ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Malkangiri 'Encounter'

Impunity breeds contempt for the law; so does the neo-robber baron capitalist imperative.

The alleged pre-planned, extrajudicial killing, at last count, of 39 cadre, leaders, and ordinary Adivasi supporters of the Communist Party of India (Maoist)—CPI(Maoist)—by a joint force of the Greyhounds of the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Police and the paramilitary Special Operation Group of the Odisha ­Police on 24 October supposedly near the Balimela reservoir in Malkangiri district of Odisha, can perhaps be understood in terms of the old adage, “impunity breeds contempt for the law.” By now, the first information report (FIR) lodged against the dead persons would surely have reiterated the police version of the event, which was duly and faithfully reported and lauded by big media.

As we go to press, a team of the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) is on its way to the place of the carnage to find out what really happened. But scorn for the legal code runs in the very lifeblood of the wielders of repressive political power in independent India, and it is not going to be easy for the civil liberties and democratic rights organisations to challenge in the public realm the version of the Malkangiri “encounter” that the police has dished out. The Maoists’ Adivasi supporters, who would have otherwise been witnesses, have allegedly been killed, this so that the recidivists successfully cover up the crime. Nevertheless, the possibility of justice will depend on whether the courts will order an independent investigation and allow the plea of self-defence by the police to be established only at the stage of trial. Orders have already been passed by the AP High Court on 31 October to produce before the court the Maoist Central Committee member Akkiraju Haragopal, alias Ramakrishna or RK, Gajarla Ravi, and nine others who are reportedly in the custody of the AP Police, and to ensure their safety, well-being and, indeed, right to life itself.

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