Orissa – CRPP Statement urging the state government to implement resolutions agreed to during Malkangiri standoff

April 4, 2011


It has been reported by grass root activists corroborated by independent sources that the CPI (Maoist) Koraput division Secretary, Ghasi @ Kattu along with four others have been arrested at Dudari village under Simiriguda Police Station in Koraput district of Orissa. As till now there are no traces or whereabouts of the five persons, the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) strongly demand that they be produced before the court of law immediately. The situation is grave as the Orissa police have the notorious history of custodial deaths due to brutal torture. In the last month Mr. Lalith Dehuri had succumbed to brutal torture in police custody though the police claimed that he had “killed himself”. About two months before another case of custodial death was reported of Mr. Pradeep Majhi whom the police claimed had hung himself with a shoe lace! Both the incidents were widely condemned by the social activists and prominent citizens and civil rights groups. We at the CRPP are deeply concerned for the life of Ghasi and four others who have been arrested with him.

It should be noted that all this is happening at a time when the Government of Orissa had signed an agreement with the three mediators appointed by the CPI (Maoist) that resulted in the safe release of Malkangiri Collector V. Krishna and Junior Engineer Pabitra Majhi. In the agreement it is clearly mentioned that the Orissa government will desist from any combing operations in all the regions unless and until there is any provocation on the side of the CPI (Maoist). The Orissa government had also agreed, along with several other demands, the release of more than 600 political prisoners who have been lodged in various prisons in the state. But whatever actions from the side of the state ever since the signing of the agreement have systematically violated each and every aspect of the agreement. This attitude of the Orissa government can only result in the complete breakdown of civility and respect for principles for which the primary responsibility will be with the state and its government.

At a time when a proper implementation of all the points agreed upon in the mediation could have gone a long way in building trust among the vast sections of the agitating masses on the intentions of the state government to persevere for a better order that would have prime concern for the well being of the people, the tunnel vision tactics of the government to browbeat the people into submission will only worsen the already grim situation in the region. The hunger strike of 198 political prisoners belonging to the Chasi Mulya Adivasi Sangh in Koraput jail to implement the signed agreement of release of all political prisoners more than a month before is indicative of the growing resentment of the people within and without the prison.

We once again implore upon the government to get back into the commitments made during the mediation and start implementing it in letter and spirit. And if the government is serious about the implementation then it has to abide by the very law and order it vows by. And if it is serious about law and order then the government of Orissa has to prevail upon its police so as to produce Ghasi @ Kattu and four others before the court of law! Otherwise we seriously fear that the lives of the five are in danger as we may all be fed through media about another gullible story of an encounter!

In Solidarity,

Gurusharan Singh (President)
Amit Bhattacharyya (Secretary General)
SAR Geelani (Working President)
Rona Wilson (Secretary, Public Relations)