peoples march

from the people against injustice in the society

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Posted by ajadhind on April 4, 2011

A 13 member fact finding team of Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations visited the
Chintalnar Area of Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh to probe into the incidents of atrocities
perpetrated by the Salwa Judum and the state forces on the adivasis living in this area between 11th
and 16th of March 2011.
The incidents was propagated by the police as an ‘encounter’ between the CRPF and Maoists in
which, according to the police, 36 Maoists were killed. Also 3 SPOs were killed and 9 others were
injured. The police had celebrated this incident in the media to prove their dominance over the
Maoists in this region. Media persons and fact finding teams were restricted from going inside on
the pretext that it is ‘war zone’ and the so-called war between the state and the Maoists are still going
on, hence it is risky for any outsider to go inside. Most recently, the state home minister, Nankiran
Kumar gave a written statement in the assembly stating that the Maoists had led the attack on
villagers and burnt and looted homes in a bid to divert attention of the police who were in the area for
‘area domination exercises’.
Against this backdrop of serious crimes committed by the security forces and salwa judum and the
cover up by the police and politicians, a fact finding team comprising various civil and democratic
rights activists and other individuals, went inside this area on the 26th and 27th of March 2011 and
visited Morupally, Timmapuram and Tadmetla villages. As members of the team, we spoke extensively
to the villagers and the victims of the incident. We were shocked to find that once again, the police
version propagated by the state is completely hoax and far from reality.
What exactly happened?
Morupally village
According to the residents, on the morning of 11 March 2011, a huge contingent of 300 paramilitary
and Salwa Judum forces attacked Morupally Village in the Chintalnar area after they got a prior
information that a big meeting of adivasis will be held there. While people started running towards
the forest for cover, the Judum forces, dressed in military fatigues, entered the village and started
attacking the elderly and women.
1. Death: Madvi Sula, an elderly villager was picking tamarind from the tree when the Judum
forces accosted him, accused him of being a Maoist informer and shot him dead in front of his wife
and hanged from a tree.
Woman raped by Salwa Judum (Koya commandos) 80 years old Madivi Bheema beaten by Salwa Judum
2. Rape: Mangi Ganga was raped after her valuables and other belongings were looted from her
house. Emula Modey, a 35 year old woman, was raped after she was threatened for not disclosing
the location of the Andhra Maoist Dalam. The Judum members also took away 10,000 rupees
from her.
3. Assault and Arrest: Madivi Bheem, an 80 year old woman, was brutally assaulted. Her belongings
were also looted. While leaving the village, Judum members picked up Madvi Joga, his daughter,
Likke and his son Madvi Bheema and took them to Chintalnal PS. There, Likke was separated
from her brother and father, stripped and kept the whole night. The following morning when she
was handed over to her father, her clothes were not returned.
4. Burning of homes: 33 houses were burnt, looted and destroyed.
5. Identification of Accused: Villagers identified 9 members/leaders of Salwa Judum. They are:
Madakam Bheema, alias Ramesh from Junaguda; Telam Anda from Lakapole; Vanjam Deva
from Cherpan; Dasaru from Vilampalli; Ramulal from Bodikel; Maara from Morupally; Keche
Nanda from Korapad; Kartam Dula, alias Surya (Judum leader) from Misman; Payake, woman
Judum member from Timmapuram.
Timmapuram Village
Encounter between Salwa Judum and Maoist forcesTwo days later, on 13th March, the forces
advanced towards Timmapuram after ravaging Morapally village.
On the way, the next day Maoists came and tried to stop them. In the armed clash, that lasted for two
hours, one villager Bhima alias Sudarshan was killed while two other got injured. 3 SPOs were killed
while 9 others got injuries, of which one died later.
Killing of Bursey Bhima and burning of homes: The CRPF and Salwa Judum SPOs were
forced to retreat after the prolonged encounter. They came to Timmapuram village and took shelter
there. They made bunkers inside the village to quell probable Maoist attack. Before leaving the
village they set fire on 55 houses. Bursey Bhima was picked up by these forces from Pulampad
village on their way to Timmapuram. After setting the villages on fire, they hacked Bursey Bhima to
death with an axe. This is probably due to the fact that Bhima was an eye-witness of their entire
Identification of Accused: People of Timmapuram have identified several Salwa Judum members
who led this carnage. They saw, Mantam Bhima alias Ramesh (from Jannaguda Village), Telem
Anda (of Lekapor Village), Wanjan Peva ( of Charpan Village), Dasaru (from Villampally Village),
Mara (of Monipally Village), Ramlal (of Bodikal Village), Keche Nanda (of Korapad), Kartam Dula
alias Surya (of Misman Village), an SPO and one woman SPO Payake from Timmapuram itself.
Houses Burnt in Timmapuram Village Villagers living in fear and withuot Shelter
Tadmetla Village
From Timmapuram on their way back, they entered Tadmetla village and it became their next
target. In Tadmetla, they burnt a total of 207 houses. These houses were simply gutted to ashes.
They raped Marvi Jogi and beat her till she lost consciousness. When she came back to senses, she
found her cash and jewellery worth Rs. 12,000 missing. Around 20-25 other people in Tadmetla were
beaten up including children as young as 12 years old. Marvi Anda and Marvi Ayita of this village
were picked up by police and are still missing. They have not been produced even in police station.
We spoke to the affected villagers like the rape victim from Tarmetla village Marvi Joga. No case
has still been registered against anyone and not even a medical test has been done. Two people from
Tarmetla Muchaki Anda and Muchaki Ayita have gone missing and villagers claimed they have
been taken by the forces but are yet to be produced.
A rape victim of the Village and burnt housee
This one-sided ruthless attack by the state forces and Salwa Judum on innocent unarmed adivasis
were propagated in the media by the police as ‘ongoing encounter with the Maoists’. The rampage of
the salwa judum and state forces continued for almost five days. Two people were murdered cruelly,
while 3 women were raped. Almost three hundred homes were set on fire and completely gutted
down. They looted everything the adivasi people had including domestic animals like goats, cows,
chicken and pigs along with their money, jewelleries and other belongings. More than fifty people
have been grievously injured that includes children as young as 12 years old and women. This clearly
shows that the Salwa Judum is active and functioning like always. The state’s branding of them as
‘Koya Commandos’ is bogus. Despite the Supreme Court directive to disband Salwa Judum it is fully
functional and actively promoted and sponsored by the state.
These rampages were done with full consent and active support of the state. In the middle of these
unilateral atrocities, the state air-dropped rations and other food supply to the forces while taking
away the dead and the injured. On 24th March, the SDM had visited these villages with some relief
material. But even after he directly spoke to the villagers and saw the evidences of the atrocities, no
case has been registered against anybody. Even now instead of taking action against the perpetrators
of these atrocities, the state is still stopping civil rights activists and individuals to visit the area.
People in Morupally and Timmapuram are living in utter dire condition. People in these two villages
have received no relief from the state. They said that they have got some interim relief from the
Maoists. Many of them are staying under trees. After the fact finding team left, one local newspaper
reported of six starvation deaths in Morupally village which needs to be confirmed. We have been
inside these areas for two days, only to see that there was no ‘encounter’ with the Maoists as claimed
by the police, which is nothing but a myth propagated by the state to justify these atrocities.
The attack by the state forces and the Salwa Judum was heinous and the attack on the innocent
adivasis has been done persistently by the state and its mercenaries in the name of ‘Operation Green
Hunt’. These villages were particularly targeted as they have done alternative development works
like digging ponds, distributing lands among the landless, making irrigation facilities which the
state has failed to provide in all these decades. As we saw these areas are still the most underdeveloped
regions of the country and all that the state has done is to violate the rights of autonomy of the
adivasis, denied them of their basic means of livelihood and life and now they are perpetrating such
monstrous atrocities by Salwa Judum and paramilitary forces.
We condemn these outrageous acts of state violence and demand:
• Registering the cases of rape, murder, atrocities and kidnap against the CRPF and Salwa
• Exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of the crime.
• Immediate providing of medical facilities to the injured and medical tests of the rape victims
• Compensation of the people according to their specific losses
• Allowing more civil rights organisation and media persons to go inside the area.
• As per direction of the Supreme Court the salwa judum must be disbanded immediately and
functioning of the Salwa Judum in the name of ‘Koya Commandos’ must be stopped.
• Operation Green Hunt must be stopped immediately
Members of the fact finding team:
Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC)
C.H. Chandrashekhar,
V. Chitti Babu
R. Rajanandam
V. Raghunath
G. Ravi
K. Viplav Kumar
K. Sireesha
Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties (CPCL)
R. Murugesan
CDRO Convenor (Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR Delhi)
Ashish Gupta
Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights, Kolkata (APDR)
Prashanta Haldar
Dalit Bahujan Social Activist
U. Sambasivarao
Democratic Students Union, JNU
Banojyotsna Lahiri
Research scholar and activist, Wardha University

Posted in CHHATISGARH, NAXALISM, Salwa Judum | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The many lives of Gudsa Usendi

Posted by ajadhind on March 13, 2011

Aman Sethi, The hindu

Phantom spokesman is emblematic of Chhattisgarh’s secretive yet media-savvy Maoists

‘Today I am Gudsa Usendi, tomorrow it could be someone else’

Maoists keenly aware of connection between surveillance and communication

— Photo: Akhilesh Kumar

A file photo of a Maoist training camp in the forest of Dantewada district

Raipur: In the autumn of 2007, a suave, middle-aged man with a military bearing walked into Naresh Bazaar cloth store near the Bilaspur bus stand and bought a thousand metres of olive green tericot fabric for Rs. 101 a metre. According to a shop assistant, the man looked like an ex-serviceman, spoke in English, introduced himself as Sunil Choudhury, a private security contractor with contracts to secure factories across Chhattisgarh, and said he needed uniforms for his guards.

Later that year, Choudhury appeared at Dayaram Sahu’s workshop in Raipur’s Purani Basti and asked the struggling tailor to stitch him trousers of waist sizes 28, 30 and 36 inches with corresponding shirts. “He said he employed more than 50 security guards and each watchman needed three sets of uniform,” said Sahu. “He asked for 35 uniforms, and promised another 100 sets if he liked my work.”

It appears that Choudhury liked Sahu’s work; when the Raipur police raided the workshop in early 2008, they claim to have found 634 metres of military green cloth, 200 trousers and 107 full-sleeved shirts.

Sunil Choudhury, the police said, was not a security contactor but was Katta Ramchandra Reddy alias Vijay alias Gudsa Usendi, a high ranking member and spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal (DKZ) Committee of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). The uniforms were meant for Maoist guerrillas rather than private security guards.

According to police charge sheets and court documents, Gudsa Usendi is the shadowy figure who sent compact discs of Maoist propaganda to Raipur politicians in 2006 and was the source of a consignment of 91 country-made shotguns recovered from a busy intersection in Raipur in 2008. The police claim he was in frequent contact with jailed human rights activist and award-winning paediatrician Binayak Sen and independent filmmaker Ajay T.G., an association denied by both Dr. Sen and Ajay. Gudsa’s supposed wife, K.S. Malti, is currently in Raipur Central Jail; another alleged associate of his was arrested in Durg as recently as September last year. But who is Gudsa Usendi? “Gudsa Usendi is just a name,” said a smooth voice over the telephone in August last year, “Today I am Gudsa Usendi, tomorrow it could be someone else. Gudsa Usendi is the title taken over by the spokesperson for the DKZ.”

Maoist spokespersons have long had a fascination for aliases. Before he was slain in a police encounter last year, Maoist central committee spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar was known to the outside world as Azad (translated as Free), but within the party he went by several names including Madhu, Gangadhar, Uday and Dinesh. His successor goes by the name of Abhay (translated as Fearless); the spokesperson who handled the abduction of Malkangiri District Collector R.V. Krishna in February went by the name of ‘Prasad,’ but Dandakaranya’s Gudsa Usendi is different, because Gudsa Usendi was once a ‘real’ person.

“It was at about three in the morning in Potenar village in Abujmarh. It was June 25 2000, it was raining heavily. There were six comrades in a hut when they were surrounded by the police,” said a young Maoist fighter who called herself Rehmati. “Five comrades were killed, one of them was Gudsa Usendi. He was 17.”

When he joined the Maoists, Gudsa Usendi dropped his given name and took on the moniker of ‘Ramesh.’ He was of the Maria tribe from Chhattisgarh’s Abujmarh region, according to the Maoists. A year after his death, the Maoist spokesperson of Dandakaranya (broadly corresponding with South Chhattisgarh) took on his name to keep his memory alive and the practice has continued ever since.

The Maoists are wary of sharing organisational details with reporters, but anecdotal evidence suggests that Gudsa Usendi functions at the centre of a cloud of cell phones, laptops and individuals. A message from Gudsa Usendi could appear as a note under your door, a letter postmarked by a small town on the Chhattisgarh-Andhra Pradesh border, an email from an IP address that traces back to a neighbouring State, or a micro-SD card stuck to a sheet of paper.

In a recent meeting, a member of their communications team explained that every Maoist division (equivalent to a zilla in the panchayati sytem) has access to a laptop, memory cards, a portable inkjet printer and a cell phone. The netbook examined by this correspondent ran an open source Linux-based operating system with open source text, image and video editing software. Gudsa Usendi usually prepares a press note and hands it over to one of his assistants. Major press releases (like the announcement for Martyrs Week) are designed using crack versions of software like Adobe Pagemaker and converted into PDF format, before being sent to printing presses installed in secret locations.

“We prefer PDF format, because it removes the problem of fonts when issuing press releases in English and Hindi,” explained an assistant, referring to a document format created by Adobe. The files are emailed from the top of a tall tree on a mountaintop where a GPRS enabled phone can log onto a stray network

All the devices are charged by truck batteries connected to solar panels. “Batteries provide direct current (DC); laptops and phones need alternating current (AC),” explained the assistant patiently, “So we add a DCAC inverter to the circuit and use solar power to charge our devices.”

The Maoists are keenly aware of the connection between surveillance and communication. In the forests, only certain senior cadres are allowed to carry cell phones and use their devices sparingly. “We have to secure an area and post sentries before making a phone call,” said a Maoist commander who carries a Nokia phone. However, the poor density of cellular towers in Maoist territories makes it hard to pinpoint the location of a particular phone.

On a windy day in Konta in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district for instance, it is possible to pick up reception from a tower in Andhra Pradesh’s Khammam district; by moving 50 km northwards from the same spot in Konta, a user can start ranging towers in Orissa’s Malkangiri district, moving further towards Chintrakonda in Malkangiri, the Andhra network comes back into range. Somewhere in that broad stretch of land, a man climbs up a tree, pulls out a cell phone from the folds of his clothes and makes a phone call. “Hello? I have a statement from Gudsa Usendi,” he says.

Posted in CHHATISGARH, IN NEWS, NAXALISM | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

In Chhattisgarh’s war zone, no value on an Adivasi’s life

Posted by ajadhind on August 10, 2010

Aman Sethi, hindu

After ‘encounter,’ police try to buy villagers’ silence with Rs. 3,100 and packets of biscuits, chivda

The monsoon skies have cleared over this village in Dantewada district, but a cloud of doubt still lingers over the site of last week’s encounter between the police and suspected cadres of the CPI (Maoist).

On August 4, according to the official version, the Koya commandos spent 18 hours combing through the rain-soaked forests near Kutrem, during which they broke through a Maoist ambush, engaged in a fierce gun battle lasting several hours and ultimately recovered the body of a uniformed Maoist fighter, a 12 bore shotgun and two improvised explosive devices.

The Koya commandos are a specialised police team largely comprising surrendered Maoists or Adivasis whose families have been targets of Maoist violence.

“We were ambushed deep in the jungle and fought the Maoists for about four hours,” said a policeman who was part of the operation, “We fired hundreds of rounds of ammunition … and killed six Maoists, but could recover only one body.” The corpse was identified as Kunjami Joga, a 23-year-old resident of Kutrem.

At Kutrem, however, the villagers have a very different account of the circumstances that led to Joga’s death.

About 11.30 a.m. on August 4, the villagers say, a party of the Koya commandos cordoned off Kutrem and took positions outside several houses in its Kotwalpara neighbourhood. Kunjam Hidme, 40, sat quietly in her house when she suddenly heard a policeman scream, “Hold your fire, don’t shoot!” followed by a burst of automatic fire.

“Kunjami Joga was stepping out of his sister, Karti Budri’s house, when he was shot,” said Hidme. He was unarmed, and was wearing a blue shirt. “I could hear him shouting ‘Ma, Ma’ as he lay on the path.” Hidme says the commandos hurriedly dumped the body on a wooden cot they took from one of the houses and left the village soon after.

On August 5, the Chhattisgarh police conducted post-mortem, initiated a magisterial inquiry and handed over the body to Joga’s parents. “When I got back his body, Joga was naked except for his underclothes,” said Joga’s father, Kunjami Lakhma, “He had a bullet here [pointing to the small of the back near the kidneys] and knife marks on his chest.” As per custom, the body was cremated the same day.

On August 7, the villagers say, the Koya commandos visited Kutrem again, this time with a carton of biscuits and sachets of Haldiram’s mixture. “The force called a public meeting outside the primary school,” said Kunjami Aiyte, Joga’s aunt, “They said, ‘If the press comes, tell them that Joga was killed in the forest, not in the village’.” Aiyte says the police then gave Rs. 1,100 to the gathered villagers for “food and alcohol.” The biscuits and mixture were distributed among the children.

“The Koyas gave me Rs. 2,000 and told me to keep quiet about Joga’s death,” said Kunjami Lakhma when asked whether he had been given any compensation.

Senior police officers expressed surprise when The Hindu questioned them about the money paid to Kunjami Lakhma. Sources refused to come on record, citing the sensitive nature of the allegations and the ongoing magisterial inquiry.

“No one has authorised this [payment],” said a senior policeman speaking on background.

“It is hard to keep control of the Koyas once they are sent out on operation,” continued the source, “The wireless set is our only link to the patrolling companies.” On the day of the encounter, this link was severed by heavy rain and inclement weather. Police officers said the Koyas were not supposed to go to Kutrem at all.

“We were just supposed to go up till Hiroli,” admitted a policeman involved in the operation, “But at Hiroli we received information that a Maoist company was moving between Gumiapal and Kutrem village.” The patrolling party tried to radio headquarters for permission to pursue the Maoists; when the wireless set stopped working, the patrolling party chose to press on moving to Kutrem without waiting for permission.

Posted in CHHATISGARH, GREEN HUNT, NAXALISM | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top Maoist killed in A.P.

Posted by ajadhind on July 4, 2010

S. Harpal Singh and K. Srinivas Reddy

Big blow to Naxal movement

THE END:Cherukuri Rajkumar, a top Naxalite, who was killed by police in Adilabad district on Friday. ADILABAD/HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh police on Friday said it had shot dead top naxalite Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad, along with an unidentified cohort, in an exchange of fire in Adilabad district, close to the State’s border with Maharashtra.
The death of Azad, a member and spokesman of the Central Committee of the CPI (Maoist) and a member of the Polit Bureau, has dealt a big blow to the Maoist movement in India.
Even as some sources questioned the encounter theory, the police said the gunfight lasted more than three hours. An AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol and two kitbags were found at the scene.
The alleged encounter took place on a 500-metre-high hillock 3 km from the nearest motorable road. With the monsoon having set in, the forest had become lush green, and the tribals had started farming operations. Some of them were tilling the land, but none would speak to The Hindu about the encounter.
Azad,58, hailed from Krishna district. He went underground in 1979. He was arrested in 1975 and 1978 and jumped bail. He carried a reward of Rs. 12 lakh on his head. He had apparently been tasked with reviving the Maoist movement in Andhra Pradesh. He was a member of the Urban Sub-Committee and was in charge of the South Western Regional Bureau of Maoists, which coordinates the movement in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Adilabad Superintendent of Police P. Promod Kumar told journalists that the police had launched combing operations following intelligence inputs that a team of Maoists had moved into the forests from Maharashtra. One of the police teams encountered a group of 25 to 30 rebels in the hilly terrain near Sarkepally, a village 15 km from the border with Maharashtra.

Posted in ANDHRAPRADESH, Comrades, GREEN HUNT, IN NEWS, NAXALISM | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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