PUCL Bulletin, July 2004

CRPF terror in tribal areas

Chhattisgarh PUCL investigation

On the 17th of November 2003, in Village Jiramtarai (Panchayat Kasesalewada, Thaanaa, Koelibeda) at about 3.30 pm a group of CRPF Jawans was crossing a stream. While they were crossing, there was an explosion on the temporary bridge on the stream. According to villagers the explosion was attributed to the Naxalites. Two CRPF Jawans were injured in the blast. After this incident the CRPF went on a rampage in the village in which two villagers were killed and three others beaten until they became unconscious. They were arrested in this condition and are still languishing in jail.

The PUCL received primary information about this incident from the press. PUCL constituted a team to investigate the incident and proceeded to the village on 14th April 2004.

According to the entire village community the details of the incident are as follows:
1. At about 3.30 pm the explosion took place on the Jiramtarai bridge when the CRPF contingent was crossing it. After this the CRPF Jawans called all the villagers who had been working in their fields.

2. Budhram and Madhav were proceeding to their fields after bathing in the river. They were caught and beaten until they fell down unconscious. After this Budhram was shot dead and Madhav was made to stand against a Tendu tree. While the CRPF Jawans were preparing to shoot him one of the Jawans recognized him and thus he was not shot.

3. Sukhram Sahu was making bricks in a field at a short distance from the scene of the explosion. The noise of the explosion frightened him and he ran into a rice field to hide. Seeing him trying to hide, the CRPF Jawans shot at him also. The bullet passed by his side. Sukhram fell to the ground. The CRPF Jawans followed him and assaulted him on the stomach with a spade and he died on the spot. Subsequently two other villagers, Pandit Ram and Dholuram who were going to their fields, were caught, beaten, and arrested.

4. The CRPF loaded the bodies of Budhram and Sukhram on a tractor without consulting the villagers and without a Panchnama and took them to Koelibeda Thaanaa. When the entire village arrived at the Thaanaa the next day and demanded the bodies, the police threatened to shoot them and refused to let them see the bodies on the pretext that the Tehsildar was not present and that the postmortem had not taken place. When the Tehsildar came on the third day, postmortem was performed on the bodies, which had been lying on the tractor all this time. The bodies were then handed over to the relatives.

5. After this incident the SDM of Antagarh went to Jiramtrai to enquire about the events. However, the administration has not so far given any support or help to the families of the deceased. Nor have they expressed any regrets for the incident. The families who have lost their earning members have not been given any compensation despite their poor economic condition.

6. The CRPF tried to publicize this as an incident of encounter death.

However, the PUCL investigation clearly shows that this was cold-blooded murder.

The PUCL makes the following demands of the administration in this regard:

1. Identify the guilty CRPF personnel and prosecute them under sections 302 and 307 of IPC.

2. Relief and financial compensation be immediately made available to the families of the deceased.

3. Unconditional release of the three villagers still in Jail and compensation for their psychological and physical trauma.

Withdraw the CRPF and other paramilitary forces from the area and take steps to restore normalcy and a sensitive administration.

PUCL will undertake urgent action to get these demands translated into action. PUCL will also file a writ petition in the High Court in the matter of excesses committed by the CRPF. – Chhattisgarh Lok Swatantrya Sangathan (PUCL), A-26, Surya Apartments, Katora Talab, Raipur, Chhattisgarh – 492001, Phone- 2422875, 2424669


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