An investigative report by Anti operation green hunt Citizen’s Forum’s (Jharkhand)
Fact Finding Team
On June 13th 2010 a fact finding team of citizen’s forum Jharkhand against Operation Greenhunt, paid a visit to Ladi village under Barwadih Block in Latehar district, Jharkhand.
Members of fact finding team included:-
2. Shashibhushan Pathak
3. Gladson Dung-Dung
4. Sunil Minz
5. Gopinath Ghosh
6. Damodar Turi
7. Rajeev Pandey
8. Elias Ansari
9. Subhash Gyali
10. Tirthraj Biruli
11. Mahadev Oraon
On 27th April 2010 a Tribal Khairwar women was shot dead and one shepherd was wounded in Ladi village. The local police said it was a result of an encounter between police and the Maoists. Points investigated by the fact finding team in this case are listed below:-
1. Truth behind the incident.
2. Condition of the affected family after the incident.
3. Attitude of police and administration in regard to this incident.
4. Assistance provided by the government to the bereaved family members.
Description of victim family
|Sl No.||Name||Age||Sex||Occupation||Relation with the deceased|
|1||Jairam Singh||28||M||Temporary forest guard||Husband|
|5||Kameshwar Singh||48||M||Temporary trekker guard||Father-in-law|
|7||Sitaram Singh||14||M||Student||Brother –in-law|
|8||Baleshwar Singh||12||M||Student||Brother –in-law|
Village Ladi is located 60 KMs away from district headquarter Latehar, in the middle of the Jungle. The distance from Ladi to block headquarter Barwadih is 22 KMs. Village post office is located 2 KMs away and the nearest bank is situated at a distance of 15 KMs. Ladi is inhabited mostly by Khairwars. There are 83 families in the village. Among them 58 families are Khairwar, 2 families are Korva, 1 family is Lohra and 1 is Sao. Total population of this village is around 400; its economy depends on agriculture and forest produce. Agriculture is totally dependent on monsoon. Another important traditional occupation of Khairwar community in this village is to work in stone quarries. The income per family from the quarry is around 60 Rupees daily.
The village has one primary school. Two teachers are appointed here but the school rarely opens. As a result, children can’t get their mid-day meal regularly. The village lacks basic amenities like roads, electricity, safe drinking water and health care facilities. This village has 21 primitive tribe families (Paharias & Korvas). Special govt. schemes are there for them; this includes an order from the Supreme Court to provide them the facilities of “Antyodaya Ann Yojna” which is openly being defied in Jharkhand. Poverty Alleviation Schemes of government have failed to benefit the people of Ladi village.
Details of the incident:
In his speech in 2008, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, termed Maoism as the biggest internal security threat to the country and a challenge for capital investment
Since then around 92,000 Sq. Km. area with a majority of tribal population was identified as “Red Corridor” or Lalgarh. After this, a special police operation was started in the name of elimination of Maoists and it was named “Operation Green hunt”. This operation faced huge opposition in Jharkhand and couldn’t get started but on March 5th 2010 it was formally set in motion in Singhbhum District.
At the same time operation Green hunt came in to force in Latehar District too. During this period an encounter took place between police and Maoist near Ladi village under Barwadih Block. The police entered the village after the encounter. It was 7.30 in the evening, everyone in the village had had his dinner and was about to sleep, then the gunshots were heard. A few moments’ later policemen encircle the house of Village Head Kameshwar Singh, shouting “come out of the house or else it will be brunt down.” Hearing this, nervous family members of Kameshwar Singh came out of the house. Kameshwar Singh and his son Jairam Singh work as temporary staff in forest department and this being the reason they were not present at home. After hearing the policemen, Vishram Singh (18), younger son of Kameshwar Singh, came out opening the door. Policemen took hold of him and tied his hands to his back and pointed a gun at him.
After pinning him down, one policeman asked vishram sing’s sister-in-law Jacinta Devi whether anyone else was there inside the house. She replied “A shepherd, Puran Singh (62) is sleeping inside.” She was told to wake him up and bring him outside. When she was coming out along with the Shepherd, policemen opened fire. A bullet hit her went inside her chest, she fell down and died. Policemen fired again, it hit Puran Singh’s hand and he was wounded as well. Seeing the dead body, family members started crying. The Police told them to keep quiet or else everyone will be shot dead. They also accused saying-“you people provide food to the Maoists.” Immediately after the incident, police took away the entire family including wounded Puran Singh and the dead body with them. They threatened the family that they should tell others that Jacinta Devi was killed in an encounter. They also asked not to take out any rallies.
The villagers didn’t have any idea where the dead body was taken, so on April 28th 2010 they blocked the Mahuadanr-Daltonganj Main Road. After the post-mortem in Sadar Hospital Latehar, the police took Vishram Singh’s signature on a blank paper and handed over the dead body to family members for the last rites. Vishram Singh hired a vehicle paying Rs. 4000/- and brought the body to the village. Barwadih C.O. provided Rs. 10,000/- to them under the family benefit scheme. On April 30th 2010 relatives of the deceased and the villagers went to Barwadih police station to register a case against the murder of Jacinta Devi but Station-In-Charge Ratanlal Saha didn’t register their case, he recorded the information in the diary instead and threatened them to go back.
After the protest by the villagers administration assured them of Rs. 3 lakh as compensation. One local journalist Manoj Vishwakarma (Hindustan) was mediating in this matter at the behest of the police. On May 14th 2010 Manoj Vishwakarma took Jairam Singh, the husband of the deceased to Barwadih Police Station where the Station In-charge Birendra Ram told Jairam Singh to put his signature on a blank paper in order to receive a cheque of Rs. 90,000/- when Jairam Singh refused to put his signature on the blank paper, Station In-charge sent him back empty handed.
After the brutal killing of Jacinta Devi her husband is not only struggling to find the means of livelihood but now has to play the role of a mother too. His three young children, Amrita Kumari (5), Suchit Kumar (3) and vibha Kumari (1) have lost their childhood and their future remains uncertain.
1. Inspection of the house of the deceased makes it clear that there is only one door to enter in the house. A wall of the house has the marks of two bullets which were fired at the direction of the entry door. In case of an encounter bullets should have been shot from inner portion of the house aiming towards the door. After Jacinta Devi was killed, police entered and searched the house. If there were any Maoists inside the policemen would have caught them. Further more absence of any other door in the house rules out any possibility of their escape. Inspection of place of incident, statements of relative of deceased, shepherd and villagers make it very clear that Jacinta Devi was not killed in an encounter but the police murdered her.
2. Police is trying to put this incident as an encounter. For this reason the application submitted by the victim’s family protesting the murder of Jacinta Devi, case was not registered and family of the deceased is being threatened continuously.
3. Earlier administration promised Rs. 3 lac as compensation but when deceased’s husband Jairam Singh wanted to receive the compensation he was told that in order to get Rs. 90,000/- he will have of sign some blank papers first. This highlights the fact that Barwadih police wants to misappropriate the compensation money.
4. After this incident villagers of Ladi are living in constant fear, police may come anytime and can torture anybody. When villagers go to market the police torment them, there too.
5. Puram Singh alias Baleshwar Singh, the shephered of Kameshwar Singh has become handicapped in this shooting incident. He is undergoing treatment in Sadar Hospital Latehar and is kept under the supervision of armed forces. Latehar civil surgeon Arun Tigga doesn’t know anything about Puran Singh.
1. A high level judicial inquiry of this incident must be done.
2. A case of murder should be registered against the policemen involved in this killing and the hardest punishment be awarded to them.
3. Taking legal action against Station In-Charge becomes necessary for not registering a case about this murder.
4. Legal action must be taken against police officials who tried to misappropriate the compensation money.
5. Suspension and legal action should be taken against the Dy.S.P, who tried to white wash and hush up the incident, the then station-in-charge at the time of incident Ratan Lal Saha and incumbent station incharge Birendra Ram.
6. Rs. 10 lacs as compensation be paid to the family of the deceased woman. Govt. job and free education to children. Rs. 5 lacs as compensation be given to the wounded shepherd Puran Singh.
7. Protection to the family of the deceased.
8. Basic amenities should be made available in the village.
9. Police atrocities on villagers must come to an immediate stop.
10. This is not an isolated event such incidents are taking place at a regular interval in Jharkhand. If we stop them then Operation Greenhunt- which is being conducted under the pretence of finishing off Maoism must come to an immediate halt.