The Government of Violence : A Massacre In Dandakaranya

By Kamal K.M, Countercurrents.org, 16 July, 2012

‘Dandakaranya’ is a stretch of forest in India that runs through the states of Chattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra , and Andhra Pradesh. Roughly translated in Sanskrit, the word means `Jungle of Punishment’.

When you enter the village of Kottaguda , located in Bijapur district of Chattisgarh, the first impression is one of serenity. The vestiges of the Salwa Judum pillage from a few years ago still remain as a burnt scar. The houses have stood starkly against these acts of aggression.

We couldn’t see any trace of massacre from ten days ago.

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We were a group of thirty people from different parts of India , people of different professions and academic backgrounds. There were some people in the group who had been to similar kind of fact finding report missions, like Advocate Tharakam, Prasanth Haldar, V.S Krishna, Advocate Raghunath, C Chandrasekhar, R Shiva Shankar, and Ashish Gupta. Some of them were official members of different human rights organizations under the umbrella of Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO). We – advocates, teachers, government employees, students, former trade union activists and media professionals – were united by a single objective – to unearth the truth about what had actually happened on the night of June 28 th .

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When we entered the village there was a solemn air about it. The only humans we saw there were some heavily armed paramilitary forces inside the bushes – they might have been from CoBRA force or CRPF.

The men in arms averted our gaze. They couldn’t meet our eye with the shadow of the dastardly act of a few days ago looming large over them.

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8pm on the evening of 28 th June, Kottaguda village in Bijpapur District, Chattisgarh.

There was a meeting being held to discuss the upcoming seed festival – Beeja Pondum. It was a wet monsoon night. Some people from other villages, like Sarkeguda and Rajpenta, were also attending the meeting. A few children loitered around playfully. At 10pm , the CoBRA force and CRPF cordoned off the villages and started firing indiscriminately and without any warning.

The first attack came from the west, and instantly killed three adivasis. This was quickly followed by firing from three other directions. Terrified villagers started running – some tried to take shelter, some ran towards their respective villages. Yet, the bullets continued to spray for another 30 minutes. Then, as if to survey the dead, the CRPF forces fired two flare guns that lit up the area. They languidly ambled through the scene and collected the dead bodies that remained.

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The national Media duly reported the incident following the government version. But by the next morning it slowly emerged that those killed were actually villagers. It was infact a massacre. It was clear that the victims were tribal villagers, who were randomly killed. Some news papers and tv channels corrected their mistake and reported the truth. Some still have not corrected their mistake. Continue reading

India: Fact Finding Report on the killing of Kishenji

Statement on the killing of CPI(Maoist) Politbureau member Kishenji

Twenty two member team of four constituents of Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation namely Association for Protection of Democratic Rights, Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, Bandi Mukti Committee and Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (Delhi) undertook a fact finding into the alleged encounter killing of Mallojula Koteswar Rao (aka Kishanji) on 1st December, 2011.

The team visited Sorakatta hamlet of Burisole and Gosaibandh village of Paschim Mednipur. The team spoke to the residents of the two villages, the Sub Inspector and ASI of Jamboni Police Station, and visited the spot where the alleged encounter took place on 24th November.SPOT: The place where Kishanji’s body was found is about 300 metres from the hamlet Sorakatta of Burisole village. It is barely 50 metres from the village football ground and surrounded by thin cover of Sal trees. Right next to where his body lay on the ground is a termite hill. All around is a thin spread of Sal trees giving the impression that of little cover. The termite hill remains undamaged by all the alleged exchange of fire. Where the body lay on the ground there is a pool of blood where his head and torso lay but no blood spot marks where his legs lay. The trees which ostensibly carry the bullet marks show no burn marks caused by bullets. Indeed the contrast between the badly damaged body of the deceased with the undisturbed spot where his body lay gives rise to much doubt. If there was heavy exchange of fire there would be telltale signs around. What is most intriguing is that the termite hill, barely few inches away from the body, shows no corresponding damage if there was an exchange of fire and bullets flying all around him. Dried leaves show no sign of burn caused by sparks from bullet fire. Team members walked around to see for themselves signs of bullet-marks on the trees or termite hills or other signs but whereas some tress had cut marks not a single termite hill was damaged and no visible sign of burn or fire due to heavy rifle and mortar firing!

Villagers Account: At Sorakatta hamlet we were told that two days before the incident security forces movement became evident and it picked up by 24th November when in the morning, between 10-11 am, police personnel asked the villagers to stay inside their house and not to step out. Continue reading

Faking an Encounter: Killing the Peace Process

INDIA:  COORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

Member Organizations: PCHR (J&K), AFDR(Punjab), PUCL (Rajasthan), PUCL (Jharkhand), PUCL(Chhattisgarh), PUCL(Nagpur), COHR (Manipur), MASS(Assam), NPMHR (Naga Areas), APDR(West Bengal), Bandhi Mukti Morcha (West Bengal), LHS (Maharastra), APCLC (Andhra Pradesh), HRF (Andhra Pradesh), PUDR(Delhi), PDF (Karnataka), OPDR (Andhra Pradesh), Campaign for peace and Democracy in Manipur

22.08.2010

Azad

Preliminary Report of the All India Fact Finding Team on the Killing of Azad and H. C Pandey

Released to the media at Hyderabad on 22 August, 2010

CDRO put together a team of concerned citizens consisting of Prof. Emeritus Amit Bahaduri, J.N.U., Delhi, Senior Counsel of Supreme Court Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Kavita Srivatsava, Human Rights worker from Rajasthan, Gautam Navlakha writer & from PUDR, Delhi, Kranthi Chaitanya, Advocate and General Secretary of APCLC, D. Suresh Kumar, Advocate, APCLC, Ch. Sudhakar Rao, President of OPDR, D. Venkateswarlu, OPDR. The team visited Wankadi Mandal, Adilabad District on 20th & 21st of August, 2010 where the alleged encounter of Mr. Azad @ Cherukuri Rajkumar who was spokesperson of CPI Maoist Central Committee Member and Journalist Hemachandra Pandey took place on the intervening night of 1st and 2nd July, 2010. Three fact findings had earlier already carried out spot investigations. The team met the local villagers, local police, and local media personal and perused FIR, inquest and postmortem report. Continue reading