Dear Friends

I have been getting calls from villagers in the Jagargunda area saying the CRPF/Koya Commandos (SPOs who have been banned by SC but continue)/ and Cobra forces are arbitrarily arresting villagers under arms act, beating and looting. The Koya commandos or SPOs who were involved are: Bheema, Raju and Deva Nanda.

25 villagers were arrested from Singavaram village, 9 were detained and 2 let off. The police said they had arrested sangham members under the arms act. It must be recalled that sangham members are unarmed villagers who at most help maoists with village level meetings – they may carry bows and arrows, but are different from the armed squads and PLGA. The police say they picked them up from a meeting near the river, the villagers say they were picked up from their houses, while in the fields etc.

This is what the NHRC report of 2008 says about sangham members:

Sangham members are different from Naxalites, (5.03) they are unarmed and do not wear uniforms (6.63.5).“these villagers (sangham members) were specifically targeted when Salwa Judum was on the rise. The enquiry team has come across instances where some of these villagers were even killed (no criminal cases were, however, either reported or registered). Though the State has taken action against SPOs in some cases for violations like murder and attempt to murder, but these cases do not pertain to the violence let loose on innocent villagers during operations against Naxalites.” (5.04)

15 were picked up and beaten from Kishtaram village but then let off.

The forces looted Rs, 36,670 from 13 people in Singavaram village, apart from chickens etc.

There is a general reign of terror, arbitrary arrests and surrenders – some of which may be real, but many of which are suspicious.