Tag Archives: Fake Encounter

What if man dies in the forest, and no one is around to see it?

Last week, the  Chhattisgarh police were caught in an extraordinary encounter in the forests of Dantewada. The encounter was interesting not just in the event itself, but also in the Police’s attempts to shape media perception during and long after the encounter.

On Kafila, we devote a considerable amount of our time trying to decode how the press covers particular events. Perhaps this post shall go some way in explaining why our morning papers look the way they do.

If the police are to believed, on August 4 this year, the Koya commandos were caught in a Maoist ambush, yet through brilliant rear-guard action emerged completely unscathed, along with the body of a “Maoist fighter”, a 12 bore shotgun and two IEDs to boot.

The “ambush” caught a lot of us in the press unawares: something had happened in the forest – but what? A series of strategic leaks had primed the media to expect “major losses” among the security forces – so when the police emerged from the jungle unscathed, everyone was expected to heave a collective sigh of relief.

However, for once, the Chhattisgarh based press was skeptical.

Continue reading What if man dies in the forest, and no one is around to see it?

Death of villager mired in controversy

Sukma: Chhattisgarh police confirmed the death of Mediyum Bandhi, a 27
year old adivasi from Aitpal village, in the Sukma police station in
Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. Police claim they shot Bandhi
as he tried to escape from the lock-up. Bandhi was shot three times in
the back with a Self Loading Rifle (SLR).

Bandhi’s death comes three days after an explosion, triggered by the
Communist Party of India (Maoist), killed 15 civilians and 16 members
of the security forces.  Many of the policemen killed were Special
Police Officers based out of Sukma.

According to Sukma police, Bandhi, 27, and Podiyam Kosa, 25,
were apprehended on Wednesday morning from Aitpal
village as they were wanted in a number of criminal cases including
murder.  The two villagers were first taken to Gadiras police
station for questioning and then brought to Sukma as Gadiras does not
have a lock-up.

The Day of Long Knives

Gachanpalli: Stories of the “Operation” reverberate along the path from the Andhra Pradesh border to Gachanpalli, a village deep in forests of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. Villagers along the 35 kilometre stretch of broken track, bombed-out schools, and graves, still speak of the day when security forces swept through their fields and killed 12 men.

Testimonies collected from the villages of Gachanpalli, Gattapad and Palachalam in the Konta block in Dantewada claim that at least 12 of the 30 people killed during a security operation in September 2009 were innocent villagers with no links to the Maoists.  If true, the allegations point to a concerted attempt at dissimulation on the part of Chhattisgarh’s security forces.