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News & Views on the Revolutionary Left

Menasinahadya residents speak well of ‘encounter’ victims

Ganesh Prabhu

Police detain more than 100 persons in Malnad region

Rame Gowda's son is reportedly missing

Resistance to shifting of bodies for post-mortem

Bullet-ridden: The house of Rame Gowda where the 'encounter' took place.

Megur (Chikmagalur district): The house of Rame Gowda has bullet holes in almost every room. The rice that he and his wife, Kaveri, had stored is strewn all over in one of the rooms. In another room, clothes are scattered on the floor. The tiled roof has bullet holes indicating random firing. Rainwater was seen in the house. In short, the house appears to have been the scene of an ambush.

Residents of Megur and Menasinahadya villages, located in the forests of the Western Ghats, 7 km from the main road, speak well of Rame Gowda, Kaveri, and the two other victims of the July 10 encounter, Parmeshwara and Sunderesh.

Several residents told The Hindu that Rame Gowda and Kaveri were a generous couple. They had two sons, Prashanth (14) and Adarsh (10), who study in Nemar, a village in Sringeri taluk. Prashanth has been reportedly missing since the day of the encounter. Rame Gowda had a small piece of land, which, according to villagers, yielded him two quintals of rice and 50 kg of arecanut a year. During a part of the year, he worked as an agricultural labourer.

The residents say that if the police were suspicious of Rame Gowda's activities, they could have resorted to legal means. There was no need to kill him and his wife. Prashanth, Director of Lamps Society, Koppa, said: "They should not have been shot just because they gave food to naxalites." On the day of the encounter, Parmeshwara and Sunderesh were in the couple's house. Sunderesh was to spray insecticide on Rame Gowda's areca palms, and Parmeshwara was just visiting.

According to Sunderesh's brothers, T.A. Jayakumar and T.A. Gunde, "Neither Sunderesh nor we are connected in any manner to naxalites."

With tears in his eyes, Parmeshwara's father, Sheshe Gowda, said that Parmeshwara never talked about naxalites. Since he was the general secretary of the Kudremukh Rashtriya Udyana Virodhi Samiti, a local Hindutva outfit branded him a naxalite sympathiser, he said. Recalling Tuesday's encounter, he said that it was "like bursting of crackers. He went to Rame Gowda's house as Rame Gowda is our relative."

Pitched battle

There was a pitched battle between the police and people of Megur and Menasinahadya villages on Tuesday night. The villagers had blocked the roads with logs and dug trenches. They even set a government vehicle on fire. The villagers did not want the dead bodies of the five persons killed in the "encounter" to be removed until the Chief Minister arrived on the spot. But the police resorted to lathi-charge around 1.45 a.m. on Wednesday and dispersed the crowd.


Correspondent reports from Chikmagalur:

Police detained more than 100 persons in the Malnad region of the district on Wednesday as a precautionary measure to prevent them from organising demonstrations to protest against the killing of five persons in the "encounter."

The arrested persons included leaders of various progressive organisations that have been listed by the Government as being sympathisers of the Maoists, including Kalkuli Vittal Hegde, president of the Kudremukh Rashtriya Udhyana Virodhi Okkoota.

The bodies of the slain persons were brought to the government hospital in Chikmagalur for post-mortem under tight security.

Vipul Kumar, Superintendent of Police, denied that the encounter had been staged. Speaking to presspersons, he reiterated that the 'naxalites' had fired first and the police retaliated. He said Paramesh, who was among those killed, was an office-bearer of the Kudremukh Rashtriya Udhyana Virodhi Okkoota and was considered to be a Maoist.


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posted by Resistance 7/12/2007 10:16:00 AM,


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