The War’s Old-New Theatre #Sundayreading


RAJESH KUMAR
Belly bomb The CRPF jawan in whose stomach explosives were planted
JHARKHAND: MAOIST INSURGENCY
The War’s Old-New Theatre
Jharkhand overtakes Chhattisgarh as Maoists ratchet up their strikes here

A State Of Unrest

  • Of 409 Maoist killings in 2012 (296 civilians, 113 securitymen),  Jharkhand accounted for 160
  • This was way above 107 in Chhattisgarh, 45 in Orissa, 43 in Bihar, 41 in Maharashtra or 13 in AP
  • Not just mainline CPI (Maoist) but splinter groups are in overdrive
  • Proximity to other Maoist-affected states, tribal exploitation, political instability make the state fertile ground for Maoist recruitment and activity.

***

No sooner had the Union home ministry identified Jharkhand as the state worst affected by left-wing extremism in 2012 than Maoists gunned down 11 policemen in the Katiya forest of Latehar district. It was almost as if the January 7 massacre of 10 CRPF and one Jharkhand Jaguar jawan was expressly meant to underscore the government’s admission of the sharp ascendancy in the trajectory of Maoist violence in the mineral-rich state.

The clouds of war—civil war to be precise—indeed hang low over Jhar–khand. One needn’t venture deep into the countryside; the siege within is evident virtually at the doorsteps of urban  zones like Ranchi, Dhanbad, Jam­sh­ed­pur, Daltonganj, Chaibasa, Gomoh and Giridih. On a road journey through these areas, Outlook witnessed surreal scenes straight out of a war movie: searchlights revolving menacingly atop fortified CRPF camps; monstrously ugly mine-protected vehicles or MPVs, desig­ned to coolly withstand a 21-kilo (TNT) blast; sniffer dogs straining at the leash; helicopters ready for takeoff at the bark of a command, and boots pounding the ground like there’s no tomorrow.

Indeed, Jharkhand witnessed more killings by Maoists last year than even Chhattisgarh, whose forested Bastar region is regarded as the epicentre of left-wing extremism in India. Out of 409 Maoist killings in 2012 (296 civilian and 113 security personnel), Jharkhand accounted for as many as 160; ahead of Chhatti­sgarh (107), Orissa (45), Bihar (43), Maharashtra (41) and And­hra Pra­desh (13) by a huge margin.

The unacceptably high death toll in Jharkhand’s killing fields last year was capped, as 2013 dawned, by the Katiya bloodbath—unlikely to be forgotten in a hurry after Maoists confessed to pla­nting explosives in the belly of a slain jawan to maximise casualties. And on its heels came a landmine blast in Bokaro’s Jhumra Hills, which left a dozen CRPF jawans severely wounded during combing operations. All this is igniting fears in the security establishment that Jharkhand, along with Bihar’s contiguous Gaya and Aur­ang­abad districts, will upstage the iconic Abujmarh as the bloodiest and biggest theatre of red revolt against New Delhi.


Photograph by Rajesh Kumar

But why is left-wing extremism in full bloom in this tribal state? Telesphore Toppo, the 73-year-old Archbishop of Ranchi and obviously a man of peace, has a blunt explanation: “Jharkhand was created to protect the interests of tribals. But political parties from the word go started exploiting the very tribals whose cause they were supposed to espouse. When Maoists first sneaked into Jharkhand, conditions were ideal for sowing the seeds of rebellion. The seeds they scattered flowered in no time because the ground was fertile. Even today there is no justice in Jharkhand although the state’s coffers are overflowing. And there can’t be peace without justice. Tribal men go to Punjab or Haryana in droves to toil in brick kilns, while the women slog as domestic help in Delhi. Those who are left behind join the Maoists.”

According to Fr Toppo, the tribals—comprising 28 per cent of Jharkhand’s population—are easy pickings for Mao­ist recruiters not only because of their poverty and backwardness but also due to the excesses committed by security forces. He recalled the killing of a tribal girl by CRPF during Operation Green Hunt in 2010. The victim’s legs and hands were tied to a bamboo pole as though she was not a human being but an animal that had been hunted down. Such barbarism and savagery fuel tribal rage, intensifying the armed conflict between the Maoists and the state.

“Out of 24 districts,” says Jharkhand director-general of police Gouri Shankar Rath, “21 are Maoist-affected today; earlier Maoists were active only in 18 districts.” He is packing his bags for a retired life, but could well be re-employed because he is perceived as a battle-hardened warrior against left-wing extremism. “I have been bat­tling Maoists for 12 years,” he goes on to say. “Forty per cent of my police force is deployed against them. But Maoism hasn’t lost its appeal; in fact, it’s growing dangerously. Now, statistically, we are the worst-affected state.” This is a pity, because, “barring Mao­ism, on other fronts—caste, communal, agrarian and educational—we are more peaceful than other states.”

Leafing through a classified report, Rath reels off the names of Maoist groups—besides the mainline Communist Party of India (Maoist)—that are on the rampage across Jharkhand: the Peo­ple’s Liberation Front of India (PLFI), Jharkhand Jan Mukti Parishad (JJMP), Tritya Sammelan Prastuti Committee (TSPC), Shashtra People’s Morcha (SPM), Sangharsh Jan Mukti Morcha (SJMM) and Jharkhand Prastuti Com­mittee (JPC). “In 2011, the Com­munist Party of India (Maoist) was responsible for 59 per cent of the violence. Last year, it dipped to 44 per cent. But splinter groups, particularly PLFI and TSPC, went into overdrive in 2012, making Jharkhand the worst-affected state in the whole country.”

Rath is not finished yet. “It’s our misfortune,” he says, “that we’re surrounded by Maoist-affected states—Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, and bey­ond, Andhra—giving Maoists strategic depth. Another major handicap is our dense forests. Of course, Maoism is no ordinary law and order problem. It’s tied to governance and development—or rather the lack of it! We are saddled with widespread displacement due to mining activities and industrialisation, creating favourable conditions for left-wing extremism to flourish. And to top it all, Jharkhand is politically so unstable; no government here has lasted for five years; there have been eight CMs in 12 years and President’s rule has been clamped on it thrice. So there we are.”

Caste and cash have split Maoists into many groups. It’s resulted in a free-for-all by Maoist and non-Maoist forces.

As Jharkhand entered its third bout of President’s rule in January, New Delhi appointed two bureaucrats to advise Governor Syed Ahmed. The choice of advisors—former home secretary Madhukar Gupta and ex-CRPF DG K. Vijay Kumar (see interview)— clearly show that fighting Maoists is a top priority. Kumar has been given charge of the home department; he is now virtually the home minister of Jharkhand. He has at his command 78 companies of CRPF and 100 companies of state police to take the battle into the “enemy” camp. The “enemy” is the Communist Party of India (Maoist)’s Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh regional committee which is believed to deploy no less than 1,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) in dalams, or armed squad formations, in Jharkhand.

The subtext, though, is more intriguing. There are divisions in both camps, to put it mildly. The Maoists are split into several groups because of two primary reasons—caste and cash. They fight pitched battles over extortion rights, collection of levies and area domination; the conflict leaves many ultras dead. S.N. Pradhan, the crafty IG (operations), admits taking full advantage of Maoist disunity at every step.


Deadly tread Security personnel carry a cop injured in a landmine blast in Bariganwa

Significantly, this finds an echo on the other side: there is a lot of bad blood between the central security forces and the state police. A senior CRPF officer told Outlook: “Instead of leading us, the state police expects us to do everything, from planning to execution. But after we plan an operation and tell the state police to accompany us, they promptly report sick. They expect us to literally carry them on our shoulders. Are they babes in the woods? No. They are a bunch of shirkers who shed crocodile tears when our boys die in encounters.” Central forces also grudge the huge budgets state police have for modernisation; they criticise the “insurgency industry” Maoism has spawned, hinting at a nexus between the police top brass and suppliers. It’s a case of sour grapes, insist Jharkhand police officers, shrugging off accusations.

Of course, while Maoists truly are in an advantageous position in today’s Jharkhand for a variety of reasons, they are no angels either. No doubt there are dedicated ideologues at the top fighting for the oppressed and the downtrodden with all their might. But at the middle and lower levels there are criminals galore masquerading as Maoists. They have no regard for the human rights of either villagers or security personnel. Senior leaders do try to rectify recalcitrant cadres. Classes are held to inculcate comradely values. But very few undergo a change of heart. There are desertions when discipline is enforced. There are plenty of rotten apples even in the Communist Party of India (Maoist) basket but the splinter groups Rath lists are, by all accounts—including confessions of arrested goons—nothing but extortion rackets run by brandishing weapons snatched from police armouries or dead law-enforcers.

Highly-placed officials admit that Jharkhand is witnessing triangular and even quadrangular contests for supremacy. In the fray are state forces, mainline Maoists, breakaway Maoists and outright criminal groups. Sometimes it’s difficult to fathom who is fighting whom. Security forces have an advantage in any multi-cornered contest while villagers are usually at the receiving end. There is large-scale displacement of the poor because of mining and hydroelectric projects. Displace­ment is accompanied by police repression. State oppression is an open invitation to Maoists to feather their own nest. New projects anyway entail new roads and infrastructure. Pitched battles are fought for bagging contracts. Maoist and non-Maoist forces extort money from contractors; it’s an increasingly violent free-for-all under the shadow of industrialisation, urbanisation and criminalisation.

Alex Ekka, director of Ranchi’s Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), told Outlook that fanning Maoism are the MoUs being signed by the government with MNCs. “The state is so servile to big business houses in the era of globalisation that it’s giving MNCs land belonging to tribals. When tribals resist land-grabbing, paramilitary forces are sent to silence protesters. The security forces invariably behave like an occupation army which gives Maoists a golden opportunity to come forward as saviours of the oppressed. In reality, the much-touted Saranda Action Plan (SAP) is a ploy to remove hurdles in the path of foreign and Indian companies eyeing the iron ore-rich region. Maoism is bound to flourish when the state tramples upon the interests of indigenous tribespeople.”

The bomb Maoists planted in the belly of the dead CRPF jawan—which they admitted to doing in a four-page Hindi press release—was not debated as vociferously in the electronic or print media as it should have been because both time and space were hijacked by the LoC beheadings. But a civil rights campaigner who for some strange reason prefers anonymity offered a very original argument in favour of the belly bomb. He said it’s as innovative as ramming planes into the World Trade Center. Just as the wtc attacks were necessitated by America’s crimes against innocents abroad, the belly bomb, he argued, was retribution for the reign of terror unleashed by security forces on Indian soil.


By S.N.M. Abdi in Jharkhand

 

 

#India- ‘We were used as human shields in Latehar against Maoists’ #WTFnews


ANUMEHA YADAV, The Hindu

Villagers say police asked them to walk in three queues, men and women on both sides and the police in the centre, when they went to look for the bodies after the encounter. Photo: Manob Chowdhury
Villagers say police asked them to walk in three queues, men and women on both sides and the police in the centre, when they went to look for the bodies after the encounter. Photo: Manob Chowdhury

TOPICS

Four villagers died in an explosion when they tried to lift a CRPF jawan’s body

Adivasi villagers at Amvatikar have accused the CRPF of beating them and using them as shields as they were forced to search for security personnel’s bodies in the Katiya forest in Latehar district on January 8. Eleven security personnel were killed in an encounter with Maoists a day earlier.

In an interview to The-Hindu on January 11, Vijay Turi (40), who survived the blast that killed four villagers, said the explosion took place when they tried to lift the body of Baijnath Kisku on the CRPF’s instructions. It caused a three-foot deep pit. A scarf, broken slippers and scraps of cloth lay scattered on the slope of the Bhaluwahi hill at the edge of the adivasi hamlet.

Police officials initially said the blast was triggered by explosives planted under Kisku’s body. They later said it was likely that Maoists had sewn the explosives inside the body, as they had done with CRPF’s Babunath Patel’s body. That bomb was detonated safely outside a hospital in Ranchi on January 10 after doctors, suspecting something was amiss when they noticed an incision on the body, called the police.

“Pramod Sau from Nawadih came at 10 a.m. and said the police would beat us if we did not help them look for the bodies,” said Turi’s nephew Binod Turi (18). “The police made us walk in three queues, men and women on both sides and the police at the centre. We spotted the body on the hill slope. The police stood with the villagers at the base of the hillock, 20 feet from the body. They asked six villagers in the front to walk ahead and lift the body.

“Suddenly there was a huge explosion. We ran. The police asked us to take cover with them, but the villagers were running. Some policemen then started hitting the men with their guns, sticks, boots, saying ‘you shelter Maoists.’ They put a gun to my stomach and made me sit there,” he recounted.

On Friday morning, he and Turi’s wife Asha packed a few bags of clothes and some grains and fled the village with Turi’s two sons and several Adivasi families, fearing more violence.

Another villager, Suresh Parahaiya, said a CRPF man hit him in his forehead and leg when he ran in panic after the blast. “They beat us when we tried to run and made us sit there till 4 pm when two bodies were found and loaded on a tractor,” said his wife Mano Devi.

“The policemen made us walk to the hill and then they held some men in the front by the back of their neck; they held a gun to Ganu, my niece’s son,” said Bimli Devi. Ganu (16) had walked a few steps up the Bhaluwahi hill and was bending over the jawan’s body when the blast took place. Only the lower half of his body was recovered on Tuesday evening. He was the youngest among the four villagers who died.

“On Monday, we heard gunshots all day,” said Rajkumar Bhuian (70). “My older son Jogeshwar asked his wife and five sons to leave for Manika town with my younger son Suneshwar. On Tuesday, I was in the forest grazing cow and found out only in the evening that the police had taken Jogeshwar to search for the bodies. I found only his gamchha (small towel), his chappal, and three ribs.”

“They could not find my son Birendra’s body on Tuesday,” said Bihari Yadav. “When I went to the police station in Latehar, the policemen began beating me and calling me a Maoist before an officer intervened. On Wednesday I found only his limbs.”

Pramod Sau, a shopkeeper from Nawadih who had helped the police gather villagers from Amvatikar, Nawadih, Chahal and also got two tractors from the village to carry the bodies, succumbed to his blast injuries in his face in Ranchi on Wednesday.

The mukhiya of the neighbouring Chungru panchayat, Baldev Parahiya, said he had agreed to help the police look for four bodies and arranged for three tractors on Tuesday morning, but requested that the villagers be allowed to go home after the explosion occurred.

IG (Operations) S.N. Pradhan could not be reached for his comments on Friday. In an interview toTheHindu on January 11, Mr. Pradhan denied the charge that the CRPF forced villagers to accompany them. “We often need the help of villagers to borrow cots to carry bodies back. Women and children sometimes accompany the men as they think this will ensure the men’s safety,” he said.

 

Immediate Release – Fact-finding visit to Jharkhand


COORDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS (CDRO)

PRESS RELEASE 30TH March 2012

JHARKHAND FACT-FINDING: 26th to 30th March 2012

A 17 member team of civil liberties and democratic rights organisations from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Manipur, UP, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Jharkhand visited 3 districts Latehar, Garhwa and Palamau from March 25th to 29th 2012 to investigate some recent cases of violations as well as do a follow up of some of the cases from the past. Jharkhand has been in news for both peoples’ struggle against water, forest and land grab, and operation green hunt. There has been a proliferation of security forces, police pickets, CRPF base camps, specifically in places where people’s struggles are growing. This is only indicative of the forms in which state is trying to suppress mass struggles against anti-people development policies. The cases that were investigated highlight the lopsided development policy, in the wake of which a number of issues get highlighted.

The team did an on-the-spot investigation of ten cases, of which some are as briefly described below:

Case of Sanjay Prasad, Barwadih market, Latehar : Just as we were leaving to visit the spot of the first fact finding, the father and brother of one Sanjay Prasad came to meet us to narrate what had just befallen him. He was called by the police on the 21st of March as part of some ongoing investigation. For four days he remained in custody while police claimed he was left the very first day. 2 days later he was shown arrested from a forest area between Mandal and Chemu Sanya. On 26th morning when the press reported of his disappearance, the police said that they have arrested Sanjay and charged him of being a Maoist and planting a bomb somewhere between Mandal and Chemu Sanya. The important thing to note is that no bomb explosion in this area occurred in 2012 at all.

Case of Jasinta Devi, Laadi village, Latehar : After an encounter between the Maoists and the CRPF in Laadi village of Latehar district on 27th April 2010, the CRPF in their post-operations search, alleged the Maoists to be hiding in Jasinta Devi’s house. The CRPF threatened to set the house on fire if the occupants didn’t step out immediately. Jasinta Devi requested the police to allow her to fetch the old charwaha who was then in the backyard of the house. As she moved towards the main door along with the charwaha, Jasinta devi, mother of three, was shot down and the charwaha suffered injuries. Bullet marks can even today be spotted in the house and call for justice remains unheard. Since she died at the hands of the police she was entitled to 5 lakh rupees as ex-gratia payment and a job, but the promise still remains unfulfilled as the family has got only one lakh rupees till date. As far as the guilty police officers are concerned, no action has been taken. Not even the FIR could be prepared against the victim’s complaint.

Case of Lucas Minj, Navarnago village, Latehar : Lucas Minj, a deaf and dumb resident of the Navarnago village, was shot in cold blood by the CRPF on 1st February 2012, while he was out with his cattle for grazing and failed to respond to the police’s questions. His body was found by the villagers at Dhol Parwala in Koel river after five days of his killing. No compensation has reached the family till date. And no action has been taken against the police personnel.

Baligarh and Homea Villages, Garhwa : In Baligarh and Homea village was witnessed a matter of land grab involving corporates like Essar and Jindal with the connivance of feudal elements. It was found that Ram Narayan Pandey alias Phullu Pandey and some others had surreptitiously sold tribal and dalit land to these corporate houses in the past one year, including Bhoodan land which cannot legally be sold or purchased. Fake documents of land ownership were fabricated in the name of Pandey for land on which the annual rent was regularly being paid by the rural poor since long. A total of 115 acres in Homea and 338 acres in Baligarh had already been transferred in this way, leaving the poor owners, who had struggled for almost 25 years for this very land, in the lurch. Villagers also added that Phullu Pandey was responsible for a number of rape cases in the village but not in a single instance was punitive action ever taken against him. Thanks to the changed balance of power following the arrival of corporate companies and police and paramilitary reinforcements, 10,000 villagers in the area now face the threat of life, livelihood and security.

Case of Ramdas Minj and Fida Hussain, Garhwa District : On 21st of January 2012, Ramdas Minj, the adivasi mukhiya, and Fida Hussain, a fakir, of Bargad Village of Garhwa district were taken into police custody along with 3 others on being accused of serving food to some Maoists. On the same day, the villagers had held a peaceful protest against the construction of a Health Sub Centre (Up Swaasthya Kendra) in their Gram Panchayat at a site used by them for selling forest produce. People from Tehri, Bargad, Paraswaar, also a few neighbouring villages from Chattisgarh use this market. Just when these 5 villagers were at the police station, a landmine blast was triggered by Maoists at Bhandaria. Now, the police accused the five who were already in their custody of diverting their attention through the peaceful protest so as the help the Maoists trigger the blast. They were beaten black and blue. Three were later let go, while Ramdas Minj and Fida Hussain still languish in prison under very serious charges. This, we found, was a glaring instance of how popular struggles of the rural poor are suppressed under the garb of fighting the Maoists.

Case of Kutku-Mandal dam, Sanya village, Garhwa District: Sanya happens to be the native village of Nilambar and Pitambar, the legendary heroes of Jharkhand who became martyrs in the struggles for land that they led against the British. Today it is one of the 32 villages which are threatened with submergence and 13 others which are considered adversely affected by the Kutku-Mandal dam project. The terms of compensation in lieu of rehabilitation of the oustees were framed on the basis of a survey conducted several decades ago. Over the years, the original settlers have multiplied many times over. Yet only a few of the families tilling the land today are considered entitled for compensation. Rehabilitation has been offered at Marda, an area known to be most unfit for cultivation. This happens to be one of the most severely affected areas targeted by the repressive campaigns of the CRPF and the state police.

Case of Rajendra Yadav, Police Station Chhatarpur, Palamau : Rajendra Prasad was picked up from his house early morning on December 30, 2009 by the police and beaten to death at the then SP’s residence. The reason for having targeted him is not clear even today, and prolonged investigations by higher police officials have yielded no result. Meanwhile, Rajendra’s widow has, after consistent struggle, been compensated with a job, but the administration still refuses to even admit the guilt of the police personnel and senior officer, let alone punish them. Instead, the family and friends of the deceased are subject to intimidation, and obstructions posed when they gather each year to commemorate his death in public.

Case of Behra-taand near Saryu pahad, Latehar : On 6th February 2012, 9 people including Gram pradhan Beefa Paraihiya from Behra-taand village were picked up and tortured by the CRPF, as a result of which the pradhan had his right eye injured. They were beaten up following the unsubstantiated charge of having served food to some Maoists. It became clear that it took mere suspicion on the part of the police to cause bodily harm to villagers as long as the operations continued against the Maoists.

Case of Birju Oraon, Murgidih village, Latehar: In Murgidih village, a young man named Birju Oraon was caught at Chhatwa Karam by the CRPF while he was returning from a family ceremony in February 2012. He was beaten up by the police, and all his fingers chipped, apparently with a cable-cutter, for no rhyme or reason. Later when the issue received media attention, he was compensated in the presence of local journalists with a sack of grain by the police, itself an act of admission that the wrong had been done. Subsequently, when the news of this incident spread, the police forced Birju to state at a press conference that he could not have recognized the assailants as he was drunk at that time.

The fact-finding team found that in recent years a number of cases of indiscriminate killings by the police and the CRPF had come to light, and there was no progress till date in terms of justice to the victims and the affected families. It shows how impunity prevails in this area, which in the eyes of the public tends to reduce a number of officials from the plethora of security agencies to the likes of mere anti-social elements.

In the course of our rural investigation, we could have an unscheduled meeting with a squad of the CPI (Maoist). We got to know their version of the dire situation in Jharkhand, the details of which we shall share in our final report. Nevertheless, we would like to draw attention here towards the issue of government-sponsored militant groups [TPC, JPC, PLFI, JJMP, JLT, etc.] who are in reality sheltered by the police, but are passed off as naxal groups, thus giving the false impression that it is an internecine fight between the naxalites. This seems to be the new form in which Salwa-Judum like operations are being conducted by the police in Jharkhand. According to the CPI (Maoist), these are vigilante forces being employed not only to annihilate them, but also to hold naxalites responsible for anti-social activities sponsored by the police themselves. It is interesting as an observation that the use of CLA 1908 and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) has enabled the government to treat Naxalites or Maoists as ordinary criminals, whereas notwithstanding the strategy and tactic they may employ, they remain at the head of a political movement.

While we are pleased that the CPI (Maoist) showed the willingness to meet and interact with us, it was rather unfortunate that the senior police administration, when approached, did not show much interest in meeting and interacting with us.

In the course of our investigations the underlying reality of various issues also emerged. One was regarding the manner in which the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) was being implemented, the other being about the threat of submergence which hundreds of villagers faced due to the Kudku dam project. The problem in Sanya village is that although the project has de facto been stalled, yet for government agencies, the project still remains effective. The 32 affected villages are thus no more beneficiaries of any of the government’s welfare programs, such as aanganwaadi, schools, primary health centers and the like. Another problem that they are now facing is that their fertile land which used to yield two crops a year is now yielding only one because of the decrease in the natural flow of water as well as ground water, due to the partial construction of the concrete structure of the dam.

The team believes that a number of rights which the people should be entitled of, by virtue of the Chhota Nagpur Tenancy (CNT) and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Acts, and Wilkinson’s rule, have been ignored by the government. And now, with the state government’s move, backed by the Centre, to amend the CNT Act, it is only going to take away the land rights of adivasis which they had won after long years of struggle. The more recently enacted Forest Rights Act was also not been enforced, thus depriving the people of their legally sanctioned right of ownership of land and resources. This applied to the areas that faced the threat of submergence due to the dam project as well as those where land had been surreptitiously been sold to Jindal and Essar, as in Baligarh and Homea. Nowhere have the village committees that are supposed to be constituted under the Forest Rights Act been formed till now. Individual and collective rights of the community have been completely ignored.

Investigations of the above cases also highlight how peoples’ struggles over issues of land alienation, are suppressed by implicating these people into various false cases. Accusing people of being Maoist or supporters of the Maoists comes in handy for this very purpose. The police seemed to have become a lawless force under the cover of Operation Greenhunt, even as hardly any punitive action would be taken against them for the crimes they may have committed.

It is important to note that cases that we investigated appeared to be only the tip of the iceberg. There was an unfathomable demand from people in village after village to investigate atrocities and excesses by the security forces. Unfortunately the team, bound by the limitations of time and resources, felt at a loss to take up the innumerable cases. So even though this fact finding is just a random sample of incidents, they are surely representative of a general phenomenon. Even worse, the follow up of a few old cases showed that it was a hugely difficult and uphill task for people to get justice.

People with large landholdings, traders/contractors and large corporations seem to be thriving under the protection provided by forces such as CRPF which operates virtually as a lawless force. We are concerned that the problems are being compounded for the people by a variety of policies initiated by the government, both by centre and state. These are instances which point to where things are headed, apart from the concerns of people which have been ignored for all these decades.

We now find a situation where the presence and proliferation of pickets and CRPF base camps, some of them housed in schools & colleges, is turning these districts into a full-fledged war zone. There is a palpable fear among people that they will come under attack from this huge deployment of force amidst them when they go out for collection of mahua, tendu patta and other minor forest produce, which will affect both an important source of their livelihood as well as a very essential part of their way of life.

It is therefore, we demand:

a) Operation green hunt should be stopped forthwith.

b) CRPF should be withdrawn from these areas.

c) CNT Act should not be amended.

d) Forest Rights Act which provides individual and collective rights to forest dwellers should be implemented

e) People’s opposition to various projects both pub and in the corporate sector should be looked afresh in order to that people’s opposition to them is given due priority that it deserves.

f) All instances of CRPF & police brutality should be duly investigated into and action be taken immediately against the guilty personnel.

 

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Complaint on killing of innocent villager by CRPF in Latehar, Jharkhand


To,

Mr. Satyabrata Pal,
Honble Member,
The National Human Rights Commission,
Faridcourt House, Copernicus Marge,
New Delhi-1

Sub: For investigation and necessary action on a case of brutal killing of an innocent villager Mr. Lucas Minj by the CRPF and District police in Latehar District of Jharkhand.

Dear Sir,

With due respect, I would like to bring your kind attention on a case of brutal killing of an innocent villager Mr. Lucas Minj by the CRPF and District Police during the anti-Naxal operation codified as Operation Mocks near Nawarnagu village comes under Barwadih police station in Latehar district of Jharkhand on January 31, 2012.

Case details:

The CRPF personal brutally killed an innocent villager Mr. Lucas Minj resident of Nawarnagu village comes under Barwadih police station in Laterhar district of Jharkhand on January 31, 2012. The incident took place during the joint operation by the CRPF and District Police against Naxalites codified as Operation Mocks. It was alleged that the CRPF and Police Jawans had discovered a Naxali camp near Nawarnagu village and proceeding further in search of Naxalite after demolition the camp.

Meanwhile, they saw Mr. Lucal Minj, who was rearing cattle near Koel River.The CRPF and Police Jawans asked him about the Naxal locations but he could not respond them as he was a dump person. The Security Forces assume him as a Naxalite and fired on him. Consequently, he got bullet injury in his head and died at the spot. Finally, the Security Forces covered his dead body with sand and went away.

In the evening, when Mr. Lucas Minj did not return to his home, the family members started searching him but didnt find. On 6 February, 2012, somevillagers went for fishing in the river and saw a part of leg on the bank of the river covered by the sand. They pulled out the dead body and identified as the dead body of Mr. Lucas Minj. They found bullet injury in his head. They informed the family immediately. After sometimes, the police also reached to the spot. The Police threatened them to bury the dead body
immediately and dont inform anybody about it otherwise theyll send all the villagers to Jail in false cases. The Police forced them to bury the dead body. Consequently, they buried in fear of the Police atrocity. However, the family members approached to the local peoples representatives for raising the issue of brutal killing of Mr. Lucas Minj.

Mr. William Minj the elder brother of Mr. Lucas Minj went to the Barwadih police station on February 12, 2012 for filing a case against brutal killing of his brother. As a result, the police filed a case under section 302, 34, 201 and 27 of Arms Act against the unknown persons with the intention to shield the Police and CRPF Jawans.

Though Mr. Lucas Minj was dump person but he was physically fit to work in the agriculture field. He was one of the earning members in the family. He used to work in the agriculture and also taking care of the cattle. Hence, it is a clear case of brutal killing of an innocent villager Mr. Lucas Minj therefore, I request the National Human Rights Commission for the following actions.

1. A high level inquiry should be established on the case of brutal killing of Mr. Lucas Minj by the CRPF and Police Jawans.
2. A case of murder under the section 302 of IPC, Arms Act, etc should
be filed against the CRPF and Police Jawans.
3. A legal action and departmental action should be taken against the
Barwadih police, who had threatened and forced the family members of Mr.
Lucas Minj to bury the dead body with the intention to destroy the evidence
of brutal killing.
4. The family members of Mr. Lucas Minj should be compensated of Rs. 10
Lakh and a government job as he was an earning person of the family.
5. The NHRC should order for the CBI probe into the killing of 600
people in Jharkhand by the Security Forces since 2001 till the date.

I shall be highly obliged to you for the same.

Thanking you.

Yours sincerely,
Gladson Dungdung
General Secretary,
JHRM, Ranchi.

12th Feb 2012

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