CDRO Fact Finding Report on A.O.B. Encounter
INTRODUCTION:–A major “Encounter” incident in Andhra Odisha Border took place on 24-11-2016 killing of 18 persons by the Grey Hounds and other security forces in Joint operations conducted by the Odisha and Andhra State Agencies. Again on 25th November, 4 persons were killed and number of deceased increased 31 by 27th November, 2016. These 3 incidents attracted the National attention and strong responses. Various versions of Media created a confusion over the incidents. Since any encounter killing is a major issue of Human Rights violations, the CDRO initiated the fact finding team to enquire into the incidents and bring out the facts and make it public. The constituent units of CDRO team from Punjab and Haryana, West Bengal, Odisha, Tamilnadu, A.P & Telangana States participated in the FFT. The team visited the places of incidents and eight nearby hamlet (villages) on 5th and 6th the team interacted with the Adivasis and Tribal leaders. The team members also met the Rural S.P. in Visakhapatnam and one of the team member had visited Malkangiri on 26th November, 2016 to identify the dead bodies and help in handing over the dead bodies to the relatives of the deceased.
Police Versions : The DGP of Andhra Pradesh has stated through Electronic Media that on 24th early morning there was a cross firing between the Maoists and the Police, security forces, A.P. Greyhounds. The Maoists had gathered there for their plenary meeting and suspected top leadership of the Maoists party might have died, without disclosing the identity of the deceased. He spread the news on the basis of the kinds of weapons found in the place of incidents like SLRs, AK47 etc. Then there were also 50 kit bags of food at the spot and few escaped. The Rural S.P., Rahul Sharma said this meant that Maoists had gathered there for military training. Again on 25th November, 4 more were killed and on 26th of November, the number of Maoists were killed reached a toll of 31. The DGP denied that they were captured and killed. But the sense of killings is utterly no less than hounding down the Maoists, Capturing, torturing and killing them in different places. As per the FIR filed in Chitrakonda P.S Crime No. 80/2016, under sections 121, 307, 16(b) of E.S. Act, 25 &27 of arms and explosives act and sections 16b, 18,18A, 19, 20 of UAPA has been registered.
People’s version: However the versions of the Adivasis with whom the team interacted gave a different versions that was in contrary to the official version. The relatives of the deceased in four villages informed the FFT that the Maoists called villagers to attend the meeting to discuss their local problems and some of the family members of the deceased also went along and attended the meeting as it is usually the practice of the area.The FFT met the family members of Syamala Pangi(Similipadar), Kumulu Sanabasia-Khajuriguda, Khilo Jairam-Khajuriguda, Sindhe Khilo-Mukudpalli, Bhumli-Bachhlipadar, Amala-Bachhlipadar, Malkan Pangi-Bachhlipadar, Laksha Mudali and Kaveri Mudali of Dakalipadar.Father of Sindhe Khillo informed the team that on Sunday he had gone along with his daughter to the Market buy the materials and his daughter went to the meeting called by the Maoists along with the grocery items, while he returned back home. The next day morning he heard the sound of firing for few hours along the hillock side and worried and waited for his daughter to return. When she did not return on Monday evening, he went around with the villagers to search for her on Tuesday and went to Malkangiri by the evening. He was handed over the body of his daughter after postmortem that was done without his concurrence. He brought back her body to the village on his own expense spending more than Rs.10,000/-, police did not oblige transport the body to his village on their expenses. The body of Sindhe Khilo was found to be pierced by two bullets at both sides of the chest and one bullet on the left leg. The team met the families of Jairam Khilo of Khajuriguda. Their narration was also similar in nature. Jairam Khilo is just been 16 years old and in no way could be branded as a hardcore, party activist or a combatant.Komulu Sanabasia, aged 32 years, is married with three children. He has also gone to the meeting along with his family. He told his mother that he will return on Monday night itself. But when the family heard firing sound in the hillock and found him not returning till next day, went to Malkangiri to enquire about him. His body was handed over after identification to the parents after postmortem. That his hand has come out from the shoulders with the bullet injury showed it was due to a close range of firing and torture. Similar is the details from the families of Syamala Pangi. Syamala Pangi aged 14years had died of bullet injuries. Jairam Khilo had bullet injury on the left side of her chest.The pattern of bullet injuries on the villagers killed shows a pattern of close range firing and above the hip of the body with intentions to kill and not to apprehend them alive. The team also met the wife of Leikhana Golari of Khajurguda who is still missing. His wife Sombla Golari had approached the Malkan giri police station looking for him, on hearing the news of Leikhana being picked up in helicopter by the police team. She saw the police pushing out Leikhana from police jeep into the police station. When she wanted him to be released or FIR to be filed or complaint from her taken up, she was informed and slighted that as Leikhana is alive and not dead as then not to insist upon it. She told this team on this casual approach of the police on her husband’s disappearance.
Official Version : The team later met the SP Rural to take his versions. He denied having clear information of Maoists Meeting except some speculations of their plenary meeting or military training or training camps. But he contradicted the same immediately saying there was concrete prior information of Maoists at the Odisha side and they informed the Odisha Police and offered help from greyhounds and A.P.Police. While he did not want to divulge the strength of force involved in the operations, he informed the team that though grey hounds are within the A.P. Police Controls they could go beyond the bounds of law in self defense and area of operation in practice. He informed that the first firing occurred from the Maoists side and joint forces acted in self defense in retaliation to kill. When queried about the missing persons or adivasis the S.P. Rural told that specific details and complaints are to be filed at the immediate jurisdiction and since the incident came under Malkangiri jurisdiction he does not have any say.
- The FFT observes that the incident of encounter was a serial killings by the police that continued for three days and not in a single incident.
- We observe that it was a real encounter with the Maoists and it took place on Monday morning near Ramguda. Later on Tuesday and Wednesday in the name of combing operation the joint forces have captured, tortured and killed the villagers and injured Maoists without leaving any eye witnesses to the brutal operation of the joint forces.
- The injuries on the deceased showed that the joint forces attacked the villagers and Maoists with an intention to kill and not apprehend them alive.
- The Bullet on the shoulder, chest and abdomen indicates the close range of firing as well as the torture inflicted on the injured.
- The chopping and disfiguring of the faces, heads and vital organs of the deceased showed the brutality of torture and killing.
- Various commission report of the Government have clearly pointed out that the Maoists problems cannot be resolved without addressing the socio economic conditions of the people and not as a law and order problem.
- That the people have to resort to arms to resolve their socio economic problems shows the pathetic state of affairs of the “Democratic Republic”.
1) Judicial enquiry be ordered into the incident by a sitting /retired SC judge since it was a joint operation involving two states AP and Odisha with the help of central forces.
2) Criminal cases be filed against those involved in the encounter killings. The investigations should be monitored by the SC.
3) Disbanding of A.P. Greyhound forces as it is a illegal force operating beyond law and criminal procedure code.
4) Immediate withdrawal of paramilitary forces.
5) Immediate implementation of FRA (Forest Rights Act) & PESA (Panchayat Raj and Extension of Scheduled Area Act).
6) The Govt. should pay compensation of minimum of Rs.10 lakhs to the victim’s families and book cases against the police involved in these killings under SC/ST Atrocities Act.
R.N. Pal (D.S.O. Punjab) Narendra Mohanty (Campaign Against Fabricated Cases, Odisha)
Preetpal Singh (AFDR, Punjab) Choton Das (Bandi Mukti Committee, West Bengal)
Lenin (Editotr,Nissan, Odisha) Arun Kumar Reporter
Prabhat Singh Roy (A.P. D.R., Balwant Singh (AFDR, Punjab) West Bengal)
Gopal (CPDR-TN, Tamilnadu) Adv. Gurunadhan (CPDR-TN, Tamilnadu)
Raja (CPCL, Tamilnadu) Adv. Murugeshan (CPCL, Tamilnadu)
R.Yesu (OPDR, AP) Hanumantha Rao (OPDR, AP)
Lakshman (TS, CLC) Narayana Rao (TS, CLC)
Chittibabu (AP, CLC) Chandrasekhar (AP, CLC)
S.Seshaiah, Prof. (CLC) Prof. K.P. Subba Rao (CLC)
Kumar Swamy (TS, CLC) V.Raghunadh (TS, CLC)
Srimannarayan (AP, CLC) N.Purushottam (TS, CLC)
Bommaiah (AP, CLC) Raghuram (AP, CLC)
VV Balakrishna (CRPP) G.Sivaramakrishna Advocate Reddy
J.Suryanarayana (AP, CLC) E.Venkateswarulu (AP, CLC)
Bisai Damodhar Tilak (OPTCR) Principal Rajasekhar