Monday, July 9, 2012

Kottaguda-Rajpenta-Sarkeguda massacre

A three member team, consisting of JP Rao, Kopa Kunjam and Nandini Sundar visited Kottaguda, Sarkeguda and Rajpenta villages on 3rd and 4th July 2012.

The three villages merge into each other and have been carved up in an arbitrary fashion between different panchayats (Korsaguda and Chipurbhatti panchayats). The field where the firing took place is an open area surrounded by houses, some of which are in Kottaguda and some of which fall in Rajpenta. The villagers had returned only in 2009 after Salwa Judum had burnt their village in 2005, and are still struggling to put their cattle together and rebuild all houses properly. The meeting on the 28th night was held to discuss how to help those without cattle and single women headed households, and also to plan the holding of the bija pondum (seed sowing festival). The three villages share a common earth shrine – which means they celebrate all their festivals together. 
The villagers say that there were no Maoists present, and that the police were most likely injured in cross-firing. The absence of any Maoist leaders is supported by the fact that had there been a squad in the village, there would have been sentries posted in the direction of Basaguda thana.
Whatever the CRPF’s claims, what is indisputable is that they knew they were in the middle of a village and yet did not use night flares or observe even the most basic precautions when firing. In all 17 persons have been killed, of which 7 are minors; 9 have been injured, and at least 5 women have been beaten/assaulted. One cow has died and one bull has been injured, and there are bullet marks on the houses.  Two people were killed by Salwa Judum and security forces in 2005, and almost all the houses in all three villages were burnt.
What is shocking is not just the massacre itself but the cover up that followed with the CRPF and Home Minister claiming that they had shot top Naxal leaders, when they could clearly see that they had killed villagers including small children, since 16 of the bodies were sent back that night. The CRPF version also does not explain why one person was killed in the morning.
We met Mr. Kuruvanshi, the SDM appointed to investigate the incident. He seemed amused at our visit, and asked why the villagers were meeting at night. When asked, he also said he had no plans to visit the village, and if the villagers wished, they could come and see him. Subsequently, the villagers have been summoned to his office on the 9th of July.   
We are enclosing a statement signed by family members of each of the deceased, three of the girls beaten/molested and other witnesses from the village.
JP Rao, Kopa Kunjam, Nandini Sundar
4th July 2012
Village Kottaguda, Thana Basaguda, Zilla Bijapur
Statement by families of victims
            On 28th June 2012, we were having a meeting in Kottaguda of three villages – Rajpenta, Kottaguda and Sarkeguda – to discuss the upcoming seed sowing festival and also how to help those families without cattle and those households headed by widows. Since we were busy ploughing and repairing our houses during the day, we decided to have the meeting in the evening. We three villages share a common earth shrine.
            The meeting started around 8 pm. Around 9-10 pm, the CRPF, SPOs and police came and surrounded us from all sides and started firing without warning. It lasted one hour. Sixteen people were shot and killed at night and also axed. Their bodies were taken away at night. The force camped in the grounds all night. Three girls who were taking shelter in a house at the edge of the meeting ground were pulled out, their hair pulled, beaten and assaulted and threatened with rape. 5 injured persons were also taken away at night. Madkam Shanti and Kaka Sarika were also beaten.
            In the morning, Irpa Munna s/o Raju, age 27 approximately was killed when he came out of his house. When he did not fully die he was bludgeoned to death with bricks. His body was taken away in the morning along with two more injured.
            Irpa Dinesh s/o Raju who has four small children was shown as a Naxalite commander, Somlu, from Korsaguda. His body was not returned to the village.
            They also stole Rs. 2000 from Madkam Nagesh’s house, Rs. 5000 from Irpa Raju’s house and Rs. 30,000 from Irpa Narayan’s house. They also took Madkam Dilip’s mobile and Apka Meetu’s cycle.
            In the morning we all villagers went to the Basaguda thana but we were not allowed in; nor did any police come out. They had taken the injured and also arrested some 25 others. The bodies, except for Irpa Dinesh’s, were returned on 29th evening and we cremated them the next day. Dinesh’s body is buried in the PS.
            Our villages have suffered terribly under Salwa Judum. All 30 houses were burnt in Kottaguda in 2005, 10 out of 12 houses were burnt in Rajpenta, and 27 out of 30 houses were burnt in Sarkeguda. Two people were killed by Salwa Judum and police. Korsa Bhima s/o Korsa Dora, age 15 was taken from Sarkeguda village in 2005 and killed in the thana. Madkam Balla, s/o Dula, age 35, was killed in Basaguda thana when he had gone to buy nails for house building. There has been no FIR and no compensation. We all ran away to Andhra Pradesh and returned in 2009.
            We were just getting back to normal life when the CRPF attacked us again.
The following persons were killed (ages are approximate):
1.      Kaka Saraswati, d/o Kaka Rama, age 12
2.      Kaka Samaiyya, s/o Kaka Dula, age 33 (Voter ID card)
3.      Kaka Ravul (Rahul) s/o Narayan, 10th class student, age 16
4.      Ram Vilas Madkam, s/o Madkam Buchaiya, 10th class student, age 16

5.      Madkam Nagesh, s/o Malla, age 35 (Voter ID card)
6.      Madkam Suresh, s/o Malla, age 25 (brother of Nagesh)
7.      Irpa Munna s/o Raju, age 27 (aka as Ramesh)
8.      Irpa Dinesh s/o Raju, age 20-22 (brother of Munna, father of 4 children)
9.      Irpa Narayan s/o Mutta, age 52 (Voter ID card)
10.   Irpa Dharmaiyya s/o Bhima, age 40-45
11.   Irpa Suresh, s/o Chandraiyya age 10
12.   Madkam Dilip s/o Mutta, age 17

13.   Sarke Ramanna s/o Potti, age 25
14.   Apka Mutta s/o Sukram, age 16
15.   Madvi Aitu s/o Bhima, age 35-40
16.   Kunjam Malla s/o Urra, age 12-15
17.   Korsa Bichem s/o Gotta, age 20

The following people were injured and taken away by the forces
  1. Korsa Raju s/o Bhima, age 21-25
  2. Sarke Pullaya s/o Kistayya, age 22 (not taken to hospital, doing herbal remedies in village)
  3. Apka Chotu s/o Bhima, age 14-18

  1. Madkam Soma s/o Bhima, age 29/30
  2. Kaka Shenti s/o Lacha, age 19
  3. Irpa Chinakka, w/o Irpa Narsa, age 40
  4. Kaka Ramesh s/o Kistaiyya, age 10-12
  5. Kaka Parvati d/o Kistaiyya, age 9-10
  6. Irpa Munna s/o Lacha age 25 (doing herbal remedies at home, not taken by forces)

Girls beaten and molested
  1. Sruti Barse d/o Subbarao, age 15
  2. Irpa Pushpa d/o Dharmaiyya, age 16
  3. Irpa Lalita, d/o Rama, age 17-18
(These 3 girls were pulled out of Lalita’s house, threatened with rape and beaten)
  1. Kaka Sarika d/o Kaka Kama, age 16 (Sarika and her aunt Karam Dare were running and pulled to the ground by a CRPF man. Later they were beaten and taken where all the villagers had been assembled by the forces, before they were taken to thana)
  2. Madkam Shanti w/o Madkam Balla, age 30 (She was beaten while running)
 (Sruti, Sarika and Madkam Shanti have all signed this statement)
Please give us justice. We are also citizens of this country.
Signed by family members of all deceased and others in village

4th July 2012

Testimony on Killing of Madkam Balla
My husband Madkam Balla was killed in 2005 when he had gone to Basaguda to buy nails, and from there he went to Lingagiri. He was killed there by the police – he was shot in the back while running – and his body was taken to the thana. His body was returned to the village after it rotted, after 6 days. There was no FIR and no compensation.
Please give me justice. I have six children.
I was also beaten on 28th night when CRPF killed 17 people from our villages.

Madkam Shanti, w/o Madkam Balla, Kottaguda