Naxals call bandh in two districts of Maharashtra
Gadchiroli: Naxals have called a bandh in Gadchiroli and Gondia districts of Maharashtra on July 15 to protest the killing of fellow women in recent encounters. The bandh is against the encounters of Medhri in Etapalli taluka, Govindgaon in Aheri taluka, Bhatpar in Bhamragad taluqua and Sindesur in Dhanora taluka of the districts. The western regional committee of Dandakaranya has distributed pamphlets in this regard in remote parts of the district appealing to the people to support the bandh.
Though police have not identified all the Naxal women killed in the Medhri encounter, they have mentioned the casualties in the pamphlet as Swarupa Dhurva, DVC Commander, Sangita Madavi, Anita Kowasi, Seema, Premila and Reshma alias Savitri. “Make the bandh against killing of six women Naxals in Medhri village by para military forces a success,” the pamphlet said. It has appealed the people to oppose the anti-Naxal operation and deployment of para military forces.
Alleged woman Maoist killed in shoot-out with police
A woman Maoist was killed in a shoot-out with police near Kinnangi village in the G K Veedhi mandal of the district today, police said here. A combing party of the police came upon a group of about 25 Maoists in the forest near Kinnangi. Maoists opened fire when police asked them to surrender, police claimed. The dead woman Maoist was yet to be identified, they added.
For journalist in Chhattisgarh, justice delayed, denied
New York, July 12, 2013–Indian authorities’ failure to proceed expeditiously in the prosecution of a freelance journalist is a miscarriage of justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The journalist, who has been held for almost two years without bail on anti-state charges, had exposed police wrongdoing in central Chhattisgarh state. “Every day authorities hold Lingaram Kodopi in prison, they are exacting punishment without providing fair and effective due process,” said CPJ Asia program coordinator Bob Dietz.
“The charges against him smack of retaliation and we call for his immediate release.” The Chhattisgarh High Court on Monday denied bail to Kodopi, who has been imprisoned since September 2011, saying his crime was “of a heinous nature,” news reports said. Kodopi’s next hearing is scheduled for August, according to a Siddhartha Mitra, a New York-based human rights activist familiar with Kodopi’s case. A bail plea had been brought to the high court last month after efforts failed in the lower court.
Authorities accused Kodopi of being a Maoist associate after he allegedly facilitated a transfer of funds between representatives of a steel company and Maoists in Chhattisgarh, where security forces and Maoists are in conflict, according to news reports. The journalist has been charged with criminal conspiracy, sedition, and waging war against the state, according to the New Delhi-based Tehelka magazine. Kodopi had also been accused of carrying out an attack against a local politician, but he has been acquitted in that case, reports said. Kodopi has denied all of the accusations and said the cases have been filed in retaliation for his documentation of police violence in the area, according to news reports.
In April 2011, Kodopi had documented the destruction of houses during an anti-Maoist police operation in three Dantewada villages and “recorded on video precise narrations of police atrocities,” Tehelka reported. At a public forum in Delhi in April 2010, Kodopi spoke about police officers taking part in sexual assaults. He also described his own experience being tortured by police.
In August 2009, he was held in police custody without legal basis for 40 days, according to Human Rights Watch. During that time he was beaten and pressured to join Indian law enforcement’s fight against the Maoist insurgency, according to Tehelka. Kodopi refused and, fearing retribution, fled the state to seek journalism training in New Delhi, Tehelka reported. Tehelka recorded a local police official admitting that Kodopi had been framed, but the journalist remains in prison. Local human rights activists have cast doubts on the fairness of his ongoing trial and have called for an independent probe, news reports said.