Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rs. 20 WAS the cost of his LIFE

Indian army's famous naga batallion is in Chhattisgarh. To flush out the naxalites, as they say. And of course, they have not been successful in doing that in last two years.

But this post is about a bengali shopkeeper in Dornapal, who was shot dead by jawans of Indian army on 17th september 2006. When Amit first wrote about it, I thought it must be an exaggeration. A couple of phonecalls later, it turned out to be more brutal than actually presumed. The story doesn't end with Shekhar's death. Let me repeat the story here. Shekhar, family's only breadwinner was running a small clothes shop in front of Dornapal camp. Four jawans of naga batallion came to his shop on 17th evening, and asked for a banyan. Shekhar quoted Rs. 35 for it (Amit mentions Rs 30). The jawans said, "Hamare nagaland me Rs. 15 me milta hai". (We get it in Rs. 15 in our Nagaland) Altercation ensued, and then the armymen promptly took him aside. His body was found in the evening. What happenned next is no surprise.

Each one I spoke to have admitted that it were the armymen who killed Shekhar. But nobody wants to say this to police or in front of a judicial magistrate, fearing for their lives. The family is highly scared, which is natural in such circumstances, and have refused to file an FIR. A couple of days later, I read a report in a local daily, blaming the naxalites for his murder. Isn't it ridiculous? Why can't the people of our country stand up against the attrocities committed by the army? Do we lack the courage, or the moral drive? Or do we really believe that a life worth Rs 20, is actually no life at all. That people like Shekhar deserve to die. Remember that he was not killed in crossfire, or a collateral damage. It was a cold blooded murder, with full circumstantial evidence present against the murderers?

The only condemnation of this incident has come from a naga human rights group:

Naga Vigil HRG Condemns Killing by 9th Naga Btn IRP

The Naga Vigil Human Rights Group condemns the killing of an innocent shopkeeper at Chatrisgarh by a serving jawan of the 9th Btn IRP from Nagaland without reservation. It demands that the 9th IRP Commandant Bendang Lemtur Ao from Sungratsu Village in Mokokchung Distrct of Nagaland resident of Aoyimti Dimapur makes full and frank admission of the incident and bring the culprit to book as well as making adequate reparations to the next of kin of the victim.

Furthermore it is wholly appropriate for the Chief Minister of Chatrisgarh to make official complaint to his Naga counterpart Neiphiu Rio Angami and if necessary demand the removal of the 9th Btn IRP from their territory. There is a catalogue of abuses in the trail of this particular unit which includes violations against innocent civilians in Nagaland prior to their posting to Chatrisgarh. It is not the solution to post out of district troops against Maowadi or People's War Group activists because it amounts to civil war. It is better by far to enter an unconditional dialogue and find a solution to the complex problems that exist in Chatrisgarh.

David P. Ward

International Co-ordinator

Naga Vigil HRG

London U.K.

22nd October 2006"

Please check this page for more updates. The murderers are still serving in the Indian army. If this is what is happenning in Chhattisgarh (without AFSPA/UAPA/DAA), just think what might be going on in North east and Kashmir, with all these draconian laws in place? A friend mentioned that the center cannot send back the naga army from Chhattisgarh to Nagaland, as they have done enough damage to that state. So, are they here in Chhattisgarh to fight against the naxalites or to create more of them?

Update: While I was writing this post, people in Kashmir were protesting against the killing of another 19 year old boy in the hands of Indian army (Rashtriya rifles batallion). Kashmir tells us more about the details, which the government of India will try their best to gloss over. Ths important question is how many armymen have been punished in India in last 60 years for rape or murder? Why do they feel so immue while committing these acts of terror? Why are they so sure that they will get away with anything?


At 8:39 am, Blogger n said...

I had not even read about this anywhere.
A lot gets left out of our newspapers. and a lot that shudn't even get a chance to exist is front page news.
i'm a journo, and being on the inside, i know just how cynical everyone is, and just what concerns drive decisions. :(

At 10:49 am, Blogger Praveen said...

Thought Provoking.thanx..

At 4:07 am, Blogger Anoop Saha said...

Thanks. A debate has started in the Nagaland press. You can read more details at

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