CHIKMAGALUR: The fearful and scared looks of the people in these villages to any stranger tells its own story in these villages, as they are living a nightmarish experience with khaki clad police. When `The Times of India’ visited some of the Naxal-infested areas, the people of this terrain were at first reluctant to speak, but they slowly started unfolding their experiences in the recent raids on the villages. What has scared them so much is the recent police raids on their houses, to take some of the youths terming them as Naxal supporters.
LAMP society president Kempegowda, who first to spoke of their trials about the recurring police raids and arrests said, after the announcement of parliamentary elections, police have taken more than 40 people into custody terming them as Naxal patronisers from villages like Mundagaru, Sheerlu, Adikesu in Sringeri taluk and Yadgunda, Menasinahadya and Odeyaramatha in Koppa taluk.
He said, police registered cases against them as tears rolled down their cheeks. Some were were released after they were tortured. Kempegowda said, “They are creating an atmosphere where one cannot live peacefully. Let the government point out our mistakes; we will rectify it, instead of intimidating us in inhuman way.”
A tribal, Manjegowdlu, who spoke to TOI said, “We are not Naxals, but our repeated pleadings have not been believed. I swear in the name of god that we are not Naxalites, but still they are not letting us to live a peaceful life.” He also felt that this type of torture had some hidden motive, saying “The government might be using this way to evict us from this national park.”
Many who spoke to TOI on this occasion said that police are taking many youths of this area into custody to elicit information of matters they do not know of and are torturing them. They said that the police also have taken the minor son of Ramegowdlu, who was `allegedly’ killed in the Odeyaramatha encounter, into custody and later released him. They have officially shown arrests of Gurumurthy of Tarollikodige, Gurige Ramegowda, Sheerlu Ramesh, Kallugudde Sathish, Kadegowda, Matolli Halappa and Anantha. Subramanya and Janardhana were tortured and then released.
The people said, if this harassment continued, they would have no other choice, but to go on a hunger strike in front of the DC’s office and end their lives, instead of receiving routine torture by the police even if they were innocent.
10 May 2009, TNN