Karnataka – Fact finding report on encounter killing in South Canara

September 24, 2012

CO-0RDINATION OF DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS ( CDRO)

FACT FINDING REPORT ON THE INCIDENT OF ENCOUNTER KILLING OF ‘MAOIST’ YELLAPPA @ DINAKARAN

A Fact finding committee was constituted to go into the details of the encounter killing of ‘Maoist’ Yellappa @ Dinakaran within the limits of Kadaba P.S., of South Canara District. Initially, versions of encounter were released stating that a person was injured and later died of bullet injuries. To locate the identity of the deceased Maoist, it took more than 5 days. In this context it was felt that a Fact Finding Committee would go into the details of the occurrence of the incident of the encounter to arrive at true facts.

A fact finding committee is constituted consisting of members of different Civil rights organizations from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamilnadu and Andra Pradesh. Mr. C.Sriram PDF( Peoples Democratic Forum), Adv. P.A. Pouran, PUCL, Kerala, Adv. R. Murugesan and S.Gopal of CPCL (Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties) Tamilnadu, Adv. Kranthi Chaitanya, APCLC(Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee) participated in the team. The team was co-ordinated by Mr. P.B. D’Sa of PUCL, Mangalore.

The Fact Finding Team went to the village Kulkunta, Palligadde, Bisle Forest Area, Police stations at Kukke Subramanya and Kadaba and met the villagers and police officials and ASP Mr. Anucheth of Kallur. The team also met the S.P. of Mangalore Mr. Goyel.

Following is the police version:

The police i.e., the ANF( Anti Naxalite Force) started combing operations since last week of August in the forest areas of Kukke subramanya. There were 5 teams consisting of 15 to 20 personnel. On 2nd September, one of the ANF team came across the Naxalites near Kulkuntha Area and there was an exchange of fire between them, but no one was injured and the naxalites escaped into the deep Forest. An FIR to this effect has been registered at Subramnaya P.S., but the people of that area did not hear any sign or sound of exchange of the fire or movement of the police on the said day.

As per the version of the FIR in Crime No. 84 /2012 of Kadaba P.S., in continuation of the combing operations, the ANF led by its Dy. Commandant Mr. A.H.Shankaran with a team of 28 members came across the Naxalites/Maoists camping in the “Cheru” forest area 15 kms’ from the road near Bilinella Village, at around 7-45 p.m. The police personnel saw the naxalites in the tents under the light, then the Naxalites started firing on the police and in return the police fired at naxalites and there was an exchange of fire for 10 minutes. There after, the fire was stopped from the naxalites side. Then the police stayed there till the next morning and in the early hours around 5 a.m., they proceeded further and found one unidentified naxalite dead and recovered 2 country Made guns . Then the same was informed to the police and a crime was registered by the Kadaba Police. Later, the higher police officials including the A.S.P. and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Kalluru went to the spot on the same day and inquest was conducted there at the Scene of offence and shifted the body to the Wen-lock Hospital, Mangalore and there post-mortem was conducted, as per the guidelines of NHRC. Later, after 5 days, they got the body identified with his relatives and in their presence, the body was buried at Mangalore itself.

As per the police version, the exchange of fire took place with in a short distance of 25 to 30 meters, and the ANF was armed with Sophisticated high Powered firing ammunitions like SLRs’ and A.K. 47. There are 15 to 20 bullet injuries on the body, but no bullet was found inside the body. Nobody is injured on the ANF side. And thoroughly, they believe it is a real encounter. The combing operation is still continuing.

Though we earnestly tried to contact the Medical Officers including the Forensic Team, to elicit their version, we could not reach them. So also the Sub-Divisional magistrate of kallur who conducted the Inquest promised to interact, but subsequently, retracted.

The Fact finding team concludes that in the alleged encounter, the ANF are the aggressive party who intentionally killed the Maoist. There was no attempt from the police personnel to nab them alive. The combing operations are being conducted by the police with an intention to eliminate the naxalites/Maoists. This act on the part of the police is against law. The law of the Land clearly says that the police should not use more power then what is necessary to apprehend a person/persons.

Here, in this incident, the police personnel are armed with highly sophisticated weapons while the other party i.e., the so called Maoists/Naxalites are armed with local weapons. Further, admittedly it was 7-45 p.m. and it was a dark night. The naxalites are found under light in the tents while the police party was hiding behind the bushes in the dark. This makes it apparently evident that the first shot could have been fired from the police side on seeing the naxalites under light. There was no possibility of the naxalites firing at someone hiding in dark. This leaves the police version of exchange of fire from both sides a blatant lie.

Further, 15 to 20 bullet injuries on the deceased clearly speak of the intention to kill and indiscriminate firing on the side of the police. Further, though there are 15 to 20 bullet injuries on the body, no single bullet was found in the dead body that means, all the bullets fired on the deceased, were exited from the body. It clinches the issue that the firing was a close range firing more particularly on point blank range.

At the outset, we conclude that the ANF personnel are going on a killing spree in the name of combing operations and not intending to nab or take into custody the naxalites alive and the story of killing Maoist Yellappa @ Dinakar in an encounter is a cold blooded murder.

Demands:

- A murder case u/s. 302 of I.P.C. Shall be registered against the ANF team led by Dy. Commandant A.H.Shankaran.
- Order a Judicial Enquiry into the encounter killing of Yellappa, by a sitting judge of the High Court.
- The ANF team should be kept under suspension, with immediate effect.
- Stop forthwith the combing operation which is used as camouflage to kill and not to nab the naxalites.

C. Sriram (PDF, Karnataka)
P.A.Pouran ( PUCL, Kerala)
K.Kranthi Chaitanya, Mr. R.Murugesan (APCLC, Andhra Pradesh )
S.Gopal (CPCL, Tamil Nadu)