Newskarnataka – Mangalore
By Sandhya Soans
Mangalore: The Naxal brand of politics may highlight the evils of the Indian socio-political framework, however there has always been a blame-game of inflicting more violence and suffering upon its civilian population through counter-violence.
But when a set of alleged smugglers turn offensive, and a youth becomes a victim of an alleged encounter, whether mistaken, fake or intentional yet not clear, the political parties turn cynical, the welfare groups seeks for justice and the group of extremists become violent.
The Anti-Naxal Force (ANF) personnel shot dead a cattle trader suspecting him to be a Naxalite on Saturday, April 19. The ANF officials were on night vigil when the incident took place near Shringeri check post on the Chikmagalur-Karkala state highway.
The deceased person identified as Kabeer hailing from Jokatte, along with five others was transporting cattle when the incident took place.
The initial reports
The early reports portrayed that the firing by the ANF was done mistakenly, supposing the person to be a Naxalite.
Around 23 cows and buffaloes were being allegedly smuggled from Chikmagalur to Mangalore. The pickup van reached near Shringeri check post when the police stopped the vehicle for checking.
According to some sources, the ANF sleuths opened fire when the vehicle did not stop at their instructions. Kabeer was along with his cousin Sarfaraz, Rafiq and Pramod in the vehicle.
As the Anti Naxal Force approached the vehicle, Kabeer and Sarfaraz jumped out from the vehicle and started to run. Inspite of several warnings the duo failed to stop, The ANF then fired to stop them, but a bullet hit Kabeer and he died on the spot.
Nevertheless Sarfaraz managed to escape, he ran away from the scene on hearing the gunshot but was later traced by the Chikamagalur police and taken into the custody for further investigation on the complaint registered.
The Congress Dice
The ruling Congress has been trying to be critical of the police department over the issue.The prominent leaders have been supporting the victim. Following vehement demand from district Congress leaders, the State government has also considered to compensate Kabeer’s family by Rs. 10 Lakhs.
Veteran Congress leader Janardhana Poojary and District-in-charge Minister Ramanatha Rai made relevant meeting to see that the family of Kabeer was compensated. Rai also met the Home Minister KJ George with reference to this.
However the entire incident has been backed by the former president of district Congress minority wing and now the Mangalore North MLA BA Moideen Bava.
It is learnt that it was Bava under whose initiation the subject was highlighted, although he claimed the incident is a movement to strive for “dignity, justice and against unequal development.”
The state government has ordered a magisterial as well as CID inquiry into the matter.However the local NGOs and Congress leader B Janardhana Poojary have, demanded a CBI probe.
Meanwhile the accused ANF cop namely Naveen Nayak and other police men who were along with him have been booked under Section 302, 295 (A), and 341 of IPC.
Role of Bhajrang Dal?
Allegedly 50 Bajarang Dal men surrounded the taxi that was hired by the family of Kabeer when they were on the way to claim his body; they assaulted them out of which four persons have been arrested by the Shringeri police.
In a press meet Sharan Pumpwell, convenor, Bajrang Dal, claimed that in the incident involving the gunning down of Kabeer in Shringeri, 25 cows were being transported illegally and inhumanly. As per law it should have been carrying only four, however he has completely denied the incident of assaulting the family members.
Police Narration – A Regular Affair
The police promise to deliver on their assurances of justice, equality and safeguarding of interests, although in such attempts the Indian Judicial system has been the victim of rampant inequalities and exploitation.
It is not the idea of where the fault lies but rather it is how best the situation has been handled.
The tiff between the police officials and the cattle smuggler is said to be a regular affair. As per some police sources who don’t like to be named, a war between the police and the cattle smugglers are quite common. On the other hand if Kabeer was not shot, he would have been charged with IPC Sec – 290 which is not more than a petty fine, a police officer said.
Usually as per the occurrence, when a pickup van or a vehicle passes by the ANF or the Police officials ask the driver to stop the vehicle.However, the smugglers use various means to escape.
There are instance when they try to run the vehicle over the police men, attack them with gruesome weapon or try to create a scene wherein they can flee from the spot, said a police constable whose bike was deliberately hit by a vehicle of cattle smugglers in 2009.
In this particular case reported in 2009, there were three cattle smuggler including driver, Pramod Poojary the same person who has been the driver in the Kabeer case as well. The head constable was on night duty at the Lemina Cross-Parappady, a cattle trafficking vehicle had tried to kill him by trying to run the vehicle over him.The traffickers assaulted the town station SI Vinod Bhat and personnel Krishna and Santosh.
Pramod was arrested in the case and was charged with Sec 307, pertaining to attempt to murder, at Karkala rural police station. During interrogations he revealed that he used to get Rs 2000 per load of cattle transportation. The investigation officer Sandesh who had registered a case against Pramod and Husman had filed the charge sheet.The Udupi District Fast Track Court had even held the two guilty.
Similarly a case has been registered at Hebri police station when an PSI Sidhalinga of Jnanabharathi police station at karkala, was literally slashed with a sickle and his hands were cut. He is still on duty at Udupi police, said constable Santosh who was then posted at Karkala.
When Newskarnataka contacted Udupi ASP Annamalai, he refused to divulge anything stating that the case was pertaining to the ANF. However, he agreed that there have been similar cases in the past. He said that in the past 6 months there were around 10 to 12 calls and 4 to 5 cases wherein the smuggler have tried to escape.
Newskarnataka also tried to contact Seemanth Kumar Singh who heads the ANF and the SP of Chikmagalur R Chetan however both of them did not answer even after repeated attempts.
Karkala Deputy SP Santosh Kumar suggested to call SP of Chikmagalur R Chetan or the Shringeri police station, as the complaint has been registered there.
A few officers have also revealed that these smugglers enjoy patronage from the top authorities and their main intention is to trade the cattle at any cost and that they would even kill someone if they had to clear their path.
The twist in-the-tale
It is also said that Kabeer has a case on him on the charges of attempt to murder on a person named Bhoja Poojari on Bhuvanendra College road who had seen the traffickers smuggling one morning when he was on a walk. A case has been registered at Karkala town police station.
Apart from the allegations, Pramod Poojary, the driver has now claimed that Kabeer had jumped out of the pick-up vehicle, shouted and tried to hurl stones at the ANF personnel forcing them to open fire at him as per recent media reports.
Poojary has now come in open fearing his life, saying that he has been receiving threatening calls.
*Kabeer had tried to hurl stones at ANF men: Pick-up driver Pramod Poojary
*Govt trying to demoralise ANF : CT Ravi
*Cong, SDPI shielding cattle thieves, allege Yuva Morcha leader
*Congress hell bent upon proving Kabeer ‘innocent’ : District BJP Chief
*Kabeer family must get at least Rs 25 lakhs : Moideen Bava
*Kabeer case: Nalin demands CBI probe
*Kranti Sena Chief announces Rs 1 lakh reward to ANF
*ANF firing: Absconding driver had tried to kill Karkala cop in 2009!
*CPI (M) agitates over Kabeer’s case
*Kabeer not innocent, had several cases against him : VHP
*Kabeer case : Various associations stage protest in Mysore
*SDPI sore over Kabeer killing ; demands higher compensation
*MLA ridicules govt’s approach on ANF case
*Poojari, Rai differ over probe into Kabeer killing case
*Kabeer killed by ANF; VHP and BD blames Congress – demands Bava to resign
*Sringeri cops arrest four Bhajrangdal activists for assault on Kabeer family
*PFI demands more compensation to Kabeer family
*CBI probe demanded into Kabeer killing case
*CID inquiry ordered in ANF killing; Govt grants 5 lac compensation
*Cattle trader mistaken for Naxalite; shot dead by ANF near Shringeri