Skip to main content

Brutal beating by CRPF jawans 'exposes' anti-Adivasi face of security forces: Report

Guna Gope with his daughter
Counterview Desk
On 15 June, Central Reserve Police Force (CRP) personnel reportedly beat up about 20 people of Chiriabera village (Anjerbeda revenue village, Khuntpani block, West Singhbhum district), Jharkhand. Amongst them, 11 were severely beaten and three sustained grievous injuries.
Following the incident, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), a network of people’s organisations, activists, lawyers and academics, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident. The fact-finding team comprised representatives of Adivasi Women’s Network, Adivasi Adhikar Manch, Bagaicha, Bhumi Bachao Samanavay Manch, Kolhan, Human Rights Law Network, Johar, Kolhan Adivasi Young Star Unity, and Our Land Our Life prepared a report following the spot inquiry.

Summary of the report:

On 15 June, about 20 persons were helping to repair the roof of Bonj Surin’s hut in Chiriabera. At about 12:30 pm, more than a dozen armed personnel of CRPF came to the village through the forest and surrounded Bonj’s house. Eventually, about 150-200 CRPF personnel and police came in the village.
The CRPF personnel asked the villagers working on the roof, in Hindi, to come down. As most of the villagers do not understand or speak Hindi, they could not understand what was being said. They realised by the shouts and gestures of the CRPF personnel that they had to come down. They were asked in Hindi about the whereabouts of Naxals. The people responded in Ho that they did not understand Hindi and did not know the whereabouts of Naxals.
The CRPF personnel started abusing the villagers on their inability to respond in Hindi. They then brutally beat the 20 people, one by one. The CRPF personnel used wooden sticks, batons, rifle butts and boots to beat the villager. Many victims and villagers told the fact-finding team that the whole area was resonating with their painful cries.
One of the victim, Ram Surin’s house was completely ransacked by the personnel. The trunks were broken and bags were torn. Essential ration supplies stored in the house – paddy, rice, pulses, peas – were thrown around and destroyed. Documents kept in the trunks – khatiyan (land document), malguzari raseed (land tax receipt) and Aadhaar of family members – were burnt by the personnel.
The family had recently sold goats for Rs 35,000 and kept the money in the trunk. The money was missing after the raid by the CRPF. Neither did the CRPF find any document of naxals in this house or with the victims nor did they collect and take away any document after the raid.
Bonj Surin, whose house was ransacked
Even though the victims clearly told the police at the hospital that they were brutally beaten by CRPF personnel, the FIR filed by the police obscures many facts of the incident and makes no mention of the role of the CRPF in the violence. The FIR mentions that the villagers were beaten by unknown criminals (Agyat Apradh Karmi) and does not refer to the CRPF even once. The police also tried to influence the victims in the hospital not to press charges against the CRPF.
On June 17, a few local newspapers reported that 50-60 armed Naxals had beaten people of Chiriabera on June 15. The reports attributed the violence to Naxals and not CRPF. Such media reports and the incorrect FIR (blaming armed criminals and not CRPF) filed by the police clearly indicate that there is a concerted effort to build a false narrative of Naxal violence in this incident and absolve the CRPF of any blame in this.
SP acknowledged that CRPF personnel had beaten villagers but kept calling the violence as mishandling and unprofessional behaviour
The incident and the highly objectionable response of the police again brings to light the continuing human rights violations faced by Adivasis of Jharkhand due to CRPF and police actions. It is also worrying that despite direct instructions of the Chief Minister (on twitter) to take necessary action in this case, the local police has filed an FIR that is an attempt to misdirect the investigation and absolves the perpetrators of the violence, the CRPF, of their role in the violence.
The fact-finding team met the Deputy Commissioner (DC) and the Superintendent of the Police of West Singhbhum district on July 28 to discuss the findings and inquire about administration’s response. The SP acknowledged that some CRPF personnel had beaten the villagers but he kept on terming the violence as “mishandling” and “unprofessional behaviour”.
The DC clearly said that there was no doubt about the role of CRPF personnel in the violence. They promised to look into the inaccuracies in the FIR and re-record the statement of the victims. The DC also said that the administration would ensure justice to the victims.
Jharkhand Janadhikar demands the following from the state government:
  • The police should immediately rectify the FIR (20/2020 dated June 2020 17, Goilkera PS)- name CRPF personnel as perpetrators in the FIR, record the testimonies of the victims accurately without any change and add relevant sections of IPC and SC-ST Act, as mentioned in the report, in the FIR. The government should also take action against the local police for not registering the testimony of victims as told to them and registering incorrect testimony. Immediately identity and arrest the CRPF personnel responsible for the violence.
  • The government should constitute a judicial inquiry and make its report public within a stipulated period of time. Strict disciplinary action should be taken against all administrative, police and CRPF personnel responsible for this violence. 
  • All the victims should be adequately compensated for the physical violence, mental harassment and loss of property. 
  • Jharkhand government should clearly instruct the local administration and security forces to not exploit people, especially Adivasis, in any way. All incidents of human rights violations by the state apparatus should be strictly dealt with. People should not be harassed by security forces under the garb of anti-Naxal operations. 
  • Local administration and security forces should be taught about Adivasi languages, customs, culture and worldview and the government should ensure their sensitivity towards Adivasis.

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Cyrus Mistry, PM Modi’s brother: What do these accidents have in common? Merc!

By Rosamma Thomas*  In September 2022, in an accident at Palghar near Mumbai, Cyrus Mistry, former chairman of the Tata Group, died in a road accident . On December 28, 2022, a road accident in Mysore left one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s brothers injured. What is common in these accidents? The car that crashed into the divider on the road, in both these cases, was manufactured by “prestigious” German manufacturer Mercedes Benz. One former dealer of Mercedes Benz cars in India has been raising issues of the threat to the lives of those riding these cars for many years now. Cama Motors, among the oldest dealers of foreign cars, having started business in pre-independence India, noted over 10 years ago that Mercedes Benz was indulging in corrupt practices . The cars are currently priced between Rs 41 lakh and Rs 2.92 crore in India; few people realize that the pride of owning a Merc comes at considerable risk to life. Cama Motors carefully documented several of the flaws on a websi

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen