Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Joint Force in West Midnapur engaged with WAR against the civilian

West Bengal, India

Satpati is a small hamlet under Salboni Police Station of West Midnapur district. As the joint forces are posted all along the region; there is a joint force camp, occupying a school building, just opposite the Satpati market in Midnapur- Lalgarh road.

On 10th of December 2009, the International Human Rights Day came down heavily on the populace destroying all their rights to life and liberty. In this course the joint force camping in the area not only killed an innocent person but injured five others, including a minor.

After receiving the information, a fact finding team of MASUM rushed to the area on 13.12.2009, as team has prior information that injured were in Midnapur District Hospital, the team first visited the hospital, the locales had an idea that the injured were in surgical medical ward as the injured first shifted in male surgical ward on the fateful day, but after searching, the team found the persons were inside the prison ward just attached with the male surgical ward and behind the bar, two police persons in uniform and one in plainclothes (identified himself as a jail warden) were guarding the ward which was locked. The arrestees informed that they were admitted in male surgical ward on 10.12.2009 at night, though failed to recollect the time as they were grievously injured but on 11.12.2009 they transferred to the custody of police/ judicial inside the hospital premises at around 6.30 p.m. on the day.

The injured; Amiya Ranjan Sahu, son of Mr. Bhajahari Sahu, aged about 38 years of Satpati village by profession a grocery owner got received bullet injury on lower half of his left leg, Bikash Nandy, son of Mr. Asit Nandy, aged about 16 years, appeared for secondary examination of Satpati, Bholananda Gantatit, son of Mr. Dulal Gantatit, aged about 19 years, appeared for higher secondary examination and Tapas Mondal, son of Mr. Nepal Mondal, aged about 18 years and appeared for secondary examination were all cramped in floor over the rotten linens and all having bullet injuries in different parts of their body while four others M/S Bhagabat Garai, Amiya Santra, Alok Bera and Dilip Ghosh were provided cots after brought from Midnapur Central Correctional Home in various dates for medical attention. Bikash, Bholananda and Tapas all are student of Goutam Smiriti Satpati Binapani Bidyamandir of Satpati.

From them the fact finding team came to know that along them, Dr. Tamal Sahu, a registered medical practicenor of Satpati got bullet injury and brought along with others to Midnapur Government Hospital and later sent to Seth Sukhlal Karnani Hospital, Kolkata on same date; 10.12.2009 along with Bholanath and Tapas, but Bholanath and Tapas brought back to Midnapur Government Hospital with same ambulance in which they were transported to the said hospitals. The detainees also informed that Dr. Sahu is a heart patient and surgery on his heart valves had been done. They also informed that during the firing Biplab Sahu, son of Mr. Ajit Sahu, aged about 38 years of Satpati got bullet injury and later came to know that he died in Midnapur Government Hospital, though they have not seen the body or brought in same vehicle.

Most awfully the detainees were not informed about their arrest and having no knowledge that state has initiated criminal cases against them. The information also not imparted to the families also which we later came to know. The fact finding team tried it level best to get the case number with sections but refused the same by the guarding party, they said their superior can impart that but he was not present there, after several argument a person in civil dress came at the place and introduced himself as Falguni Mukherjee, Assistant Sub Inspector, attached with Police lines of Midnapur is guard in charge, but he also refused to divulge anything about the police case, but as he was holding a piece of paper, the fact finding team clandestinely manage to look after it and find the police started a criminal case against all the mentioned persons including the deceased as Salboni PS Case number 104/09 dated 10.12.2009 under sections 147/148/149/120 (B)/ 122/121(B)/124/126/307/323 of IPC & 9(B) of Indian Explosives Act (again this is only FF team managed by peep over the paper). Till date nobody has been produced before any court or magistrate, no magistrate bodily appeared before the persons and even the minor is still inside the regular custody, though he is a minor.

After that the fact finding team visited the place of incident; Satpati village and met with Mr. Tapan Kumar Mahish, aged about 44 years and elected member of 7 number Satpati Gram Panchayet with others. During his narration he vividly described the happenings of the day. On the fateful day; 10.12.2009 a bus bounded towards Goaltor from Medinipur was make a halt at Satpati at that very time the personnel of Pirakata police camp was returning after some skirmishes with the so called ‘ Maoists’ at Parulia village under Salboni police station. The Pirkata police camp was nearly 4 kilometers away from the Satpati IRB- joint camp. But reasons known best to the posted joint force personnel started indiscriminate lathicharge upon the persons inside the bus and people who were in the street. During the lathicharge which was uncalled for, the posted joint force used filthiest abusive languages to all the persons present at the time around the place.

The persons present at the place during the indiscriminate lathicharge and verbal abuses rushed to the Satpati police camp (joint force camp) to know about the reason, why the personnel from another camp resorted to lathicharge (Pirakata joint force camp) without any provocation, the number of protesting people were more than 100 and nobody inside the camp came out to hear the grievances of the people, here it should be mentioned that never any contention between the Satpati villagers and posted armed constabulary has been taken before. Majority of the persons belonging with agrarian occupations and few of them have auxiliary occupation of running shops of different natures. But while they were demanding for the actual reasons, the posted joint force became berserk and asked their sentries to leave the gate and come inside the camp and from there they started firing from their sophisticated firearms to unarmed commoners who gathered over there as regular practice to gossiping and have their teas.

It was amply clear that the personnel of joint force resorted firing without any provocation and guidelines set for doing the so, no magistrate was present at the place and nobody attacked them with any intention to cause harm to their life or properties.

But it was clear that armed personnel used sophisticated firearms without any reasons as the team found wholes on tin roofs nearly 500- 600 meters away from the camp and came to know that persons injured during the firing almost a receiving end of more than 500 meters.

The said Panchayet member even contacted the Officer in Charge of Salboni PS over mobile telephone and made him audible about the bullet firings and asked him to stop the gruesome attack on common people. Mr. Tapan Kumar Mahish, the member of Panchayet even alleged that to corroborate false evidences the joint force personnel even fired upon the walls of the camp to falsify that someone fired upon the camp with firearms.

In a most gruesome act the joint forces even restricted the persons wanted to rescue the bullet ridden injured bodies and in that course even threatened them from inside the camp. They challenged the persons wanted to bring the injured to hospital for medical assistances with firings. Although the villagers somehow arranged a vehicle of Mr. Soumitra Sahu of the same village and paid for the transportation while one Mr. Samir Manna, son of Bhramar Manna working with Satpati post office and a distant relative of the deceased Biplab Sahu accompanied him during his last journey. According to him he was alive till Bhadutala but before reaching the Midnapur hospital he breathed his last.

In this total incident the so called joint force not even tried to save the lives of the injured but recklessly abandoned the injured to die. This was again not only against the Constitutional guarantee under Article 21 but most heinous indifference toward a dying person by state actors.

On 12th of December 2009 inside the agrarian lands under Parulia village, the personnel of Pirkata camp went to pick up the body of one Tilak Tudu, but restricted by the villagers as according to the villagers, the body was of a CPI (M) harmed ( local vocabulary used for an armed protagonist of ruling party) who came to kill innocents or political opponents and subsequently resisted by them, but after failed to recover the body, while the joint force personnel were returning they fired upon the common people and used filthiest vocabularies against the persons and tried to leveled with subversive activities by their statements against the peasants; that again against the Constitutional and legal guarantees of this country. Nobody has the right to question the integrity of a person within any legal parameters prior to any judicial dictate. During the incident Mr. Kartik Nandi, son of Mr. Gopal Chandra Nandi, aged about 42 years, having agricultural land inside Dhangori Mouza and Mr. Dipankar Betal, son of Mr. Mantu Charan Betal working in Jashpur mouza as an agrarian labour experienced that the joint frce while returning fired upon the people engaged with their agrarian activities and in most of the time bullets were fired upon their heads with huge firing noise, which forced them to leave their fields and take run for helter- skelter.

While the fact finding team met with Mr. Kushal Biswas, the Officer in Charge of Salbobni police station while he was monitoring the construction of new camp, as the High Court of Calcutta directed to vacate all the school buildings where the joint force has made their camps by 20th December, he audaciously tried to make rationale and justified misdeeds of joint force. He even said before the team that as the people’ brought the crocodile by digging canals, so the commoners (you have) have to face wrath of the police in morning and ‘Maoist’ during the night’. But most rowdily he used the term ‘harmad’ for the hooligans of ruling party while he said the new camp will divide between the ‘Harmads’ (CPI (M) with ‘ Maoists’.
He later stated that police has to make more threats and coercion than ‘Maoist’ so villagers will force to succumb before the police rather than Maoists.

At last the fact finding team confronted with the family of the deceased; Mr. Biplab Sahu, it was heartrending occasion, as Biplab left two minor boys and hapless wife. His parents were fainted and wife was speechless during the meeting, but the two minor sons have no knowledge about the death of their father and consequences of the same. Biplab Sahu has 1 and half bigha of land by his own, though his joint family of two uncles and his father posses 15 bighas of land, till date land has not been partitioned. While Biplab Sahu got bullet injury and died during his journey to Midnapur Government Hospital, he was wearing a Lungi and vest and having a torch with him, which is a necessary item for rural folk.

Till date nobody from police, administration or state party came to aggrieved family. No police personnel came for any sort of inquiry.

Report by:

Kirity Roy

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