last five months for suspected Maoist links, as well as the withdrawal of security forces from the district against the release of the police officer.

Asked if Mr. Dutta’s life would be at stake if the State government refused to meet their demands, Kishanji said the Maoists would “seek public opinion in such a situation and decide on their course of action.”

However, he did not give any hope on the two police constables who were abducted on July 30 and are still untraced. “If we had to release them against any demand, we would have made them earlier. We do not keep hostages for so long,” Kishanji said, apparently indicating little chance of the survival of the two constables.

Dialogue

On initiating dialogue with the West Bengal government, he said: “Lots have been said on this issue time and again. Let the State government make the first move.” The Hindu

Posted in Lalgarh | Leave a Comment »

 
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