Monthly Archives: September 2011

[DNA] Javed Iqbal: The curious case of Lingaram Kodopi

I got a call around midnight in the Delhi summer. It was Lingaram, the young Muria adivasi from Sameli village in Dantewada, then studying in Noida’s International Media Institute of India. Linga’s misfortunes never seem to end: first he was accused of helping the Maoists, then tortured in the police station toilet, forced to be a special police officer, then released thanks to a habeas corpus petition.

In a few months, he would be dealing with encounter killings in his village that left three dead, to only add to the targeting of his family members by the Chhattisgarh police, and then to be accused in a press conference by Senior Superintendent of Police Kalluri of being slain Maoist leader Azad’s successor and a mastermind of an attack on a Congress leader.

‘Javed bhai,’ He asked me that night in Delhi, ‘do you know where I can get a Che Guevara T-shirt?’

Silence.

‘Linga, you wear that T-shirt in Dantewada, you’d be the first man in jail.’

Lingaram chuckled uncontrollably.

Read the whole piece here.

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[Indian Express] Lingaram Kodopi, ‘Naxal and SPO, journalist and tribal poster boy’

Lingaram was arrested on September 9 from a market in Palnar, Dantewada, allegedly while receiving money from a contractor for the Essar Group. The activists held another press conference in his defence in Delhi on Wednesday (see tile of quotes). Police say activists had admitted him to the course with the objective of grooming him as their link to Naxals. Himanshu Kumar, one of those behind the youth and himself described by the police earlier as a middleman, says Lingaram studied at the International Media Institute of India, in Noida.

Read the full article here

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[Tehelka] They dared to speak up. But that’s not done in Dantewada

[…] He [Lingaram Kodopi] returned to Dantewada in April this year after 300 homes were razed to rubble in a three-day police operation. He visited the burnt villages of Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timmapuram, saw the debris of attacks by the COBRA and Koya Commandos, met raped women and recorded on video precise narrations of police atrocities. He began to document the stories of his own people.

Kodopi was arrested on 10 September. Dantewada SP Ankit Garg confirmed that he has been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Chhattisgarh Public Security Act, and Sections 121, 124A and 120 B of the IPC for criminal conspiracy, sedition and waging war against the State.

On Independence Day this year, when Maoists tried to put up a black flag in Kodopi’s village, he tore it apart in front of them. When they directed his aunt, Soni Sori, to remove the Indian flag from her ashram school, she refused. “Too many people have died for this,” she told the rebels.[…]

Read the full article here.

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[Press Statement] People’s Union for Democratic Rights on the Arrest of Lingaram Kodopi

People’s Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi (PUDR) condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of Lingaram Kodopi on 9 September 2011 by the Chhattisgarh police from his village Sameli in Dantewada district. The police team continues to be present in the village since then and there is fear that the police intends to arrest his aunt Soni Sori too. This arrest comes immediately on the heels of the Chhattisgarh government’s attempt to undermine the Supreme Court order disbanding the practice of exploiting SPOs to fight the Maoists.

Read the whole statement here.

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[Press Statement] Coordination of Democratic Right Organisations concerning the arrest of Lingaram Kodopi by the Chhattisgarh police

The Coordination of Democratic Right Organisations and its member organisations condemn the arrest of Linga Kodopi by the Dantewada Police, from his grandfather’s village, on the 9th of September, 2011. This act by the police is shocking and vindictive as Linga had been challenging the Chhattisgarh police through his work of resettling Salwa Judum displaced persons and also documenting and exposing atrocities committed by the SPOs, police and the paramilitary on the poor Tribals through their various operations including the Operation Green Hunt.

Read the full statement here.

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