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Monday, June 09, 2014  
The Politics of Fake Encounter
"The fundamental issues like life and livelihood of broad masses are treated as law and order issues by the state and the state security forces including Border Security Forces, CRPFs etc are deployed in the movement areas. In the process of state terrorism struggling people above 700 have been imprisoned and most of them are under trial prisoners and languishing in the jails for years together. Custodial violence including deaths in the custody has become a policy of the state. Gang rape of tribal women in the custody is not also uncommon in our state. The complain of a gang rape victim is also not properly inquired by the authorities - judicial or Administrative - of R.Udaygiri in spite of mandatory provision enumerated as under section-176(1-A) of Code of criminal procedure."
Dandapani Mahanty
   

Odisha is full of mountains and hills containing a substantial portion of nation's mineral wealth. Odisha's resources in percent of India's total mineral resource in parenthesis: coal(25%), bauxite (50%), chromites (98%), iron (27%), nickel(91%), and many other minerals, and exploitation of these mineral deposits is taking place legally as well as illegally at an increasing speed, causing large scale eviction of tribals, dalits, poor peasants from the lands, forests, rivers, mountains etc.

In the so called process of development, the traditional forest dwellers and tribals are denied access to the forests and forest produces which affects their livelihood adversely as well as causing pollution of entire eco-system. The plundering of natural resources by the national and multi-national companies in the name of mineral based industries is not accepted by the people, who are declared beneficiaries of such erratic industrialisation and development, but has resulted in militant mass movements in different parts of the state.

So far, 54 MoUs have been signed by the Odisha Government with the national and multinational companies and capitalists to loot the natural resources and minerals. If the said schemes are implemented, around 1,10,000 hectors of agricultural land, 10,000 hectors of forest land and 50,000 hectors of grazing land will be affected and lakhs of poor people will be displaced from their hearth and home. Since long, people who are to be affected by the ill designed projects are raising their voice and organizing resistance movements against the anti-people projects in the name of development. From Baliapal to Gopalpur, Gandhamardan to Kasipur, Dhinkia to Niyamgiri, Kalinga Nagar to Narayanpatna, everywhere the oppressed poor, mainly tribals, have been organizing themselves against the state patronized exploitation and conspiracy to open the doors for the corporate, multinationals to loot the natural resources reserved under the belly of Odisha. Different forms of of resistance movements are going on including armed struggle led by C.P.I (Maoist) party. Instead of addressing the fundamental political and economic issues of the broad masses, the state has been persistently continuing its acts of terrorism to suppress the dissent voice, politics as well as people's resistances.

The fundamental issues like life and livelihood of broad masses are treated as law and order issues by the state and the state security forces including Border Security Forces, CRPFs etc are deployed in the movement areas. In the process of state terrorism struggling people above 700 have been imprisoned and most of them are languishing in the jails for years together as under-trial prisoners. Custodial violence resulting in deaths in the custody has become a policy of the state Police. Gang rape of tribal women in the custody is not also uncommon in our state. The complaint of a gang rape victim is also not properly inquired by the authorities - Judicial or Administrative - of R.Udaygiri in spite of mandatory provision enumerated as under section-176(1-A) of Code of criminal procedure.

In the name of combing operation the security forces have obtained license to kill any person under the cover of encounter with Maoists. It has become a general practice in our state that whenever an innocent person is killed by the police bullets, a story linking the deceased with Maoist activities is often being brewed by the Police. Very recently during 28-12-2010 to 12-01-2011, twenty innocent persons including ten women have been killed by the bullets of security forces in the name of encounter with Maoists. Since the militant mass movements are continuing in Kalinga Nagar, Kashipur, Niyamgiri and Gandhamardan areas, the state has adopted the politics of encounter to create a reign of terror in the said areas to suppress the mass movements and to serve the corporate interests.

It is not out of place to mention that although a number of so called encounter incidents have occurred in the tribal areas of the state, in no case any independent and credible enquiry has been ordered by the state government. In one case only the victim lady of village Birubai under Rayagada district made a complain before the state human right commission that her husband was killed on 7-7-2006 by the security forces in a fake encounter. The commission decided the case in her favour and came to the conclusion that the husband of victim lady, who was killed by police in the name of encounter, was innocent. But the recommendations of the Commission regarding action to be taken against responsible police officer is yet to be carried out.

I have reasons to believe that there are only four cases of exchange of fire (encounter) between the arms squad of Maoists and security forces of the state during the period of 2004 to 2011 and which are in Koraput, R. Udaygiri, Gasama and Damanjodi and all other cases are fake encounters and which require free, fair and credible investigations after registration of criminal cases in the respective police stations.

Under the above facts and circumstances, I appeal all concerned persons /groups/forces to condemn and raise their voice against the state policy of fake encounter to kill innocent persons as a part of repression and suppression of dissent voice/politics/ideology with a motive to serve the corporate interest.

(Author is General Secretary, Odisha Forest Mazdoor Union)

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