By Updates from Bastar,
Many of you are already aware that there has been an incident of extra-judicial killing by the security forces in Village Rewali Tadpara, district Dantewada. A contingent of security forces entered the village on the morning of 6.1.2015, roughed up some women, looted some hens and eggs etc., and a little while later, they shot dead a villager, Nupo Bhima, who was bathing in the river. While the police has registered an FIR claiming that Nupo Bhima was killed by Naxalites, the villagers including Bhima’s wife, Nupo Budhri, the sole eye-witness to the killing, are claiming that it was security forces who killed the unarmed Bhima in an act of unprovoked assault.
Their dissent has been covered in the media as well. (See https://epaper.patrika.com/c/4268251, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/villagers-accuse-police-of-killing-tribal/article6795543.ece?ref=tpnews)
Yesterday, thousands of villagers from 20 gram panchayats close to Rewali, led by Soni Sori and local panchayat leaders, came out for a foot march to Dantewada to protest this killing and press for action. Some photos are attached. The marchers include many women, small children and older residents, carrying their provisions for an extended stay. Yesterday, the police harassed them at multiple checkpoints on the pretext of “searching” men for weapons, threatened others with arrest in imaginary cases, and held up the march for hours, but the villagers pressed ahead. There was a complete media blackout and the only piece that appears in the papers today is how there was a “rumor” of a march and that a heavy police deployment has successfully foiled all attempts of the marchers. See https://epaper.bhaskar.com/detail/?id=709817&boxid=116232750187&ch=mpcg&map=map¤tTab=tabs-1&pagedate=01/17/2015&editioncode=357&pageno=1&view=image
The truth is that there are thousands of people out there even today, as evident in the attached photos, who are refusing to go back to their villages. Last night, people camped out in the open close to Palnar village, braving bitterly cold night temperatures. Today, the police are out in large numbers and are not allowing them to proceed to Dantewada to meet the SP or Collector. The SP and Collector are also refusing to come down to meet with the villagers. The police are now threatening villagers with lathicharge and are waiting for them in their battle gear. The situation is very tense.
Please call Collector of Dantewada, Mr. Dev Senapati at 07587700111 and demand that he allows the villagers to peacefully travel to Dantewada to meet with him.
Demands from the Collector –
- Inquiry by a Judicial Magistrate – The Collector must immediately send official notification to the District Judge of Dantewada that this is a case of custodial death, and an independent inquiry by a Judicial Magistrate must be instituted immediately as mandated under section 176(1A) of Criminal Procedure Code.
- Compensation to the widow: Announce an immediate cash compensation of Rs. 15 lakhs for the widow Nupo Budhri, a house for the family and take full responsibility of the education of her 5 children
- Compensate people who have been beaten up and looted by forces.
Please call Superintendent of Police of Dantewada, Kamlochan Kashyap at 09479194300, 09425254388 and ask him to allow the villagers to peacefully travel to Dantewada and meet with him.
Demands from the SP:-
- Register a new FIR against security forces on the basis of the testimonies given by the villagers and take prompt action against responsible officials.
- In view of the attempts by local police to cover-up the killing, the SP must take the investigation away from the local police and make a recommendation to the state government for an SIT or a CBI inquiry into the matter.
- Police must immediately release information of which security forces were traveling in the area on 6.1.2015, and the details of the ammunition spent by them.
- The body of the deceased should be immediately exhumed, and a fresh post mortem conducted in the presence of representatives of the victim’s family, with a complete videotaping of the entire procedure.