Tamil Nadu Report Joint fact-finding team, Tamil Nadu PUCL:
'Encounter' death of Raveendran at Dharamapuri on 10 Jan., 2000

(Abridged and edited -- Chief Editor)

It was reported in the press that an encounter between the police and a group of naxalites took place in a village near Marandahalli police station of Dharampuri district on January 10, 2000. A naxalite, Ravindran, was killed and his colleague, Shiv Kumar alias Siva, was caught alive. Two other naxalites made good their escape. One of them was mentioned as Ram Chandran. The police was reported to have said that Ravindran was one of those wanted in connection with the burning down, of two State Road Transport buses on December 6, 1999 in Dharampuri. This was said to be in protest against the encounter killing of three leaders of Peoples War Group in A P in December 1999. It was alleged that on receiving information about the movement of Ravindran and others the police went to Preungadu village along with the members of the special task force. They surrendered the farm hut where the naxalites were suspected to be staying in order to nab them. Ravindran is alleged to have fired at them with a shotgun. The police, who were equipped with A K 47 and self-loading rifles, returned the fire. Ravindran was killed and two persons escaped. One Shiv Kumar of Chennai, was over powered and arrested. It was claimed that the entire operation had taken place with the co-operation of the local people. It was also reported that the wife of the deceased, Ravindran, was an active member of the PWG.

Another news, reported in the Tamil daily Malai Marasu on January 10, said that according to the information provided by the police Ravindran was arrested on January 7, 2000 and while he tried to escape he was shot dead.

On January 11, 2000 Ms. Nirmala, Professor of Law, Andhra University, Vishakhapatanam, widow of K. Ravindar, filed a petition in the Chennai High Court that her husband, K. Ravindar, was arrested on January 7, and was tortured and killed by the police. She tried for a second post mortem of the body. The High Court ordered a second post mortem to be done in the presence of the Director of Forensic Sciences and Laboratories at the earliest and that the report be kept confidential till January 24, when the case would be heard further. The body had been autopsied in the first instance in Dharampuri Government General Hospital and was kept at Salem General Hospital. It was brought to the Chennai Government General Hospital and the second post mortem was conducted on January 13. It may be clarified here that according to Ms. Nirmala the correct name of her husband is K Ravindar. In this report the name Raveendran (or Ravindran) has been used since it is recorded as such in all police documents.

The People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Tamil Nadu State branch constituted a fact-finding team jointly with some other organisations. The Co-ordinator of the team was K. Manoharan, Vice president, national PUCL. Other members were: Dr. P. Sivakumar, PUCL; TSS Mani, Human Rights Initiative, Tamil Nadu; Sheelu, Tamil Nadu Women's Collective; K. Sukumaran, Secretary, PUCL Pondicherry; T. Gopalakrishnan, Secretary, PUCL, Coimbatore; P. Chandran, PUCL; S. Gopal, PUCL; Prof. C. Prasad, Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee, Vizag; P. Chaudhuri, People's Democratic Forum, Bangalore; C. Sriram, PDF, Bangalore; G. Bojakumar, Advocate, Human Rights Protection Council, Trichy; R. Muruganandhm, HRPC; P. Narayanasamy, HRPC; P. Damayanthi, Advocate, Tamil Nadu Manitha Urimai Paadhukaapu Sangam, Rasipuram; A. Selvaratinam, Advocate, Tamil Nadu Pcnnurimai Paadhupaapu Sangam, Omalur.

The family members of Ravindran, who came to Chennai for his funeral, and, some of the employees in the Telecom Department, told the team that Ravindran was aged 39 and was the son of Kailasnath, retired Superintendent Engineer from Neyveli Lignite Corporation. Ravindran worked as Junior Engineer in Telecom Department from 1983-92. While in service he was actively involved in Trade Union activities. He was instrumental in activating the SC/ST Federation of the Telecom Department. He was also the Secretary of the Telecom Junior Engineer Association, Tamil Nadu and fought for the rights of all the employees. He fought for the proper implementation 01 roasLcr. punii un appointment. During his service he also actively participated in other democratic activities, like struggle for implementation. of Mandal Commission recommendations, protest against installation of Atomic Reactor at Koodamkulam, and protest against Gulf War, etc. In 1993, he was illegally detained by one sub Inspector of police Muthamizh Mudalvan. A habeas corpus petition was moved and his illegal detention was proved. The SI concerned was suspended. When he was in illegal detention at Salem jail, he organised protest for an enquiry Commission consisting of High Court judges to go into the inhuman and unhealthy conditions prevailing in the prison. (At a later stage the same SI was said to be responsible for the burning of a boy at Eraiyur Police Station). Ravindran took up the case and exposed the Sub Inspector and in this case also the Sub Inspector was suspended. He also filed a writ petition for prison reforms, which is still under process.

Visit to the Place of Encounter: The team reached Marandahalli on January 18 and from there it reached Preungadu. These villages are in Palacod taluk and are under the jurisdiction of Marandahalli police stations. It had to pass through. Shastramutlu. Most of the inhabitants are. Irulas and others are mainly Vannias. There are about 150 households in Shastramutlu and about 40 in Preungadu. Shastramutlu is a Panchayat. There is a school in Marandahalli. All these places are economically undeveloped, prone to floods, and without electricity. A rice mill owner in Marandahalli, Lokesh Iyer, claims all the crops, (Ragi, Jowar, etc.). The Irulas were not recognised as Scheduled Tribes though Lokesh Iyer claims that for 500 rupees each he can arrange a Patta for the lands they cultivate.

The team found plain clothes police persons in these villages. In fact they followed the team from Marandahalli. There was one Sub Inspector of Police, Kannaiyan. There were no visible signs of police harassment though there was an uneasy calm. It was clear from the talks of the villagers with the team members that they had been tortured. Most of them repeated like a parrot that Ravindran and his colleagues visited the village for the first time on January 9. After singing songs and making a speech, spent the night there. Next morning they went to the farm hut of the Irula community leader or Oor Gounder. All of them pleaded ignorance of the subsequent events. They heard that somebody was lying dead and another person was alive and was blind folded. The people who had fed Ravindran and three others on the night of January 9, seemed to be trying to create an impression that these people had visited their villages for the first time.

The team members could see through these tailor made statements. For example, every one spontaneously said that these people were nice and had shown great concern about the life and problems of the villagers and that they did not intimidate the villagers. Some old women had cried on learning about the death of Ravindran. The team understood that such impressions and emotional ties could not be the result of a solitary visit on January 9. Oor Gounder, Mallappan's hut is quite far away from the rest of the settlements in Preungadu. Ravindran was killed in encounter close to this place. SI Kannaiyan took the team to the spot where bloodstains could still be seen. The SI took the team to Mallappan. His version was as follows: after singing and making speeches in the village Ravindran and his friends had food and spent the night in his hut. In the morning as they came out of the house they spotted 4 plain clothes police persons and they hurriedly took leave of Mallappan. He saw another 8 plain-clothes police persons advancing towards his place from the left. He heard them shouting, "catch them", then he heard gun shots. The police overpowered two of them. One of them wriggled out by removing his shirt and ran towards the forest and escaped. The other one ran up the hill but fell and tumbled down. He exchanged. fire with the police and managed to escape. Ravindran and the fourth person were in the rear of his farm hut and he could not see them. It was only when the police told him that one of these two was shot dead that he went to the spot and saw Ravindran lying dead with a pistol in his hand. The fourth person was captured alive and was shouting slogans. The shoulder bag of Ravindran contained bombs and the handbags left behind by the two who had escaped contained pistols.

It must be remembered that Mallappan and a few other villagers have been made police witnesses.., he made quite a few slips during the conversation with the team members. He said that Ravindran was so affectionate that every time he visited his place he used to carry his grand daughter... and comb her hair. This means that Ravindran was a frequent visitor to the village and to his hut and the police got to know of his movements through some informers. He also told the members that.... one Lokesh Iyer owned all the lands, which were being cultivated by the Irulas; on the one hand the police threatened them and on the other the forest officials harassed them. Five men from his village were taken to the police station and tortured; he has been warned against allowing any strangers into the village and instructed to inform the police about the movement of such people.

Veerayyan, another villager, also expressed the same fear. He said that the person (Ravindran) who was killed was a gem of a man.... The team, on its way back from these villages, visited the police station at Marandahalli. The inspector of police Sivasubramaniam was away from the station. The Sub Inspector, Krishnan..., said that the Inspector of Police, Sivasubramaniam was on the spot where the 'encounter' took place.... He told the team that any information relating to this incident could be obtained only from the Superintendent of Police or the Inspector of Police.

Visit to other Villages: The Team visited Kodampatti, Bhoodhipatti, Nattam, Vellalapatti and Mathankottai villages on 19th January, as these were some of the places where the deceased Ravindran was said to be actively working amongst the poor people.

In Bhoodhipatti the team met the Oor Gounder and a few villagers. Most of the villagers are STs From the versions of Cor Gounder and the villagers it was found that Ravindran was taking up issues like claiming the rights of forest lands for the STs, resisting to pay the unlawful demand of cess by the forest officials for goat grazing. He also fought for stopping "Kanduvatti" (usurious money lending). The issue of Kanduvatti was settled in favour of the poor. He had also helped the villagers to claim a share in the pond water. The landlord, allegedly, had tried to get him murdered. All the villagers call Ravindran "Anna" with affection.

In Nattam, Mathankottai, and Vellalapatti most villagers belong to SC community. According to women folk of these villages, illicit arrack is being brewed for the last one year with the support and connivance of Police.

According to villagers of Vellalapatti, there was caste tension between Vanniars and SCs last year. Police took the side of the Vanniars and threatened the SCs of dire consequences. Ravindran stood in support of SCs and settled the issue amicably between the communities.

In Bhoodhipatti village the team met the members of the family of Ramachandran who is alleged to be one of the two who escaped from the police after the 'encounters in Perungadu village on January 10. The police, who visit them regularly inquiring about the whereabouts of Ramachandran, continuously harassed the family members. The police even threatened the family members saying that their son would meet the fate of Ravindran, if they did not provide information about his movements.

When the FFT was returning, after completing the fact-finding mission around 6.30 p.m., the team found women, men, and children near the memorial erected for the naxalite leaders Appu and Balan. On seeing the team they surrounded the van and said that a few boys were arrested near the memorial a little while ago. It seems that the police also picked up a boy who had come to the market. The ADSP, Martin said that it was an unlawful assembly. And, they suspected the involvement of some of them in the bus burning case. One of them was just 15 years old. The boys complained that they were beaten by the police and showed bruises on their bodies. The police explained that these were due to 'the scuffle between the police and the boys when they were rounded up and taken in the police jeeps. The ADSP said that the information regarding the arrest of 10 boys had been sent to their advocate Kabilan in Dharampuri. However, the ADSP promised to release all of them after interrogation and identification by the conductor and driver of the bus which was burned down in Dharampuri.

The Version of the CPI Leader: The team members met Deva Perinban, Member, Tamil Nadu State Secretariat of Communist Party of India at the Dharampuri District Committee Office in the afternoon of 19th. He told the team that based on the information independently collected by his party sources, the police came to know of the movement of Raveendran through an informer groomed by them. Both Raveendran and Sivakumar were caught at Perungadu on 10.1.2000 morning and while Raveendran was finished off, Sivakumar was only kept in police custody for a while and then remanded to judicial custody. He said that the incident of bus burning came as a convenient ruse for the police to brand him a criminal. He said that according to information collected by his party sources the fake "encounter" in which Ravindran was killed was carried out only by the local police and not by STF men.

As for the fire arms alleged to be carried by the naxalites, Perinban said that since the forest cover in this district stretches itself into three southern states, smuggling of fire arms including the sophisticated ones is a common phenomenon and it was not the naxalites but people of other categories like landowners, forest contractors etc., are in possession of illicit weapons. Some of the illicit weapons seized by the police are never accounted for but are used for other purposes. One such weapon must have been thrust into the dead body of Raveendran after the "encounter" in order to create an impression that he was actually carrying it.

Meeting with the Officials: On '19.1.2000, the team tried to meet the concerned officials. The District Collector Sairam and the RDO Madhivanan could not be contacted, as they were busy with duties connected with the visit of the Tamil Nadu Health Minister Arcot Veerasamy to Dharmapuri on that day. P. Muthusami the General P.A to the collector whom the team members met politely told them that he was not competent to speak to anybody including the press and human rights organisations about anything that comes under the purview of the District Collector. The team members met Dr. Ulaganathan, the Residential Medical Officer of the Dharampuri Government General Hospital. He told them that the body of Raveendran was brought to Palacode hospital on the late evening of Jan. 10. As there was no x-ray facility in the Government Hospital at Palacode, it was brought to this hospital the next day morning where the autopsy was conducted in his presence by two doctors, viz., Dr. Venkatesan and Dr. Geetha Rani under the supervision of Dr.Sundara Vadanam. He said the body was in good condition when it was received in his hospital as well as when it was sent to Salem Government General Hospital to be preserved in cold storage... Any information relating to post-mortem could be obtained only from the Joint Director (Health Services) or from the R.D.O. who conducted the inquest. He however said that the bullet that killed Raveendran entered his back and came out from the chest

Interview with the Superintendent of Police: When the team members were at Mathikonpalayam Police Station there was a telephone call from the SP to the ADSP Martin. On hearing from the ADSP that the fact finding team was there, the SP invited the team to meet him. Accordingly the team members went to his office at Dharmapuri around 9PM on 19th January.

P. Kandaswamy, the Superintendent of Police, introduced himself as a Police officer who represented India at an International Human Rights Conference held at Boston and said he had instructed all officers under him to uphold human rights while discharging their duties. Regarding the activities of the "Naxalites', he complimented them for the good work they had done to resolve certain social issues like illicit brewing, usurious money lending, etc. He said that if he were not wearing the uniform, perhaps he would be one among them!

The team members sought his clarification on the conflicting versions about the "encounter" reported in newspapers. One version being that Raveendran was picked up on 7.01.2000 and shot dead on 10.01.2000 while he tried to escape from police custody; the second version being that Raveendran was spotted and surrounded by the police on 10.01.2000 and was killed in the "encounter. The SP replied that Raveendran and his group members escaped arrest in two other such operations, which were led by him. In the present case, he said, on a tip off from the local people that Raveendran and some of his group members were at Perungadu village, the police surrounded them and asked them to surrender. But Raveendran, while trying to escape, shot at the police party. In retaliation, the police shot him down. To a specific question, why the police did not attempt to immobilise Raveendran by shooting him below his knee, the SP said that it could not be done as Raveendran was in a sort of sitting position.

The SP accepted that the combing operations were being done during night-time, as the naxalites were moving from one village to another during night-time. He said they are yet to apprehend all those who are accused in the bus burning cases and hence the raid. However, he also said there were no excesses from their side, in spite of provocation from the villagers who sympathise with the naxalites. He said, that the womenfolk who squat before the vehicles prevented the police from doing their duty.

To another question, whether he can say categorically that there was no attempt to eliminate Raveendran in the name of encounter, he was evasive. When the team members sought the details about the cases against Raveendran, he said that there are no cases against Raveendran, initiated by the Police suo motu. The ADSP, who was also present during the interview with the SP, said that there were at least ten people who were opposed to the naxalites and were murdered by the latter in this district recently. The DIG, CV Rao was not free and could not meet the team.

1. It is true that two transport buses were burnt on 26.12.99 in Dharmapuri district - one near Hogenekal check post and another near Mottupatti in Dharmapuri-Tirupattur Road. In the FIR relating to the first one, the accused were mentioned as "about 10 unidentified persons (belonging to naxalite movement)"; in the second FIR, the accused are mentioned as "6 young men and 2 women in the age group of 18 to 25, belonging to extremist movement"

2. A number of men from Kodampatti, Nattam, Vellalapatti and Mathankottai villages have been arrested. In the name of searching for the persons wanted in the bus burning incidents, police have been harassing the villagers day and night and even during the night-time the women folk are harassed. It seems that the police to implicate as many people as possible in criminal cases uses the bus burning incidents. The police appear to be bent upon crushing the radical left movement of every shade existing in the areas the team visited.

3. The team members were eyewitnesses to the police harassment. The picking up of young men and boys from Naicken Kottai on 19.01.2000 has been mentioned above.

4. The villages the team visited are affected by a number of social and economic maladies which warrant immediate attention, by the authorities concerned.

5. The team's efforts to probe into the incident of "encounter" in which Raveendran was killed were handicapped by non-availability of related medico-legal documents. An inquest report and post-mortem report were not available. Villagers of Shastramutlu and Perungadu were tutored and cleverly manipulated by the police. Still the team has been able to spot a number of contradictions in the police records and get a totally different version from Siva who was in the company of Raveendran when the "encounter" took place.

In FIR (Crime No. 27/2000 dated 10.01.2000 of Marandahalli Police Station) registered on the basis of the report made by A. Rajendran, Inspector of Police, Thenkanikottai, Dharmapuri District, the following claims are made by the police:
(i) A police party was formed under the instructions of Superintendent of Police, Dharmapuri District, to apprehend Raveendran alias Sakthivel, Ramachandran, Venkatesan, and other accused in the case of burning of public transport buses (Crime No.235/99 of Hogenekal Police Station. The party consisted of A. Rajendran, Inspector of Police, Thenkanikottai; Suresh Kumar, Inspector of Police, NSD wing, Bommidy; Jayabalan, Inspector of Police, Tamil Nadu Special Task Force; Ravikumar, Inspector of Police, Palacode; Kubendran, Inspector of Police (his station is not mentioned in the FIR) and seventeen policemen of different ranks including the men from TNSTF. (Numbers and names of some of the policemen are given and for others only their numbers are given).

(ii) On receiving information that four accused persons were staying at the field hut of Mallappan, Oor Gounder (community leader) of Perungadu village, the police party split into three groups to surround them. One group led by the Inspectors Suresh Kumar, Rajendran, and Kubendran accompanied by Ocr Gounder Mallappan Gounder of Perungadu village, Mandiri Gounder Marappan of the same village, Shanmugam and tea-shop Raman of Belluhalli village and a few others belonging to Perungadu village moved from South to North. The secondparty led by Suresh Kumar, Inspector of Police, NSD wing, pharmapAri moved from East to. West. and the third group led by Ravikumar, Inspector of Police, Palacode moved from North to South to surround the accused.

(iii) In the farm hut of the Ocr Gounder, the police could spot three persons, viz., Raveendran..., Venkatesan, and Siva... whose names were ascertained only later.

(iv) They were asked to surrender but each one of them took out a pistol, raised naxalite slogans and attempted to escape.

(v) They were once again asked to surrender, but they again raised slogans and Siva of Parthiban fired at the police party from his pistol but the police party averted the shot and surrounded him.

(vi) At that time Raveendran ran towards the forest in the west and on the way shot at the police party. But the police party averted the shot. He turned towards the police party and in order to make another shot at them took a round in "battle crash" manner in a zig-zag way. The STF policeman Nk.469 (Chandra Sekharan) with his SLR shot him. Raveendran got shot at the right side of the back and fell down with his pistol.

(vii) The other two escaped and ran away. The police party chased them. While running away one of them dropped his pistol. He made good his escape. The other person shot at the police party. PC 114 Arul and PC 3382 Shekar returned the fire. But both the persons ran away.

(viii) The incident occurred around 10.30 am on 10.01.2000.

(ix) Siva was found possessing a pistol in his hand and pipe bombs and breach rounds in his belt.

(x) The person who was shot at was found dead, with bullet injury on the right side. A country made pistol was found in his hand, two pipe bombs and breach rounds in his belts.

(xi) The four accused persons had dropped their bags on the west to the farm hut at a distance. There were a knife (pitchuva), two small radios, torch lights, notices, and clothes in these bags.

(xii) Siva captured by the police party was kept under police custody at the place of incident itself.

(xiii) The body of the deceased Raveendran was also kept under police custody at the place of incident itself.

There are a number of contradictions in the police story narrated in the FIR:
(a) Inspector of Police Rajendran first says that only three persons were spotted in the farm hut (whose names and identities were of course ascertained by the police only later). - See item (iii) above.

(b) Suddenly "three" becomes "four" [See item (vii) above]

(c) It is said that Raveendran was resorting to battle crash method which, as explained to the fact finding team members by P. Kandasamy, SP, is a position which exposes the least of one's body to the opponent while shooting- and he was running in a zig-zag way, simultaneously taking out a round from his bullet. He must have been a veritable "Sakthiman" to perform all these acts. The police bullet however hit and downed him!

(d) Inspector of Police A. Rajendran first says that the bullet from the SLR of the policeman hit Raveendran on the right side of his back [See item (vi) above]. But when the police found Raveendran dead, they found the bullet injury on the right side (i.e., right chest) -- See item (x) above. This means Raveendran was shot on his right chest.

(e) The photographs of the dead body of Raveendran show two bullet wounds: a smaller one on his right chest and a much larger one on his left back. There are no wounds on the right side of his back.

(f) In the details of the policemen accompanied the above mentioned Inspectors of Police, in the beginning part of the FIR, there is no PC 3382 but the subsequent part of it says that one of the Policemen who returned the tire on the escapees was PC 3382 Shekar.

6. In the Remand Report of Siva Kubendran, Inspector of Police who was part of the police party is not mentioned.

7. While the FIR says PC 114 Awl was one of the two policemen who fired 'at the escapees, the Remand Report says that it was PC 224 (name not mentioned here) who committed the act. 8. In the FIR it is said that the deceased Raveendran alias Sakthivel was a member of the Central Committee of PWG, whereas in the Remand Report relating to Siva of Parthiban Raveendran is described as a Polit-Bureau member of PWG.

Affidavit of Siva: Siva of Parthiban now lodged in Salem Central Prison has given a signed affidavit. His version is as follows:
(i) He and the deceased Raveendran, Ramachandran, and Kumar were doing propaganda work at Perungadu Pallam around 7 p.m. on 06.01.2000. They spent the night there in order to listen to the grievances of the people. On 7.01.2000 morning they went to Oor Gounder' s house for having food. When they came out after having food around 11.30 am about 25 STF policemen surrounded the above four. He raised slogans and he was beaten up. The other three started running away. Raveendran was caught. The STF men hit him and Raveendran with their boots. After torturing them the STF men tied their hands behind their backs and took them blind folded to an unknown place around 2 p.m. From the night of 07.01.2000 to the morning of 9.01.2000 the police removed their blind folds but beat them after tying their bands. He was hit by rifle butts on his knee and ankle joints. The injury caused by the rifle butt was still there even on 20.01.2000. They also abused him in foul language. As he was blindfolded for these two days he did not know the place where he was kept.

(ii) Raveendran was also subjected to similar torture, though Siva was blindfolded he could hear Raveendran screaming with pain. The persons who tortured were the Q-branch police, particularly one Velu. His rank is not known.

(iii) Again on 10.01.2000 he and Raveendran were brought to a place near the house of Ocr Gounder of Perungadu Pallam blindfolded. Then they were asked to run. But they refused. Some time later Siva heard five gunshots. Siva heard the policemen saying that one was finished. As they were discussing that the other man too should he finished he heard the booted footsteps of some other policemen. One of them said he, Siva, should not be shot. That was how he was spared.

(iv) He was then made to sit at the scene of incident till around 7 p.m. Till then he was blindfolded. During those hours the policemen came in group after group and interrogated him. Around 7 p.m. when he was taken to Marandahalli Police Station he found the dead body of Raveendran (with the gun shot wound on his chest), being carried. Press reporters who tried to talk to him while he was taken to the police station were not permitted to do so. They were however permitted to take his photographs.

(v) Throughout the night of 10.01.2000 he was not permitted to sleep and Rao, DIG; Kandaswamy, SP; three persons from IB; and three teams from Q-branch continuously interrogated him. He was threatened that he would also meet the fate of Raveendran and was forced to sign a confession statement. Around 5 p.m. on 11.01.2000 he was produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate, Palacode handcuffed. The Magistrate did not ask anything about it. He only said that he was being remanded to the judicial custody till 25.01.2000.

Concluding Observations: In law, such an incident must be registered as two crimes under Sections 307 and 302 IPC respectively. One, a crime of attempt to murder (by the naxalites) and the other, crime of culpable homicide amounting to murder (by the police) purportedly in self-defense. The police can justify the opening of fire either under chapter V of the CrPC (ARREST OF PERSONS), particularly section 46, and under Chapter X (MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC ORDER AND TRANQUILITY), in particular section 129 (2), in which case the procedure laid down in Tamil Nadu Police Manual (Standing Orders) bas to be mandatorily followed; or else by the provisions of chapter IV of IPC (General exceptions), in particular section 100 relating to an act of private offence causing death. If the police invoke the provisions of chapter IV of IPC, they are bound by Section 105 of the Indian Evidence Act. This makes it clear that any one claiming any of the General Exception of Chapter IV IPC, has upon himself/herself the burden of establishing a preponderance of probabilities in favour of the exception to the satisfaction of the competent court. Thus every encounter must be registered as a crime under Section 302 IPC (read with other appropriate statutes) against the police, and the concerned police have to be arrested and put on trial for Culpable Homicide Amounting to Murder. The burden of raising sufficient presumptions in favour of the plea for self-defense then rests with the accused police officer.

The National Human Rights Commission has made certain significant observations and recommendations in this regard:
1. The practice of showing the deceased as accused after the "encounter" killing, filing an FIR against him under Section 307 of IPC, and then closing the case as abated on account of the death of the accused, is contrary to the legal procedure.

2. In every case of encounter killing, proper investigation by the officer in charge of the police station as required under Sections CrPC 154, 170, 173, and 190 is essential.

3. The right to private defense has to be established in court under Section 105 of the Indian Evidence Act.

4. Each killing, even in purported self-defense is a cognizable offence and there must necessarily be an investigation in each. It is recommended that the state government must issue a general order for investigation by state CID or some other independent investigating agency in every case of encounter deaths.

Demands: In view of the above, the Joint Fact Finding Team demands upon the Government of Tamil Nadu:
1. In as much as the contradictions in the police records, as pointed out above, he police personnel who participated in lie operation must immediately be booked under section 302 of IPC and brought to trial.

2. The police personnel responsible or blindfolding of Siva for hours together and the third degree torture later on should immediately be placed under suspension and brought to trial. Sufficient compensation must be paid to Siva who vas subjected to torture.

3. When the charge-sheet in this particular case is framed against Siva of Parthiban, the names, designations, the numbers and stations of all the police personnel involved in the searching and encounter operation must be mentioned. It has already been pointed out that there are contradictions between the FIR and the demand Report as regards the names and numbers of certain police personnel and that the name of Kubendran, Inspector of police, found in the FIR is missing in the demand Report.

4 (a) The police must scrupulously dhere to the rulings of the Supreme Court DK Basu Vs Union of India. (b) The inquest reports and post-mortem reports should be made public documents and accessible to the public on a payment of a nominal fee. (c) While the team members do not doubt the professional competence of the government doctors who conduct autopsy, they are also sensitive to the fact that often they have to function amidst an acknowledged tremendous political and governmental pressure.

Therefore it has been the demand of all civil and human rights organisations and women's groups that while conducting autopsies a person belonging to such activist and social groups along with two doctors who are chosen by the activist groups and families of the deceased be resent. This will ensure that the third point of view is available.

-- K. Manoharan; Dr. P. Sivakuniar; TSS Mani; Sheelu; K. Sukumaran; T. Gopalakrishnan; P. Chandran; S. Gopal; Prof. C. Prasad; P. Chaudhuri; C. Siram; Bojakumar; R. Muruganandam; Narayansamy; Damayanthi; A. Selvaratinam.

Note: Unabridged copies available at: People's Union for Civil Liberties, Tamil Nadu - Pondicheri, 32, Kachaleeswaran Agraharam, 0ff Armenian Street, Chennai-6OO 001. Phone No.: 5233639.

Home | Index