Two girijans of Malkangiri District in Odisha, killed by the Greyhounds in Puttakota forest area in Koyyuru mandal on February 21, were farmers and part of a 22-member group that ventured deep into the Visakha Agency while hunting wild animals as part of their Koya community custom.
They were not members of the Galikonda area committee of the banned CPI (Maoist) as claimed by the police, a two-member team of the Human Rights Forum (HRF) concluded after a fact-finding visit to the Odisha villages.
Ganga Madkami (40) and Ganga Podiami (33) were killed and another Girijan Irma Kawasi (50) was injured when the police opened fire on them. Another girijan Mukka Madakami escaped unhurt and ran away from the scene, general secretary of HRF V.S. Krishna and executive committee member K. Sudha said in a statement on Saturday.
Treated at Kailasagiri
The police provided treatment to Kawasi to get the bullet removed from his left arm, at a place he describes as a “police medical centre at Kailasagiri” and gave him Rs.5,000 when he was sent back to the village on March 16, but did not reveal his injuries or treatment because it would have revealed that the encounter was fake, the HRF said.
The HRF said that the Greyhounds party chanced upon the four girijans and opened fire straight away. It demanded that the Greyhounds personnel as well as police officials concerned be prosecuted under Section 302 of IPC and other relevant penal provisions including screening of evidence as well as the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
CBI probe demanded
The CBI must investigate the case and the families of the two deceased must be paid not less than Rs.10 lakh each and Rs.5 lakh must be given to Kawasi. The HRF urged the Malkangiri Collector to visit Tumasapalli and meet Kawasi and provide him proper medical treatment to help him recover totally.
The HRF team visited several villages in Korukonda block of Malkangiri District on March 31 including Balakati under Dudametta Panchayat, the native village of the two deceased and Tumasapalli, where it met Kawasi. It was told that the four had set out for hunting while the rest were preparing food and as they were resting at a place and had kept by their side the bows and arrows and two country-made weapons, when the Greyhounds personnel fired at them.
Dies of snake bite
Mukka Madkami, who had fled the scene, returned to his village Tumasapalli five days later. But he died on the night of March 30 of a snake-bite while sleeping in his house.
Kawasi, who managed to reach Puttakota village and was in a semiconscious state, was picked up by the police and taken to Narsipatnam along with the bodies of Madkami and Podiami. The bodies were handed over to the victims’ families and Rs.10,000 was given to each family. Later he was shifted to Visakhapatnam, the HRF report said.
The HRF said it was clear that a party of Greyhounds chanced upon the four Girijans and opened fire straightaway.