PUCL Bulletin, Dec.,1981
-- By K. G. Kannabiran
The two PUCL teams which investigated firing incidents in Patna district in October this year have found no evidence to support the police version that the po-lice had fired in self-defence and that the villagers led by extremist elements had thrown bombs on them. The facts as brought out by the PUCL teams show that in all three villages Narahi, Porahi and Bahuara of Patna District, the police had been called by the local landlords who were trying to resist the peasants' demand for higher wages. In the district, minimum wages have never been paid to the agricultural labourers and most of them have had to be contented with some grain in lieu thereof. The ongoing movement of peasants had, however, succeeded in getting them about half a kilo of extra grains. At Bahuara an added grievance of the agricultural labourers was that even the small patches of land given to them was being taken away by the landlords.
The local Kisan Sabha was trying to resist it and organised a demonstration which was attended by about 15000 agricultural workers. In turn, the land-lords organised a counter-demonstration with the slo-gan that only way to deal with these "naxals" was to shorten them by six inches i.e. beheading them. This was about a month after the peasants' meeting and within a week after this the police raided the villages to haul up the leaders of the earlier demonstration by the agricultural workers.
The team reported instances
when instead of showing arrest warrants the police ope-ned
indiscriminate firing. At Porahi, one Chandrawati was shot at point blank range with a revolver after she protested about her cousin's arrest. She only wanted to know the reason for her cousin's arrest. In the same village one Surendra Singh was shot dead when the crowd gathered around the police protesting against his arrest. Worse still, Surendra Singh's father was made to carry his body to the police jeep parked a mile away and was later arrested. The team found no evidence of either of the dead or any other person from the crowd having thrown bombs on the police, party. In fact none of the police officials were injured in any of these villa-ges.
In Bahuara of Naubatpur Thana the peasants were agitating against a Zamindar. On the night of October 30, a police party came into the village, set some hou-ses on fire and began arresting people. Later the police opened fire killing Devki Manjhi and Chandra Manjhi.
The condition of most persons arrested by the police is so bad that the villagers have refused the PUCL help in getting them bailed, as the beating by the police has left them more dead than alive.
One distressing feature emerging from the report is that the dead bodies of four persons killed in police firing were not returned to their families. There is no justification for disposal of the dead bodies by the police. The persons killed were known, their families were also known, the villages they belonged to were also known. Why then the bodies were disposed by the police-questions Radha Raman, the former ad-vocate general of Bihar. All this does not seem to have pacified the landlords and the police. There are appre-hensions that 150 workers of Kisan Sabha may be liqui-dated by the police under the guise of being "Naxali-ties" unless sufficient public pressure is built against the oppression perpetrated by the police.
Some more Evidence of Police Excesses
Another human rights team comprising Anand Chakravarti, Anjali Deshpande, Kanchan Kumar, Nirmal Sengupta and Sumant a Bannerjee that visited the affected areas of Patna district has corroborated the above findings. Some excerpts of their report narrat-ing the main events that lead to the police oppression and the governments role therein are reproduced below.
In the recent past, four significant events may be identified which fuelled the unrest in the affected areas of Patna district. They are: the aftermath of the proces-sion in Bikram on September, 24; the incident of rape in Lahsuna village on September, 30; the arrests in Lahsuna and the incidents at Nadwan railway station on October, 3; and the police firing at Narihi-Pirihi. It should also be noted that despite the oft-repeated charge of "violence by armed extremists", these are the only four incidents which the police pointed out as concrete examples of 'Naxalite violence'. Hence, it is necessay to examine them in detail.
Bikram : On September 24, towards the end of the Kisan Sablia rally on the grounds of the local Basic Teachers' Training College, the police arrested and took away one Tanger Sao. The police accused him of possessing firearms, while the villagers maintain that the arrest was at the instigation of Bhola Singh, a hench-man of the local landlords. As the news of the arrest spread, participants in the rally proceded to the Bikram police station where he was detained, and demanded his release. The police were unable to face the large number of people who gheraoed the police station, and the crowd, most of whom were women, went in and damaged some chairs. Eventually, Sao was relea-sed from the police custody. The FIR lodged by the police includes the names of Shiupujan Prasad Jadav and T.N. Azad, and those who attacked the thana are described as 'extremist elements'.
Lahsuna: Lahsuna is a village
of about three thou-sand persons in Masuahri block of Patna district. The trouble
in the village started with the alleged rape of a woman-Phekni Devi (described
erroneously as Duk-hni Devi in the press) by a landlord Kishori Singh, who owns
about 40 acres, on 26 September. On hearing Phekni's cries, the villagers surrounded
Kishori's house. But they dispersed peacefully following an as-surance by Kurmi
landlords that justice would be done. Some months ago the entire village-including
Han-jan and Yadav poor peasants and agricultural labou-rers as well as Kurmi
landlords-had a series of meet-ings and drafted a code of conduct, imposing
fines on those who molested women. Since then, the villagers had collected a
large sum, said to be deposited at the local post office, by way of fines, but
the landlords accused of such crimes had till now refused to pay the fines.
One such landlord, Tun Tun Singh, had left the village after having raped a
Harijan woman. In retalia-tion, the labourers have refused to till his land.
Soon after the rape of Phekni, a police party led by an Assistant Sub-inspector (ASI) visited the village, and took into custody both Phekni Devi and Kishori Singh, on the plea that a case would be registered aga-inst Singh at the police station. The villagers surrounded the police party and demanded the release of Phekni Devi since they felt that the police could record her statement at the village itself. On the insistence of the villagers, the ASI finally released her and took away Singh in a jeep.
There are two versions of this incident. While the vil-lagers gave the above version, the DSP of Masaurhi said that the mob which outnumbered the police, snat-ched away Singh from the police, and since then he had disappeared, implying that he had either been killed by the 'extremists' or held by them.
Mystery still shrouds the fate of Kishori Singh. In Patna, several journalists say that Singh, after his rumoured disappearance, had been seen to be closeted for at least a week with Naval Kishore Singh, a Cong-ress (I) leader and Chairman, District Board, Patna, at the latter's house at Kadam Kuan. The Chief Minis-ter himself is reported to have visited him. The exact age of Kishori Singh is also a matter of controversy, the police and the press stating it as 65, thus attempt-ing to exonerate him of the rape charge, and the villa-gers reporting it as around 40-45. The alleged abduc-tion of Singh was used by the police as a pretext for conducting massive raids in Masaurhi block. On Octo-ber 3, a large force of Bihar Military Police (BMP) and Central Reserve Police (CRP) jawans raided Lah-suna and Sikandarpur villages. The police, accord-ing to eye-witnesses, were accompanied by the leading landlords of the area, such as Hiralal Singh, Bandu Singh, Chhotay Singh, Sudama Singh and the mukhia (chief) of the village, Rampnit Singh. Phekni Devi's husband, Sukhu Sao narrated how she was forcibly taken away by the police. She is now in the Patna jail. Sukhu Sao has a letter sent by her from jail which said that a number of children of Lahsuna village had also been arrested and kept in jail. She pleaded with the villagers to try to get her and the others released. But the villagers of Lahsuna are not being allowed to come out of their homes by the landlords who are threatening them with dire consequences if they dare to seek legal assistance. The raiding police party also arrested a large number of people from Sikandarpur village. The arrested persons were taken away to the nearby Nad-wan railway station to be transported to Masauhri police station. The infuriated villagers followed the police to Nadwan. By the time they reached the station, the train carrying the police and the arrested persons had already left. It was then that a section of the angry crowd allegedly ransacked the station master's room.
Narihi-Pirihi: Narihi and Pirihi are adjoining villa-ges situated in Bikram block, with a combined popu-lation of about 3,000. The Bihar government's military-style operations began in these villages in the early hours of October 30. Over a hundred armed policemen led by Baliram Tiwari, Sub-inspector (SI) of Dulhin bazaar police station, conducted the raid. It is not clear why the police singled out these two villages as the starting point of their operations.
On their .way to Narihi, the police arrested Ashok Kumar, a student of Homoeopathy, and then went to Bhondu Paswan's house, broke open the door and loo-ted the house. Later, they raided Shyam Singh's house where two torches, a blanket, and a pair of shoes were taken away. One girl, Anju (7) and a 10 year old boy Jayanandan were shot and wounded. The raid conti-nued in this fashion for one hour. Eye-witness accounts reveal that scores of people were beaten up and houses looted. The police then proceeded to Pirihi village.
At Pirihi, they knocked at the door of Surender Singh (22) and shot him dead as narrated earlier. Later they forced his father to carry the deadbody to Sorain pur. After that they raided a number of houses and dis.. cove'red a battery eliminator in one of them. Subsequently, they announced that they had seized a trans-mitter from the extremists. After the end of their opera-tions they eventually arrested six people and forced them to walk to Sorampur, about two miles away, where they had parked their vehicles. Chandravati, a young 15-year~ old newely married girl followed therii, pleading with them to release her cousin Bharat.
On the way to Sorampur, a contingent of armed police, arrested the persons carrying the dead body. The frightened villagers, including Chandravati, went along a 'Karha' (an irrigation channel), which was dry at that time. The police party along with the chowkidar of the village, walked on the western bank of the chan-nel while the villagers followed them along the eastern bank. What happened on the way, which left young Chandravati dead, is a matter of controversy. The police maintain that Chandravati hurled two bombs, one of which exploded and injured the chowkidar. Butt the villagers said that the S.1. Baliram Tiwari, irri-tated by the persistent pleading of Chandravati to re-lease her cousin, asked the chowkidar to jump across the channeland catch her when his cap fell off and he bent down to pick it up. At that moment Tiwari shot at Chandravati. The bullent hit the chowkidar in his hip. Then Tiwari fired again at Chandravati causing spot death. Ornaments which the newely married Chandravati was wearing were taken away by the po-lice along with her dead body, according to the villa-gers.
In the end, the raid on these two villages had left two people dead: Surender Prasad Singh and Chandravati Devi. To date at least seven people have been shot dead by the police in different villages of the area. Besides these two, Devdendra Ravidas, Lakshman Choudhury, Devinder Ram, Dewaki Majhi and Janaki Majhi have lost their lives. About 135 persons were injured and scores of people were arrested, property worth over a lakh of rupees was looted.
According to the villagers, what emerges from these four incidents gives a fair idea of the nature of police action and propaganda. It is these incidencts which the police hold out as examples of armed Naxalite violence. Yet, even according to their own version, not a single policemen was killed, or even injured by these roving 'Naxalites squads'. Broken chairs in a thana, a ransacked room in a railway station and an 'abducted' landlord and a chowkidar alleged to be hurt in his hip by a bomb thrown by a 15-year old girl, are all the evidences that the police could show in support of their charges. 4s such, whatever little violence that the people are being accused of, occurred as a result of the spontaneous reaction of the people, who were infuriated by the unwarranted police provocation. There is no evidence of any organised and pre-planed violence on the part of the people.
Fazal Ahmed, the Inspector-General of police of Bihar (IGP) is on record to have said that the 'problem in this area (the affected areas of Patna district) have arisen out of socio-economic problems over which the police have no control.' And yet, the evidence does not suggest that the police administration is conscious of these 'problems'. In fact, at times it appears to be a party to the conflict arising out of these 'socio-economic problems'. There are reasons to believe that the police operations are part of an overall policy for suppressing the legitimate organisation of the rural poor, in the name of tackling the law and order situation.
Large Scale Illegal Arrests
Specifically, the police arrested one person at the Bik-ram rally; attempted to arrest some at Lahsuna village after the rape; raided Lahsuna and Sikandarpur villages in the first week of October, beat up a large number of people and arrested some of them; conducted a series of raids throughout the month of October especially in Masaurhi and Bikram blocks and beat up and arrested a large number of people. One October 30, a massive crackdown began, the immediate result of which was the firings. In all seven have been killed and property worth over a lakh and half rupees has been destroyed and looted in the raids. Many cases Were registered under Sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 324, 341 and 353 of the Cr. P.C. In almost all the FIRs lodged by the police the ac-cused have been described as 'extremists'. In many of them prominent leaders of the Kisan Sabha are named. Among those who were implicated in these cases were persons who could not have possibly participated in the alleged crimes. Such as Ramakrishna Tiwari, a demons-trator in the Bihar National College at Dhanaura. He was arrested in the case related to the September 24 Bikram rally of the peasants, while at that hour on that day he was actually taking his class in Dhanaura. For about 13 days he was kept in illegal solitary confinement. Warrants are pending against a number of Kisan Sabha activists. It also seems that a fairly large number of illegal arrests took place. Only 135 persons were even-tually sent to jail. But from various accounts, it appears many more were initially taken into police custody and unduly harassed.
Most of those arrested are lodged in Bankipur jail in Patna. Phekni Devi's letter from the prison, mentioned earlier, speaks of child prisoners. Kishori Das, a social worker, who met the prisoners on behalf of PUCL team reported that the prisoners were not being given proper food and medical facilities and that six persons were ledged in a cell meant for two. They were also reported to have been beaten up in police stations before being sent to prison, as a result of which some of them, including 1 10 year old boy, were admitted to the prison hospital. On November 3, the prisoners went on hunger strike demanding better food and other facilities.
But what clearly establishes the organised and pre-planned nature of the police operations was the reported high-level meeting in the last week of October. Accor-ding to the Bihar Lok Dal leader Jabir Hussain, the meeting took place at the Patna police central room. As many as 40 magistrates and 150 police officials took part in the meeting in which a detailed plan of operation to stifle the Kisan Sabha throughout the affected area was drawn up. As the news of the meeting leaked out to the press (among others, the Delhi edition of the INDIAN EXPRESS carried a detailed report of the meeting and the plan of October 30 the day the operations had begun), the police advanced their plan of action. Thus 19 companies of CRP (each consisting of 100 jawans), and BMP, assisted by the local police, went into action on the night of October 29. The operation was led by K.A.H. Subramanyam, District Magistrate, and A.K. Pandey, SP of Patna district. Both Subramanyam and Pande are described as a 'deadly combination' in political circles in Patna. Known for their open pro-landlord sentiments, they worked together in Gaya during 1975-76, when the police unleashed a reign of terror in villages there to flush out so-called 'extremists'.
In Patna today, the police are reported to be on the lookout for about 500 activists of the Kisan Sabha. The list was supplied by the landlords. One immediate result of this massive operation was the incident at Narihi-Pirihi villages described earlier. The police force continues to remain in the area thereafter.
The manner in which the operations were planned and executed makes it clear that the police were not merely reacting to a law and order problem, but were moving in a calculated attempt to suppress the Kisan Sabha.
In this context, it should be noted that a large number of senior police officials themselves come from the Bhumihar community. For instance, it is speculated that for the next 15 years, the IGP will continue to come from that community. Since the administration is itself under the control of persons drawn from the upper castes, who in turn appoint their own men, this pattern is likely to perpetuate itself. A senior government official, who wishes to remain anonymous, disclosed to the committee that among the 1,500 recruited to the BMP recently, only a fraction were from the Scheduled Castes, in clear violation of the government's reserva-tion policy.
Given this background, it is not difficult to under-stand why the men in uniform in Patna are behaving in the manner described above. They have higher stakes in the countryside, which actually makes them a party to the conflicts. That the police operations fall within a policy framework of suppressing the attempts of the rural poor to organize themselves, will become clear from the plans of the present Bihar government.
The present ad~ministration in Bihar appears to have taken a sttand in favour of the landlords long before the agrarian conflicts became acute. In the present conflict, the state cabinet has merely accepted the police version and allowed the police to intervene in favour of the landed gentry. Thus, Jagannath Mishra, the Chief Minister, gave a statement on November 1, saying that the tensions were entirely a law and order problems created by 'armed extremists' and dismissed the view that it had arisen out of the miserable working and living conditions of the rural poor as false.
Aftermath : Wooing the Poor ?
Yet, the state government
felt it necessary to an-nounce crash development projects and ad-hoc relief
programmes to these same areas only in the first week of November. It has granted
Rs. 5 crores for communi-cations and Rs. 3.75 crores for the installation of
tube-wells. It was in the first week of November that the pension scheme applicable
to old people and widows (Rs. 60 per month for the former and Rs. 35 per month
for the latter) was for the first time implemented after all these years. That
the government required a conflict of such magnitude to announce these meagre
measures is in iteself an indirect denial of its own stated position, that the
rural tensions in Patna have nothing to do with the basic socio-economic ills.
Such contradictions between the Bihar government's statements and actions are not confined to Patna. The State administration seems to be misleading the local people with one version, and feeding the Centre with another. As evident from the Union Minister Yogendra Makwana's December 9 statement in the Lok Sabha saying that the Bihar government had informed the Centre that there was no 'parallel government' in the state-at a time when the Bihar government spokes-men in Patna are constantly raising the bogey of parallel governments there.
A small section of the bureaucracy seems to be against the government's policy of suppressing the organi-sation of the rural poor. It is reported that the Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO) of Danapur, was opposed to the police operations in Masaurhi and Bikram, but he was kept out of the picture when the decision was taken to launch the operations by the District Magistrate and the Superintendents of Police.
Some officials, opposed to the policy of suppressions, were believed to have leaked out infor~nation to the press about impending police action, as evident from the publication of the x eport of the high level meeting of
PUCL BULLETIN DECEMBER 1981
police officials in the
last week of October. It has been learnt that the administration is transferring
such officials to other areas and jobs.
On the other hand, by and large, senior officials who mainly come from upper caste families, seem to be in favour of a ruthless repression of the Kisan Sabha. One such official in the Department of Agriculture a landlord from Bikram, said "Come here after two years, and you will find every thing has become peaceful".
What is meant by "peaceful" will be evident from a probing analysis of the government's plans. The Rs. ~ crores allocated for communications for instance, are meant for the development of 16 roads in Patna, Gaya and Aurangabad districts. A senior police officials complained to us that it had been difficult for the police to move into villages in jeeps because of the lack of 'pucca' roads in the area. It is thus obvious that the new roads are meant for the swift movement of the police than for the benefit of the rural poor.
But the .most alarming of the government's future programme is the plan, disclosed by a senior officer, which involves the extension of the present police operations to Gaya and Aurangabad districts with a view to suppressing the nascent Kisan Sabhas, there. The administration has prepared a list of 150 persons who are to be eliminated in so-called encounters-on the lines of similar 'encounters' framed during the 1975-76 period in Bhojpur and other districts of Bihar.
Thus, the Bihar government while continuing the old policy of ignoring the socio-economic roots of the present agrarian tensions and resorting to repression of popular grievances, is planning to engulf wider areas in its sinister programme of establishing the 'peace of the
graveyard' in the countryside. LI
Worst Terror in Nalgonda and Warangal
In Nalgonda District the
repression is the worst and this is directed against both C.P.I. (ML) groups
and CPI(M). Commencing from September last there have till now been about 13
deaths in encounters. It will be of interest to note that the National Security
Ordi-nance was passed in September and the encounters were also resumed from
September onwards. This is not a coincidence. Reading the preamble to the Ordinance
one finds that it is mainly directed against the extremists.
The first encounter in Nalgonda District took place on 5-10-1980 at a place called Manchineella Bavi at
nounced with reference to these encounters, four organi-zations-.(l) A.P. Civil Liberties Committee (2) P.U.C.L.
(3) Citizens for Democracy (4) A.P. Democratic Law-yers' Association-sent in a representation to the Exe-cutive Magistrate setting out their views and request-ing him to fix a date so that they can go before him and make a statement. Accordingly the Executive Magis-trate informed fixed a date and M.V. Ramamurthy for P.U.C.L., Kesavarao Jadav for Citizens for Demo-cracy, P. Venkateswarlu for A.P. Democratic Lawyers' Association and K.G. Kannabivam of the A.P. Civil Liberties Committee went and made statements before the Executive Magistrate. Soon after this a press state-ment appeared in the papers stating that Y. Naipala Reddy and Lingaiah both aged about 16 to 17 years were shot dead on 13-10-1980 in an encounter in Suryn-pet Town. According to police reports they were sup-posed to have attacked the police station. Our informa-tion is that they were apprehended earlier from a tea-shop.
On 30th June, 1981 another press statement appeared stating that two alleged extremists were killed in an encounter and that one was identified as Yellaiah. This was in Thungaturthi Village in Nalgonda District. Another person was also shot dead and this was not publicized.
Next a news item appeared
in various papers b~ween 23rd to 25th July, 1981 wherein it was stated that
M. Raveendra Reddy and K. Parasaiah were shot d~ad in an encounter. It is the
most curious of encountors that took place. M. Raveendra Reddy and K. Parasaih
are accused in the Secunderabad conspiracy case. On 18th July, K. Parasaiah
was arrested at Gudur Village of Nalgonda District. Within a day or two M. Raveen-din
Reddy was also arrested, according to his wife's statement, from his residence
at Mamilla Gudem, Khammam District. Their arrest was also reported in the press.
These two persons were produced before the Magistrate at Suryapet, Nalgonda
district at 1.00 A.M. on 22nd July, 1981 From the time of production before
the Magistrate they were deemed to be under Judicial Custody. The police press
release said that some masked men threw chilly powder in their eyes and before
they could open fire they escaped, and the two persons who were in their custody
were shot dead. Our itforination is that they were shot dead within a few yards
from the Magistrate's house. It appears that these two persons who were badly
battered by the police requested the Magistrate that he should direct the escort
to lodge them in the sub-jail. They also appear to havc expressed ap-
PUCL BULLETIN (
their production before him. The wife of M. Raveendra Reddy approached Mr. P.Venkateswarlu and requested him to move a writ of Habeas Corpus not knowing that her husband was shot dead on the previous night. She told Mr. Venkateswarlu that he was taken into custody from the residence. When Mr. Venkateswarlu showed the news item she was overtaken by shock and became speechless. Mr. Venkateswarlu put her into a bus and sent her back to her place stating that steps will be taken for ascertaining the truth. This is the first time in the history of encounters that the police resorted to staged encounters after producing them before the Magistrate and during judicial custody. The press re-lease merely says that the masked men attacked the police party with chilly powder and in self-defence (!) the police opened fire not on the masked men but on the persons who were handcuffed and in their custody. This was condemned by the P.U.C.L. City Committee which was formed on the 9th August. The persons who attendcd the meeting that day were only liberals who believe in democratic values and they are not connec-ted with naxalite movement in any manner. The state-ment of the P.U.C.L. condemning the encounters ap-peared in the Indian Express on the 10th August.
Contempt Petition Against Police
In another case, from Nalgonda
District, one Y. Swamy's brother was taken into illegal custody and a writ of
Habeas Corps was filed by Mr. P. Venkateswarlu. To that S.P., Nalgonda and the
Inspector, Jangaon filed a counter stating that they never arrested such a person
and that he is at large and on that basis the writ petition was not pressed
and it was dismissed. Later this Y. Swamy finding that this brother is still
in the police station filed an application u/s. 97 of the Cr. P.C. before the
Jangaon Magistrate and the Court appointed the bench clerk to execute a search
warrant. The bench clerk found Y. Swamy's brother in the Police Station and
he immediately conducted a punchanama and seized a notebook in which the brother
of Y. Swamy was made to sign everyday. With these facts a Contempt Petition
No. 96 of 1980 was filed against the S.P. Mr. Vyas and the Inspector of Police,
Jangaon in the Month of November, 1980. It was put on the ground that apart
from the counter-affidavit filed by these two, when a ruling is issued, the
false statement also amounts to dis-obedience of the rule issued by the Court
and in that sense there was a case of Contempt of Court. This peti-tion was
admitted by the High Court and notices' were issued. This was published in the
newspapers, while the Contempt Petition was pending. Immediately after the appearance
of news item, the S.P. along with several police constables went to Swamy's
house in the night, broke open door took into custody his aged father ,and
abused his aged mother and then took photographs of the agricultural implements ordinarily found in the house of a ryot and on the basis of that picture, a case for attempt to murder the police force which entered the house, was booked against Swamy's brothers and father. The Court was moved and a bail obtained. Swamy filed a complaint against all these police officers but it was not registered by the Magistrate. The contempt petition was, however, dismissed as th& register seized by the Bench Clerk showed that Swamy's brother had signed upto 20th or 21st October whereas the writ of Habeas Corpus which gave rise to the contempt pro-ceedings was filed and withdrawn during the last week of October.
Arrested for "Misdirecting" Peasants
P. Sambaiah, a law student hailing from Nalgonda, was arrested in the Osmania University Campus. The grounds of detention against him were that he was involved in crime No. 13 of 1979 u/s. 395 and 427 I.P.C. of P.S. Vemulapalle and the accusation in that case against him was that he instigated and mis-directed peasants and agricultural labourers to revolt against the land owners causing dislocation to agricultural economy. Apart from the fact that the ground is vague, crime No. 12/1979 was the subject matter of Session's case No. 151 of 1980 on the file of the Asst to Sessions Judge, Nalgonda and he was acquitted. While acquit-ting him the Sessions Judge passed strictures for making up records and recoveries. Writ petition No. 1370 of 1981 for the issue of a writ of habeas corpus was filed and this petition was allowed and P. Sambaiah was released. It appears that he is going to figure in the next encounter!
In Ponugode Village of Huzurnagar
Taluq, Nalgonda district tremendous repression was mounted against C.P.M. workers
and cadre, and two women were sub-jected to gang rape by the policemen. The
C.P.M. has been making representations to the Government against the conduct
of the police officer in Ponugode Village. On the one hand, they are subjected
to attack by Congress (I) goondas and in the name of Law enforce-ment they are
again subjected to attack by the police force. The C.P.I.(M) have been making
representations and were demanding a judicial enquiry. The response of the Government
is again brazen. The complaint was against the lawlessness of the police establishment.
The Government by G.O.Ms. No. 245, General Ad-ministration dated 14th May, 1981
Invoked the provi-sions of Section 13 of Hyderabad District Police Act (Act
X of 1328 Fasli) and ordered stationing of Addi-tional Police Force at Ponugode
Village, the cost of which is to be borne by the 89 villagers who admittedly
bel~ng to C.P.I.(M).
10 PUCL BULLETIN
Four students from Nalgonda were arrested on the ground that they were involved in a murder of another student. All these four students were to take their examination in May this year. The Session's Judge, Nalgonda granted them escort bail to enable them to attend the examination. This order was sought to be circumvented through the D.E.O. of that area. On the basis of the information furnished by the police at Nalgonda the D.E.O. without giving any notice rus-ticated all these 4 students. As against this order Writ Petitions 3498 to 3502 of 1981 were filed and suspension of the D.E.O. orders obtained.
Police Files an Interesting counter
In Warangal the first encounter took place on September 17, 1980 where two persons namely Papa Rao and Mogili were killed a few miles away from Warangal. In Narsampet in Warangal District Congress (I) with the help of the police establishment have launched a large scale assault on CPI(M). Mr. Omkar MLA is from that constituency. He was stabbed. The investi-gation was not completed for a long time. In the mean-time, the Congress(I) has gone on a rampage. While this was going On' the local lawyer applied for search warrant u/s. 97 Cr.P.C. One advocate was appointed by the Magistrate to execute the search warrant. He was prevented from executing the search warrant. This gave rise to contempt petition No. 33/80. The counter filed by the police is interesting. That shows the attitude of the police. Two paragraphs from the counter
"I submit that the
Police Station (P.S.), is a public place and the S.H.O. is incharge of the station,
and if it is brought to the notice of a court that a person is detained in police
custody without production before the court within 24 hours as required by law,
normally the court can issue a notice to the S.H.O. directing immediate production
of a person before the Court instead of straightaway issuing commission for
searching the P.S., and causing embarrassment to the S.H.O. who is charged with
the duties of maintaining law and order and controlling the crime. I submit
that neither the D.S.P. nor myself have ever defied the Court's order and on
the other hand we have co-operated with the Commissioner in apraising him of
the arrest of the persons mentioned in search warrant and thus making the execution
of the warrant easy, as the Commissioner once having come to know that the persons
were in lawful custody, cannot proceed further to interfere with the discharge
of the duties of the S.H.O. and can only report to the Court to that effect.
on 4-4-80 for remand. I submit that the J.F.C.M. Parkal has no jurisdiction to issue a search warrant to search in the P.S. outside his jurisdiction and lying within the jurisdiction of the J.F.C.M., Narasampet.
I submit that there appear to be no guidelines for a commissioner to execute a search warrant against a P.S., as the learned Magistrate, of Parkal while issuing a search has directed:
"To conduct a search of the premises of the Police Station at Narasampet using such assistance as required and reasonable force, if necessary; and to take into custody the eight persons, therein men-tioned and produce them before the Court."
I submit that even if a person is clothed with autho-rity by means of commission to search a police station, the use of force against a police officer and his staff in the presence of the public will certainly bring down the prestige of the Police Department. I submit that there appear to be no guide lines to a Commissioner to search a Police Station. I submit that the search of a police station is different from the search and seizure of contraband articles in a private premises. I submit that warrant for. a search of a police station can be endorsed to a Superior Officer viz., Superintendent of Police of the District."
Promptitude saves an "Encounter"
On 22nd May, 1981 Mr. K. Prabhakara Reddy, the then Home Minister made a statement that top Naxalite leader was arrested. This statement was given by him in Warangal. When verified it was found that Mr. K. Prabhakara Reddy made a statement after Dasari Laxmikantham was held in custody for over 24 hours. Immediately a statement was issued stating that he should be produced in a court immediately setting out that he was under illegal custody in Madikond Police Station in Warangal. The news item appeared in Indian Express of 24th May, 1981, Hyderabad edi-tion. Immediately, thereafter the police gave a press release stating that this gentleman was arrested at Aparajupalle area of Mahaboobabad Taluq and that he threw the bombs and one man Dasari Laxmikantham was arrested while the other escaped. However, if Mr. K. Prabhakara Reddy had not made that statement the police establishment would have put out the same facts adding that the police opened fire in self-defence and one person died who was later identified as Dasari-Laxmikantham. By issuing the statement staged en-counter was pre-empted. Earlier Mr. Omkar filed a writ petition where the accusation was that the Police Establishment has been acting as the armed wing of the Ruling Party.
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