Orissa – Factfinding Reports On Tamaka and Basangmali Encounters

January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011

Press Note on the Tomka encounter

First of all we condemn all the ‘encounters’ which have happened recently, as in Paikmal, Daitari, Tomka and Kashipur.

We (some constituent members of CDRO—such as PUDR, CRPP, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Bikas Andolan and some independent journalists) after learning from media reports about an ‘encounter’ near Tangeisuni village, 7 kms away from Tomka, on Tomka- Kaliapani road, visited the place on the 22nd January 2011. Tomka, is nearly 10kms from Duburi in Kalinganagar (of Jajpur district of Orissa.)

We tried to meet the family members of a victim of the said encounter unsuccessfully. But we spoke to her neighbours and other villagers in Baligotha and Chandia in kalinganagar. We could speak to Prafulla Ghadai, the local MLA and Finance Minister. We were unable to speak to the SP, who was on bed rest. And we had some press release by the police also. We have also seen photographs by a journalist who visited the site early the next morning of the said encounter.

Based on all these, we have been able to draw up the following note with a few questions.

There were five victims in the ‘encounter’. One of the victims, most likely the youngest one, was a girl from Baligoth village. We could not meet the villagers who are supposed to be the family members of that victim. They had gone off to work in the fields. But the neighbours unequivocally said, after receiving the information that one of their family members’ body is in the custody of the police, they set off for the police station. But on the way only, the police asked them not to come to the police station as her body has already been cremated.

In fact, the said victim had been missing since the incidents of March 2010. (In March 2010, there was an incident when police entered the villages in Kalinganagar and had lathi-charged and fired on villagers who were resisting the land-grabbing for a road/common corridor. One person namely Laxman Jamuda was killed in the firing by police and his body was not delivered to his family members but was cremated by the police at Puri. At that time many villagers were arrested by the police, whose whereabouts family members are ignorant about till now. Also many had fled away from the village to avoid confrontation with the police. The local police have been, it seems, specializing in killing adivasis and not giving back the bodies to the relatives in the present dispensation).

This incident and other clues at the site of the ‘encounter’ (as the position of the bodies and the seized arms supposed to have in the possession of the victim, injuries on the back), indicate that people killed in the ‘encounter’ were not engaged in any kind of exchange of fire, as the police claim. We saw an undergarment at the site, greased with semen. The dresses of a women victim was quite disheveled, unlike in situations of ‘encounter’. Was she violated before being shot?

Was it that the victims of the encounter were arrested by the police sometimes back? There are other missing persons also from the villages of Kalinganagar since March 2010. Are they also destined to be killed in ‘encounters?’

This raises further questions about the constitutionally and universally acknowledged ‘right to life’. Even if the story of the police is accepted—that they were Maoists— does it behove that the police act with prudence and follow procedures to book them under the law instead of annihilating them?

The history of the region witnessed this for the first time. It has happened, according to the local people for the first time and they relate it to increasing violence by the state on the occasion of the coming of the TATA to Kalinganagar. Yes if the history of the place is to be mapped properly, it is quite clear that the police atrocity of 2006, and the forcible entry of the big industrial houses and the concomitant land grabbing from the poor adivasis has been directly related to the first incident of the kind, i.e, the ‘encounter’ of the 2nd January 2011. The police atrocities on the local populace since 2006, subsequent happenings (reported in news papers) of March 2010, have thoroughly terrorized the people. The goons, supposedly financed by the industrial houses of the region, have harassed the people of the region for many months now. On top of these, the police and local administration have set one section of people against another (such as pro and anti- industry). And finally, the insensitivity of the local administration (which has been criminally partisan towards the industrial houses) towards the opinion of the local people has only cornered the people and they seem to be fighting to save their lands with their backs to the wall.

Therefore, we feel constrained to hold the entry of the TATAs and other industrial houses into Kalinganagar, which prompts and uses police to grab-land, as responsible for the beginning of a bloodied chapter in the history of Kalinganagar and humanity, proving the old and golden adage, “violence begets violence”. We sincerely wish that this chapter does not extend beyond this and ends here only.

The other question is regarding the procedures to be followed in what the police claims to be an armed encounter. Has the police followed the manual? If not why?

Bibekanand Dash, Pradip Sahu, Deblina Chakroborty, Kamal Nayar, Manjit + CDRO.

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BASANGAMALI (KASHIPUR) ENCOUNTER: GENOCIDE BY THE STATE IN THE CORPORATE INTEREST

The so- called encounter in Basangamali Hills in Kashipur block of Raygada Dist. on 9th January 2011 was a clear-cut genocide by the state to serve the corporate interest. To terrorise local adivasis and dalits and suppress their ongoing movements against the large scale displacement by Vedant and Utkal Alumina Company, the so-called encounter was organized by the state in the name of operation Green Hunt against the downtrodden people and their organizers, who are supporting the peoples’ cause, peoples’ rights over their livelihood and natural resources as supported by Indian constitution. This is the view shared by the fact finding team organized by Odisha Janabadi Lekhak Sangh,Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee and Banvashi Surkhshya Parishad, Kandhmal.

After the visiting the near by villages on the Basangmali hills and the families of murdered persons in the so called encounter and after discussing with the villagers we came to know that in the early morning around five to six o’clock police force fired from both sides from the top of hills to attack on a Maoist political-cultural team. The killing spot is one kilometer down from the Basangmali village, where the team camped near Somajharan (stream). The police force arrived the spot through Sikharpai root in the early morning around 6 a.m. At first they had thrown the grenades and then non-stop fired to kill directly the team without asking for surrender or trying to catch them. In this genocide nine members of the team headed by D. Srinivas alias Rabi (Rabi,Umashankar Behera alias Lenju,Kailash,Dikisha,Nirmala Miniaka,Kamala Miniaka,Rinki ,Karuna Miniaka.Mamata Sikakka)were killed brutally. On the other side no police person were injured or killed. So the question of encounter with the Maoists as declared by the police authority in the media is not at all believable.

As per the discussion with the villagers the ‘Maoists’ reached at Basangmali village on 8th January at around 8 a.m and collected kitchen utensils from the villagers camped at Somajaran stream. In the evening they came to village and organized a meeting about the livelihood issues of tribals and the question of displacement caused by proposed mining in Kashipur and Niyamgiri areas by performing revolutionary songs and dances. On the killing spot we fond a piece of paper on their written a song on Niyamgiri to raise their voice against Vedanta Company and Odisha government. The songs revealed their revolutionary political-cultural identity. According to the villagers these people were working for poor and agitating the cause of people. They were never engaged in any armed activities. After killing of the team members, an atmosphere of mourning among the people like the death of their kith and keens, we saw the same tears and fires in the eye of people gathered at Baringa on the occasion of tribal’s traditional “Sudhi Kriya” of the four minor girls of the same village organized by Vashundhara Surkhsha Smiti and Prakitik Sampada Surkhsa Parishad, who are fighting against the displacement by Uttkal Alumina Company since long. In this genocide on the hills of Basanmali seven tribals from which five minor tribal girls were killed which reflects the attitude of the state towards the poorest of poor, the adivasis, who are expressing their dissent views on the so called developments. This type of killing to suppress their right to agitation does not support a healthy democratic system as for the recent comments by the Hon’ble Supreme Court on Maoist leader Azad’s fake encounter case that constitutional governed Republic India will not allow to kill its own children. But that has not reflected in our state. After the killing police has terrorized village people in their gun point and threatened to bring the dead bodies of Maoists from killing spot to village. The so-called encounter of Basangmali hill is clearly violating the constitutional and democratic rights of the people.

In this respect the fact-finding demands as follows:

1. Register an FIR under Section 302 IPC on the policemen responsible for the fake encounter killing at Kashipur on 9th January 2011.
2. Give Rs 25 lakhs compensation to the families of nine persons, who were brutally killed in this fake encounter.
3. Withdraw all the Para-military and state police forces from the tribal areas and stop ‘Operation Green Hunt’.
4. Scrap all the MoUs made with the national and multi-national companies.


Lenin Kumar (Janabadi Lekhak Sangh)
Narendra Mohanty (Banabasi Surakshya Parishad)
A. Annapurna, D. Suresh Kumar, CH Chandrasekhar, K. Narayan (APCLC)