CRPF personnel in Jharkhand booked for allegedly beating villagers in anti-Maoist...

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The Jharkhand police have lodged an FIR against a group CRPF jawans for allegedly beating up seven people in a remote village in West Singhbhum district during a patrol.

The FIR was registered in Goilkera police station on June 17 after villagers of Anjadbera complained of atrocities on June 15, police said on Sunday. The villagers were, are also demanding that that offences under the Scheduled Tribes Act and looting be added in the FIR against the jawans. Villagers have accused the CRPF jawans of looting of Rs 35, 000 cash, damaging their food-grain and other valuables.

“We have lodged FIR under sections 323, 324 and 341 of IPC against CRPF jawans on the basis of complaint by Anjadbera villagers on June 16. Prima facie, it appears that some of the jawans have failed to handle the situation professionally. We are identifying the jawans and action as per law will be taken. CRPF has also filed a complaint against few villagers on the basis of interception of messages showing that some villagers were leaking information to the CPI (Maoist) about movement of forces,” Indrajit Mahatha, West Singhbhum superintendent of police (SP), said on Sunday.

The CRPF could not be contacted for comments.

According to the police and the CRPF, intercepted messages indicated that two dreaded Maoist commanders - politburo and central committee members -Prashant Bose alias Kishan-da and Misir Besra alias Sagar-da, both carrying reward of Rs 1 crore on their heads, have been camping in Sarjambudu forests and hills, adjacent to Anjdbeda, Chiriyabera and many other villages around under Goilkera, Sonua, Bandgaon, Gudri police station areas.

A fact finding committee from Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM) comprising its members Manki Tubid and Kamalesh Purty has found 11 villagers were brutally beaten up by CRPF jawans of which seven sustained serious injuries and three were critically injured. On Sunday, they tweeted the committee’s report to Jharkhand chief minister (CM) Hemant Soren demanding action under ST Act.

“Two of the injured villagers – one with a broken leg and the other with head injury – are still in hospital while the rest nine have been discharged after treatment. The villagers told us that 200-250 CRPF jawans had come to the Anjadbera village on June 15 afternoon when they were putting the roofs of their thatched houses. Jawans were asking about Maoists but were speaking in Hindi while the villagers only understood and spoke Ho language, leading to a communication gap. Later, 20-25 CRPF jawans took about a dozen villagers to an under-construction house and beat them up,” Manki Tubid said on Sunday.

He said the incident came to light after a teacher phoned them in Chaibasa. “This teacher is the only man in the village with a mobile phone and can be connected only under the lone mobile tower in some distance,” Tubid said.

The village has 125 people.

The CRPF in its counter-complaint said four village youths started fleeing and when caught they got into a scuffle with the jawans. The CRPF troopers have has also seized Maoist pamphlets from their houses.

Forces had entered the inaccessible Anjadbra and Chiriyabera villages after one and half years. Located 23 km from Chaibasa, the village has no electricity, piped drinking water and children don’t study there as the only primary school is 6 km away.

The SP said they have not yet turned the CRPF complaint into an FIR but police were investing the same. “Maoists led by Prashant Bose and Misir Besra have now shifted their Eastern Regional Bureau (ERB) to Sarjamburu from Naxal hotbed Sranda forests. We have definite information that Maoists are working to turn the area into a positional warfare zone (PWZ) like they did in Bastar. Naxals don’t want police or security forces in the villages and have been exploiting them by threats and other means, using them for propaganda, forcing them to pass on information etc. They are even forcibly training village men, women and children,” said Mahatha.

Sinu Cundi, a villager who was allegedly beaten up said the jawans asked them to come down from their house roofs but they could not understand. “We came down after seeing their hand gestures and they kept on asking where the Maoists were. They started beating me when I said I don’t know anything about Maoists,” said Sundi.

Ram Surin said when he returned home after fishing in the river he saw his son with multiple injuries, even unable to speak. “When I entered my house I found it ransacked, Rs 35, 000 aadhaar cards, land records (khatiyan) everything gone and food-grain splattered away,” said Surin.

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