Witness to ‘fake encounter’ detained by policeJanuary 3, 2010
This article has been written For The New Indian Express.
Sodhi Sambo (age 28) of the village of Goompad of Dantewada district is a witness and a victim of the October 1st killings in the village of Goompad, where nine people, including an eight-year old girl were killed, allegedly by security forces. Eighteen-month old Madvi Mukesh (name changed) lost three of his fingers on the same day, along with his mother and his maternal grand parents.
According to her testimony, she was apprehended by security forces on the 1st of October, 2009 and taken to the house of Soyam Sensa, where Soyam Sensa’s wife Soyam Bali was, with her infant baby. Allegedly, the security forces had raised their rifles to shoot her but were prevented from doing so by other security forces.
She was not so lucky, as she was lined up against the house and shot in her leg. Seeing this, her two children Sodi Raju (age 3) and Sodi Nago (age 5) had thrown themselves on her and began to cry. Other security forces then prevented the shooter from carrying out his act and left them.
As of the 2nd of January, she was at Dantewada town, convalescing and waiting for her operation dates for her leg injury. Police had regularly inquired into her presence at Dantewada Hospital where she was receiving treatment for malaria when it was decided by social activists that she should be taken out of Dantewada for her safety. On the way to Raipur, she was forcibly picked up at Kanker district by the police without a warrant and without any charges against her.
Meanwhile, the matter of the unlawful killings on the village of Goompad was taken to the Supreme Court, against the State Of Chhattisgarh, Respondent no.1, Central Bureau of Investigation, Respondent no.2 and the Union of India, Respondent no.3 via social activist Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram and the victims of violence of another village of Gachanpalli. Sodhi Sambo is petioner no.13 of the said Writ Petition (Criminal) No.103 of 2009.
An earlier magisterial inquiry was ordered into the killings of Singaram where 19 tribals were allegedly shot dead by the police, by the Chhattisgarh government and was carried out by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate Ankit Anand, who had arrived to collect the testimonies of the victims and witnesses along with the accused SPOs and police personnel. Allegedly, statements were recorded incorrectly, no real investigation was done, no chargesheet was prepared.
The current forced detainment of Sodhi Sambo has been ordered by the Superintendent of Police Amresh Mishra under the pretext of collecting her testimony.