Cops own up to child deaths in raid

SHEENA K, Telegraph India

Bodies kept at the police station for identification. Picture by Bishwajeet Chakraborty

Raipur, June 30: Chhattisgarh police today admitted that the 18 victims of yesterday’s anti-Maoist operation included children and women but sparked fresh controversy by claiming they were all rebel cadres.

The admission came after the bodies were laid out in front of a police station to facilitate identification — a routine procedure — and journalists took photographs. It was clear that several of the victims were children and at least one seemed a girl.

The BJP government had also come under pressure from the Congress, which sent a team to the remote encounter site and claimed that “preliminary information” suggested at least three children “below the age of eight” and several women were among the dead.

The security forces had yesterday claimed to have killed 17 Maoists in a pre-dawn jungle swoop in Bijapur district — an injured rebel died later in hospital — but local people had alleged that most of those slain were villagers attending a meeting called by the rebels.

“As far as our information is concerned, more than a dozen innocent villagers were killed,” state Congress president Nandkumar Patel said today. Continue reading

India: More on the state’s false “Maoist” labels on adivasis killed by security forces

Day after encounter, villagers say no Maoist among those killed

Ashutosh Bhardwaj | The Indian Express | Sarkeguda, Bijapur |  Sunday July 01 2012

The bodies of 20 who were killed by the Central Reserve Police Force in the dense jungles of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on Friday.

On Saturday, over 40 hours after the “biggest encounter” involving security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh, bodies of 19 alleged “hardcore Maoists and Jan Militia members” lay outside their huts in the three villages of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta in Bijapur.

Villagers alleged no government official had spoken to them or visited their homes, and no autopsies had been carried out on the bodies.

Several bodies appeared to have been brutalised. This correspondent saw deep, hacking cuts, apparently made by axes, on some chests and foreheads. A senior CRPF officer rejected the possibility that the wounds might have been inflicted by security forces. “Our forces have never done such things and will never do this,” the officer said.

Bijapur superintendent of police Prashant Agarwal said, “Proper post mortem was conducted in Basaguda thana. A team of doctors visited the thana and a report will be prepared.”

Policemen at the thana — where the bodies were kept for about 12 hours before being handed to the families — were unable to say when the post mortem happened. No stitches or other tell-tale marks of an autopsy were visible on the bodies that this correspondent saw in the villages.

At Sarkeguda, the spot deep in the Dandakaranya jungles 520 km south of Raipur where the encounter happened, the stench was overpowering. A rotting pig lay nearby, a bullet in its jaw and two in the torso.

Late in the afternoon, one by one, the villagers began to cremate the bodies.

Yesterday, Home Minister P Chidambaram said three important Maoist leaders, Mahesh, Nagesh and Somulu, had been killed in the encounter.

There is no Mahesh in the official list of those killed. There are two Nageshes. Continue reading

The Electoral Victory of Political Islam in Egypt

by Samir Amin | Monthly Review | 30 June 2012

The electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood and of the Salafists in Egypt (January 2012) is hardly surprising.  The decline brought about by the current globalization of capitalism has produced an extraordinary increase in the so-called “informal” activities that provide the livelihoods of more than half of the Egyptian population (statistics give a figure of 60%).

And the Muslim Brotherhood is very well placed to take advantage of this decline and perpetuate its reproduction.  Their simplistic ideology confers legitimacy on a miserable market/bazaar economy that is completely antithetical to the requirements of any development worthy of the name.  The fabulous financial means provided to the Muslim Brotherhood (by the Gulf states) allows them to translate this ideology into efficient action: financial aid to the informal economy, charitable services (medical dispensaries etc.).

In this way the Brotherhood establishes itself at the heart of society and induces its dependency.  It has never been the intention of the Gulf countries to support the development of Arab countries, for example through industrial investment.  They support a form of “lumpen development” — to use the term originally coined by André Gunder Frank — that imprisons the societies concerned in a spiral of pauperization and exclusion, which in turn reinforces the stranglehold of reactionary political Islam on society. Continue reading

Chhattisgarh, India: Villagers bury their dead as Maoists and CRPF forces trade charges

Aman Sethi | The Hindu

A tribal family grieves over the death of a victim of Friday’s police action against suspected Maoists at Sarkeguda in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. Photo: Aman Sethi

SARKEGUDA, 1 July 2012 — The air is thick with rhythmic wailing and smoke from funeral pyres on the barren fields of Sarkeguda, Kotteguda and Rajapetta in the Kotteguda panchayat of Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district.

“The funerals are being conducted one by one as there aren’t enough men to help out with so many bodies,” said Sangam Ravi, a resident. “Some have to be buried, but who will dig all the graves? Some bodies must be burnt, but then you need to collect the wood.”

A day after the Chhattisgarh police claimed to have killed 20 Maoists in an encounter in Bijapur, villagers have offered a sharply divergent description of the incident, claiming that the security forces fired at a peaceful gathering of villagers, killing 20 of them, including five children aged 12-15, and sexually assaulted at least four teenaged girls during the encounter.

“There were no Maoists present at the village that night,” said Madkam Ganpat of Rajpetta. “We had gathered to discuss the upcoming seed festival, which is held every year before sowing begins.” He said the meeting continued for several hours, when the participants were suddenly surrounded by a large contingent of the security forces.

Mourners surround a corpse at Sarkeguda village in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district. On Friday morning, the Chhattisgarh police claimed they had killed 20 Maoists in an operation. Yet villagers insist that the victims were innocent tribals attending a village meeting. Photo: Aman Sethi

“The forces immediately opened fire, all of us tried to run away but many were shot in the legs, back and chest,” he said. Kaka Saraswati was among those killed in the ensuing confusion. “She was only 12 years old,” said her mother Kaka Sinakka.

Several of the bodies seen by this correspondent had bullet wounds in the torso and the neck. Sabka Mitu, 17, was killed when his throat was slit by a sharp object. Several bodies also had lacerations from what could have been a knife or an axe.

Mr. Ganpat’s account was corroborated by a number of villagers who insisted that no Maoists were present at the meeting, but none could explain how six policemen were injured. “The forces had encircled us,” said Mr. Ganpat. “Maybe, they accidently shot each other.”

The firing lasted several minutes, the villagers said, after which the forces radioed for a tractor that took away a number of bodies. “The force then camped in the village and dragged me into the fields,” Devi (name changed), a 14-year-old girl, said in an interview. “They threw me on the ground, beat me, kicked me, tore my clothes and kept threatening to rape me.” She said three other girls were similarly molested.

Continue reading

India: Government attacks the poor under sham pretense–thousands arrested falsely or disappeared

Counter terror ops a facade for anti-people policies, say activists

New Delhi | Deccan Herald | 26 June 2012

Cases of men and women disappearing, false cases and illegal detentions have become rampant in the name of fighting “maoism and terrorism”, alleged activists at a convention held in Delhi on Tuesday.

Activists demanded withdrawal of the undeclared emergency imposed in 1975 terming it as a “draconian law” at the convention held on Anti-emergency Day observed on June 26. They said that a new wave of “counter terrorism” has been evolved “in the name of IPC” to terrorise people from backward communities.

Kuldip Nayar, who has been raising concerns over undeclared emergency for several years said, “In June 1975 the press was stopped because the government decided to impose censorship. But some media publications fought back. Similarly, today people need to fight back rather than depending on the government.”

Dr Binayak Sen, who spent two and a half years in prison said, “I took this message while walking out of the prison that it is our duty to fight for thousands who are imprisoned for no reason.” Continue reading

Indonesia: Ex-political prisoners stage plays to survive stigmatization

[Though this description of the 1965 events and massacre are re-packaged, and carefully cleansed of the CIA role; and the scale of the mass murder was much greater, this article from the Indonesian press does raise the largely unrecognized impact on a million political prisoners from that time, seen through the experience of elderly survivors. -- Frontlines ed.]

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Saturday, 06/30/2012

The commemoration of the abortive coup blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) is still a few months away, but former political prisoners always remember Sept. 30, 1965, as the day that changed their lives. Following the attempt, which claimed the lives of six Army generals, the Indonesian Military, with the help of mass organizations, prosecuted anyone thought to have links with the PKI. The precise number of fatalities has been disputed, but some put the number as high as 500,000. Those who survived the massacre lived with the stigma of communism and lost their civil rights. One of them, Nani Nuraini, is now 71 years old.

“Even though we are now aged and frail, we still keep smiling and fighting,” said Nani, who claims she has just been fighting for her rights. At the Central Jakarta District Court in 2008, she won the right to a lifetime identity card just like any other elderly citizen. In April, however, the same court rejected her request for rehabilitation.

She was arrested in 1968 and sent without trial to Bukitduri Women’s Penitentiary in South Jakarta for seven years, simply because, at a young age, she had performed as a presidential palace dancer at the party’s anniversary gathering in June 1965. Nani has lived with the stigma of being an ex-political prisoner and communist sympathizer ever since. Continue reading