• SPOs Charged for Attack on Sukma villages in 2011

    26 others named in attack on Swami Agnivesh

    October 24, 2016

    Image via The Hindu

    Between March 11 and March 16, 2011, a police party consisting of police, SPOs and CRPF, led by D S Marawi, then Additional SP, Sukma, carried out combing operations in Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timpuram villages, “as per the orders of the then SSP Dantewada”’ (FIR 4/2011, filed by DS Marawi), who was SRP Kalluri.

    In the course of the operations, 3 men were killed – Madvi Sula of Bhanda Morpalli, Badse Bhima of Pulanpad, and Manu Yadav of Pulanpad. Three women were raped, 2 in Morpalli and one in Tadmetla. 33 houses were burnt in Morpalli, 59 houses in Timapuram, and 160 houses in Tadmetla village. When Swami Agnivesh tried to deliver relief to the villages on March 26, he and his companions were brutally attacked by Salwa Judum leaders at Dornapal.

    On July 5 2011, the Supreme Court ordered a CBI enquiry into these incidents of violence. On 17 October 2016, the CBI chargesheeted the 7 SPOs who served as the “gang leaders”, in the special CBI court in Raipur. They have also charged 26 persons, including leading members of the Salwa Judum, such as P. Vijay, Dular Shah, Soyam Mooka and others for the attack on Swami Agnivesh. The cases of rape and murder are still under investigation.

    The CBI enquiry has totally exposed the police’s lie that the houses were burnt by the Naxalites, showing instead, that these unlawful activities were carried out by the SPOs, the police force, and the CRPF. The CBI report notes that 323 SPOs and policemen as well as 114 personnel of COBRA and 30 personnel of CRPF participated in the operation.

    It also points to the concealment of rapes and murders by the Chhattisgarh police. The FIRs filed by D S Marawi, after the media had exposed the attacks, make no mention of the rapes and murders. Media reports on this were then dismissed as propaganda by SRP Kalluri and the Chhattisgarh government.

    It must be noted that the CBI was repeatedly attacked and intimidated during the course of the investigation.

    The Constables, formerly SPOs, in the Chhattisgarh Police, who were identified by the villagers, have been charged under Sections 34, 326 and 436 of IPC, and belong variously to Lakkapal, Jonaguda, Surpanguda, Korrapad and Millempalli.

    The fact that these leading SPOs have been held responsible also shows that the Chhattisgarh State Government’s action in converting all SPOs into Armed Auxiliary Forces, with effect from the date (5 July 2011) of the SC judgment banning them, was malafide. The state was directed to weed out and prosecute all those held guilty of human rights violations, but it has completely violated its obligations to the Court.

    The 26 persons chargesheeted for the attack on Swami Agnivesh, many of whom are well known Salwa Judum leaders (now members of new vigilante organisations like Samajik Ekta Manch and AGNI), have been charged under Sections 34, 147, 149, 323, 341, 427 and 440 of the IPC. Among those charged are Dulal Shah, Vijay Singh Chouhan and Balwant Singh Chouhan, P. Vijay Naidu, Sodi Joga, Kawasi Kosa, Kartam Muya, V. Laxmi Narayan, Sanjay Shukla, Wali Mohammad, Muchaki Linga, Sheikh Nayeemullah, Chhannu Korsa, Soyam Bheema, Baliram Nayak and others.

    The matter was listed before Justice Madan Lokur and Justice AK Goyal on Friday, October 21, 2016. The judges directed the CBI to make a copy of the papers available to the petitioners, as represented by Senior Advocate Ashok Desai. They allowed the petitioners to file a protest petition in RC 8 and RC 9 which have been closed (relating to Morpalli). The Justices also noted that in cases of rapes and murders where the victims were unable to identify the perpetrators, they should be give compensation under 357 A, for which a dedicated fund is available.

    The Honourable Justices also raised the question of peace talks, mentioning the example of the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for the resolution of the Colombian government war with FARC, as well as the Nagaland and Mizoram settlements. Mr. Ashok Desai for the petitioners, and Mr. Ranjit Kumar (Solicitor General) and Mr. Tushar Mehta (ASG) agreed on the need for such a settlement. The ASG assured the court that the government was seriously considering the issue, and promised to take it up at the highest levels. The government counsel conceded that police action was only a momentary step, there had to be a longer-term solution.

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