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