Kotipalli Triple-Murders: HRF Submission To Magisterial Probe

Visakhapatnam dist.

Sub: Submission by Human Rights Forum to magisterial enquiry into alleged    encounter death of Golluri Sombu, Golluri Budra and Pangi Sadayi


We have gathered from media reports that you are the officer conducting magisterial enquiry under Section 176 of CrPC into the death of Golluri Sombu, his brother Golluri Budra and Pangi Sadayi, all residents of Kotipalli village in Pamparimetta panchayat of Kodamulgumma block in Malkangiri district of Orissa in an alleged encounter with the police on January 20, 2009.

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) is a citizens’ forum established with the objective of working for the protection of Constitutionally guaranteed/internationally recognised rights of the people. We are concerned with, among other things, ensuring that the agencies of the State, like the police, adhere to the law in the discharge of their duties. We believe that citizens must be tried and punished, if found guilty, only in accordance with a procedure laid down by the law of the land and no one can be subjected to extra-judicial execution by the State. That would be contrary to Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. We therefore place before you the following:

A five-member fact-finding team of the HRF enquired into the January 20, 2009 “encounter”. We believe that what took place on that day was not an encounter but murder. The killings took place not in Pedabayulu mandal of Andhra Pradesh State as the AP police have been maintaining, but in Kotipalli itself, the native village of the three deceased.

At about 9 am on January 20, over 30 Greyhounds police personnel went to the village. They picked up Golluri Sombu (45), his brother Golluri Budra (40) and Pangi Sadayi (20) from outside their homes. They were beaten up badly there itself. Kotipalli is a small village of only about 15 households and the other residents of the village could not offer any resistance to the armed Greyhounds policemen who outnumbered them.

Sadhayi, who was three-months pregnant was tied to a tree by the police and beaten so badly that she lost consciousness. The police tied up the hands of Sombu and Budra and made them walk to the outskirts of the village. Sadayi, who had fainted and was bleeding from the nose, was carried there by the police. The Greyhounds men also beat up several other villagers, among them Killo Singari and Vanthala Bisi who were beaten badly.

Sombu, Budra and Sadayi, were taken outside the village near the burial ground. It appears that the three were tortured by the police for nearly two hours. At about 11 am, three separate bursts of gunfire was heard by the residents of Kotipalli. A little while later, the police took with them the three dead bodies below the hill. The villagers were not given any information whatsoever.

This is clearly an incident of deliberate and intentional killing of three unarmed kondh Adivasis by the police. However, even though these murders actually took place in Orissa, since the AP police are stating that it is an “encounter” that took place in our State, a case under IPC 302 has to be therefore registered against the Greyhounds police concerned at Pedabayulu police station in respect of these murders. The Pedabayulu police have to be given the names of the police personnel who were part of the Greyhounds team that went to Kotipalli on January 20 by the Greyhounds officials. This is in line with the February 2009 judgement of the AP High Court in the matter of encounter deaths.

Importantly, the investigation in this case must not be done by the Andhra Police. The then Visakhapatnam SP has maintained, inspite of the plain facts, that the three deceased are not unarmed Adivasi villagers but Maoist cadre. Therefore, there is no scope for justice being done if the AP police themselves investigate this case. Since the Malkangiri SP has also parroted the lies put out by his counterpart in Visakhapatnam, it will not be of any use to handover the case to them either. The HRF demands that criminal investigation of this case must be conducted by either the CBI or a criminal investigation team under the aegis of the National Human Rights Commission.

All three deceased were ordinary, poor villagers and kondh Adivasis. Sombu has six children and Budra three. We demand that the AP Govt. hand over as compensation not less than Rs 5 lakh each to the family members of the three killed.

We also urge you to issue a public statement assuring potential witnesses who wish to depose before you that no harm will befall them. We say this because in most cases relating to police lawlessness intimidation is resorted to by the police so as to prevent people from deposing.

VS Krishna
HRF general secretary

M Sarat
(HRF Vizag dist. president)


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