Hunting innocent Adivasis in the name of operation Green Hunt – Adivasis Bitten by Cobras – Fact-finding Repor t on the Singanamadugu Incident
Posted by Admin on July 27, 2010
July 12, 2010, Sanhati
The Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangham (KAMS) has been working for the past three decades in the Dandakaranya (DK) area in seven districts of Maharashtra and Chattisgarh. It has mobilised women against the exploitation of labour, dominance and atrocities by forest officials, managements of paper mills, beedi leaf contractors, and businessmen from the plains. This booklet, published by Virasam Publications, contains a brief history of the activities of KAMS and a fact-finding report of the Singanamadugu incident, which is excerpted below.
Fact Finding Report on Singanamadugu Incident
On September 17 hundreds of Cobra, CRPF, NPO forces attacked six villages, namely, Singanamadugu, Palachelima, Gattapadu, Gatchampally, Etrajpadu and Endapadu. The attack of government armed forces meant indiscriminate firing and killing of whoever is around, torturing, raping women, kidnapping, burning houses and property, destruction, roasting and eating goats and pigs or taking them away, robbing money or any valuable material. In short their practice of creating a climate of terror is very familiar to the people here since the days Salwa Judum came into existence. It is difficult for the people there to believe that the police are also human. They treat the police as a unique species created to torture and kill human beings. On the night of September 16 these bloodthirsty forces quietly surrounded the villages in Kishtaram area of Dantewada district. They had the information that some guerillas had camped in Singanamadugu village. So their aim was to attack on this camp in the early morning and to raid some more villages to create terror. Since Salwa Judum all these villages had been alert to such attacks. Nevertheless they could not suspect the surrounding presence of the forces who had arrived in the night clandestinely with the help of informers well-versed in the routes in the forest.
On the morning of the 17th these villages woke up in their innocence. The people of Singanamadugu village were getting ready to go about their daily chores. Some villages on their way to farm work recognised the police boot prints to their alarm. They sensed the impending danger. Even while they were thinking as to how to protect their villages, the surroundings of the village echoed with terrible firing. Villagers ran helter-skelter. They sensed that attack started on the guerilla camp near their village. All the guerillas safely escaped the attack.
A resident of this village, 30-year old Madivi Deval, had left for a nearby village Chinna Kedwal the evening before to buy toddy from there for his relatives who were visiting. He slept there that night and started for his village with toddy. In the meantime the police firing started in his village. The sounds were heard by people at Kedwal also. They warned Deval not to go to his village. Whatever he might have thought, he started on a bicycle to his village. The police caught him near his village. After a while they brutally killed him and took away his body.
Deval’s father had died. Madivi Bhime was his mother. He was married. Marey was his wife’s name. He had three small children, the youngest daughter being only four months old.
His mother and wife had thought that he might have stayed back in Chinna Kedwal. In the evening they learnt from Kedwal people that he had left for his village in the morning itself. They anxiously suspected that he must have gone into police hands. His bicycle lay where he was caught by the police. In a distance his slippers lay scattered. They thought he must have run away at the sight of police, or that he might have been taken by the police to carry the material seized from the guerilla camp. They waited hoping against hope that he would come back when the police release him. But on Monday, the 21st this hope vanished completely.
On their way to Singanamadugu attack the police brought three people from Tummal village. They killed Deval in front of them and made them carry his dead body. The villagers were released at Chintaguppa village. They came back to announce the killing of Deval . They also revealed that Deval’s body was interred at Chintaguppa.
They also showed the members of Deval’s family the site where he was killed. Dried blood stains were visible there. Those were the memorabilia he left behind for his mother, wife and children.
Deval was the eldest son in the family. He had two younger sisters and a younger brother. Only one younger sister was married. Since the younger brother was studying, Deval was solely responsible for looking after his family. Now the burden fell on the shoulders of the aged mother and the wife.
We wanted to take photographs of Deval’s sons, so asked them to sit near their grandmother. The younger son Bhimal had no clothes on his body at that time. He came naked. Some one said let him wear some dress. The little one’s aunt was trying to get him dressed. The grandmother then suggested, `Get him that new shirt his father bought him’. Her sad face darkened further with these words. It must have crossed her mind that this was the last shirt his father could bring him or that his father could never bring him another shirt. Every child feels proud of showing off a gift from parents. But this shirt would not last long and the child would have nothing to show as his father’s gift. Is this situation peculiar to little Bhimal? How many more such little ones are there! The state is cruelly ravaging the natural joy and fondness they have a right to.
Moreover, there is a culture of taking photographs in the society outside. Even if the parents die young, at least there is a possibility to preserve their image in a photograph. But here it is rare for people to get photographed. As a result how abstract would be the concept of parents to these orphaned children!
On the same morning, at 6 O’clock another batch of police (about 300) raided Gatchampally village. Many villagers fled at the sight of police entering the village. The ones who could not flee fell prey to the bestiality of the police.
One such victim was an aged woman called Dudi Mooye. She was about 70 years old. She was a mother of two sons and two daughters. All the children were married and they also had children. She lived with the eldest son Bhimal. Her two legs were paralyzed due to some disease some years back. She could not walk. On the day of the police raid, she had got up early and sat at the threshold. Sensing the police raid, all the neighbors had fled. Unable to walk she remained where she was. As soon as the police came they started putting her hut on fire. The police had burnt the village once. She was asking, “You burnt us once. Why are you burning again?” Even while she was asking, the police bullets rained at her. A woman in the neighborhood who was hiding in the corn farm nearby remained the sole witness to this ghastly incident. The old woman’s chest, thighs and legs were filled with bullets. The Cobras left marching with their hoods up leaving behind the dead body of the old woman.
Madivi Andamal (45) and Jogi (40), man and wife, in the act of tilling their land, fell prey to the fangs of another batch of Cobras coming from another side. They caught Andamal first. His wife saw this and tried to run away in vain. The police surrounded her and caught her too. With a knife they tore away the clothes of both of them, brought them naked and beating them into the village. They were brought to a place where traditional dances are held. At the same time Madakam Chulal (45) also fell into the hands of police. Chulal and his son Jogal had gone to till their land. There Chulal was caught by the police. The son was able to escape. Chulal was also brought to the dancing place. Unfortunately Chulal’s wife Mookey also was caught at another place. Kovasi Pojje (40) and Pojje’s daughter Bheeme (12) also fell in the hands of the police. Mookey and Pojje were also brought naked to the same place. They tore off 12-year old Bheeme’s clothes. She stood helpless in her short pettycoat. Andamal and Chulal were made to sit and shot dead in front of them. While killing they insisted cursing “Look, you filchers!” that their wives look at the inhuman act. The women were dumbstruck with terror. They could not even dare to beg them to leave their husbands alive. After killing the two they cruelly cut off the private parts of Andamal. The place that was normally used for rhythmic dances and festivities of the young on moonlit nights for the first became a stage for the horrific dance of death.
The house of Jogi-Andamal was burnt down after these gruesome murders. The police then led away the three women beating them up and raped them in the bushes in the middle of the village. Afterwards they were dragged away.
Another police mob caught hold of Madivi Jogal, a 60-year old man. He remained at home under the illusion that old people would be spared. But he was caught. Seeing this, his wife stopped trying to flee. They were thrown on the floor and indiscriminately beaten up. Their teeth were broken by the impact of the blows. After the torture, Jogal was killed and Gangi was taken away and raped. The house was also burnt.
Another old man Gangal also fell prey to the bloodthirsty hounds. The 70-year old man had become blind, so could not move out of the house. The police beat him badly, broke his hand, stabbed with a knife. They left him on the brink of death and set fire to his house. By the time his children came back along with other villagers after the police had left, he was still fighting for life. They gave him some water to drink. Groaning with pain, he died after some time. “They beat me to death. I cannot live. I will die” were his last words. Thus in that small village of 70 households, the police killed five people. Dead bodies were left at the sites of killing. Houses of four of the dead Maye, Andamal, Jogal and Gangal were burnt down.
They also burnt down the houses of Madivi Idumal, Kovasi Ungi, Kovasi Rajal, Kovasi Kosal, Mutchaki Bheema, Sodi Mangdu, Sodi Aitha, Sodi Somal, Sodi Jogal, and Madivi Madal. Grains, clothers, utensils and many more things were burnt in the houses. Three bicycles and four radio sets were burnt. Cash was robbed from the houses Rs. 800 from Doodi Bhimal’s house, Rs. 1000 from Madivi Jogi’s house, Rs. 500 from Kovasi Kosi’s house, Rs. 200 from Madivi Madal’s house, Rs. 3,300 from Sodi Mangdu’s house, Rs. 200 from Sodi Somal’s house, and Rs. 3,500 from Sodi Aithal’s house. About Rs. 7,000 worth of gold in Kovasi Rajal’s house melted away and could not be retrieved.
The food grains, clothes, money and other things that these people lost may not be worth lakhs of rupees, but in a society of primitive economy these are all very valuable to the people here. They were all acquired by their sheer labour. There is no guarantee that they can re-earn all these possessions. Even in normal circumstances it would take a long time for them to earn back all these lost things. It is much more difficult when the state is vengeful against them.
The police caught hold of Adamal’s wife Jogi, Chulal’s wife Mookey, Jogal’s wife Gangi, Pojje and her daughter Bheeme, another woman by name Sodi Kosi and her 4-year old daughter and Madivi Madal, a deaf old man. The two children of the couple Sodi Malle and Mangdu were caught but escaped. The police raided their house when the children were asleep. The 15-year old elder son was beaten up. The house was set on fire. When the police were busy burning and destroying, the elder one lifted his younger brother on to his shoulders and ran away.
Among the women caught by the police, Jogi, Mookey, Pojje and Gangi were brutally raped. They were made completely naked. The blouse and upper cloth of Pojje’s daughter Bheeme was torn away. Only a short petticoat remained on her. They pinched the breasts and hit with guns the private parts of even this child. Only Sodi Kosi remained untouched. “They might have done the same things to me, but my little daughter used to wail whenever they approached me. May be that is why they left me alone,” she said.
In this incident as in many more there is evidence of raping middle aged and elderly women. In the war climate that descended on the region since the formation of Salwa Judum, young women are not being sent to markets or elsewhere. There was a general understanding that young women may be raped and killed by the police, who may at the most beat up and leave alone the aged women. When police take away anybody, it is the middle aged and elderly women who go to the police to get their people back. Even in this incident it is only such women who went to get their people released or to get back their dead bodies. Young women were not allowed to go. But it appears that the police are stooping to rape older women too in order to stop women from fighting altogether without leaving them the hope that the older women would be spared, and to create terror specifically in women and in all the people in general.
The police were in the village for only half an hour. Even in such a short time they killed five people and raped four. 16 houses belonging to 14 families were burnt down. A lot of property was destroyed. Thousands of rupees were robbed.
All the people who were caught were made to walk up to Kollai village. They lost all hopes of living. Just as they were nearing Kollai village, the militia started firing at the police. Heavy rain started at the same time. The police were busy defending themselves and left the villagers alone. Taking advantage of the situation they slowly escaped behind the bushes and later ran away. On the way they fell into a ditch with neck deep water and with difficulty swam back up. After reaching the outskirts of their village, the women picked up pieces of cloth thrown away by the police and tried to cover themselves up as much as they could.
Jogi, Mookey and Gangi, who arrived home in the evening like walking wounds, had to face the sight of the blood-strewn dead bodies of their husbands and the burnt down houses. Sodi Kosi and Madivi Madal, who also had escaped from the clutches of the police, approached their burnt out houses with heavy steps.
Many of the villagers had gone away to cut bamboo when the police raided on the village. “We were not at home. We went to cut bamboo. Or else we also would have been killed,” the villagers told us again and again.
Those who escaped from the police said, “If the militia had not attacked and if there had been no heavy downpour, the police would have killed us too for sure.”
All the five persons killed in this village neither worked in any sangham nor actively involved in any revolutionary committees. Three of them were old men one of them could not walk, another could not see. Madal, whom the Police tried to take away, was deaf. How can the governments, which claim the aim of Green Hunt is to suppress naxalites, justify these killing of innocent and old people? Though they took away all those killed in other villages, they did not take away the dead bodies from this village. They must have left them because they cannot cover up before the press the old age of the killed even by dressing the dead bodies in uniform.
The raid occurred on September 17 and when we visited the village on October 13 the village still bore the look of a cemetery eerie in its silence. No one lived in the village after that incident. They were scattered here and there in the forest. The village looked vast. Every house was surrounded by corn plantations, vegetable plants, and thick creepers of bottle gourd, pumpkin and beans. From each house one could look at only greenery, not another house. Only in summers perhaps one house would be visible from another. Weeds thickly populated even the streets. Only narrow paths were available for walk from one house to the other. Now that there was no habitation, even these small walks were covered up by plants. We had to make our way by disentangling these plants. With the help of a village committee member we looked at each burnt down house. In the midst of the refreshing greenery, the houses that turned into ash and coal looked as ugly as scarecrows in a green farm.
After visiting the village, we arrived at the place where the runaway people were taking shelter at five spots. Those who had built huts away from the village in the fear of Judum attacks were taking shelter in those. Each hut sheltered three to four families. It was dark when we reached them. We talked to them, ate in their houses and slept there itself. We noticed that mothers of infants, children and old people were sleeping inside. The rest slept outside spreading a lungi or a blanket on the ground. Many did not have anything to cover themselves. How can the people who had to abandon their village have cots? Those who had their houses burnt also lost their clothes and blankets in the fire. They had nothing to wear and cover themselves. Since these huts had no walls and doors, if the food is forgetfully left on the floor instead of hanging it from the top, there is fear that dogs eat it up. Uncooked rice packed in bags is eaten by the dogs if left on the floor. Normally during agricultural season all leave home as soon as they get up in the morning. Where there are several members in the family, one of them stays back to cook and look after other chores. We slept in the night and thought of interacting with some more of them in the morning. However, we did not notice anybody leaving for work. Women got up and started cooking. All members of the household started eating at nine o’clock. To our query why nobody went to work, they answered that in the village back there that used to be the case. Here they were afraid of being home alone. Moreover, if you cook and go to fetch if nobody is around at home the dogs might eat away the cooked food. So they all eat together, clean everything and go to work together. Thus the people suffer due to loss of their villages and permanent habitats. The government talks of implementing development schemes in naxal-dominated areas. We do not know what kind of development they wish to bring, but what is happening here is displacement of people, destruction of their livelihoods, decimation of their food grains and even their clothes and annihilation of the development achieved historically by the people. Then what is the meaning of development that the government is talking about? What kind of development does it want to bring about? Is it to destroy them, make them paupers first and then to sprinkles a few morsels at them in charity?
From Gatchmapally we went to Gattapadu. The police raided the village on the morning of the 17th at around 11 or 12 o’clock. This village was also abandoned soon after by the villagers. When we visited the village on October 14 only about 40% people were living in the village. They also stayed in the village only during day time to cook and eat, and go into forest in the night.
The police shot dead Paddam Deval (25), Sodi Masal (20) and Doodi Pojjal (15) here.
Deval’s mother was Somdi, father Jogal, wife Deve, grandmother Bheeme. Deval was the father of a little girl of less than one year of age.
The police caught Deval in a street. Masal was also caught along with him. Masal’s mother saw them apprehended by the police. She told this to Deval’s wife Deve. Deval’s wife started immediately carrying her infant daughter on her shoulder. By then the police were on their way back with Deval, Masal and Pojjal. Deve followed them. The police stopped on the outskirts of the village. The three captives were made to sit there. Deve reached there. Her husband asked her to bring the child to him. She handed over the child to her husband and asked the police, “Why did you bring my husband who is only a labourer? What did he do?” In response the police asked her to reveal the whereabouts of the Committee in the village. She lifted up her husband, saying “I don’t know anybody. Leave my husband.” Deval stood up holding the baby. The police pushed him down along with the baby. In the meantime Deval’s grandmother, 60-year old Bheeme reached there. She tried to pull her grandson from the hands of the police saying, “I won’t allow my grandson to be taken”. The police pushed hard and the baby fell down. The father fell on top of the baby. The grandmother fell on top of him. She held to his waist, wailing, “If you take away my grandson, who will look after me, who will work for us?” Deval also held her tightly. Separating the two, the police beat the weak old lady indiscriminately with butts of guns and sticks. She was lifted up and thrown down several times. Undeterred, she kept demanding, “Kill me, but don’t take my grandson”. The police said, “We won’t take him. He will show us the route.” But the wife and the grandmother insisted that he not be taken. The police held him by the neck with a piece and cloth and dragged him for a distance. Picking up the baby from the ground, the wife shouted angrily, “Why are you dragging my husband like that? Is he a dog?” The police removed the cloth from his neck and tied it to his arm. Deve angrily untied the cloth. Deval’s mother arrived in the meantime. She also begged them to leave him. Deval’s father was alive. But with the hope of arousing pity, she pleaded, “I am a widow. How can we live if you take away my son?” There was no use. The police went ahead with the captives. The three women went behind them. The police stopped at a place, cooked and ate. The captives were made to sit. Masal’s hands were bound at his back. But Deval and Pojjal were allowed to sit with binding their hands. But the police stood around them. Deval piteously told his women to follow them till Palem. While the police ate, the women kept pleading with them to release their men. When the police started after eating, they again followed them. The police strongly told them not to follow. They aimed their guns at them. But the women did not turn back. “We will go wherever you take Deval. We will go back only if you release”, they said firmly. With this a batch of police stayed back and kept pelting stones at the women. The other batch took the captives away. As there was an infant also with them, the women had to finally turn back. “Only we three fought. Had the families of all three fought, there might have been some effect,” recalled Deval’s grandmother.
After returning home, the mother was restless and went back, in vain. The next day these three women, the family members of Masal and Pojjal, and some other villages together went to Kishtaram police station. The police there feigned ignorance. But the villagers came to know unofficially that the captives had already been shifted from there. On the 20th they all went Konta. They heard that some people were killed and buried. The press reporters there showed them the photographs of the dead. The faces were unidentifiable. They recognised the persons by their shirts. Helpless, they went back to their village wailing.
Paddam Deval is the eldest son of his house. Doodi Pojjal (15) is the adopted son of Deve and Jogal. Though they had daughters, they adopted the son of Jogal’s brother. Learning that the police were coming to his village, Pojjal, who was working in his farm, ran to his house to hide away his belongings like the radio, bicycle, money, etc. He quickly gathered some clothes into a bundle, picked up the money and started on his bicycle. But he was caught by the police.
When she came to know about the capture of her son, Deve went to Palem. She went only after Deval’s mother, wife and grandmother had come back empty-handed. Though she knew that there was no use, she went with some hope. By the time she reached Palem, however, the police had left the place. Afterwards, Pojjal’s parents went with the rest to Kishtaram and Konta. But they lost the son, whom they adopted in the hope that he would look after them.
Sodi Masal was the only son of Sangi and Ungal. He was married to Idime in 2005. They had no children.
Masal was on bed when the police came. His wife shouted saying the police were coming. She asked another woman to see which they were coming from. Masal got up and went out. In a few minutes he was captured by the police. Masal and Deval were caught at the same time. From behind the bushes, Masal’s mother saw them being caught by the police. But she did not dare to come before the police. Masal’s father was out of the village then. He was not aware that the police took his son away until he came back home on the 19th. Though the father was not at home, the next morning the mother went with the other people to Kishtaram. Masal’s wife insisted that she too would come. But her mother-in-law stopped her saying, “If you come, you will also meet with the same fate. Don’t come.” The day after that also she cried and wanted to accompany them to Konta. But everyone stopped her.
Her words expressed the anguish she felt at her helplessness even when her husband was taken away by the police.
Masal’s sister said with a darkened face, “When the police caught my brother, the marks of his resistance are still there on the road. They are not erased. How can we forget him? With all the signs. May be the rains will remove them.”
Rains may remove the signs on the ground, how can the bruises of the mind be healed?
The police who killed three people of the village beat up and left Doodi Kosal and Doodi Ungal free.
Let us talk about Palachelimi village. The police killed Tuniki Sinnal (Ramakrishna) (35), Sodi Sanesh (43) and Doodi Adamal (35) of this village.
The police came to this village around 10 or 11 in the morning. As soon as they arrived they caught 16 people (Tuniki Veeral, Vader Penchal, Vader Muttal, Vader Bhimal, Jogal, Vader Veeral, Tuniki Sinu, Parishka Dharmal, Tuniki Venkatesh, Tuniki Suri, Vader Dharmal, Podiyam Kotesh, Tuniki Chitti, Sodi Veeral, Sodi Dharmal and Tati Kamal) and beat them up badly. They tried to take away all these people. But their mothers and wives reached the place and protested strongly demanding their release. The women did not step back undeterred by the threats from the police. They declared that they would turn back without their people. “Who will work for us if they are not around? Who will look after us?” they argued. The women did not allow the police to move from about 10 or 11 am to 5 in the evening. The police had to leave the captive free at last. The same batch of police demolished the memorial in the village for a Maoist leader Sukhdev. While the first batch of police was leaving the village, from another side at around 5 pm another batch of police entered. As soon as they came to the village they caught Sinnal, Sanesh and Adamal almost at the same place. Adamal had gone to Sanesh’s house. Both were caught there. In his house nearby Sinnal was caught. They took away these three with them.
Veere was the wife of Tuniki Sinnal (Ramakrishna). His father’s name is Ramulu. The couple had two children: 8-year old son and 1-year daughter. When this incident occurred the wife was not at home. She had gone to her mother’s house. She came to know about this news on the 19th. Ramulu had two sons. The eldest was Sinnalu. The younger one was studying in school. The father lost his eldest son who was the breadwinner for the family. His misfortune did not end here. Mutti was his daughter and Sanesh, his son-in-law. The police killed Sanesh also brutally along with Sinnal. Sanesh had two children. The youngest one is still breastfed. Sanesh’s mother is Budri. Adamal was also caught at Sanesh’s house along with him. Adamal’s mother is Aite, father Sukeram, wife Gangi. He got married seven years ago and had no children yet.
The morning after these three were captured, the family members of all three went to Kishtaram. The villagers warned them not to go and that they would be killed if they went. But they insisted that that they would go even at the cost of their lives.
Though they went, they remained at a distance from the police station. They were afraid of going near. (We can understand how much tyranny is hidden in this 60-year old `democracy’ from the way people are afraid to step into a police station, which is supposed to protect the people.) Somebody told them that the police brought some dead bodies with military dresses and that they were claiming they were naxalites. These people thought that since their men were caught in shirt and lungi, it may not be them. But when the press reporter showed the photographs they identified them and started wailing.
The villages learnt that among the captives from Gattam and Palachelimi, except Adamal all the rest were killed near the road between Nallabelli and Gollapelli and went there to see the spot. They saw pools of congealed blood and pieces of clothes of the victims. They brought back these rags as keepsakes. Adamal was killed at Paidagudem at a distance from this spot. His towel and other things were found lying there. Adamal’s wife recalled painfully that they did not even spare his underwear which was also torn to pieces. She also painfully wondered what happened to the watch he was wearing. The pain of not being even left with things that belonged to the man echoed in her voice. The auction of Gandhi’s belongings is greatly debated across the country. Adamal, Deval, Pojjal, Sanesh, Masal, Sinnal may not be as `great’ as Gandhi. Their belongings may not be the nation’s heritage. But are they not valuable and worth preserving to their parents, spouses, progeny, friends and relatives?
“I got my son married young. They had no children. I consider them as children. Now he is no more,” reflected Adamal’s mother sadly. She was in tears when adding, “They should have killed him near the house. I would have cried over his body and buried him. Now they killed like an orphan”. His wife also shared with us crying, “They should have at least handed over his body to us. There is no evidence of his death. It feels as if he has gone to another village, not died. How can we forget the pain?”
The people question, “Why are our people killed? What right do the police and the government have to kill them?” They should question like that. But people like Adamal’s mother and wife say, “Let them kill. What right do the police have to make them into orphan dead bodies?” This way of questioning itself is extremely troubling. They are not referring to strangers or enemies when they say `let them kill’. They refer to their beloved sons and husband, on whom they anchored all their hopes of continuing their clan, of getting support in their last days, of sharing life for a hundred years. One can understand how well they understood the inherent quality of the state, which is to oppress, to kill indiscriminately.
We cannot go with the dead. Life has to go on. The dead will not come back. We need to shoulder the responsibilities with a firm mind. Only then will the household, children, family and the society will get back to normalcy. But how can people like Adamal’s wife make up their mind like this while waiting for a dead person as if he has gone to a neighboring village? “At least give us the dead bodies,” begged the friends and relatives of the dead in anguish. Their hope to see their beloved at least for the last time flickered in this request. They wanted to perform at least th last rites in their traditional way. If the politicians or the rich are blasted to pieces in an accident, the pieces of their bodies are picked up carefully, preserved in air-conditioned boxes, airlifted and displayed for public tribute, even when one is not sure as to whom the pieces of flesh exactly belonged. Last rites are performed for these pieces pompously. Nobody thinks of just burying those pieces wherever they were found. Just because the people here are poor, because the state dislikes them, should their bodies get unceremonious burial as if they had no identity? Should their near and dear have at least a last look at their bodies? Don’t these bodies deserve a fistful of earth from their people?
While going for Adamal’s body, his wife called her relative by telephone on the way. He told her that the captives had been killed and might have been buried. Since she thought they might not keep the body till she came, she then begged him to see to it that the body be given a proper burial and that she would pay for it.
If we see the way Adamal’s wife wanted a decent burial for her husband even if she could not get back the body and perform last rites amidst the family, we can understand how much importance
these people attach to the last rites.
The places of burial or cremation have some significance. If the dead are `great’, the places of their death, burial or cremation are turned into vast parks and tourist centres. To make them as such, a number of ordinary people are displaced if necessary. Several people visit the tombs, place bouquets on them and pay rich tributes. All this process is duly telecast by media. Ordinary people build a small tomb and tribals install a stone at the site. They look at the tombstone now and then and speak to others about it. But these people do not even know where their people lay buried. The places of the poor dead need not be transformed into memorial centres. Nobody need place bouquets at these places. But how inhuman can it be that no possibility was left for the near and dear to pay visits to the places!
In fact, the desire for a last look at the dead is not just a personal sentiment. It is the legal right that everyone should be entitled to. Even when the dead body is not identified, its clear photograph should be published in newspapers so that the dead individual’s body is identified and taken away by the relatives. This is legally the bounden duty of the police. But here even known people are declared unidentified, their bodies buried hastily and their rights violated.
Courts that claim to be protecting law and justice also turn blind in such matters. Even if the poor victims cannot go to courts, the latter can intervene in such matters. There were indeed a number of cases when the courts made such interventions when it was not inconvenient to the governments.
Media, which sensationalise trivial issues and create news when there is none, in order to attract viewers, also are indifferent to such inhuman issues that ought to be brought to the notice of people. They hide facts or distort them.
These are the lives lost, destruction done, blows received, hearts ravaged, rights violated in a small operation carried out in a day as part of the Green Hunt planned by the government in the name of suppressing Maoists. All these most brutal and cold-blooded murders were declared by the government as encounter deaths. The government is hunting innocent tribals in the name of the Green Hunt. Though initially the newspapers reported them as encounter deaths, following the government version, later when the facts came to light they wrote that the dead were innocent tribals.
Some newspapers said that the police killed the people in retaliation to the naxal attack on the police. But this reporting suggests to the public mind that the police would not have killed the people, had not the naxals attacked the police. Leaving aside the fact that even if the naxals were the first to attack, the police had no right to kill people or the naxals in retaliation, it is worth noting that it is only while the police were returning after creating mayhem and bloodshed in the villages that exchange of fire took place between the Maoists and the police forces. It was in this exchange that six police, including two officers, died.
We gathered these facts directly from the family members of the dead and other victims. However we also heard from them many such recent gruesome acts. Though we have not directly met the victims we wish to briefly mention here what we heard.
After failing in the attempt to suppress revolutionary movement in Dandakaranya by planning an offensive on a large scale in the name of Salwa Judum, the ruling classes initiated national level offensive with coordination among different States. As part of the Green Hunt, first they took up an operation for 3-4 days in Mirtur area of Bijapur district. They raided on Vetchem, Oukyam and Urem villages in this operation. On August 10, they shot dead six people who were going to a shandy. The victims were Oyam Sagar (30) of Vetchem village, Telugu Pandral (25) of Oukyam village, Hapka Lingu (25) of the same village, Tati Lakmu (25) of Etepadu village, Tati Aitu (45) of the same village, and Karam Somli (16) of Timmenar village, Only Karam Somli among them is a member of the Dalam. The rest were innocent tribals. Somli was also unarmed and in civil dress when the police captured her. Though it was very well possible to arrest her, the police brutally shot her dead.
Kunjam Bhima was shot dead in Duvvalkarka village in Dantewada district on September 7. Sodi Sannal (25), Sodi Bhimal (30), Sodi Aite (30), Madivi Deval (60) were shot dead when Gollagudem village was raided in Jegurugonda area on September 7. In this incident Madivi Deval’s body was left at the place of incident and the rest were declared dead in an encounter. These three were also relations of each other. Since it is difficult to show that the 50- year old Madivi Deval as a naxalite, his body was not taken and his death was not made public.
The police raided on Gompadu, Chintaguppa, Nulakatogu, Velipotcha and Bandarupodaru villages on October 10. Gompadu is a village that was strongly influenced by the politics of revolutionary movement. So the raid was conducted to create terror among people here and thereby distance them from the revolutionary movement. The forces that came in 4 batches (600-800) from Vinjaram police camp, Bejji and Konta police stations made this raid. On the day of the police raid, the villagers were celebrating some festival. Relatives also came to the village from neighboring villages on this occasion. The entire day was spent in festivities. The raid occurred even before the celebrations concluded. In the police firing during this raid Madivi Bajar (40), Madivi Subba (35), Madivi Mutti (10), Madivi Enka (50), Soyam Subba (20), Soyam Jogi (18) and Kartem Kanni lost their lives. Soyam Subba and Soyam Jogi had been just married a month ago. Their lives ended before the end of their wedding celebrations. Kartem Kanni was the mother of an infant. Mutti was only ten years old. There was an indiscriminate firing on children, old people and others. Along with these people of the village, Madivi Deval who had come here on a visit from Gopalapuram the border village in Andhra Pradesh was also shot dead.
Kartem Mutta died in the raid on Chantiguppa. Musaki Deva who had come on a visit to Chintaguppa from Kunadabba village also died. He used to be the Sarpanch of Kunadabba. Kunjem Arli died in the raid on Velupotcha village, Musaki Mooka, in the raid on Nulakatongu village.
The police who killed Kartem Kanni during the raid also behaved like beasts with her 9-month old child. They crushed the infant’s fingers against the ground with their boots, hit her on her mouth with the butt of their gun badly bruising her lips. The baby who had lost her mother’s milk now found it difficult to drink any milk at all. The police also injured another woman called Sodi Santo. They burned two houses and took away Rs. 19,000 cash. The police also took away several poultry. In Chintaguppa also 13-year old Madivi Bheema is on the verge of death with a bullet stuck in her neck. The police looted a total of Rs. 60,000 from the village and burnt down a house. Though they killed so many people in a day, they did not even announce it as encounter.
In Kamuluru village the police caught Madakam Raju (20), an activist of Revolutionary Students Union and a resident of Timmenar village, and shot him dead on October 7. On October 13, Podiam Somdu (45) of Kutul Lakma village was shot dead. Kovasi Sukram (45) and Madakam Sannu (45) of Kankagudem village were shot dead on October 17.
On October 24, the police raided on the villages of Pujari Kanker, Gunjuru, Marudubaka, Poosubaka, Murukum, Gaganpalli and Singam in Usuru area of Dantewada district. Four batches of Cobra, Koya Commandos and SPOs raided the villages. During this raid, they shot dead a youth, Madivi Ungal, of Gundam villae while he was going to Poosubaka. Another person by name Kamulu also of the same village was also injured in this incident.
Kalumu Gangi and another woman of Pujari Kanker village were raped and brutally killed. Similarly, Musaki Chukka of Gunjuru village was killed along with another young man.
The police killed five people but took away the bodies of only three, dressed the bodies in military fatigues and declared them as naxalites slain in two different encounters. The women killed were not mentioned. The two women were middle-aged and each with 5-6 children. They did not disclose the bodies perhaps since their age betrays the fact that they were not naxalites.
Among the dead, Ungal of Gundam village is the only son of his parents. His father had died of snake bite the previous year, when he was sleeping in the forest due to fear of Judum attack. The mother had only Ungal since then. She has lost this support also now with Ungal’s death. She went to Basagudem to get her son’s dead body. She stayed there two days begging and fighting for the body. Finally they demanded a bribe of Rs. 15,000. The mother who could not pay that sum had to return with a heavy heart without even having a last look at her son.
The two young men killed at Gunjur were shown as killed in an encounter at Kondapalli. It was also claimed that they found a motor bike during the encounter. The motor bike in fact belonged to one Satyanarayana, a shopkeeper of Poosubaka village. Satyanarayana’s son Ganesh was going to his village on the motor bike when he saw the police and left the bike there and ran away. The police stole the motor bike and gave a statement that it belonged to naxalites.
The police thus not only killed five people but also made five others `disappear’. Two of them were residents of Singam village and two belonged to Pujari Kanker village.
Further, the police burnt some houses, took away poultry and pigeons, robbed Rs. 33,000 of cash and even good clothes.
The police disappeared two DAKMS leaders Dulal and Bandi – in Katte Kalyani area in Dantewada district. They raided on Bellam Nendra and Gottodu village in Madded area of Bijapur district on October 14 and burnt down 15 houses. They also burnt some houses in Mankeli and Korma village in Ganguluru area. In end-September they burnt some houses in Darbha area in Dantewada district. After the Operation Green Hunt was declared, in the raids that were conducted from August 10 to October 24, the police brutally killed 44 people in Dantewada and Bijapur districts. There were 8 women, a girl and a boy (Pojjal) among these. Among those killed by the police only two (Karam Somli and Madakam Raju) were professional revolutionaries. They were killed while they were unarmed. The rest were innocent rural folk. Many such rural people were disappeared by the police. Six women were raped. Many were beaten up and injured by bullets. 13-year old Madivi Bheeme was also thus injured. Their cruel torture of a 9-month old baby was the height of their bestiality. Apart from cruelly torturing and injuring people they burnt down many houses and other property, robbed goats, poultry and thousands of rupees of cash. Whenever they raided robbing cash, valuables, good clothes, goats and poultry became a routine.
The police are meant for apprehending criminals, murderers and thieves. But police all over also behave like criminals, murderers and thieves. Here the police only behave like criminals, murderers and thieves.
The situation is this worse even before the offensive is intensified. If it intensifies, without doubt genocide of tribals will take place. The ruling classes began this offensive only because the tribal people are opposing the transfer of the forest resources to imperialists and multi-national companies, and are asserting their rights over the forests. The ruling classes are vengeful of the Maoist party because the Party stood by these people. Even after 60 years of so-called independence never did the ruling classes think about the development of tribal areas. But now they talk of development and say the Maoists should be suppressed since they obstruct development. In fact the country is facing a number of major challenges today. Poverty is increasing day by day and living standards are on the decline. Unemployment , inflation, hunger deaths, diseases, illiteracy, insecurity, corruption, scarcity of food, famine, scarcity of water and many such issues are deeply troubling people’s lives. The country is going through a major financial crisis. The ruling classes that don’t have the capacity and integrity to resolve these issues indulge in the malicious propaganda by projecting naxalite issue through a magnifying glass that left extremism is the only challenge facing the country, to divert people’s attention from these issues. The governments have plotted, with the help of imperialists, to evict people from this land by deploying armed forces with the excuse of suppressing the Maoists, killing people indiscriminately, destroying everything, and creating a terror regime. The responsibility of defeating this plot now lies with the people of this country and all democratic-minded people. The Adivasi struggle for their resources is not theirs alone. Nor is it confined to a region. The struggle that is targeted against the imperialists and comprador ruling classes relates to the sovereignty, independence, self-determination and autonomy of this country. Therefore we should stand by this struggle, become part of it and oppose the suppression of this struggle by the ruling classes.