The Barsoor Boys

September 28, 2016

THE BARSOOR BOYS

Today, newspapers reported that three former women Naxalites had joined the police in their anti Naxal Operations for the first time, and had also achieved great ‘success’ – in their very first operation in the Sanguel forests of Burgum Bastar, they had killed two Naxalites!

“For the first time in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, three women commandos, who formerly fought against security forces alongside naxals, took part in an anti-Maoist operation in which two ultras were gunned down,”
Thus read the police press release, carried as news.[1]

The SP Shri RN Dash gushed, “If Maoists can have women in their ranks, why not the security forces. These women commandos have been given special training in combating insurgency.

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Well, it appears that the women commandos are just as bad as their male counterparts when it comes to picking out Naxalites. The two “ultras” they have killed appear to be young men from Barsoor, aged 16 and 18 years, who had come to Burgum to inform their relatives of a death in the family.

Today, scores of villagers, numbering 200-250, assembled at the Barsoor Police Station, demanding justice for their young men who had been encountered. The two young men who had been killed were Sonaku Ram s/o Payako, aged 16 years, and Bijno s/o Nadagi, aged 18 years, both residents of village Garada in village Bhatpal of PS Barsoor, District Dantewada.

 

(Villagers congregated outside the Barsoor Police Station)

On the 23rd of September (Friday), the two boys, who were from the same extended family, had gone to Saungel village in PS Burgum, Dist Bastar, to inform their relative, Pakalo, of the demise of a six year old child in their family. They reached their relative’s home in the late afternoon, and since it was getting dark, they decided to spend the night there itself. While they were sleeping in Pakalo’s house, at around 4 am in the early morning, security forces entered the house and dragged out the two boys, in full view of their families. They were shot soon after.

The hour-long “fierce gun-battle” between the Naxals and security forces in the a “densely forested hill”[2] in which the women commandos showed their bravery, was just as fictitious as the many others preceding this one.

(Payako, the father of Sonaku, clutching at his son’s marksheets, flanked on the left by Nadagi, father of Bijnu)

Young Sonaku had been a student in the residential Porta Cabin school in Etameta till last year. Having completed 8th standard, which is as far as the Porta Cabin school goes – he had been helping out in the fields for the past year. Bijnu was completely unlettered, but possessed an Aadhaar card. Ironically, he tried to show the security forces his Aadhaar card in order to prove his bona fides as a villager and not as a Naxalite, when he was dragged out and shot.

(School report card of Sonaku)

The villagers say that they are not burning the bodies till they get justice. At the Barsoor Police Station, the SHO flatly refused to accept their memorandum seeking the registration of an FIR, saying that the matter related to another police station – only the deceased lived in his jurisdiction, but the crime had happened in a different location. Multiple recitations of SC judgments, saying that a zero-numbered FIR should be registered at the first instance, and then transferred to the appropriate Police station fell on deaf ears. Privately, the SHO pleaded with the villagers that while they were correct in their understanding of the law, he would personally get into great trouble were he to register such an FIR. The letter of complaint, submitted at Barsoor PS, was returned with the notation that the applicants have been referred to Burgum thana in the neighbouring district of Bastar, some 50 kms away.

Attempts were being made to get the FIR registered at the Burgum PS till late evening, and it is not clear whether they were eventually successful or not. The villagers, meanwhile, have returned to guard their dead bodies.

Dated – 26.09.2016

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[1] http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/bastar-post-surrender-3-women-naxals-join-anti-maoist-op-as-commando-3049631/
[2] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/two-naxals-killed-in-encounter/article9145414.ece