(Joint Fact Finding Report on Killings of Innocent Couple, Pangalpadar (Kotagada), Kandhamal, Odisha)
When the Superintendent of Police (SP) Kandhamal district was sharing a completely falsified story in front of media, that two un-identified bodies were recovered during anti-naxal operation at Madaguda forest area of Kotagada block, to escape him from the charge of cold blooded murder of the innocent tribals. By the time more than thousands of common people (mainly belongings to tribal & dalit community) under the leadership of their traditional leaders, PRI representatives were gheraoed the Kotagada police station protesting against the heinous killing of innocent couple namely Dhuba Nayak & his wife Budi (Bhubudi Nayak) by security forces (as people call them ‘CRPF’), when they were engaged with phone call with their sons, who are working as laborer at Kerala. To hide its crime and to take a damage control step the southern zone D.I.G of Police Mr. Amitav Thakur with S.P. Mr. Kanwar Vishal Singh tried to give different color and tried to change the mindset of the people by organizing a press conference on 27th July afternoon in office of the SP Kandhamal by telling the success story of combing operation by SOG forces against ultra left extremists for which they destroyed Maoist camps, seized heavy arms & armory. Very cleverly neither he admitted the killing of two people by police firing nor ignored the killing of the couple due to cross firing between Security Forces vs. Maoists in the said area.
The people were demanding immediate handover of two dead bodies to their kith & kin’s and to lodge criminal cases against police personnel who killed and proper compensation to the family of the deceased. After 24 hours of protest & gherao of Kotagada Police Station there was no response from the police and administration. Then the angry mobs blockade the main road of Kotagada town, connecting Muniguda (Rayagada) in one side and Balliguda-Phulbani in other side. After 36 hours long massive protest the two dead bodies were finally handed over to their family members and villagers in the afternoon of 28th July, 2015 only with the declaration of Rs 2 lakhs compensation for the deceased couple and handed over Rs 20,000/- cash for cremation of the dead bodies, by the Block Development Officer (BDO), Balliguda Block. The BDO Baliguda who was deputed on magistrate duty by the District Collector of Kandhamal.
After getting information from media and personal contact from the locality a Joint Fact Finding Team led by Mr. Prafulla Samantara (State President, Lok Shakti Abhijan), Mr. Narendra Mohanty (State Convener, Campaign Against Fabricated Cases (CAFC) and INSAF, Odisha, Mr. Tirupati Gamang (State Committee Leader of CPI (M-L)-Liberation), Mr. Abhiram Mallick (State President, Mulanivasi Samata Parishad), Mr. Salo Marandi (State Secretary, Odisha Adivasi Adhikar Manch- affiliated to CPI (Marxist ), Mr. Tapan Padhi (a human right activist) and Mr. Lenin Kumar (Editor, NISHAN) visited the spot on 30th July,2015.
The team met those persons (eye witness), who accompanied with the deceased to the place of mobile phone network works and were present during the phone call, the family members, sons who were engaged in phone call with their deceased parents, the local leaders, villagers and Superintendent of Police of Kandhamal.
Background of Village: Pangalpadar is a remote revenue village of Madaguda G.P. under Kotagada block of Kandhamal district. There is no direct established communication between village & Panchayat today. One has to walk nearly 15 kms from village to Panchayat head quarter & climbing hills and surrounded with forests areas. Or the other way is to walk 3 kms and reach at Lingarmaha village of Tumudibandh block and then around 40 kms road by motor bike or by private vehicle. Of the total number of 100 families of the village 75% are Kondh scheduled tribes and rests are dalits. The village has a school upto 5th class and no medical, electricity and telephone facilities available. It has been a regular practice by the villagers to go to hill top, wait & search mobile networks nearby their localities and call and contact their relatives staying outside if the network is available.
Version of Sukanta & Bineswar Chalanseth (The Main Eye-Witness):
The team members have interacted with Sukanta & Bineswar Chalanseth, the two main eye-witnesses. It was at 3 pm afternoon on 26th July, 2015. Five persons namely Sukant Chalanseth (48), Bineswar Chalanseth (40), Philimina Chalanseth (38) including Duba (Dubeswar) Nayak (45) and his wife Budi (Bhubudi) (41) went to hill top (Dudimaha) located between Pangalpadar & Adipadar village to do phone call to their relatives. Sukant Chalanseth made phone call to his son who is residing at Kerala and Bineswar from his mobile number-9439287792 did official phone to VLW-(Mobile No- 8895119951) & JRS-(Mobile No- 8895732675) of Madaguda Panchayat, J.E.(Mobile No-9438511733) of Kotagada Block. After finishing the phone call at around 4pm Bineswar called Duba & his wife to return to the village. But Duba told that they did not finish their phone call so will return after some time.
On the way of their return to the village Sukant, Bineswar & Philimina found suddenly a group of security forces (as they call them ‘CRPF’) who stopped them at gun point and questioned about their identity and inquired regarding the purpose of moving in forest area. Both Sukant & Bineswar had replied and clearly told that they came to do phone call to their relatives as well as official requirement of Bineswar, who is working as village mate (Gram Sathi). The security forces also called their Commander, who also inquired about their village leader, Anganwadi worker and inquired about if anybody else is with them. They told that their brother Duba Nayak and his wife Budi Nayak are engaged with phone calls and they would return later. Then, the security forces did not questioned anything further to Philimina and permitted all three to go back to their village.
They indeed returned to their village with a threatened and fearful mind and atmosphere. After an hour of their return at around 5 pm. these three persons including other residents of the village heard the sound of gun firing within the same hill/forest area. They discussed and shared with the villagers about the incidents happened with them. Though the villagers were apprehending risk to the life of the couple but they did not dared to go to the spot immediately due to the threatened and fearful situation. However, both Duba and his wife did not return to the village till night.
The Version of Rahul Nayak- The son of Deceased Duba & Budi:
The deceased Duba & Budi have 6 children including three daughters and three sons. The elder daughter Junusi is aged about 27, son Rahul (25), daughter Minu (22), son Saul (19) and Paul (16) and last daughter Eliseba (11) years accordingly. The deceased family belongs to schedule caste community.
Rahul told the team that his father first talked with him & then to talk with his two younger brothers Saul, who is working as laborer in Kerala and then talked with Paul, who is studying at Hyderabad through conferencing his phone. Rahul again talked with his mother and father at around 4.30 am at the time suddenly he heard an un-natural sound of his mother and she was crying. He could not understand about the situation and when want to know about his mother, he heard the tone of his father chocked and a suffocative and breathless sound was heard. ‘I felt some persons doing physical torture upon my mother and when my father protecting her they also were attacking my father’ said Rahul.
After that the phone was disconnected. When Rahul tried to reconnect the phone, the voice was like ‘this phone is switched off or the phone is not reachable at the moment’. I saw on ‘Naxtra’ Channel in Odia on that day (around 6pm) regarding the CROSS FIRING between POLICE with MAOISTS at Madaguda- Kotagarg forest area. At 8pm one cuisine uncle namely Sanatan Chalanseth phoned me and told that my father and mother had not returned yet, who had gone hill top to phone us. Those who returned they told that police (CRPF) were present at forest when they were engaged with phone call. On 26th night at 2pm I tried to connect my phone. 4/5 times phone was ringing, but nobody received the phone. Subsequently, the phone was stopped and voice came as switched off.
Then we both the brothers took the train and reached at Kotagarh on 28th July late night and on 29th July at around 11 am we reached at our village and joined the funeral activities of my father & mother. After hearing everything from the villagers and relating the sound I heard at the time of phone call it was cleared in front of me that the police(CRPF) were tried to rape my mother and when protested by my father, both were killed by them.”
Version of Lahasa Rupamajhi (the traditional village leader):
In the early morning of 27th July, 2015, the villagers were rushed to the spot and searched Duba and his wife Budi. But they could not found them; rather they saw the blood coated spots here and there and sleeper of Budi Nayak on that location. Their doubt became deeper and somewhat clear among the villagers apprehending the facts that the security forces (CRPF) had killed the innocent couple. He (Lahasa Rupamajhi) opined that Budi Nayak was raped by security forces and when protested by her husband both were killed by them. Then after the consultation with the Sarapanch (Gram Panchayat head) and Samiti Member of Madaguda G.P., the village leader Lahasa Rupamajhi, two eye-witnesses of the incident- Sukant Chalanseth and Bineswar Chalanseth with a group of people went to Kotagada Police Station and submitted an FIR to the IIC. The IIC of Kotagada P.S told to the villagers to collect the coated blood & sleeper(Chapal) and come to police station through Choukidar, which was not agreed by the villagers.
However, surprisingly the IIC Kotagada P.S. did express his helplessness to inquiry into the matter and denied to accept the FIR. He told that only the higher authority or Crime Branch can take the matter. It is not possible for him to receive FIR and do necessary action.
Then the agitated people gathered in front of Police Station and demanded to hand over dead body to them. The dead bodies were actually taken to Phulbani by police. After the discussion with S.P. of Kandhamal, the IIC requested for 20-25 people to go for discussion with S.P and to bring the dead body from Phulbani, which was also not accepted by the people. The IIC, Kotagada, the Tahasildar /B.D.O and Chairman of Kotagarh Block and other local leaders were present in the Police Station campus. The police said the mob to hand over the dead bodies by the evening and then extended the time again & again in which the whole night of 27th July was passed. However, neither the police nor the administration handed over the dead bodies to the people.
After losing the faith on police & administration the people blockade the main road of Kotagada, by which all the vehicles and shops were shutdown and people’s anger on the callousness and inaction of police and administration took a shape force people to go for a movement.
Finally, by the instruction as well as on behalf of the Collector, Kandhamal the B.D.O of Baliguda had discussed with the people, handed over the dead bodies, declared Rupees 2 lakh from Red Cross fund and Rupees Twenty thousand as cash for funeral activities, which was a partial victory of people’s protest for justice.
Version of Kelu Nayak: (The person of Lingarmaha village of Tumudibandha block nearby Pangalpadar was cremation the dead bodies): Two dead bodies were fully coated with soil and mud. They (police) may be buried the dead bodies. But when the mass protest rose they gain taken the body for postmortem and handed over the family.
Version of Superintendent of Kandhamal:
When the team members met the Superintendent of Police (S.P), Kandhamal and want to know details about the incidents as well as steps taken by him on the issue, he told that an impartial inquiry has been going and in progress and he expected an impartial fact finding from the team. But when the team members were reacted and draw his attention that the coated blood, sleeper of the deceased lady and other item has not seized yet. What type of progress on the inquiry has? Then he became angry and told that due to Maoist affected area inquiry has going on its style.
QUESTIONS ARISE DURING FACT FINDINGS:
- What situation compelled to CRPF/SOG to kill the un-armed innocent couple after getting detailed about them from Sukant Challanseth, Bineswar Challanseth? Can anybody ignored the possibilities of attempt to rape to Budi Nayak by security forces & when protested by husband both were brutally killed after hearing the version of Rahul(the son of deceased), others and as well as considering other related circumstances?
- Why they (security forces) did not identified dead body of Duba Nayak & Budi Nayak with the help of local people before transferring the same for postmortem?
- Why they (police administration) choose Phulbani district hospital for postmortem when the facilities are available at Sub-Divisional Hospital at Balliguda? Why police did not informed the family members before the postmortem, when on 27th morning it was cleared that the dead persons are Duba Nayak and his wife Budi Nayak ?
- Why copy of Station Diary Entry has been supplied to informant against the F.I.R & why F.I.R has not registered after 36 hour of mass protest?
- Can anybody go to hill top or forest to do phone call at the time of cross firing between Police & Maoists?
OPINION & DEMANDS BY FACT FINDING TEAM:
The unarmed innocent couple has been killed brutally by security forces, which are deployed on that day on Madaguda forest area. Possibilities of rape and then murder can’t ignore. To divert & to confuse the common masses, the story regarding cross fire between Police & Maoists was been deliberately circulated by S.P, Kandhamal. As per the SMS circulated from the mobile number of S.P, Kandhamal (9437378000) to all the journalists on 27th July, 2015 “As per latest info by team, In EOF yesterday at Madaguda Reserve Forest, 2 unidentified dead bodies, few weapons, and other equipments / things hav been found during search early in the morning by the team. More forces have been rushed to the spot for further search and cordon. More details are awaited. Please call for any further info” was just an eye wash and to bias people’s mindset. Though it was very clear on that day and villagers reached and informed IIC of Kotagarh Police Station about the details, but police expresses his helplessness, tried to avoid and did nothing. Even before transferring the dead bodied identification was not done locally and not informed family members of deceased to be present during postmortem. So, the members of fact finding team strongly condemned such type of cold blooded murder and demand as follows:
- Lodge FIR immediately accordingly Sec-302 of IPC against all killer security forces who were deployed on that area on 26th July, 2015 on Madaguda Forest area. According to allegation to attempt rape to Budi Nayak by security forces, inquiry the matter and if find proof then lodge Sec-376(G) against all accused.
- Sanction 50 lakh compensation to the family members of the deceased.
- Withdraw CRPF & other security forces from the entire Kandhamal District.
- Give permanent employments to the sons of deceased.
(PRAFULLA SAMANTARA) (NARENDRA MOHANTY) (ABHIRAM MALLICK) (SALO MARANDI)
(LENIN KUMAR) (TAPAN PADHI) (TIRUPATI GAMANG)