The Kishenji Cover-up: The Media And The Indian State
By Trevor Selvam
01 December, 2011
A detailed interview of Poet Varvara Rao by a CNN IBN reporter was removed by them from You Tube, very quickly after it was put up, possibly because the young woman interviewing him, repeatedly referred to Azad and Kishenji (two Central Committee members of the CPI (Maoist) killed recently by the Indian State) as "comrade" each time she brought up their names. Her line of questioning was not aggressive and in fact she was asking genuine questions that needed to be answered both by the State and the Maoists. Varvara Rao was blowing holes into all the official statements by the Police personnel, Mamata Bannerjee and PC Chidambaran. This of course was unpalatble for the CNN-IBN management. Maybe she had no intention to, but felt comfortable using the Bolshevik-smelling term, comrade, in the presence of Maoist sympathizer, Varvara Rao. Perhaps, she was not aware that Indian communists also use "sathi" which is the Indian version of comrade, with equal insistence. Maybe she would have gotten away with that. But it goes to show the completely censorial, disorganized and essentially feudal character of this media outlet and its minions. They must bow down to the devilish glare of the Home Ministry and the Indian state. This lady is possibly in deep trouble at this time.
Having seen the video, immediatey on its release, I was able to retain some of its essentials, fortunately. As soon as it was circulated it, it turned out that it had been pulled back by CNN-IBN. What inglorious bastards!
More importantly, Varavara Rao, insisted in very clear terms that the nature of Kishenji's wounds (a bullet hole in the neck which blew out his jaw and possibly exited through the back of his skull, taking his brains out (which actually lay on the soil of the forest, his one eye was gouged out, that there were at least twenty five gouges in his body) clearly indicated arrest, followed by cold blooded murder. Varvara Rao insisted that both the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission have demanded that a proper post mortem and investigation be done--- which was eventually not done. Remembering that so many recent encounter deaths have been proven to be complete fabrications, especially in the Westcoast of India, where a fascist regime, led by Narendra Modi rules, it should be a bit disconcerting for all human rights personnel, should it not?
The Midnapur Postmortem report hastily declared that the death was caused by at least a "500 metre range" of firing! What kind of ballistics expert would come to this conclusion? The effective range of the Insas rifle, standard equipment for all Indian counter insurgency operations is 450 metres! See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INSAS_rifle There are many variations of the Insas rifle with the Indian army invariably using the more automatic, gas powered, folding stock version with several add-ons including holographic line of sight management. Bottom line is that none of these versions are effective beyond 450 metres. Beyond 450 metres the bullet cannot cause fatal damage. Never mind exit through the back of the skull.
AK-47? Well, the effective range is even less. 400 metres (440 yd) semi-automatic and 300 metres (330 yd) full-automatic. Please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK-47
Surely, a bullet fired from a range of 500 metres would not have removed Kishenji's brains from inside his skull. Why did the post-mortem ballistic experts come up with the 500 metre fairy tale? Because they knew they had to state that there were no powder burns that would give away the story. And they had to do that in a rush. Kishenji's body was washed clean before any such evidence could be extracted. But, two days later a report was circulated that powder burns were found on Kishenji's hands, signifying that he was firing away! Well, one would expect a martyr like Kishenji to fire away until he was completely eliminated. But, the joke of a Post mortem report also gave away the politics of the hired doctors and quacks who handled Kishenji's corpse. In another report from the CNN-IBN, it was also inadvertently slipped out that both the AK-47s found next to Kishenji were fully loaded. Unused. When wholesale fabrication becomes the desperate order of the day, then the fabricators often trip themselves up. never mind the 500 metres, perhaps even at 50 metres, the bullets would have been fatal and there would be no powder burns. But the point of the whole examination was that he was repeatedly fired at, perhaps long after he was already dead. And it did not have to be from a close range. Six bullets were found inside his body. Aside from those that had fully penetrated and exited.
Mamata Banerjee, the leader of the Triamool Congress and Chief Minister of Bengal, whose two-faced lying tactics is now legendary, came up after two days of silence, with some weird numbers by herself, as well. In her theatrical, posturing style, she declared suddenly that a "bloodbath had been prevented." One of her greaseball, footlickers and adjutants, whispered in her ears that 1000 rounds were fired and for two days loudspeakers were used asking Kishenji and the Maoists to surrender! The police chiefs themselves expressed some surprise at such details, because they had declared that the Maoists were intercepted around 1 PM of that same day and Kishenji was dead by about 4 PM. The stories were not matching! Both the Insas and Ak-47 rifles can fire 650 rounds per minute, unless they are in a 3-burst mode. So, if the battle was on for several hours, never mind Mamata's two days, surely a lot more than a thousand rounds would have been fired even in the short burst range. She even declared now that "500 villagers' lives had been saved by the intervention." How desperate and maudlin can she get?
So a reporter of the Bengali TV channel, 24 Ghanta (CPI(Marxist) sympathetic channel), walked up to all the trees around where Kishenji was killed and examined the bark on the trees facing the direction where the Joint Forces came from and it was all pock marked with bullet holes. On the other hand no bullet holes were found on the side from which Kishenji could have been firing. Kishenji would never go down without firing his weapon. He has been a guerilla fighter for thirty four years. However, all indications are that he was not killed at that spot. It is quite interesting that the Police Chief who was heavily interviewed by all channels insisted on stating that it "was a clean operation." Who decides it was clean? Why was the word "clean" used? Is it because the Police know that they have a dirty, filthy reputation? PC Chidambaran, who had not made any such statement about the blatant murder of Azad, came up promptly with the statement that it was an encounter and that there was nothing fake about it.
Nobody seems to be overtly concerned that the AK-47 rifle stated to belong to Suchitra Mahato, a guerilla leader of the Maoists, found conveniently next to the body of Kishenji, along with his own rifle, was the same one snatched by Mamata Banerjee's activists, when they had a clash with the Police, almost a year ago. The CPI(Marxists) would of course state that this proves the collusion between the Maoists and the TMC! The fact is that there has always been a transient political force in such areas of guerilla conflict, be it in the Chinese revolution, the Cuban revolution or the Algerian resistance, where folks without definite affiliations switched sides, as they felt comfortable. Just as scores of the CPI(M)'s own Harmad forces have now joined TMC's Bharav Bahini. Both being thug lumpen armies. Why not look at facts as they are, instead of making talking points to score points? The other side of the issue is that if the gun was snatched by the TMC in the first place, it would be most plausible that the Police and the TMC placed that rifle near the body, in a rush, to show that Kishenji would be using it. Another case to prove that it was not an encounter! Unfortunately, it was also let out that this gun had a loaded magazine. No bullets had been fired from it!
One of the Police Chiefs, a DIG of the CRP, perhaps, also stated prominently that a lot of grenades were used. This is significant, because shrapnel damage is very similar to stab wounds, especially if the shrapnel has been removed. Why the rush to state that?
In the next few weeks many details will emerge. They will be bled to the press, slowly. There are a lot of hard discs, pen drives, literature, correspondence that has been recovered by the police. Some supposedly, even have pictures of Kishenji a few weeks before at a Maoist meeting, looking relaxed in military fatigues, On the other hand there are also some other correspondence that the Police will not reveal. In the interest of National Security, of course. Because there are many notes in there that reflect deeply on the cause they believe in, as well as the successes they have achieved.
The Maoists themselves have a lot to answer. Where was the cordon sanitaire around a top leader like Kishenji? Was he led into a trap? Of course, the Intelligence folks have already talked about "betrayal" by his own comrades. Standard disinformation campaign that Goebbels and Beria passed down to Hoover and the likes of Bhupinder Singh, the former Bengal DIG, who had himself started a misinformation campaign about Chatradhar Mahato, claiming that he had several personal estates in Orissa, large life insurance policy etc--all turning out to be lies. He is back in the picture, dishing out voluminous expertise. But people remember lies, more than they care for the truth sometimes.
In reality, it seems the Maoists have suffered some loss of local support. Their eyes and ears on the ground have been depleted, partly because of the wanton reprisal killings that they have engaged in. Bad propaganda, no matter what the circumstances. Perhaps they do not have adequate control over their own squads.
Trevor Selvam is a frequent contributor to Countercurrents
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