PUDR statement on Durg encounter

PEOPLES UNION FOR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS

Was there really an encounter at Shivpur as claimed by Chhattisgarh Police?

17th October 2010

Peoples Union for Democratic Rights is deeply disturbed by the news of fake
encounter which has been passed off as a real encounter by the Chhattisgarh
police in which two Maoists, Nagesh and Tarabai, were shot dead sometime
between 14th and 15th October 2010

Media reports (TOI, 16/10/10) state that the duo were killed when security
forces tried to stop them from firing. A third escaped in the nearby
forested area. The IG (Durg Range) claimed that the incident happened near
Shivpur village, 45 kms from Raipur.

Contrary to the IGs claim about the encounter, local residents of Jamul, a
semi urban area adjoining the Bhilai industrial area, have an entirely
different version to tell. According to them, the bodies were found lying on
15th early morning close to a railway over bridge at Jamul. Moreover, there
wasnt significant police presence around the bodies. The number of police
personnel started increasing only after 5 a.m., almost an hour after local
boys first spotted the bodies.

The discovery of the bodies by local residents, the lack of police
presence at that time, the fact that residents had not heard any gunshots in
the intervening night, raise several questions:

1         Why were the bodies found near Jamul railway over-bridge, a good
two kilometers away from Shivpur village, the supposed site of the incident,
according to the IG, RK Vij?

2         Where exactly did the encounter happen? Given that the residents
did not hear any gunshots, the previous night, where were the two killed?

3         What is the sequence of events which led to the death of the two
Maoists? Till now there isnt a clear coherent story as to how the duo was
killed. The versions range from the police having prior information
regarding a secret meeting in a local orchard (kinnu garden), to hotly
pursuing them, to the rather bizarre version that the Maoists suddenly
opened fire and the police fired in self defense and the version that the
couple was in Jamul to strike a deal for purchase of ammunition.

4          Equally, the police story that a third accomplice escaped into
the forested area is improbable as the forested area near the bodies is only
a fledgling kinnu garden, which cannot really pass itself as a forest.

PUDR is apprehensive that by planting the bodies near urban working class
localities, the police may try to harass residents for information. With the
Chhattisgarh police talking of taking on the “Urban Network of Naxalites”,
such strategic encounters in urban places can become convenient ways for
harassing inconvenient activists. The fact that the area has a very strong
and militant working class movement under the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha
(Mazdoor Karyakarta Committee) against the Swiss multinational cement giant
Holcim is significant. The organization is an eyesore for big companies and
its participation in the anti-displacement movement, campaign for the
release of Dr Binayak Sen and against human rights violations of adivasis
has earned it the wrath of the State.

Under these circumstances, PUDR demands:

An immediate registration of FIR into the given incident

An immediate inquiry by an independent agency into the incident

Asish Gupta (9873315447)

Moushumi Basu (9810371257)

Secretaries, PUDR

Email: pudrdelhi@yahoo.com

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