Bela Bhatia

In Bastar, not only are ordinary villagers being killed by the security forces in the name of combating Maoism, but all evidence is effectively wiped out by them. A recent instance of this kind occurred in Nilavaya village (Kuakonda tehsil) of Dantewada district.

Bheema Madvi, a madia gond adivasi in his fifties, was shot at and killed by the security forces on 6 October 2015. Bheema had gone to Milkanpara hamlet of the village to meet his sister. He was returning from there, and in an open clearing, when he was shot.

Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi visited the village on 7th. Family members communicated that they would take the dead body for postmortem on the 8th.

Sukulprasad Nag, Soni Sori, and I visited the village on yesterday (8th). We were still in the outskirts, when we found a large number (around 300) of police and security forces to be coming out of the village. As we proceeded further, we found the village to be empty. Two girls who were grazing their cows told us that all had gone to the cremation ground. They led us there. On reaching the enclosure in the middle of the forest that served as a cremation ground, we found the body on the funeral pyre, villagers in large numbers, and a posse of security force.

We saw the body and the exit wound of the bullet near the heart. After the funeral we headed back to Bhima Madvi’s house in Patelpara of the village. The security forces who were the last to leave the funeral site followed us for part of the way.

Family members told us that the security forces had come to the village in the morning. They asked them to hurry with the cremation of the body. Or, they would take it with them, they said. Recalling other instances when bodies are not returned to relatives easily (as happened after similar killings in Revali and Nahadi villages, falling also in Aranpur thana, earlier this year) and because by then they were scared, they decided to cremate the body. A signature on a blank sheet of paper was taken from Ravi Madavi, son of the deceased Bhima Madavi.

The three of us proceeded to the Aranpur thana to lodge a FIR. But our complaint was not accepted. We were informed that an FIR was already in place. Our insistence that it was our right that a complaint be admitted was ridiculed. We decided that one of us should stay back as a continuation of our insistence while others inform the media and officials.

I stayed back. The police thana-incharge after conversations with his superiors said that we should produce the dead body, a PM would then take place, only then should we come with our letter. After two hours of similar arguments, I was ousted from the police station.

It was already past 9 when we reached Dantewada. The SP office was closed. We will be going to the SP office again today to register the FIR. Here are some photos from yesterday.

In the meanwhile, state-killing continues in Chhatisgarh with impunity