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

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Massacres Veiled as Encounters

On “development” and the cold-blooded mass murder of “Maoists” in Gadchiroli

On the morning of 22 April, somewhere between the villages of Boria and Kasansur in the Bhamaragad tehsil of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra, a group of Maoists had camped, some of them having breakfast while others were just resting. Apparently tipped off about their presence, a much larger group of Central Reserve Police Force and C-60 commandos, some of them equipped with under barrel grenade launchers, surrounded the Maoists and fired indiscriminately, killing all of them. The police, claiming that they had killed 16 Maoists in an encounter, took a select group of journalists to the site who faithfully reported the official narrative. The following day, the police claimed they had killed another six Maoists in an encounter, this time at Rajaram Khandla in the Jimalgatta forests. Then, on 24 April, the police declared that they recovered 15 bodies from the Indravati river, and that these were of other Maoists who had been killed in the 22 April encounter. Subsequently three more bodies were found in the river. So, a total of 40 “Maoists” had been killed in the two encounters. Awards and promotions were in store for the “encounter specialists,” and the occasion called for raucous celebrations!

The counter-insurgency deliberately blurs the distinction between combatants and non-combatants. The Maoists say that only 22 of the dead were their cadres. Moreover, later, when some parents filed missing reports, it subsequently came to light that on the night of 21 April, as eight young men and women were on their way from a village called Gattepalli to attend a wedding in Kasansur, they were picked up and killed by the police. It is believed that their bodies were then clubbed together with those of the dead Maoists, and shown as having being killed in the 22 April encounter. The father of one of the dead Maoist leaders, whom the police claimed to have shot dead in one of the encounters, found a deep axe-mark on his son’s body. This suggests cruelty and brutality too, but the ruling establishment could not care less.

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Updated On : 29th May, 2018
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