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'Stop torturing us, else we flee towards towns'

Stop torturing us, else we flee towards towns.' The anger against police spills on to the streets in around 200 villages along Jharkhand-West Bengal border.


Disgruntled by the unleash of torturous treatment to them for allegedly siding with naxalites, the villagers, breaking boundaries of state and region, have joined hands and virtually issued a fatwa against police of the two states warning them to refrain from harassing innocent people. "If you continue with the torturous treatment," villagers warn police, "We would migrate to the nearby towns to settle, demanding camps and compensation alike the Kashmiri and other refugees."


What has prompted them to take such a major decision? HT visited few such villages, mostly inaccessible, to hear their grievances. The resentment against police was apt. For, villagers complain that ever next day police of any of the two states would raid their homes and pick up men and youth on suspicion of being a naxalite or aiding the Red Brigade.


During the last one and a half month, Jharkhand police has arrested at least 15 persons from Kesarpur panchayat alone, most of them charged with conspiring and assisting naxalites in killing Jamshedpur MP, Sunil Mahato. Villagers vehemently deny their involvement in the gruesome act, and vouch for their innocence.


Situation in bordering villages of West Bengal including is no different. People in Dwarsini complained that police raid their homes, pick up innocent members of their families, and also loot cash and belongings. A case in point is the arrest of Dumkakocha youth, Sunil Singh for his alleged involvement in the blowing up of Dwarsini Tourist Lodge.


A visibly anguished, younger brother, Anil Singh told HT, "My brother was a yoga trainer with Art of Living (AoL) camp at Ghatsila, besides serving part time for Sahara finance. When Bandwan police raided our home for him, Sunil had in his possession Rs 40,000 cash he had collected from his clientele. They took away cash and other valuables along with my brother for a crime he had never committed."


With the situation turning worse each day, the aggrieved villagers felt the need to raise a concerted voice against the atrocity by law enforcers, and thus formed Border Jungle Mahal Jan Jagran Samity (BJMJJS). The Samity recently has taken out two massive rallies in the Bengal side protesting against police atrocities, and demanding immediate release of innocent people trapped on naxalism charges. A similar rally is being planned in Ghatsila (Jharkhand) shortly.


"Police torture us in the day, in the night its naxalites. If living in village were a crime, we would love to migrate to towns and cities," observed BJMJJS chairman, Panchanan Singh. Ram Chandra Murmu, secretary, Majhi Pargana Mahal, supreme socio-religious body of tribals in the area too confirmed police atrocity against innocent villagers.


Police claims the agitations 'naxalite sponsored'. "The Maoists are instigating villagers for such acts," DSP Ghatsila, Shailendra Burnwal said.

Hindustan Times

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posted by Resistance 4/22/2007 09:51:00 AM,

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