August 12, 2011

life in general: extremely ugly violence-cum-murder committed by police in pune, maharashtra

Earlier this week, on Tuesday (August 9) afternoon, farmers and residents of some villages in Pune district (in Maharastra state of India) were protesting on the Bombay-Pune Expressway. Their protest involved wrongful acquistion of their lands for a water pipeline project which would pass through their villages and supply water to a large industrial township, Pimpri-Chinchwad, in the Pune district.

An extremely ugly and a highly shocking thing happened at the protest! The protesting villagers were fired upon directly by the police, and when they began to run away from the firing, the police chased them and kept firing at them directly. There was no threat to life to the policemen from the protestors but the police kept firing away. At least 3 villagers lost their lives and several were seriously injured.

Obviously, the permission to open fire, came from very senior politicians of the state government of Maharashtra (the deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar, seemingly the one to have given permission to do so). The rural police of the Pune district, headed by Superintendent of Police, Sandip Karnik, blindly followed the orders, or even if there were no such orders, he gave the green signal to his men out of sheer criminal madness.

The police gave all kinds of excuses for their firing but when video footage emerged, clearly showing policemen chasing villagers and firing at them, their claims have proved to be nothing but ugly deception.

Immediately below is a video, from youtube, showing a clipping of Star News television channel's coverage, which shows the ugly police firing. After the video, I have copied-and-pasted three newsreports that shed more light on the matter.


 | Mumbai, August 11, 2011 | Updated 09:20 IST  
The claim of the Maharashtra police and state home minister R. R. Patil that the firing on farmers who were protesting against land acquisition on Mumbai-Pune Expressway on Tuesday was done in 'self defence' has fallen flat on the face.
Footage of the incident shot by local cameramen reveals a completely different picture.
Mail Today has footage of the firing that shows that the police shot and killed farmers without any warning. The footage shows that the policemen did not use their weapons as a last resort or for self defence. They can be clearly seen aiming their guns and shooting at the farmers.
The footage also shows superintendent of police Sandeep Karnik firing at the fleeing protesters from an INSAS rifle.
The police had claimed that they had to fire when the villagers resorted to arson. However, the video shows that it was not the protesters but the policemen who began vandalising vehicles on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Ganesh Taras
Ganesh Taras (25), one of the protestors, was hit in the thigh by a police bullet.
Ganesh Taras (25), who was shot in the thigh, said the protesters were deliberately beaten and provoked by the police. "Is this the way the police should have tackled people who were protesting peacefully? We were already winding up the function when they deliberately beat us up and provoked us. The police chased and shot people who were running away, without any warning," Taras, who is admitted in the ICU in Talegaon General Hospital, said. He added that the police showed no mercy and even women were shot.
Another protester, Ajit Chowdhary (24), who was shot in the leg, said, "Ironically, I was shot while helping out a policeman who had fallen down. I was helping him get up when they fired at me. I was shocked; another youth who came to help me was also shot. I don't know what happened to him." Raman Pawar, a farmer, admitted that stones were thrown at the police by the protesters.
"Some of us did throw stones at the police. However, the police deliberately provoked us. We were ready to move away from the expressway and wanted the collector to come and give us an assurance. The collector did not bother to come and the police started thrashing us, which resulted in the stone throwing," Pawar said.
He added that the 'unwarranted' police action was carried out under the orders of deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar as the Pimpri-Chinchwad water project - against which the farmers were protesting - is his pet project.
"There is no question that the police fired to kill us and the orders were given by Ajit Pawar, who wants water from the Pawna dam to be given to Pimpri-Chinchwad. They can kill some more of our men but we will not give even a piece of our land or water to them," Pawar said.


I don’t want to be a pawn: Maval victim

Pushed to the wall by pressure from all quarters, Pune SP Sandip Karnik suspended six cops, and held a 2-hr-long press conference. His answers raised more questions about the police action in Maval.

Gitesh Shelke, Nitin Brahme 
►  Police have ‘no idea’ who shot Moreshwar Sathe dead on Tuesday. His friend Vasant Garade says Sathe was shot in cold blood by cops as he walked towards him

►  Tempo driver Navnath Pangare, shot in the leg, denies his statement given to cops on video in a Lonavala hospital that someone in a white car shot him. Says he has no idea who did

►  If both sides of E-way were shut down, how did a car pass through?

►  Pangare’s family has alleged that SP Karnik and a police inspector came to Pune hospital, urged them to avoid media, said all expenses would be ‘taken care of’

►  Mediapersons claim that Karnik made them delete footage of the clash, say cops told them to take Pangare’s byte

Refuting the claims of the police about the circumstances in which he received his bullet injury, tempo driver Navnath Pangare said he has no idea who shot him. His police statement says occupants of a private white Indica or Indigo car fired at him. Pangare is undergoing treatment at a private hospital here. His family is alleging that SP Sandip Karnik and a police inspector approached them in Pune and told them all medical expenses would be met and to avoid the media.

Meanwhile, police claims about the death of Moreshwar Sathe — one of the three shot dead on Tuesday — have been challenged by Sathe’s friend who was present with him on the E-way. Vasant Garade told Pune Mirror that Sathe had been taken to a police van, but was released and was walking towards him and others when police shot him from behind in cold blood.

How did moreshwar sathe die?

Vasant Barku Garade, a close friend of deceased Sathe who was present at the site, said, “About four policemen nabbed him and took him to the van. They made him sit inside for a while. We saw him sitting in the police van. After five minutes, we saw him alighting from the van. He was walking towards us and policemen were standing with their guns near the van. As he was walking, a bullet pierced the nape of his neck and emerged from his mouth.”

Sathe, who was a tractor driver, owned a small piece of land, and had gone to the agitation site. Garade and other villagers who say they were witnesses claimed that Sathe was killed by cops encounter-style.

Karnik refuted the allegations saying police have not indulged in encounter tactics while quelling the farmers’ agitation on Tuesday. “Yes, it is true that police had attempted to detain him at the agitation site. He was caught and was made to sit in the police van parked nearby. But it not known when he left the police van. He left the van without knowledge of the policemen. Also, it is not known how he died of a bullet injury. He might have died by a police bullet, but it wasn’t an encounter.” Karnik said.

Who shot Navnath Pangare?

Pangare, a resident of Khed-Shivapur, was admitted to the general ward of a private hospital in Shivajinagar where he was operated for his bullet injury. However, on Wednesday night, a team of policemen led by Karnik allegedly went to the hospital and shifted Pangare to the ICU.

His father Vitthal told Pune Mirror that policemen restrained family members from speaking to mediapersons. When family members opposed Pangare’s shift to ICU citing high expenses, cops present there told them not to bother about ICU expenses. “We do not want ICU facilities but police have forced us to move to the ICU. We were told to say that Navnath has been discharged from the hospital. We do not know the reason behind such orders,” Vitthal said.

Pangare’s ‘statement’ was recorded by police on video at a Lonavala hospital where he was initially admitted. According to it, Pangare says “Indica-wala challa hota, ani tyatun golibar zhala” (A white Indica was passing by and there was firing from it).

However, on Thursday, Pangare denied having ever made such a complaint or given such a statement to the cops. Police said Pangare had lodged a private complaint registered with the Vadgaon Maval police station. “I just gave a statement to the police but I don’t know whose bullet it was. I don’t know who fired at me. I have not filed any complaint. I don’t want to be made a pawn in the game,” Pangare said.

Police dragging Moreshwar Sathe away after trouble broke out on the E-way on Tuesday

Karnik said Pangare’s tempo was heading towards Pune from Mumbai when it got caught in traffic on the Expressway. “Both the corridors — Mumbai and Pune — of the Expressway were blocked and Pangare’s tempo was standing on Pune corridor at Kamshet tunnel. Around five policemen were standing there. It was at around 1.30 pm when when an Indica or Indigo car passed through. Pangare said unidentified occupant/s of the car fired at him. The case was registered with Lonavla police and then transferred to Wadgaon Maval police station.”

He added: “We have not found spent cartridges from the site of the firing and we are yet to get ballistic reports of the bullet found in Pangare’s thigh. Police have obtained vital clues about the car and suspects will be tracked down. As per Pangare’s statement, we have registered the case against the car’s occupant/s.” What he didn’t spell oit was how a private car drove through when both E-way corridors were blocked.

  Cops instructed media to delete some footage 

The controversy surrounding the Pune Rural police’s role in the Maval firing is deepening. New revelations show that cops may have forced local cameramen to delete videos of the firing.

On Tuesday afternoon, local reporters landed at Baur, as the firing took place. They recorded the agitation, firing and stone pelting – but policemen soon routed them.

On condition of anonymity, one mediaperson told Mirror, “After the firing, we rushed to the truck and started recording videos of the police damaging the vehicle. Suddenly, one officer who was with the superintendent of police came and threatened us and ordered us to delete the videos. We ran to the SP and told him that some police were damaging vehicles, but he became angry with us. He said, ‘Do you know whose vehicles these are? You do not see anything’. Then, the SP wrote down our names and those of our publications and left.”


For two decades, Maval farmers have surrendered land to mega projects like the Expressway, MIDC, SEZs, a ring road, but it was dy CM Ajit Pawar’s pipeline project that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Farmers who took on cops on Tuesday say they don’t want to give the govt any more land, but Ajit Pawar is forcing them to

Pune Mirror Bureau
Posted On Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at 05:46:24 AM

The body of the first victim of Tuesday’s mayhem, Shyamrao Tupe, lies on the Expressway as farmers clash with police over land acquisition
Even as the horror of Tuesday afternoon and the images of devastation and death sink in, a scratching of the surface reveals a taluka of farmers pushed to the wall by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and his Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) designs on their land.

  How Ajitdada acquired the wrath of Maval farmers  

Cops open fire in a conflagaration that wreaked havoc on the E-way
Protestors mill amidst confused traffic and alert security forces during riots on Tuesday
Farmers who clashed with cops said they would not have resorted to the extreme step of blocking the E-way, had Pawar given a patient hearing to their valid demands — compensation for the land being acquired for the proposed pipeline project from Pavana dam to Pimpri-Chinchwad and permission to draw water from the pipeline for irrigating their agriculture holdings. Land for the pipeline project is to be acquired in Donje, Shirgaon, Somatne, Parandwadi, Urse and Adhe villages. Farmers protesting the Pavana pipeline are stressing that it is a “politically motivated project.”

“The NCP had its own designs. Their modus operandi is to deny water to the local farmer and make his survival difficult. He will ultimately sell his land and migrate elsewhere. Of course, the political land mafia will do the rest — snatch the land,” said Keshav Wadekar, a local farmer.

Deepak Phalle, a farmer from Baur, gave vent to the collective fear of being dispossessed of their ancestral land and robbed of the Pavana dam waters, when he told Pune Mirror, “Ajit Pawar is our guardian minister, but he does not want to protect the interests of Maval farmers because they have not voted for the NCP.”

Phalle’s allegation is reflected in the project’s progess report. It was launched before the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in 2009, but the NCP adopted a go-slow approach during the elections fearing an adverse reaction from voters. It lost the Maval Lok Sabha seat to Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Babar, and then the Assembly segment to BJP’s Sanjay Bhegade. Work on the project was relaunched with full vigour in December 2009.

Farmer Santosh Dabhade from Dabhade Wasti said the pipeline was laid in such a way that land belonging to NCP supporters was spared, while those like him aligned with opposition parties like BJP had to give up their land. “JCBs were pressed into service to flatten our standing crop. When we opposed the action, police cases were registered against us,” Dabhade said.

The farmers said they were fighting for the last crumbs of land left with them. “In the past two decades we have lost land to the MIDC, then the Expressway followed by special economic zones. We hear the ring road project too is in the pipeline. We have lost thousand of acres for paltry or no compensation,” said Ajit Dabhade from Talegaon.

Rajabhau Chavan, a farmer who was injured in the lathicharge, said, “This is nothing but a political conspiracy to finish the Mavalas in Maval.” He warned that the Mavalas had withstood injustices for centures since Shivaji’s time. “Ajit Pawar may have forgotten, but we have fought enemies like the Mughals in the past,” he said.

Shiv Sena’s MP from Maval Gajanan Babar said, “We strictly condemn the barbaric action against the farmers. This is the fourth firing incident against innocents in the state. This is happened on the orders of guardian minister Ajit Pawar. The SP should be charged with murdering the people. This battle will continue. We will ensure that this project is not completed over the dead bodies of farmers.”

► NCP had its own designs — they deny water to the farmer, make his survival difficult. He ultimately sells off his land and migrates. Then the political land mafia do the rest

- Keshav Wadekar, a farmer from the area

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