Pellets in MP village, villagers severely injured accused of “encroaching” their own lands

The Madhya Pradesh police fired at unarmed villagers from Siwal, Burhanpur in MP on July 9. As per reports that have emerged from the ground, the forest officials in the area, accompanied by police and revenue officials started destroying newly planted fields in Siwal village. The forces allegedly destroyed five fields planted with makka and a traditional variety of rice. However, they did not seem to have stopped there. Reportedly, when the villagers started protesting, the officials opened up fire. They used pellet guns (Chharra). The Superintendent of Police (SP) from Burhanpur, Ajay Singh confirmed the incident of firing saying to Sabrangindia, “It was a case of encroachment, as per the forest officials. They were getting the land cleared. It was the forest dwellers who surrounded the officials in large numbers and started pelting stones on them. That was when the officials opened up fire. The incident took place yesterday.”

farmers protest

Notably, the government of MP had decided to re-examine all the ‘rejected’ FRA claims, as also demanded by the Supreme Court in its February judgment on the eviction of forest dwellers. However, it appears that the forest officials didn’t wait for the process to be completed.

Several Adivasis were injured in the incident. Their details are as follows:
1. Gokharsing s/o Gatla (Gatya) Badole : Pellet embedded in neck/collarbone, pellet embedded in  chest.  Pellet injury (pellet not embedded) in abdomen. He was taken to Burhanpur hospital by the administration only at around midnight where doctors reportedly said they could not remove the pellet in the neck. At around 1 am he was taken by police to MY Hospital Indore (divisional tertiary care hospital ), where he is currently admitted. 
2. Bhuralal s/o MangtyaAchchale : Pellet injuries in chest and leg
3. Rakesh s/o Rama Achchale : Pellet injuries in arm and thigh
4. Vakil s/o Bhikla : pellet injury on shins.

After the incident, the Adivasis refused to disperse and the forces were compelled to withdraw. Many forest dwellers reportedly gathered around the police station Nepanagar, demanding that an FIR must be registered. But the police has refused to register the FIR, as per ground reports. Late night of July 9, though there were reports of an FIR being registered, but a copy of the same wasn’t received by the people. It appears that names of officials and details of injuries have been omitted.  No arrests have been made. Newspaper reports say that cases of ‘rioting and obstruction of public servants’ have been registered against villagers. 

The pattern of the police and forest authorities appears to be the same. A similar incident took place in Lilasi village of Sonbhadra, UP in June, 2018, when UP police first assaulted the villagers and then fabricated them in false cases. They were accused of cutting trees in an afforestation project. Severe repression and harassment had followed.

JagritAdivasi Dalit Sangathan, an organisation working for the rights of forest dwellers, has appealed to rights groups and individuals to demand the following:
1. Detailed FIR with injuries and names of forest officials as provided by complainants, including SDO (Nepanagar) ShriShukla and Ranger ShriRandhawa, be registered and relevant sections of the Prevention of Atrocities Act be applied, and the guilty officials be  be arrested forthwith
2. Cases against villagers be withdrawn
3. Re-Verification of all rejected and pending claims be undertaken on a war footing 
4. No forcible eviction until this process is complete in the state.

Please contact:
1. Chief Secretary, Govt of MP, Shri SR Mohanty : 0755 2441370,0755 2441848; mob 09425016831 ; email,
2. Principal Secretary Tribal Welfare dept, Ms DipaliRastogi : 0755-2551697, mob: 9425820100; mail
3. Collector, Burhanpur, ShriKaul: 07325-241000,07587980300
4. SP, BurhanpurShri Ajay Singh:  07325-242100, 7049100429



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