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Blood on the Marble floor

February 1, 2013

Have you ever wondered to what extent does the State of India goes, to secure electricity, marble flooring for our homes, to secure for us Tata Nanos, various steel and aluminium products and what not? Here are a few stories I have collated on how the State is doing its best to win the race for a few of us. Stories of interesting ways the State of India has been using to deal with anyone who comes in its way towards development.

Story of people from Morpalli village

Reports say that on 11th March 2011 police and SPOs attacked Morpalli village near Chintalnar, Konta block, district Dantewada Chhattisgarh. The police party burnt 35 houses, killed a tribal named Sulla s/o Soma in the village. Next day on 12th March this police and SPO party attacked Timmapur village and burnt 50 houses. On 16th March Police and SPOs attacked another village, Tadmetla. In this village police burnt 207 houses, raped five women, and killed Madvi Jogi by stabbing her after gang rape. Witness alleged that the police party was led by SSP Dantewada SRP Kalluri.

Presently affected tribal families are homeless, living under trees. Food stuff is also burnt down by police forces. Police is guarding all possible roads to that area to prevent any media or outsider who can expose the atrocities of police on tribals.

Story of women from Harna Kachar village

The clash with women has been going on since the Police and the Forest Department built up pressure on women to evict tribals from the 150 acres of occupied land that tribal people claim belong to them. In one of these clashes, a policeman snatched the saree (Indian women dress) of one of the women. A newspaper reported that women got angry and used their sarees as weapons, in almost a half naked protest where they opened their sarees and threw them at the Police force who had to run away. But on 24th September 2008, the Police force came prepared – with only two Police women as a token presence- and started abusing women and beating them. Women had already pushed their men away and took a frontal position to face the Police force. The Police and the Forest Department started setting their huts on fire and then attacked and stripped the women.

Story of Soni Sori

Tribals here have two options-first, either owe allegiance to Naxalite or get killed and second, be loyal to police or get killed (or get raped if you are a woman). Soni, chose the third. She chose to bring to notice of the rest of country the atrocities of police there. Result, she was charged with acting as a conduit of money transfer from Essar group (who had some mining to do on the fields which was according to police under Naxal control and hence the money from Essar to Naxalites) to Naxals. She with another male journalist was sent behind the bars in Dantewada in spite of her apprehensions that that place was not safe for her. As feared by her, she was tortured inhumanly so much so that she was chained naked with her bed while questioning and doctors found small stones in her genital tract and rectum. Her letter to the Supreme Court asking who is responsible for her condition is biting dust. How can one be subjected to so brutal trial even when there are no strong evidences of crime except hunch of a few biased policemen?

Story of Lingaram Kodopi

This is the story of a tribal man named Lingaram Kodopi, a 25-year-old jeep driver from Chhattisgarh. He had once been wooed by the banned CPI (Maoist), offered a party position. He refused. He has since been threatened by the rebels. He had once been locked up in a toilet in the Dantewada police station for 40 days, brutally beaten, and then offered Rs 12,000 a month to become a Special Police Officer (SPO). He refused. He has since been under police radar. In the winter of 2009, Lingaram Kodopi did what many others in Chhattisgarh’s conflict zone have been compelled to: he fled.

In Delhi, Kodopi lived in the basement of an NGO and enrolled in a journalism course in Noida. “I know I will be arrested if I go back home,” Kodopi had earlier told Tehelka. “But why should I be afraid? I want to do something for my community. Both the Naxals and the police threaten me because they know I don’t fear them.” He returned to Dantewada in April this year after the 300 homes were razed to rubble in a three-day police operation. At great personal risk, he visited the burnt villages of Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timmapuram, saw first-hand the debri of attacks by the COBRA and Koya Commandoes, met raped women and got precise narrations of police atrocities. By now, a trained video journalist, Kodopi was just beginning to document the stories of his own people.

Kodopi was arrested on September 10. Dantewada SP Ankit Garg confirmed that he has been charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, the Chhattisgarh Public Security Act, and sections 121, 124A and 120 B of the IPC for criminal conspiracy, sedition, and waging war against the State of India.

Story of people from Bhallaguda village

‘‘In the early hours of that fateful day, about 80 policemen, who were combing the border for Maoists, raided the houses of the four victims and perpetrated the crime,’’ Mary Kumari said. Thereafter, the policemen had closed whatever passed off as the road to the village for the next two days.

They kept threatening the women with dire consequences if they went for a medical test, the panel members said. According to them, when medical tests had to be done at the intervention of the government, it was the police who took the women to the King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam on Jan 28 (six days after the atrocity). The police warned the women that their husbands would be jailed for 30 years if they didn’t refuse medical tests. The police also allegedly scared the women stating that the tests involved surgery and that it wasn’t a simple affair. A police vehicle was there throughout the day outside the KGH and afraid of the police, one woman refused to take the test and fled while the others mustered enough courage to go through the procedure.

The police had claimed that a couple of days before the alleged gang-rape, husbands of the four tribal women were among a group of Maoists that fired at police in Orissa. The police personnel allegedly detained the four men along with a few others at a school building on the outskirts of the village while some of their colleagues gang-raped the women. Later, the police took into custody nine tribals, including husbands of three gang-raped women.

An old story from 1992

According to CBI, on June 20, 1992 a team comprising 155 forest personnel, 108 policemen and six revenue officials entered Vachathi in neighbouring Krishnagiri district for a search for smuggled sandalwood.

On the pretext of inquiry, they allegedly assaulted about 100 villagers, detained women and children and raped 18 of them besides ransacking their properties. Charges including rape, rioting, voluntarily causing hurt under various IPC sections besides under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act had been filed against the accused. Soon after the incident, a fact-finding committee, led by Tamil Nadu Tribal People Association President P Shanmugam, found 18 women were raped and 64 women and 15 men beaten up by the officials.

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Over a period of 40 years (1951-90), over 21.6 million people have been displaced by dams and canals alone. 2.1 million people have been displaced by mining projects. Another 2.4 million have been asked to leave their land that would be used to set up industries, thermal plants, sanctuaries and defence installations. According to government’s National policy of Rehabilitation, 75% of those displaced since 1950 are still awaiting rehabilitation.

Millions of extremely poor people in this country are going into forced destitution making way for coal mines, power projects, dams and mining projects.

In Malkangiri, Orissa you would find that everything is made of Bamboo. People here even make fire by rubbing together two pointed bamboo sticks. The Koya tribe there depends on bamboo cultivation. They cut the bamboo in such a way that it grows again. They never destroy the forests because their lives depend on them. In recent years, the forest laws have denied the tribals this access while private companies and big corporations have been granted unchecked access.

Should they resist and face the wrath of the Nation that is bull-dozing its way towards success?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2013 10:40

    Thanks for the information. Try to enjoy the beauty in the struggle and lets make the self the fullest for the fulfillment of life. Lets search self to discover the beauty of humanity….

    Like

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