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31/03/2011 · 5:07 pm
India’s Superpower Euphoria CCXCVI
Dantewada not fully in our control: Raman Singh
IANS | Mar 31, 2011, 06.48pm IST
Tags:Raman Singh|Maoists|Central Reserve Police Force|Bharatiya Janata Party
RAIPUR: No one found guilty will be spared, chief minister Raman Singh says on the Dantewada arson incident in which policemen allegedly went on the rampage in three tribal hamlets of Chhattisgarh. But he is quick to add that the area is not fully under government control.
Reacting to the attack on Swami Agnivesh, Singh said he had warned the social activist against going to Dantewada as there was a possibly of a “people’s outburst”.
“The government will act hard, no one, no policeman will go scot free if the probe report indicts them,” Singh told IANS even as his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government faces possibly its strongest ever criticism since it came into power for the Dantewada episode.
Villagers of Tarmetla and two other nearby tribal hamlets in Dantewada district have alleged that policemen had gone on the rampage between March 11 and 16, burning down over 200 houses, killing people and even raping women.
Singh, however, said Tarmetla was not fully under the government’s control.
“Everyone knows that the Tarmetla area is not under the government’s full control. In recent months police have made some penetration and challenged Maoists who are using local people as a human shield in the battle against police,” the 59-year-old politician said.
Tarmetla, about 500 km south of capital Raipur, is the area where Maoists had massacred 76 security April 6 last year, including 75 of them belonging to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Singh said the “forces still struggle to enter certain jungle areas in Bastar where Maoists dominate, they have buried landmines, there is always a possibility of civilians coming to harm in the case of crossfire, but the probe report will make everything clear because I too want to know the facts of the Tarmetla arson case”.
Singh, who has headed the BJP government since December 2003 in the country’s worst Maoist insurgency-hit state, on March 24 set up a four-member probe panel besides ordering a magisterial inquiry. Newspaper photographs showed the devastation in the areas.
Singh said the “probe will be completely ‘fair and impartial’. I have transferred the Dantewada collector R Prasanna and senior superintendent of police SRP Kalluri because there was lack of coordination among them and also to ensure that the probe is influenced by anyone”.
He, however, chose to remain silent in the state assembly as the stormy budget session ended Thursday, refusing to make a statement on the Dantewada incident despite the Congress paralysing the house since Monday and terming the incident a fallout of ‘jungle raj’.
Even Swami Agnivesh and some mediamen accompanying him were attacked by a mob in Dantewada March 26 while they were on their way to Tarmetla. Agnivesh was pulled out of his car, manhandled and eggs were thrown at him allegedly by policemen in civilian clothes and cadres of the anti-Maoist militia Salwa Judum. The protesters stoned Agnivesh’s convoy and forced him to return.
Singh remarked: “I provided him full security, I had personally told him before he headed to Dantewada that the area is very sensitive, ‘I will give you (Agnivesh) security cover till the location where we are in a position to provide it,’ I had also told him that people of the area have suffered too many Maoist brutalities, so people’s outburst is a possibility.
“Agnivesh should have avoided going to the media in Raipur and New Delhi about what happened to him in Dantewada, it spoils the atmosphere.”
The Congress had sent a 10-member team of party legislators to Dantewada villages March 29 to make an on the spot assessment but they were arrested in Dantewada and returned without reaching Ground Zero.
Asked why his government was stopping those who wanted to know the truth, Singh said: “It’s not an area you can easily go to, roads have multiple-layer landmines and Maoists are dominant, each time an outsider attempts to go there, police have to go first to open the roads and clear the landmines.”
Readers’ opinions (4)
Sid Harth Harth (USA)
2 mins ago (02:17 AM)
TOI coverage of this sad incidence is pathetic. The Hindu has not only covered it better but they have taken trouble to send reporters/photographers to investigate as quickly as humanly possible. The comments on this article are also highly biased and pathetic. Forget about your pet project, “aman ki asha.” Dantewada is burning. By the way give your readers some facts. They are available. Just a snippet: “Dantewada is blessed with various mines and minerals. Bailadila contains one of the largest deposits of Iron Ore in the world. The Iron content of the Ore is as high as 68%, which can easily be termed as of world class quality Ore. Similarly deposits like Uranium, Granite, Graphite, Lime Stone and Marble are also found in the district. Dantewada is inhabited by several tribal groups such as Maria, Muria, Dhurwa , Halba ,Bhatra, Gonds. According to 2001 census report, the total population = 353794. Male = 171950 Female = 181844
…and I am Sid Harth
3 hrs ago (11:04 PM)
plz god help those innocent people..because we can not do anything..neither our callous politicians…nor the maoist..not the police …not even those arundhati roy and swami agnivesh who wants publicity…
Agree (1)Disagree (1)
5 hrs ago (08:41 PM)
Now contrast this news with Chidambaram’s hard policy on Naxalism. It is no wonder that there is unrest in the tribal regions.
Agree (2)Recommend (1)
6 hrs ago (07:34 PM)
Agnivesh should loose his tongue on a landmine,then he will be more kind towards Maoists and other anti-nationals.Fraud swami needs to deported to the bottom of the ocean
Agree (13)Disagree (5)Recommend (6)
Raipur, March 31, 2011
Torched villages still denied rations in Chhattisgarh
Twenty days after security forces allegedly burnt about thirty seven houses in Morpalli and fifty homes and granaries in Timapuram in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, villagers said they were yet to receive emergency rations sanctioned by the district administration.
On March 24, The Hindu reported allegations that a combined team of Special Police Officers (SPOs) of the Chhattisgarh police and the Central Reserve Police Force burnt close to 300 homes, granaries and sheds over the course of a five day operation in the villages of Morpalli, Timapuram and Tarmetla from March 11 to March 16, prompting the then District Collector R. Prasana to send emergency food rations to the affected villages.
Today (Thursday), in a telephone call with this correspondent, a villager speaking on the condition of anonymity as he feared for his safety, said that while food rations had reached Tarmetla, but residents of the interior villages of Timapuram and Morpalli were yet to receive any aid and were fast running out of supplies.
On March 30, the Supreme Court directed food commissioners N.C. Saxena and Harsh Mander to visit the affected villages to inquire into the basis of reports that six residents of Morpalli had died of starvation. The National Human Rights Commission has also directed the Chhattisgarh government to file a report on the incident. However, it appears unlikely that anyone will be able to access the villages anytime soon.
The district police have sealed that sole motorable road leading to the three villages. In the past two weeks, journalists, social activists and even a convoy of 10 Congress members of the Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly have been turned back by a hostile crowd of SPOs and members of the Salva Judum, an anti-Maoist vigilante force that the State government claims has been disbanded. The State government’s claims were made in response to a case, pending in the Supreme Court, which holds the Judum responsible for 537 murders, 99 rapes and 103 acts of arson.
Responding to calls that Dantewada had descended into anarchy, the state government transferred Dantewada Senior Superintendent of Police, S.R.P. Kalluri, but locals in Dantewada say the situation is yet to improve. Last week, social activist Swami Agnivesh described the SPOs and Judum as a “Frankenstein’s monster” that the Chhattisgarh police had created and subsequently lost control of. Mr. Agnivesh made these observations soon after he was attacked for trying to deliver rations to the stricken villages.
In an interview with IANS, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has admitted that Dantewada is not completely under his government’s control and claimed that parts of the district had been sealed by the police for security purposes.
Keywords: Chhattisgarh, Dantewada, Maoist issue
NEW DELHI, March 31, 2011
‘Chhattisgarh police claim of encounter with Maoists a hoax’
Despite Supreme Court order, Salwa Judum is still active
A 13-member fact-finding team that visited Chintalnar, Morapally, Timmapuram and Tadmetla villages of Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh has found that the police claim that they had an encounter with Maoists in the jungles of Dantewada during March second week as “a hoax and far from reality.”
“We have been inside these areas for two days, only to see that there was no ‘encounter’ with Maoists as claimed by the police, which is nothing but a myth propagated by the State to justify these atrocities,” the team said in a report released to the media.
The team said State-sponsored Koya commandos, consisting of former Maoists and tribals, and the “CoBRA” unit of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) went on the rampage from March 11 to 16 in these villages, killing three tribals, raping three women and setting on fire/destroying over 300 houses/huts, granaries and other properties.
“These rampages were done with full consent and active support of the State.” This clearly showed that the Salwa Judum was active and functioning like always. The State’s branding them as “Koya Commandos” was “bogus.” Despite the Supreme Court’s directive to disband Salwa Judum it was fully functional and actively promoted and sponsored by the State government.
The team said the attack by the police forces and the Salwa Judum was heinous and the attack on innocent tribals was done persistently by the State and its mercenaries in the name of “Operation Green Hunt.”
These villages were particularly targeted as they had done alternative development works such as digging ponds, distributing land among the landless, making irrigation facilities which the State had failed to provide.
The Hindu has extensively reported about the atrocities perpetrated on tribals.
The team members, led by C.H. Chandrasekhar, and consisting of social, human rights and civil activists, lawyers, journalists and educationists, among other things, urged the State government to register cases of rape, murder, atrocities and kidnap against the CRPF and Salwa Judum members and provide exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of these acts. The injured should be given immediate medical assistance and medical tests of the rape victims should be conducted.
People who suffered losses should be compensated. The government should immediately disband the Salwa Judum/Koya commandos.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), taking suo motu cognisance of media reports on the attack on social activist Swami Agnivesh and his team members on March 26 when they tried to take relief materials to the affected villages, issued notices to Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police, seeking factual reports on the incident within four weeks.
The reports said a large group, comprising special police officers of the Chhattisgarh police and members of the Salwa Judum attacked and manhandled him twice despite his trying to go to the villages with police escort. The Commission said “the entire incident is a matter of great concern.”
Swami Agnivesh had gone there to deliver clothes, blankets and other relief materials to the affected people.
Keywords: Chhattisgarh, Dantewada, police atrocity
New Delhi, March 30, 2011
Policemen can’t get away with violence, rape: Supreme Court
Expressing concern over increasing custodial violence, the Supreme Court on Tuesday warned policemen that such incidents including rape would not be tolerated.
A Bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra said: “Policemen must learn how to behave as public servants in a democratic country, and not as oppressors of the people.”
Quoting the judgment in the D.K. Basu case, the Bench said: “Custodial violence, including torture and death in lock-ups, strikes a blow at rule of law, which demands that the powers of the executive should not only be derived from law but also that the same should be limited by law.”
Justice Katju, writing the judgment, quoted a Urdu poem — Bane hain ahal-e-hawas muddai bhi munsif bhi Kise vakeel karein kisse munsifi chaahen by Faiz Ahmed Faiz — and said: “If ever there was a case which cried out for the death penalty it is this one, but it is deeply regrettable that not only was no such penalty imposed, but not even a charge under Section 302 [murder] of the Indian Penal Code was framed against the accused by the courts below.”
Appellants Mehboob Batcha, Parthasarathy, Jafar Siddique and Karunanidhi, who were policemen, wrongfully confined Nandagopal in police custody in the Annamalai Nagar station (Tamil Nadu) on suspicion of theft from May 30, 1992 to June 2, 1992 and beat him to death with lathis. They also gang-raped his wife Padmini in a barbaric manner. Both the trial court and the Madras High Court held the appellants guilty and sentenced them to 10-year imprisonment.
Dismissing the appeals the Bench said: “The graphic description of the barbaric conduct of the accused shocks our conscience. We see no reason to disbelieve the wife’s evidence. Ordinarily, no self-respecting woman would come forward in court to falsely make such a humiliating statement against her honour. Crimes against women are not ordinary crimes committed in a fit of anger or for property. They are social crimes. They disrupt the entire social fabric, and hence they call for harsh punishment. The horrendous manner in which the woman was treated by policemen was shocking and atrocious, and calls for no mercy.”
Rarest of rare cases
The Bench further said: “We are surprised that the accused were not charged under Section 302 IPC and instead the courts below treated the death of Nandagopal as suicide. In fact, they should have been charged under that provision and awarded the death sentence, as murder by policemen in police custody is, in our opinion, in the category of the rarest of rare cases deserving the death sentence, but surprisingly no charge under Section 302 IPC was framed against any of the accused. We are constrained to say that both the trial court and the High Court have failed in their duty in this connection. The entire incident took place on the premises of the Annamalai Nagar police station and the accused deserve no mercy.”
Keywords: Supreme Court, police raid, Maoist problem, internal security, police violence
TARMETLA, March 23, 2011
Chhattisgarh villages torched in police rampage
An investigation by The Hindu reveals the horrific aftermath of a five-day anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. Photo: Aman Sethi
Once the raid began, the villagers ran into the forests and returned to find their houses reduced to smoldering ruins. Photo: Aman Sethi
Tarmetla: A village in flames
Three women assaulted, three men killed, hundreds rendered homeless in course of 5 day operation
The operation began in the early hours of March 11 when about 350 heavily armed troopers marched into the forests of Dantewada. They returned to their barracks five days later, with three villages aflame, about 300 homes and granaries incinerated, three villagers and three soldiers dead, and three women sexually assaulted, the victims and several eyewitnesses told The Hindu.
Last week, the Chhattisgarh police said three Koya commandos were killed in a Maoist ambush during a routine search, yet journalists attempting to reach the site were turned away by gun-toting special police officers. On visiting the area through a forest route, this correspondent was confronted by the aftermath of what appeared to be an attack by security forces on three tribal settlements in a 15-km radius of the police camp at Chintalnar, which has left hundreds homeless and brutalised.
The following account is based on interviews with villagers who spoke on the record and senior police sources who sought anonymity to speak freely. The names of victims of sexual assault have been changed to protect their identities.
In the first week of March, the police and the Central Reserve Police Force planned an operation to be conducted by the CRPF’s elite CoBRA battalion and the police’s Koya commandos, a tribal corps of surrendered Maoists and local youth.
A surrendered Maoist had claimed that the guerrillas were running an arms factory at Morpalli, a tour-hour march from the police camp at Chintalnar, a police official told The Hindu. Intelligence inputs indicated that about 100 Maoists, including Jai Kishen, a high-ranking Andhra cadre leader, were present nearby.
“On March 11, about 200 Koyas and 150 CoBRA left Chintalnar about 4 a.m. to destroy the arms factory,” said a police source.
“The force arrived at 8 in the morning and surrounded the village,” said Nupo Mutta, a former sarpanch of Morpalli. “They fired a few shots in the air and we ran into the forests.”
Madavi Sulla, 30, did not act fast enough. “My husband was sitting in a tree picking tamarind,” said his wife Madavi Hunge. “The force saw him and opened fire. I pleaded with them to stop, but they tore my clothes and threatened me.” Hunge escaped. The police moved further into the village, leaving Sulla’s corpse hanging in the tree.
“I was picking ‘tendu patta’ on the fields when the force came and said I was spying for the Maoists,” said Aimla Gangi, 45. “They threw me to the ground, pulled off my clothes and molested me in front of my two daughters. They also stole Rs.10,000 from a bag I kept tied around my waist.”
Villagers say the force left by noon, having torched 37 houses. They also picked up Madavi Ganga, 45, his son Bima and his daughter Hurre, 20. “They took us to the Chintalnar police station and put me in a separate cell and stripped me,” said Hurre.
Hurre said she was kept all night in the station and sexually assaulted. Ganga and Bima said the police repeatedly asked them whether Maoists visited their village and beat them through the night. The Madavi family was released when the women of Morpalli demanded their release at the Chintalnar station.
Police sources say they found neither arms factories nor Maoists at Morpalli that day, though they did find a 15-foot memorial commemorating the death of eight Maoists in the April 2010 encounter, in which 76 CRPF troopers were killed near Tarmetla village.
The operation resumed at Timapuram on March 13. “There was a disagreement because the CoBRAs prefer night operations, and the Koyas wanted to operate in the day,” said a source familiar with the operation, “so the Koyas set out on their own.”
En route, the Koyas stopped at Phulanpad where they picked up Barse Bima and Manu Yadav and took them along to Timapuram.
As word spread of the Koyas imminent arrival, Timapuram’s resident fled to the forests. “The Koyas came to Timapuram about 2 in the afternoon. They set up a camp, killed our chickens and goats and ate them.” said Timapuram resident Madkam Budra.
Budra said the commandos spent the night at Timapuram, a fact confirmed by the police, and installed sentries to ward off a possible Maoist attack.
The Maoists attacked next morning, on Monday March 14. “We knew the Koyas had spent the night at Timapuram and laid our ambush early morning,” said a Maoist fighter who had participated in the attack and met this correspondent on the outskirts of Timapuram late Sunday night. “About 70 Maoists participated in the attack, including Area Commander Ramanna.”
The ambush lasted for two hours. Three Koyas were killed and nine injured. After the Koyas called for reinforcements, a helicopter flew in to evacuate the injured; the Maoists finally retreated by noon. The police and local newspapers say 37 Maoists were killed in the ambush, but a handwritten note sent to this correspondent by the Maoists claims that only Section Commander Muchaki Ganga was killed.
The Koyas spent the night at the village and left next morning, March 15, for Chintalnar. Before they left, villagers say, the Koyas burnt about 50 buildings, including homes and granaries. They also executed one of their captives, Barse Bima, with an axe. “My husband’s hands were tied behind his back, he had been hit with an axe on the base of his neck and twice on his chest,” said Barse Lakhme, who cremated the body.
The other captive, Mannu Yadav, was taken to Chintalnar where, villagers allege, the police shot him and claimed he was a Maoist fighter killed in the ambush. “The body claimed by the police was not a Maoist,” said a senior officer. He said he was tipped off by a Koya. “They killed him because they needed to show something.”
On March 16, villagers say the same company of Koyas surrounded Tarmetla village and burnt about 200 structures, including homes, granaries and woodsheds. Tarmetla’s former sarpanch, Gondse Deva, said the Koyas swept through the village, setting fire to the straw roofs, stuffing burning hay into the granaries, burning food, clothes, valuables, money and keepsakes. “The force has also taken away two men, Madavi Handa and Madavi Aita,” said Deva. “We don’t know where they are, we think they are dead.”
When she heard the commotion, Madavi Hidme threw all her jewellery and money into a bag before rushing for the forests. “I was stopped by four SPOs and beaten with sticks until I lost consciousness,” she said. “When I awoke, I was naked. My bag was gone.” Hidme has been assaulted so violently that a cut has opened up on the left side of her face; she can’t see from her left eye.
Dantewada Collector R.Prasanna is setting up a committee to look into the incidents. “The committee shall be headed by the tehsildar of Konta, along with a representative from the press, civil society and a people’s representative,” he told The Hindu. “We will provide Rs. 50,000 in compensation for each house burnt, and will reimburse villagers for their grains, utensils and other possessions. The committee shall submit its report in one month.”
Director-General of Police Vishwa Ranjan did not return phone calls to his office.
Keywords: police raid, Maoist problem, internal security
There has to be some morality in the way the forces behave and operate. This story is a clear indication of how the ‘system’ turns ordinary people into Maoists. Not that I support the activities of Maoists, but I also do not condone, and hope that the people in power also do not, the security forces who act so recklessly.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 01:18 IST
What the hell are these people doing? Is these how our police and commandos behave? If all this is true then no wonder tribals are supporting Maoists. I am ashamed really.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 03:09 IST
The Hindu is the ONLY newspaper that has boldly come out against the police atrocities happening against the tribals under the pretense of maoist operation. Government has silenced people like Binayak Sen who spoke against this. What a pity !
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 04:07 IST
This medieval approach of security issues happens in many places in India. It happens in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Kashmir and it is seldom reported. Indian police and para-military are savage and brutal. India needs to grow into 21st century. Besides compensating the people who have suffered, they should also punish those who perpetrated this savagery. I do not like the comment of the “Collector” that they will be compensated and their is no mention of punishment for the beasts.
from: Naveed Khan
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 04:57 IST
It is a known fact that Tribals and villagers in remote areas have always been treated as third class citizens in their country, without any development for years. However, the recent incidents of violence, killing and pillage of their community will shock any one with a heart to the core. Are we living in a such a brutal democracy where poor people have no right to even live?
from: Somu Kumar
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 05:06 IST
Shame on the Indian government? Human rights is not worth one paisa. I’m ashamed to call myself Indian.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 06:39 IST
Is there anything called “shame” still left with us. What a gory act. Really appreciate The Hindu for bringing this up. As citizens we need immediate action against the perpetrators of the crime, and this should be set as an example for police highhandedness. Whatever happened to the collective conscience of the society?
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 08:31 IST
Once again The Hindu did a great job. What a shame on the state police forces. Are these humans? Corrupt government, cruel CRPF personnel..Communist groups with no honest agenda..what is going on in the nation? Government immediately announces compensation.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 08:59 IST
Is this the freedom for which our forefathers fought and died?
from: GERSHOM CHELLIAH
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 10:30 IST
Helpless fellow Indians.
This is just a news for others. But for those who affected is a pain for ever.
As usual, the government has running out of back log issues. This would be an additional case..thats all to say.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 11:05 IST
What is our country coming to? The police force that were meant to deal with the Maoists are actually showing their inability on the villagers. Even without a single thought they are hunting down the villagers and harassing the women folk. Such incidents should be dealt with much more vigor than just reporting them. Where has the Human Rights Commission gone? Don’t they have a say in such grave injustices to mankind. This assault on the lower classes of people do not claim anybody’s attention, but it highlights how the power and authority of the Police personnel and the other forces of the government are being misused for their own satisfaction.
from: Shyam Varma
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 11:17 IST
As far as I know it happens a lot of times. However all due to your brave journalists we know this on national level. We do have news papers in the state but they always buckle to corporate interests for they are run by them. Thank you Hindu in you and because of you the journalism is alive and we have hope.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 11:19 IST
To think that this violence is dished out by the state is incomprehensible. And they wonder why people take up arms to fight back? Good reporting, by the way, by Aman Sethi.
from: Rashmi Singh
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 12:51 IST
The state acting in disguise of a protector is plundering its own villages. Tarmetla, Dantewada incident on 11th March displays the concealed intention of the state of Chhattisgarh to do away with the tribal population and grab their land for its insatiable hunger for industrial development. It was a commendable job undertaken by The Hindu to reveal the true face of the BJP government in Chhattisgarh. There was no whisper of this cruel incident for twelve days which shows how efficient the government has been in hiding it real agenda. Another report in one of the leading newspapers corroborates it that every attempt was made to dissuade people coming from outside from entering the village. How democratic the state is when it resorts to such technique in portraying the beautiful picture of shining India. The local media is yet to murmur about this rampage.
from: mohan shekhar
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 13:57 IST
This incident is a slam on the Democracy and the Fundamental Right’s of these tribals, which has been enshrined in the Constitution of India. A gross violation of human rights and Article 21. Everyone has to condemn this brutality.
from: Yusuf Hayath
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 14:32 IST
Absolutely awful. Even if these villagers were Maoist sympathisers or active members, the alleged treatment meted out by the security forces is abhorrent. This will just increase the membership of the maoists. Human rights should be observed when dealing with such poor, simple and helpless people. The perpetrators of this crime should be prosecuted.
from: Vipul Dave.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 14:33 IST
This is absolutely disastrous and shocking!. First of all I commend The Hindu for bringing out this story as it is risking life and limb. But, it is appalling to read what has happened at the villages in Dantewada, where is the government? Who is controlling these operations? Who has authorised the koya commandos to commit such a barbaric act on their own countrymen?. All these questions need to be answered, The district administration may have taken a step to bring to light the facts of this massacre, but it is not enough.It is heart-rending to see that on one hand India opposes the military action on some other country, but turns a blind eye on its own.
from: bharath r
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 14:51 IST
I’m shocked and very disturbed on reading this news. I doubt if our country is a democracy anymore. Will these culprits be punished and the victims be rehabilitated? I request this newspaper to follow up on this story and make sure justice is served.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 15:37 IST
Another Committee, headed by tehsildar and other representatives. Again bribes will be given to the officials, the committee will report that the commandos acted correctly and that will be the end of matter. I am sure none of the “50,000″ compensation will reach the villagers. Instead of giving compensation, the authorities should ask themselves, how can such an incident happen first of all?
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 15:45 IST
It is always the innocent who suffer. Usually, the Govt. forces vent their anger on the helpless villagers. Rape, torture,torching of houses, etc are the only things they can actual do. No wonder why India sided with Qaddhafi.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 15:47 IST
The policemen committing the crime must be arrested and charged with Rape and murder. The crimes must be investigated by a national committee and all involved in its planning and execution must be brought to justice. It is a shame that the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable sections of the population are being subjected to rape, murder and terror by the police while the whole nation watches silently.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 17:57 IST
This is not fair by the police. The police never think about people. What fault of those who lost his home, son, and every thing?
from: Vakil Ahmed
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 18:12 IST
Is this the way government handles the biggest threat to nation? Ashamed of this cowardly act; those people without any basic facilities need to be cared for. Actions like this will definitely increase the strengh of maoists in the region.
from: Ezhil John
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 18:18 IST
So far I was thinking these maoists are really a nuisance, but on reading an article like this, I asked myself, what will I do if I am attacked and tortured and stripped of my belongings – repeatedly for no fault of mine …..I will be pushed to commit the fault, what the heck anyways they are going to attack but now with me wielding a gun , I feel I have power. Great Job Army, CRPF, BSF and Police officers – some of them who do not believe power comes with responsibilities (while I salute many truly serving the country)
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 18:20 IST
In what civilised society are we living? Are we killing our own people like this for accomplishing what? Humane society has no room for this sort of activitis and every human being will come with out any reservations condemning it.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 19:31 IST
These reports of police brutalisation of our very own citizens is shocking and very saddening. Where is the battle to win the hearts and minds of our own people? Those found guilty, and I am sure there will be pressure brought to bear to ensure that at least some are brought to justice, must be given severe penalties to act as a warning to others who might exploit poor villages. The GOI MUST take these issues extremely seriously. They are meant to represent all Indians.
from: Samir Mody
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 21:12 IST
The state is alienating people each day and brutally
thanks to Aman for the report from an area difficult to cover
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 21:47 IST
Given the circumstances where Indian state machinery kill their own people, no surprise that Indian government did not favour NO FLY ZONE in Libya. There is no democracy in India, rather dictators rule us and loot public money.
from: Indian tiger
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 21:57 IST
from: snm rao
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 22:37 IST
No wonder why movies still show atrocities commited by police on common men. I am deeply hurt and angered by what has occurred to people who are innocent. The gravest of crime according to me is to harm women, how can these commandos sleep at night, won’t they be haunted by what they had done to innocent people. I hope they are duly punished, but knowing our Indian politicians, I am certain that this would never happen and incidents such as these arent the last that we will witness.
Posted on: Mar 23, 2011 at 22:48 IST
The Chhattisgarh Govt. should be immediately dismissed and Central rule should be imposed there. Whether koya commandos or salwa judum, these are just different instruments for implementing organised state brutality. The state govt. is behaving like a warlord who happens to have more arms and men than the maoists at the moment. A search operation by a police force, based on intelligence input, is a legal exercise, but dumping their frustrations onto the hapless tribal villagers by vandalising their properties (whatever little they have) and dignity, speaks of a cheap warlord kind of attitude. The aim seems to be showing the maoists, that the govt can be more brutal than them. Shame on Raman Singh’s Govt
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 02:50 IST
More progress as India marches on to becoming a global super power!
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 12:56 IST
Shame on CRPF. This is too much on tribals of Chhattisgarh. Thanks to The Hindu for bringing out the right picture, this will be helpful to get justice to them.
from: ASHOK KUMAR
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 13:15 IST
Congratulations to Mr. Aman Sethi for bringing this out. The State forces stand like an alien invader among its own people.
from: Gilbert Sebastian
Posted on: Mar 24, 2011 at 14:06 IST
Is there anything left to comment? I don’t know how come both sides can justify what they are doing specially how they are doing it. Sometime I wonder this is what I should call ‘India Shining’??
Posted on: Mar 25, 2011 at 18:45 IST
Shameful indeed. We as a country have got out priorities all wrong. What’s the difference between our govt and Libyan ? No wonder India didnt support the military action against Gaddafi and co. With so much pain all around us, we Indians have grown immune to the pain of other people. Kudos to’The Hindu’ for publishing the story. I am sure not many people will bother to click and read it. Any news about cricket World Cup will generate more clicks.
Posted on: Mar 26, 2011 at 23:23 IST
I would really appreciate if Government of India internal security make a note of these issues and try to initiate some operations. This is the 21 century – enough of fighting and I think all these are encouraged by local politicians. One more thing, if this is has to be stopped the government should be led by educated persons like IAS or IPS officers rather than uneducated politicians.
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 10:04 IST
The stubbornness of the governments especially Chhattisgarh is responsible for fueling the Maoist activity. Illegal mining, ignoring local welfare may be prominent causes but the way they are dealing with Binayak Sen and people of this village instigates people resorting to violence.Similar pattern can also be observed in JandK.
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 10:33 IST
Can anyone tell the difference in treatment of poor tribal Indians by this so-called police and the treatment by police under British rule?
from: Yashwanth P
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 16:27 IST
What is the National Human Rights Commission doing…it should take suo motto cognizance of such gruesome and gory incident. An appeal to Mr. K.G. Balakrishnan- please act or quit so that someone more competent, credible and honest can look into this.
from: Mohan Shekhar
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 18:48 IST
I congratulate Mr Aman Sethi for this brave piece of journalism. Wish we had more journalists like him in this country.
Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 at 00:24 IST
All this naked dance of violence by the very people who are duty bound to protect lives and properties of the citizens of the country is a very serious matter. Where has gone their oaths taken under the Constitution of India? We talk of being the largest democracy of the world but have failed when it matters to the poor innocent tribals who are killed at will. This is not the way to discharge frustration of not being able to go behind the blood of naxalites. It is time for Apex Court to take a suo moto notice of the facts and bring the culprits to justice.
from: Pravin Patel
Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 at 06:29 IST
The Home Minister of Chattisgarh says it was the Maoists who burn those villages and molested the women, this evidence is contrary; what’s lucid to the ear here confirmed by both the report and the oblivious authority is that the forces were mobilized, which is logical in the loose government’s an-eye-for-an-eye approach. Their strategy basically shouts ‘if the rebels don’t give up arms and since they think hey have some muscle, we use our arms to show our strength’, and if the government thinks the people directly concerned (which I believe everyone should be) don’t hear them, they retaliate ‘the rebels are bad, if you don’t understand that, then we’ll show you how bad they are’. And they did show them, ruthlessly.
But the only fault the logic perseveres in is when you ask why resistance takes arms in the first place, when you start to wonder why does this violence exist is when it is utterly devastated.Which essentially pulverizes the point of doing such in the first place. The point still being that there are rudimentary individual rights infringed and livelihoods that are being bloody destroyed. I fail to understand how an elected government chooses such childish measures, I fail to understand how the righteous soldier follows an order playing with human lives like old toys, I fail to understand what the ‘upright’ Naxal rebellion is fighting for in their demonstration of spilling blood and menacing penetration of the gullible mind, I fail to understand the point of having such a government if it not be for the protection of the society. Moreover why are the people of this largest ‘democracy’ quiet in their own mundane lives? I refuse to submit to the idea that nothing can be done about this. Isn’t this enough to wake up from the banal sleep?
from: Aman Bardia
Posted on: Mar 29, 2011 at 19:27 IST
Commendable piece of Journalism. The Dantewada Collector R.Prasanna says that ‘The committee shall submit its report in one month’. But what about until then? Shouldn’t he be answerable to those villagers whose homes and granaries have been destroyed by the fire. How will they survive until they receive the compensation amount for their losses (even if they do)?
from: Xitiz Bhatia
Posted on: Mar 30, 2011 at 05:13 IST
What is not understood is to whom these so called special forces answerable to.How come something so crude and incompetent as Koya commandos can be handed responsibility for something do delicate. Moreover it comprises former Maoists themselves. They are just trying to save their asses. Do we even have the same set of laws for urban and tribal people anymore? Why is there no response from the central government on this? Had this been Kashmir, the centre would have been all over this. I am from Assam and I have literally seen the situation in North East becoming chaotic because of this kind of double standards.
from: Arun Kumar Singh
Posted on: Mar 31, 2011 at 15:50 IST
Hats off to Aman and The Hindu for bringing this news from the villages. Can we belive that we live in society where such acts took place between 11-16 March, it came out on 23 March. Aman this is your real tribute to Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev. Can we believe that even after this came out no one is allowed to enter in the area to meet the affected people and provide the food and other necessary things as relief to the people. Can we believe that a Additional Superintendent of Police, Mr. Maravi accompanying Swami Agniwesh on the order of State Government is not allowed to reach to the people with relief material. And finally ASP Mr. Maravi wanted to lodge an FIR of attack and local police station refused to do so. In this situation reporting from the village Tarmetla is really commendable job.
Posted on: Mar 31, 2011 at 18:30 IST
Raipur, March 26, 2011
Swami Agnivesh, journalists attacked in Dantewada
The Hindu A Hindu investigation reveals the horrific aftermath of a five day anti-Maoist operation in which security forces assaulted three women, killed three men and left hundreds homeless in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. File photo: Aman Sethi
Collector, Senior Superintendent of Police transferred following reports of torching of villages
A large group comprising Special Police Officers (SPOs) of the Chhattisgarh police and members of the Salwa Judum attacked social activist Swami Agnivesh on Saturday as he attempted to deliver relief to a village allegedly torched by security forces in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district.
On March 23, The Hindu published reports and photographs alleging that SPOs had torched about 300 homes, granaries and wood-sheds, killed three men and sexually assaulted three women during a five-day anti-Maoist operation in the villages of Tarmetla, Timapuram and Morpalli.
Since then, the district police had sealed off the three villages and intimidated journalists who tried to visit them.
On Saturday, Mr. Agnivesh was to deliver clothes, blankets and other relief materials to the affected villagers when he was attacked twice in six hours by a mob at the Salwa Judum camp at Dornapal.
(The ‘Salwa Judum’ refers to a controversial tribal vigilante group, armed, trained and assisted by the Chhattisgarh government in its battle against the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). A public interest litigation, currently being heard by the Supreme Court, holds Judum members responsible for 537 murders, 99 rapes and 103 acts of arson.)
“Relief material seized”
In a telephone interview, Mr. Agnivesh said the first attack occurred early in the morning when a crowd of SPOs and Judum members surrounded his vehicle, pelted him with raw eggs, knocked off his turban and pushed him around. Reporters at the spot were also manhandled by the crowd. In a dispatch filed from the spot, Joseph John of the Indian Express reported that the crowd accused Mr. Agnivesh of turning a blind eye to the plight of victims of Maoist violence.
“They seized all the relief material intended for Tarmetla,” said Mr. Agnivesh, adding that he then returned to Sukma and telephoned Chief Minister Raman Singh for assistance.
In February this year, Mr. Agnivesh was instrumental in securing the release of five policemen kidnapped by Maoists.
Sources in the security establishment told The Hindu that the 150th Battalion of the CRPF was called in to protect Mr. Agnivesh.
The CRPF was in place by afternoon, when Mr. Agnivesh attempted to visit the affected villages once more. “Despite security assurances by the Chief Minister, we were attacked by a crowd engineered by the Salwa Judum and SPOs,” said Mr. Agnivesh, adding that his vehicle was stoned and he was forced to return.
Reporters at the site said a crowd of nearly 2,000 people at Dornapal attacked mediapersons and broke several cameras. Eyewitnesses said Naresh Mishra of the television channel Zee 24 was among those beaten.
“The police have created a Frankenstein’s monster that they cannot control,” said Mr. Agnivesh. “This was an attack on the administration by an unaccountable lynch mob.”
Reacting to the events of the past three days, the Chhattisgarh police transferred S.R.P. Kalluri from his post as the Dantewada Senior Superintendent of Police. “Mr. Kalluri was transferred to allow for an independent inquiry into the recent allegations,” said Director-General of Police Vishwa Ranjan, “He will take up duty as Deputy Inspector General, Surguja.”
Mahasamund Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg shall take over as Dantewada SP.
The spokesperson for the Chief Minister, N. Bajinder Kumar, confirmed that Dantewada Collector R. Prasanna has also been transferred. “Mr. Prasanna shall take over as Municipal Commissioner Raipur. “The existing Commissioner, O.P. Chaudhury, shall replace him,” Mr. Kumar said.
“Mr. Kalluri has lost the moral, legal and constitutional right to remain in his post,” said Ajit Jogi, Congress MLA from Marwahi and former Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh.
Keywords: Chhattisgarh conflict, Dantewada, Maoist issue, Swami Agnivesh
The attack on social activist Swami Agnivesh by Chhatishgarh special police forces and its pet organisation Salwa Judum shows how intolerant and authoritarian could become BJP government led by Raman Singh. This is direct attack on democratic fabrics in the country. It also indicates further that how brutal is Chhatishgarh BJP government in silencing the voices and attack on right and liberty of the people of the country! Apart from exposing BJP, it has also proved how it was biased against Dr Vinayak Sen, who was working there as social activists in treating poor tribals and got them jailed on the charge of sedition. If the voices of poor and their sympathisers are silenced in such fashion then what is need of democracy and people have every right to wage relentless war against state terror.
from: krishn kumar singh
Posted on: Mar 27, 2011 at 12:38 IST
Where did BJP come from… since when can a state Govt. deploy army or send in commandos? This is done by Congress+BJP. The only difference is that Congress does not even bother about the health of the Golden Goose.
Posted on: Mar 28, 2011 at 21:05 IST
Raipur, March 24, 2011
SPOs assault truck owner for delivering rations to burnt village
Two days after The Hindu reported that security forces had burnt close to 300 hundred homes and granaries in three villages in Chhattisgarh’s violence-wracked Dantewada district, Special Police Officers (SPOs) of the State police assaulted a truck owner for delivering emergency rations to the affected villages.
According to eyewitness reports, a tribal police corps known as the Koya commandos conducted a five day anti-Maoist offensive from March 11 to March 16 in Dantewada’s Konta block, in the course of which they reportedly burnt about 300 buildings, sexually assaulted three tribal women and killed at least three men (two more are missing) in the villages of Tarmetla, Timapuram and Morpalli.
Yesterday, Dantewada District Collector R. Prasanna constituted a five-member inquiry committee and announced that the district administration would deliver emergency rations of grain, clothes, and cooking and edible oil to the affected villages. However, SPOs at the Salwa Judum camp of Dornapal allegedly assaulted truck owner Kapur Chand Rajput and accused him of aiding the Maoists.
“This morning, the Collector [Dantewada] and Commissioner [Bastar] requisitioned my truck to deliver rice and blankets to some interior villages. As soon as the trucks left Dornapal, an SPO leader called Surya accused me of sending food to the Maoists, threatened me and beat me with the butt of his rifle,” said transporter and Congressman Kapoorchand Rajput.
“Surya said ‘The collector is a Maoist, the commissioner is a Maoist’. How dare you send your truck’,” Mr. Rajput said, adding that Mr. Surya pointed his assault rifle at Mr. Rajput and threatened to kill him.
According to a March 23 report in the Times of India, TOI reporter Supriya Sharma was prevented from visiting the affected villages by the district police on grounds of ‘security’.
Dantewada Collector R. Prasanna said he had received Mr. Rajput’s complaint and said he would investigate the matter. He refused to comment on Mr. Surya’s alleged remarks. Mr. Prasanna said that the rations had reached Chintagupha village and would be distributed to the affected villagers today and tomorrow.
In zero hour at the Chhattisgarh Vidhan Sabha yesterday, senior Congress leader and five time MLA from Kharsiya, Nand Kumar Patel, cited news reports to draw attention to the acts of arson in Dantewada and demanded an explanation from the government. “This is a grievous crime,” said Mr. Kumar, “It has been 10 days since the incident but the government is yet to determine exactly what happened on March 11.”
Keywords: Maoist issue, Chhattisgarh, Dantewada district
Jagdalpur, March 23, 2011
Police ‘attack’ on Chhattisgarh villages to be probed
The Hindu A woman sits outside her house amidst her ruined possessions. Eyewitnesses accused Chhattisgarh’s Koya commandos and the CPRF of burning homes, sexually assaulting women and executing three men in Chhattisgarh’s tribal villages. Photo: Aman Sethi
The panel shall consist of two government officials, a lecturer from a government college and two independent members.
The Dantewada Collector R. Prasanna has announced a probe into allegations that the district police and central paramilitary forces burnt homes, molested three women and killed at least three men in a five military operation in March.
On Wednesday, The Hindu and Rajasthan Patrika carried news reports in which eyewitnesses accused Chhattisgarh’s Koya commandos (an armed tribal police corps) and the Central Reserve Police Force of burning over 300 homes and granaries, sexually assaulting women and executing three men in the tribal villages of Timapuram, Morpalli and Tarmetla between March 11 and March 16.
The panel shall consist of two government officials, a lecturer from a government college and two independent members.
“We have set up a five member panel comprising Mr. Suresh Mahapatra, editor of local newspaper, Bastar Impact, Ms. Ratnabala Mohanty, a lecturer at Dantewada Post Graduate College, and the Head of a local NGO Pragati Prayas, Mr. Narendra along with the Tehsildar and Sub Divisional Magistrate of Knota block to inquire into the incident,” said Mr. Prasanna over the telephone.
Mr. Prasanna said that the panel had been asked to report their findings in the following fortnight and that compensation to violence-affected families would be paid by the end of the month.
Acting on media reports that security forces had burnt granaries, Mr. Prasanna said that the administration was also sending rice, pulses, edible oil, clothes and fuel to Tarmetla village.
In a telephone conversation, Chhattisgarh Director General of Police, Vishwa Ranjan ruled out instituting a parallel police inquiry into the incident. “My people on the ground do not agree [with the media reports],” said Mr. Ranjan.
Keywords: Chhattisgarh, molestation, sexual assault, Maoist issue
Raipur, March 28, 2011
Maoists burnt villages, claims Chhattisgarh government
The Hindu A villager’s home ravaged in the fire and raids in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district between March 11 and March 16. Besides their homes, Tarmetla residents lost most of their possessions to the fire. Photo: Aman Sethi
Chief Minister personally responsible, says opposition and stages walkout
A week after The Hindu first published allegations that security forces burnt close to three hundred homes, sexually assaulted three women and killed at least three men (two are still missing) in three villages in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, the State government finally broke its silence and blamed the atrocities on Maoist guerillas.
Speaking in the Vidhan Sabha, Chhattisgarh Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar admitted that 327 troopers of the Chhattisgarh Police and Central Reserve Police Force conducted a five day area domination exercise from March 11 to March 16 and raided the villages of Morpalli, Timapuram and Tarmetla; but claimed that, in each instance, the security forces were ambushed by Maoists who burnt the villages and escaped in the ensuing confusion.
Rejecting the Home Minister’s explanations, the opposition held Chief Minister Raman Singh personally responsible for the incident and boycotted the Vidhan Sabha for the day.
According to Mr. Kanwar’s statement, the security forces raided Morpalli village on March 11 this year, when they were attacked by Maoists. The Maoists then allegedly set fire to a number of homes and escaped. Citing the testimony of one Madavi Ganga of Morpalli village in this regard, Mr. Kanwar said a case had been registered in the Chintalnar Police Station.
On March 20, this correspondent interviewed Madavi Ganga of Morpalli. As reported in The Hindu on March 23, Mr. Ganga said the police picked him up, along with his son and teenaged daughter, on March 11 and took him to the Chintalnar police station where he was held overnight and repeatedly beaten.
His daughter said she was kept in a separate cell and was sexually assaulted by policemen. The Madavi family said they were released only when the women of Morpalli surrounded the Chintalnar police station and demanded their release. This correspondent visited all three villages where eyewitnesses claimed that their homes had been burnt by Special Police Officers (SPOs) and Koya commandos of the Chhattisgarh police.
Mr. Kanwar claimed that a similar pattern of ambush and arson was witnessed when the security forces raided the villages of Timapuram and Tarmetla, where the Maoists surrounded the forces, killed three SPOs and set fire to the villages.
In each case, the Home Minister said that police cases had been registered at the Chintalnar police station. However on March 23, a week after the alleged crimes, Dantewada’s Senior Superindent of Police, S.R.P. Kalluri told IANS that he had no knowledge of any incidents in the area, claiming, “It’s all Maoist-propaganda, nothing happened there.” Mr. Kalluri has since been removed from his post and transferred to Surguja.
In the Vidhan Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition Ravindera Chaubey, refused to accept the Home Minister’s statements. “No one from the administration has been able to visit the site. How can we believe this?” he asked.
Keywords: Chhattisgarh, Maoist issue, Dantewada district
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