On the night of 20th January 2013, a young tribal woman was gang raped on the orders of a shalishi sabha (kangaroo court) led by Bolai Murdy, the Morol (tribal village head) a remote Santhal tribe village in the Labhpur police station area, in West Bengal as a punishment for having an affair with a youth from another community. The story of this tribal gang rape unfolding speaks not only of a crime committed without remorse, it speaks of an entire people whom civilization has passed by.
60 kilometers from Rabindranath Tagore's Shantiniketan, is this tribal village that doesn't have electricity and a school under construction and police usually do not enter the village at all. This courtyard of Bolai Murdy, the morol (village headman) was the scene of this gang rape saw people from teenagers to those old enough to be her uncles rape her. People she had grown up with. People she saw as family. The previous morol Bhaju Hembram left the shalishi sabha without comment. His son watched the gang rape happen.
Her crime? Having an affair with a man from Chowhatta village she met at the still under construction school. He was a mason and not from their community. The aftermath of the rape also saw village women give media opinions about the bad influence of that under-construction school on their village - the scene of the crime according to the village, for whom the gang rape was merely a punishment that they are belatedly denying happened at all.
The man and woman had been caught sitting together and brought to Bolai's courtyard (though the current morol is someone else). He demanded a fine of fifty thousand rupees from the man, and ordered a gang rape of the woman. The news broke in unbelievable updates on Thursday. It began as five men gang raping a woman on the village head's orders, rapidly went up to ten, then twelve and fourteen as more information became available. Initial information that she had been thrown into a shed to be raped proved incorrect as further information stated she was put up on a platform to be publicly raped. Most of her rapists were part of the tribal village council.
Media is still spewing unbelievable details about how there was consensus in the village that she should be raped, how her family was not allowed to help her or even seek medical help after the tribal gang rape and were confined to their homes for a day. It was in the afternoon on Wednesday that they slipped away with her and took her to the Bolpur subdivisional hospital, from where her injuries were deemed serious and she was taken to Suri hospital. There are villagers speaking about how the school is already a bad influence, that she met this man there. Days after the very public rape, 13 rapists were identified, all of whom openly living in the village, and an unprecedented "zero" of them arrested. They were arrested only after public outcry.
Meanwhile, the girl, whose sins also include speaking in Hindi and having been to Delhi, is in a critical condition and fighting for her life. The man's family has received a threat for a fine to be paid, and his brother is selling off valuables he accumulated for his daughter's dowry to save him. His wife bears no ill will to the girl and is only interested that the life of her man be spared.
It is ghastly, and one way or the other, justice must be ensured. The Supreme Court has taken suo motu notice of this incident.
That is as far as the crime goes.
But the larger picture almost one feel sorry for this village that will now be held to account for a wrong they think is right.
And why wouldn't it be so? Decades after independence, this place has no electricity. Along with the missing electricity is the missing influence of evolving social dialogue that comes with television or radio. This is a place that has no school. Police don't enter the village. Something as routine as traveling to Delhi is a black mark on a girl's character as was her being educated or having an income. They have always been marrying within the community and enforcing that and while their punishment was undoubtedly barbaric, 67 years after independence, they simply have not got the memo that individuals have rights and they may marry whom they choose. They do not see the wrong in a severe punishment being meted out to people who will marry out of the community.
As far as the community is concerned, they have no idea why outsiders have taken an interest in this incident. They see the policecase itself as a betrayal of the village by the girl's family. They see their men as innocent in delivering a punishment that was openly and transparently decided in front of the whole village. And they are standing by their rapists and barricaded their village against the police and media. They are in agreement that the behavior of the girl was not acceptable and it deserved punishment. They do not see the village elder councils as against the law. They do not understand why it is wrong to rape a woman. The disconnect with the values we take for granted is so complete, that there isn't even any point bringing up questions like adultery (the man was married) or misogyny.
Of course, they will now discover that there is a world beyond their barbaric village that isn't going to let them get away with inhuman customs. But there is also an ethical dilemma here. How do you expect people to obey laws that they don't know exist?
This is a failure of the state, that a pocket lives untouched by modernity, communication or national law till it suddenly comes in a violent clash with it, when a dramatic incident highlights their primitive capsule of a world after a human has paid a horrendous price for this neglect.
Beyond the crime, which must be punished in a manner the courts and state see fit (how do you punish a whole village?), this incident is also an eye opener on how the lack of basic development like electricity or education also results in an isolation of thought and abdication of rights of inhabitants.
What is India's responsibility in this situation? Is it only to punish rapes after they happen? Where is the awareness, where is the reform? Where is the knowledge of laws and rights? I suspect this village may get a crash course.
In an astonishing incident, MLASomnath Bharti of the Aam Aadmi Party decided to act on local complaints after police refused to conduct a raid on a building said to be the venue of drug smuggling and a prostitution racket. The resulting incident has two separate narratives.
The Aam Aadmi Party claims that MLASomnath Bharti acted on the complaints of locals after police refused to take action against the alleged operation. The police also refused to carry out the raid on Somnath Bharti's orders (Delhi police are controlled by the union government and MLAs have no direct authrity over them).
The police claim that they cannot conduct a raid without a warrant. It is unclear why they had not procured a warrant and raided the premises based on local information and complaints, though, since mediaquotes several residents who claim to have approached the police several times as well as requested earlier MLAs.
Somnath Bharti appears to have taken the law in his hands and conducted his own version of a raid with the help of local residents, and supporters are circulating this image as that of a Nigerian caught red handed during this raid, but allowed to escape by the police. [Update: AAP volunteers have retracted this image saying that it is not from that night]
In the meanwhile, another narrative has emerged, where a group of women from Uganda have alleged that the crowd wrongfully restrained them in a taxi for several hours and assaulted them and forcibly took them to a hospital and forced them to undergo tests.
“We were returning from a party, when our taxi was stopped by a few men. They started shouting at us, calling us names. The police were in fact supporting us. They held us captive inside the car for over three hours,” one of the women told The Indian Express.
“The men hit us,” she said, pointing to bruises on her face. According to the women, the men then took them to a hospital. Some police personnel accompanied them, the women said. “We asked the men where they are taking us. They said we would have to undergo a medical examination to check if we had consumed drugs. We were taken to the hospital and a series of tests were conducted,” she claimed.
Urine samples were taken and their private parts also probed, she said. “They took our urine samples, put some machines on our body and also cavity searched us. We felt humiliated. We kept telling them that we have not consumed drugs. They then asked for a blood sample which we refused to give,” she said.
Given the state of Indian journalism (and possibly lawyers), the narrative contradicts itself between reports, but some things are crystal clear. There seems to be no doubt that Somnath Bharti led a mob that wrongfully restrained women, abducted them, forced them to undergo tests.
The urine samples appear to be clean, as per the hospital.
The women have made it clear that the Delhi Police aided them - which I suppose is the silver lining in this nightmare.
Delhi Police regarding Somnath Bharti's drug raid
While Delhi Police appears to be wearing a convenient halo at the moment, it is unclear why they had allowed the operation to thrive unhampered till the situation reached this point.
How correct is it to claim that Delhi police cannot search premises without warrants? Is this the whole truth? What about section 42 of the CRPC that allows police to conduct searches without warrant if there is a risk of the accused fleeing and if they can provide their reasons in writing?
Why is it that Delhi Police did not have a warrant ready in spite of residents openly stating that they had made repeated comments to both police and previous MLAs?
Why did Delhi police allow the man caught with drugs to leave?
Why did Delhi Police not intervene to protect the women while the crowd held them hostage for hours, and forcibly took them to the hospital and to the point where the crowd deposited them in the police station?
Aam Aadmi Party and MLA Somnath Bharti
How is it that the women captured from a taxi were forced to go to hospital for tests, but not the man you claim to have caught red handed? Does Somnath Bharti have any proof at all from his supposed raid that drugs were found?
Are you aware that women cannot be arrested by police without lady constables being present and they can refuse to go to the police station? I believe this information was tweeted by your Twitter account during the protests after Delhi Gang Rape. How do you justify capturing the women, forcibly taking them to a hospital and then to a police station - even if it is a civilian arrest - AT NIGHT?
The women's urine samples have come out clean. Do you accept that you forcibly restrained the women, assaulted them, kidnapped them and subjected them to mental and physical trauma and medical procedures against their will? In essence, this means that a mob led by Somnath Bharti were a menace to women on the streets of Delhi. Why is this being defended after all the pretty election speeches about women's safety?
I accept that the Delhi Police is corrupt, and sold out and worse, controlled by political rivals. Do you imagine that taking the law in your own hands is a solution? How did this action help improve Delhi in any manner?
UPA2, Congress and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde
You control the police that refused to act on complaints of drug peddling with clear information provided. What is your explanation for this inaction? What is your interest in protecting drug smugglers?
Can Delhi expect to be safe, if you abuse the police to deny citizens law and order - for whatever reasons, including but not limited to vested interests of your allies (Shinde is in another hot seat for shielding a possible criminal from interrogation, right?) or political leverage by causing discontent about the Delhi government if people are frustrated by ongoing lack of security?
How can officials exploit rag picker children to pick dead bodies from railway tracks? When I first read the news of a 12 year old rag picker boy forced to pick up a severed limb of a dead body on the railway tracks at Indore, I thought the newspaper had reprinted an old story of abuse. Near identical stories. But the devil is in the detail, this one is a repeat incident. Which makes me wonder if Indore Railway station has made a habit out of exploiting street kids for dirty work that the bloated government employees don't like. Like picking dead bodies.
Reproducing both stories here. You tell me, should Indore station be investigated for child torture?
Indore: 12-year-old boy forced to pick up mutilated body from railway track
Indore: A-12-year old boy was allegedly made to pick up a mutilated body part of a suicide victim from the railway track in Indore by the railway police officials. A top level police investigation has been ordered into the case.
The men in uniform reached the tracks a little later after a labourer named Dhanraj reportedly threw himself in front of the train and committed suicide. One of the railway police officials reached the spot and waited for other team members. The body lay on the track while other trains continued to pass over it.
Finally, the officials shifted the body from the track. However, a mutilated limb was left behind on the track. The officials then allegedly made a minor rag-picker do the job.
"The police asked me to pick up the mutilated body part. I refused but they pressured me," the boy said.
After this shocking incident was raised by the media, senior railway police officials sprung into action and a DSP level probe was ordered in the case.
Deputy Superintendent of Police GRP Mankamna Prasad told NDTV,"We have recorded statement of our officials but we are not able to trace the boy. Our team is looking for him. As soon as we record his statement I will submit the investigation report. If officials are guilty we will make sure they face departmental exchange."
The State Commission for Protection of Child rights is closely monitoring the developments in this case, and will be seeking a report from the railway police on the issue and also the action they propose to take. The commission is worried about the minor who they fear may be psychologically affected by the incident.
Chairman of State Commission for Protection of Child rights told, NDTV,"This incident may instil a sense of fear in the mind of the boy which can affect him life long. So the child will need counselling. We will also order the SP to trace that boy and do the needful for him."
This is not the first time that such incident has been reported in Indore. Two years ago, a minor was asked to pick up body parts from the track. In that case, railways police officials were found guilty and also had to face punishment.
Police force a child to gather severed human parts in Indore
Despicable it might be, yet it is a relatively irrelevant incident in India. The latest is the case of Firoz, a 12-year-old boy who is now reportedly suffering from serious psychological trauma after being forced by a Head Constable of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to gather the severed remains of a human body run over by a train in Indore, Madhya Pradesh state. The incident happened on 26 September 2011 in full public view. According to the psychiatrist, Dr Ramghulam Razdan, Head of Department, Department of Psychiatry, at the MGM Medical College, who examined Firoz, the boy could be suffering from a "permanent phobic reaction" or that he has developed a "psychotic behaviour" as the direct result of his horrific experience. Firoz is reported to be a rag-picker boy, living in Indore, who initially refused to do the illegal job, but was forced to by the police constable, who also paid him Rs 100. DNA, an independent media group reported the incident on 1 October 2011.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is aware that this is not an isolated incident or an exception in any form in India, Madhya Pradesh in particular. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Madhya Pradesh is on top in the list of states concerning crimes committed against children in the country.
The AHRC is also aware that the RPF and the state police regularly resort to similar illegal methods when they have to deal with dead bodies of persons run over by a train or in cases where the state police have to deal with persons found dead in unnatural circumstances. For instance, the state police in Tamilnadu often pay Rs 100 and offer a bottle of illegal liquor to children who are ordered to 'pack-up' unidentified and unclaimed dead bodies, often found in different stages of putrefaction.
Mr Louise, living in Pavitram village of Thiruvannamali district, who is now aged 20 years used to do this 'job' for the RPF. Louise was first forced to do the 'job' when he was 12-years-old. He continues to do so and today he is the person 'who handles the dead' in the village and has now made it his profession. The AHRC and its partner organisation in West Bengal state, MASUM have been reporting about how inhumanly dead bodies are handled in state-run mortuaries in that state. MASUM has documented dozens of cases in West Bengal, where it is a Dom - name of a particular Dalit community in India, who undertakes the 'autopsy examination' using crude tools, whereas the medical doctor would observe it from a distance. MASUM and the AHRC has also reported cases of dead bodies left unattended, putrefied and body parts eaten away by dogs and rats in government morgues in West Bengal. Despite the reportage, the state government has done nothing so far to improve the situation. Illegal it might be for the authorities to engage a boy or a private person to deal with a dead body in what is in essence a crime scene or a scientific examination. But in India, this is how things are.
Lack of discipline and dereliction to duty that is often condoned by the superiors in the law enforcement agencies; relative absence of accountability; lack of skills and equipments; and the overall belief of impurity associated with dealing with dead bodies often based on caste beliefs along with the practical convenience for the police of having not to physically deal with the dead are the reasons why such practices exist in India today. In essence, Firoz is one more victim of the systemic culture of neglect, lack of accountability and the resultant culture of impunity omnipresent within the law enforcement agencies in the country. In that the Head Constable who forced Firoz to do this despicable job and paid him for it had been acting quite naturally and normally as far as India is concerned.
Shocking the incident might be, yet it must not be a surprise to anyone in India. Take for instance the Indian Railway itself. Despite the country having developed nuclear weapons and scheduled to declare itself as 'developed' by 2020, the Indian Railways is the single largest network of open toilet on wheels in the world.
Human faeces, sprayed on rails and rail sleepers (cross-tie), is a common sight in every railway station and on every inch of the rail network in the country, which is the largest in the world. In that, the Indian Railway still is to realise that there is something called a 'closed closet' technology invented and used widely in the world today, that toilets inside transport vehicles do not cause a hygiene hazard to the public. The concern for the Indian Railways for the ordinary people including its own employees is most visible once again at railway stations where manual scavengers, clean with a broom, human faeces from the rails. In that, the Indian Railway is the single largest employer of manual scavengers in the world - often recruited from the Dalit community and railway stations are the largest open toilets in the country. One of worst predicaments of the Dalits in India is indeed the practice of manual scavenging, repeatedly documented by rights groups, but equally denied by the Government of India.
It is reported that when several people who witnessed the brutal and inhuman predicament of Firoz, complained about it to the RPF, the RPF suspend the Head Constable from service pending inquiry and transferred five other officers. From experience, about the manner in which dereliction of duty is dealt within the law enforcement agencies in India, it has to be assumed that the only reaction by the authorities concerning this incident would be just this transfer and the temporary suspension of the Head Constable.
The reaction by Firoz when he learned that complaints have been made regarding the incident is to flee from home. Understandably this is the best a poor person in India could do, if the person becomes the cause for 'trouble' to a police officer - run, as far as possible, beyond the reach of the officer! It is reported that Firoz fled to a place called Omkareshwar, about 85 kilometres away from Indore fearing that the Head Constable would come for his blood.
Given the manner in which complaints are dealt with in India, it is possible that the Head Constable produces - and if there is an inquiry, it concludes - that Firoz did the job, on his own volition. The RPF might also produce Firoz's signed statement in support for such a defence and statements of similar rag-picker boys, or probably of a shopkeeper and a few other 'chance witnesses'.
Madhya Pradesh state has a Child Welfare Committee. It needs to be seen whether the Committee would take any sensible action upon this case. At the very least, will the Child Welfare Officer, having jurisdiction upon the police station where the incident happened, would take any action on this case?
There would not be an inquiry how and why the Head Constable picked a rag-picker boy to do his job. None would bother to ask how a rag-picker boy becomes so vulnerable to brute exploitation by the very same officer who is also paid to prevent it. It will be nobody's worry why there are so many children in Indore and other cities in India, who make a living picking rags and climbing over piles of trash when they should be at school? None would try to contact the Madhya Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights having its office in Bhopal and dare speak to its Chairperson and former Judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court, about what could the Commission do in the present case, and further for the poor and destitute children of the state.
While this statement is being read, there would be several other ill-fated children like Firoz, who are either forced to do similar jobs for a living or for fear of torture; or trafficked along the length and breadth of the country or trying to curl down with empty stomachs since their parents are unable to find them a meal at least once a week. Yet, India repeatedly hear the hollow rhetoric that the country's children are its asset and the country's investment for the future.
The question is, would children like Firoz count in that account?
*** Those who wish to react to this statement kindly contact:
1. Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh Telephone: + 91 755 2443500 Fax + 91 755 2443501 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. District Superintendent of Police, Indore Telephone + 91 755 2525600 / 2711000
3. Chairperson Madhya Pradesh State Human Rights Commission Telephone + 91 755 2571935 / 2424311 Fax: 91 755 2551429
4. Chairperson Madhya Pradesh State commission for the Protection of Child Rights Telephone + 91 755 2559903 Fax: 0755-2559900 Email: email@example.com
# # #
About Vikas Samvad: Vikas Samvad is a human rights/media group and AHRC's partner working in Madhya Pradesh. The office of Vikas Samvad is at Bhopal and their work could be accessed at www.mediaforrights.org
Picture courtesy: Daily News and Analysis www.dnaindia.com
A horrifying story has come out of rural Orissa where two labourers, Nilambar Dhangada Majhi and Pialu Dhangada Majhi from Nuaguda village are admitted in a serious condition at the Bhawanipatna district headquarters hospital after having their hands chopped off by a middleman contractor when they refused to go out of state to work in Chattisgarh.
This incident occurred in Kalahandi District of Orissa. A labour contractor from Sinapali, Nuapada district chopped-off hands of 2 laborers, Nilambar and Pialu Majhi from Nuagaon village in Jaypatna block when they refused to go to Chattisgarh for working as bonded labor in brick kilns.
Around 12 individuals were hired by a contractor to work in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The families of these individuals were paid 10,000 rupees each on the understanding that they would work as migrant labour in Andhra Pradesh after harvesting the paddy crops. However, the labour contractor forcibly took away 12 people from the village in a Bolero jeep on Sunday before the harvest was completed.
Instead of taking the labourers to AP, the contractor was trying to take them to Chattisgarh. The labourers refused to go to Chattisgarh and 10 labourers escaped from the vehicles that was transporting them to Chattisgarh. Out of these 10 individuals, 2 were caught by the contractors and their right hands were chopped off as a punishment saying “If you are not going to work for us, you will not be able to work for anybody”.
The labourers from Nuaguda village had taken an advance of Rs 10, 000 to Rs 15, 000 each from the labour contractor with a promise that they shall go to Andhra Pradesh as migrant labourers after harvesting their paddy crop. However, the labour contractor forcibly took away 12 people from the village in a Bolero jeep on Sunday before the harvest.
The injured labourers are admitted in Bhawanipatna government hospital as of now and police is yet to arrest the contractor who perpetrated this heinous crime, who is reputed to be locally powerful. There has been no FIR filed and the only record of the incident is a note in the police diary so far.
Here is how you can help. Spread the word to bring this incident to the notice of media. Call up top officials in the Kalahandi district to stress the importance of prompt and efficient investigation and arrest of the perpetrators.
The Nigerian murdered in Goa seemed like any of our many crimes till state ministers started making blatantly racist comments about Nigerians in the media. I started reading up on various aspects of the story. Here is what all I found. There is no way to conclude anything based on Googled news reports, but it seems very clear that things are more than the state's sudden enlightenment about Nigerians as the true force behind drugs in Goa.
(Note: The sequence is more to give an idea of the overall picture and connecting dots rather than the exact sequence in which things happened)
Also note that this information is a quick compilation which may not get updated as well as desired. If you want to make any claims or allegations based on something you read here, do verify for yourself as well for latest status. There are many links, or a quick search will provide many sources for some news. When in doubt, ask in comments. 🙂
Events related with the murder of the Nigerian
30th October 2013, 9:30pm (approx) - Obada Uzoma Simeon (who got murdered), friend Obinna Paul Obi and Uwalaka Franklin, were at a restaurant in Parra on Wednesday night, when some locals started a quarrel with them (according to complaint filed by Obinna Paul Obi).
This is supported by a call made by the owner of a bar in Parra to the Mapusa police that "on October 30, 20 unknown locals, with faces covered and carrying deadly weapons, formed an unlawful assembly and abused three Nigerians who were her customers when they were standing near her bar."
Both reports seem to match the local intelligence police claim they had had of a spat between locals and Nigerians, though they had not expected it to escalate to murder.
Obinna Paul Obi's complaint states that they left for their rented room at Brittowadda, when at Lobowaddo they were waylaid by a group of people in a car and on two-wheelers. They were assaulted with choppers and iron rods. Franklin and Obado lost control of their scooters and fell into bushes and escaped. Obada's scooter was found later that night and body was found in the morning with stab wounds.
Obinna has stated that the assailants are locals and have had conflicts with him and his friends in the past. (This ties in with the police hunting for one Omkar Palyekar who is chief accused in the murder and is believed to have fled the region, alleging that Simeon had shot at his brother last year and hit his car, sparking off a rivalry. It also ties in with reports of rivalry between the Chapora gang and Africans over the control of the cocaine trade in the area)
When GMC refused to conduct an autopsy citing lack of verifiable identification and police did not act immediately to make arrests, Nigerians got angry and protested. The Nigerians were demanding that the autopsy on the deceased Nigerian be conducted in the presence of the Nigerian ambassador in India.
To their credit, the police have explained that there are legal issues with admissibility in court by doing the autopsy without verification of identity (I didn't understand why - surely even unidentified people will need post mortems at times?). The police are also not the cause of the injuries suffered by the two Nigerians during the protest. The police have acted to arrest one and identify other accused in the case as well as booked vehicles including one of a local candidate selected as Police Inspector. On the downside, police appeared to freeze without even attempting to use standard crowd control practices. Two Nigerians were also assaulted very severely in police presence and had to be admitted to hospital in serious condition.
The protests turned violent with the Nigerians vandalizing the hearse van and dumping the body of the murdered victim on the street to prevent the police taking it away. Some of the Nigerians wrested away police lathis and pushed them around and intimidated the police. Locals attacked the Nigerians, requiring two of them to be hospitalized.
Then followed a semi-official free for all on Nigerians.
53 Nigerians were arrested for the violent protest. No locals were arrested, even though Manohar Parrikar had publicly said (on 1st November) that all people engaging in violence would be arrested, including locals who attacked the two Nigerians.
Manohar Parrikar said that the murder was a result of rivalry between drug cartels, while the Nigerians claim that the trio were assaulted by local mafia backed by the state. The open protest by the Nigerians does not appear to be the action of an illegal drug cartel with something to hide (I mean other members of the cartel would be alive and vulnerable to being caught, right?). However, the vandalism of the hearse and intimidating police is of course a crime.
2nd November 2013 - Manohar Parrikar raised concerns about Nigerians staying in Goa illegally on photocopies of documents without original documents and declared that their documents will be checked. He said that the Nigerians were too huge for police to manage "He was nearly seven feet. He would have needed at least 10 policemen to control" about one of the protesters. It is not clear why police could not use tear gas or lathis or firing bullets in the air - all of which would not need them to be stronger than the Nigerians.
3rd November 2013 - Manohar Parrikar clarifies that they cannot deny Nigerians from staying in Goa and said that it was a complex issue and that documents of all foreigners will be checked (a BJP MLA in Goa, Glen Ticklo is a Portuguese national in violation of the Indian Constitution, if anyone is taking notes). However, villages were independently deciding to refuse rooms to Nigerians, one of which was headed by Delilah Lobo the wife of MLA Michael Lobo in Parrikar's government, who used Parrikar's statement as reason for ban, regardless of his denials about it being specifically about Nigerians.
Sarpanch of Parra Delilah Lobo said the decision was taken after it was found that most Nigerians “faked students visas” to stay in Goa and peddle drugs. “We had to stop this to save our village. The chief minister himself says that many Nigerians are living here on fake papers. That is why we wanted to pass the resolution,” said Lobo, wife of BJP MLA Michael Lobo. Incidentally, the bar owner in Parra who told the police originally described the Nigerians as her customers who were assaulted by locals.
Update: In a special Gram Sabha on the 6th Nov 2013, residents of Parra have resolved to verify the credentials of foreigners residing in the village (upgraded from banning Nigerians) and have also agreed to close down a restaurant used by the Nigerians for dubious purposes. I am imagining that this might be the bar whose owner gave a statement to the police saying her customers were assaulted. I can't imagine someone closing their business voluntarily, so between the lines, I am reading that she got retaliated at for standing up for the Nigerians. Of course, the last two lines are my hunches, not explicitly reported. It may be another bar. Who knows? This might be a thread worth investigating for media.
Sioliom-Sodiem village has passed a resolution that Nigerians staying on rent in the village should be asked to leave.
Water resources minister and Siolim MLA Dayanand Mandrekar, referring to the media reports about him patronizing drug peddlers, said the media was reporting what the Nigerians are alleging without checking facts. However, Dayanand Mandrekar had indeed publicly humiliated head of traffic Vijay Singh this August for acting like a "Goonda" asking what his business was leaving his headquarters in Porvorim to do goondagiri in Anjuna. Read: terrorizing the poor illegal shack owners of (Russian drug cartel dominated) Anjuna. What's the catch? When Vijay Singh had cracked down on the illegal shack owners (Read: Call to sack Dayanand Mandrekar for his pro-narcotics posturing) which are also a haven for illegal drug trade, he had been Superintendent of police. Two months later, he was shunted to traffic police. 8 months later, this head of traffic was publicly humiliated as a "goonda".
Dayanand Mandrekar had also called Nigerians a cancer and created a fair bit of outrage at the brazen racism by a government representative. However, he appears to have apologized for the statement. I am having trouble believing he had a change of character, but some strings seem to have been pulled to bring him in line (which was long overdue).
Michael Lobo told media "98% Nigerians, African nationals in Goa are involved in drugs... they come to Goa on false pretext of tourism, studies." - the evidence for this claim is unclear.
BJP MLA Subhash Phaldesai said the Nigerians were "behaving like wild animals" whose bodies were "full of drugs".
7th November 2013 - In a classic case of "sau choohe khake billi chali haj ko", Manohar Parrikar has just denied that there is racism against Nigerians in the state. Reminds me of what a haunted victim of domestic violence had told me. "First he attacked me, then he dismissed my pain by denying that I was attacked at all."
Banners have been reported in Goa with racist content like "Say no to Nigerians. Say no to drugs." which is a bit of a farce, since just the week before, a house committee report tabled in Goa's Assembly stated that it considered the Superintendent of Goa's police force to be the "Kingpin" of protection for Goa's drug mafia and squarely nails Ravi Naik (Congress politician) and his son Roy "Boss" Naik (Same duo accused by Fiona as controlling drug trade and suppressing investigations in her daughter, Scarlett Keeling's murder in 2008.) as controlling the drug trade. BJP MLA Michael Lobo (currently very against "drug cartels" - or more accurately Nigerians and believed to have put up some of the racist banners) attacked the report and defended Ravi Naik a mere 3 weeks ago.
Parrikar has said that Nigerians with fake papers will be deported and petty cases against them will be dropped, alleging that getting involved in petty crime was a tactic to prolong stay in the country.
4th November 2013 - Consular attach to the Nigerian embassy in New Delhi, Jacob Nwadadia had threatened that if the police did not stop evicting Nigerian nationals from their homes forcibly, "thousands of Indian nationals living in Nigeria will be thrown on the streets too". Which, while reckless to threaten against all Indians for actions in one state where Nigerians were not altogether innocent, was probably good strategy in lighting a fire under the collective bottoms of our politicians who are usually not used to being accountable for crimes against people.
It cannot be denied that a quick and dirty and immediate restoration of rights was the urgent need, if Nigerians were facing racist threats and eviction. I wish our diplomats had the quick thinking to strategize this rapidly. "There are only 50,000 Nigerians living in India, but there are over one million Indians living in Nigeria," Jacob said, making the none-too-discreet threat. No reports of Indians evicted in Nigeria, but hasty explanations by Parrikar and the revised stand by villages like Parra were unlikely to happen without that threat is my guess from watching a lot of Indian politics.
In the meanwhile, Surendra Pol from Chapora, a village 30km from the state capital, has been held for his alleged involvement in the murder of Obodo Uzoma Simon. Varying reports of eight or six more accused being identified say that they have fled the area. Some reports suggest they may have fled to Karnataka and police teams have been sent after them. Surendra Pol has no drug offenses registered in his name, though he has a history of anti-social activities and assaults.
A vehicle booked for being used in the murder belongs to a local candidate selected to be Police Inspector (I am not clear of the difference between candidate selected as Police Inspector and Police Inspector - guessing that there may be training or something before actually working as Police Inspector), but police are saying they have no bad reports against him and are investigating if it was rented out (it is privately owned).
A senior police official told The Hinduthat one of the suspects had a case against him for attacking Nigerians two years ago. The police said he had managed to obtain an affidavit to force the complainant to withdraw the case. The same accused later approached the State Police Complaint Authority (SPCA) against the Sub-Inspector investigating the case saying he was unnecessarily being harassed by police. The case is under trial at SPCA.
On another track, Herald reported speculation that the victim could have been murdered for being an informant in a recent drug bust worth Rs 1 crore. Whether this is accurate or not remains to be seen, but there was indeed a drug bust of a Nigerian (who provided information for arrest of another Nigerian) based on information from informers.
Events possibly relevant to the murder of Nigerian in Goa
On the night of 27th October Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Goa, raided a starred hotel in Panaji and arrested Ugochukwu Soloman Uabuko, 29, and seized 451 g of cocaine. Another 12.5 g of MDMA drugs were seized from Emeka Maximum Nnabude, 33. Both were Nigerian nationals and the total value of drugs seized crossed Rs 1 crore. Is this the incident speculated about? The arrests happened a couple of days before the murder.
What is really happening with the Nigerians in Goa?
The wider scene is that there is a five way turf war for the Anjuna-Vagator-Chapora-Siolim-Morjim territories among various drug cartels with documented involvement of politicians and police, foreign drug cartels, and local players that has seen a series of killings and disappearances in the area.
The police are on a macabre treadmill forever chasing the small players while the larger players hold their strings. The few police officers who do swim against the tide in pursuit of their duty find themselves neutralized. Superintendent of Police Vijay Singh who dared tread into the forbidden bastion of Anjuna's drug sanctuary now heads traffic police and got publicly humiliated by the protector of the cartels in that area (who has also been known to make other pro-narcotics comments in the past, though he is outraged by the idea of a Nigerian cartel).
Times of India has alleged (without naming the MLA) "Interestingly, a three-time MLA from Bardez and a present BJP minister had, a few years ago, tried hard to get one of his constituents who was arrested on drug charges released."
Israeli drug runner David Driham (Dudu), who was arrested for possessing cocktail of drugs, was updating his Facebook profile from jail. He was later released due to lack of evidence or something.
Israeli drug dealer Yaniv Benaim (Atala) was recorded by his girlfriend bragging about his police and political connections, including Roy Naik, son of state's former home minister Ravi Naik, as one of the prime links to drug mafia, which led to several arrests, but not Roy Naik.
The home committee report tabled in Goa's Assembly stated that drugs seized by police and stored in anti-narcotics cell (ANC) malkhana for safe custody, were released from sealed and authenticated storage for circulation back into the drug market thereby encouraging the drug mafia in the state. Several police officials were found to have drug cartel links.
Police suggest that the crackdown on Nigerians would tweak the narcotics industry in Goa, with one of the major drug mafias run by the Nigerians now on the backfoot. “The local drug mafia which appears to have engineered the murder now has an upper hand. The Nigerian gang will not have time to consolidate their position before the tourist season hits its peak and drugs sales hit the peak,” a senior police official, formerly attached to Goa Police’s anti-narcotics cell, said.
It is either that, or Herald nailed it that it was a drug cartel's retaliation against an informer.
Whichever it was, it seems amply clear that in true Goa's "drug paradise" tradition, the real people holding the strings on the illegal drug scene in Goa are beyond the reach of the police.
This post may get updated with anything significant that happens or anything that can be ruled out will be taken out.