Know what is truth, suspicion, suspicious and the proceedings of the court!
Let us move towards the truth and know about the eyewitness accounts of the witnesses of the Chilkhari incident and the ten accused implicated in the case? I am Jeetan Marandi. I do not have any aliases. This very name is enlisted in my Voter’s Identity Card and the Ration Card. The music cassettes produced by ‘Jharkhand’ too carry this name with address details for further contact. I am the son of late Budhan Marandi. Karandu village under Karandu police station in Pirtand district is my birth place. I come from a poor peasant family. Giridih police with heinous motive has slapped numerous cases on me implicating in many Naxal related incidents. Among these, the Chilkhari incident is the most prominent. Excluding this, there are 6 more trials. I am completely innocent and have no involvement in any of these incidents. Everyone is aware of the much-discussed Chilkhari incident. Still, to reiterate, in the football field of the Chilkhari village under Dewri police station jurisdiction, a Santhali orchestra programme was organized on 26 October 2007 by one committee. In this programme a large number of adivasi people were present. It was inaugurated by Nunulal Marandi. While the Santhali orchestra programme was underway, the Naxals carried out an attack in the night at around 12.30pm in order to kill Nunulal Marandi (just after the incident the Maoists issued a statement). However, nothing happened to Nunulal Marandi. In the firing by the Naxalites 18 persons died. Later a woman died of her injuries in PMCH, Dhanbad. As a result the death toll increased to 19 and nine people got injured including Nunulal Marandi’s bodyguard Puran Kisku. The investigation of the incident by the Dewri police under the direction of top police officers starts with the statement of Puran Kisku, the bodyguard of Nunulal Marandi on 27 October 2007 at around 3.30 am in the morning at the site of the incident itself. He becomes the complainant of the incident. The First Information Report (FIR) 167/07 was recorded as per his statement in Dewri police station. Ramesh mandal, Chiragji, Bishun Rajwar, kolha Yadav, Jeetan, Sunil and Albert etc. were named as accused in the FIR. Apart from them 35-40 unknown Naxalites too were shown as accused. The full residential address of none of the accused was enlisted. How did Puran Kisku come to know of so many names? His statement is no less suspicious. The police did not record anyone else’s statement at that time. This means that no one else was there at that time. The statements of the eight injured persons too were not recorded at that time. It is difficult to say whether the injured persons were there at that place or not when the preliminary police investigation at the site was carried out. Had they been there, their statements too would have been recorded. However, the truth of the matter is that the statements of all the injured persons were recorded at Sadar Hospital, Giridih. I am making this argument to bring out the truth behind the Chilkhari incident.
Another doubtful statement is said to be recorded on 29 October in the course of police investigation. The police brought and made to record the statements of Ramchandra Thakur (Tisri), Udan Sau (Gawa), Disnesh Thakur (Gawa), Moti Sau (Gawa), indradev Rai (Gawa) and Devan Marandi (Gawa) who claimed in front of the judicial magistrate Shri S. K. Singh’s court at Giridih to be the eyewitnesses to the incident under Article 164. They also repeated the same names of the accused and further added the names of Manoj Rajwar, Anil Ram, Chatrapati Mandal etc. Though a Santhali orchestra programme was going on, strangely not a single Santhali adivasi was an eyewitness, if we leave aside Devan Marandi! Neither a single local resident nor any of the organizers were produced as witness. None of the tent-house workers, sound-system technicians or the artists presenting the cultural programme came under the purview of the police investigation. No statement from them is recorded. Isn’t it a curious matter? I will tell you more of such things. You may have come across the headlines of the newspaper Prabhat Khabar published after the recording of the statements of the above-mentioned persons. This headline of the news which also carried a photograph ran: “The Naxal attacker Jeetan Marandi has been identified”. The photograph was mine! Subsequently I replied with a response. Prabhat Khabar acknowledged that it was a big mistake and they apologized. Top officials of the police administration said that they had the photograph of the other Jeetan Marandi. This unambiguous clarification has already been published in the newspapers on 31 October 2007. In the meantime, within two days of the incident the police arrested Mangu Kisku (Pirtand), Tuplal yadav (Sariya), Ramsahai Das (Dewri), Hafiz Rahmat Ansari (Dewri) and Anil Ram (Govindpur-Nawada) from their residences and sent them to jail as suspects. All of them were innocent. I met them in jail and came to know of their innocence. The police dairy/charge-sheet on them was submitted in January 2008. According to Uday Sau – a witness mentioned in the diary – Subodh Sau and Prahlad Singh (both from Gawa) too were among the audience of that programme. However, this was not so according to the statement given under 167. As per the statements of the two, the names of Mangu Kisku, Tuplal Yadav, Ramsahai Das, Hafiz Rahmat and Kishun Rajwar were added as accused. Just see the tricks of manufacturing witnesses! The police investigation is continued, and in February 2008 investigating officer Suman Annan recorded the statements of Motirai (Gawa), Patirai (Gawa) and Sukhdev Marandi (Tisri). On the basis of their statements, the names of Jeetan Marandi, that is me, and Sitaram Turi (Sono Jamui) were added as accused for the incident. The police continued to manufacture accused as well as witnesses. The statements of these witnesses claim that they were present at the programme and knew both the Jeetan Marandis. One Jeetan Marandi is from Karandu and the other from Tesaphuli (Mimiaghat). Both were involved in the incident! Thus two Jeetan Marandis came to the fore – myself and some other Jeetan Marandi. Aren’t these statements highly doubtful? Amidst all this I am arrested from Ranchi on 5 April 2008. As per Kotwali police station case No.696/07, I am sent to the Ranchi prison on 6 April 2008. The allegations were that of causing traffic congestion and giving provocative speeches. Giridih police took my remand on 12 April 2008 for the Chilkhari case or the Dewri police station case no. 167/07. I am in jail from then on. On 17 April 2008 I was taken for ten days of police remand for the same case. The police did not get any evidence during my interrogation, since I do not know anything about the incident. After a month Sitaram Turi is also arrested and brought to the prison. As a result the total number of the accused became ten. The second dairy charge-sheet is submitted in July 2008. The case was charged on 1 July 2008 for the first time and on 19 November 2008 for the second time. The honourable court combined the diary charge-sheet of both and the process of trial started together.
I deem it necessary to assert that the police has slapped on me the charges registered on another Jeetan Marandi. Apart from the Chilkhari case, the police took my remand on 18 June 08 for the Gawa police station case no.56/99 and on 13 January 09 for the Pirtand police station case no. 42/03 and 9/04. All the police dairies have been produced in the court in fictitious ways, which is a big conspiracy. I went to the high court for bail in the Chilkhari case. While rejecting my appeal, the high court on 16 August 2008 directed the lower court to decide the case within a period of eight months.
I had to go through a series of events till now. Let us once again go over what was this course of events and what was the truth. We were brought to the court on 24 March 2009 to be produced before the judge. The then Town police station in-charge Upendra Kumar Singh came to the Sessions lock-up. With the assistance of the Sessions lock-up in-charge Gopal Pandeya, he talked to me. After some time I alone was brought out for production while my case partners were left inside. Outside the gate Upendra Singh was standing with the false witnesses of the case. Pointing at me he told the fake witnesses that he is Jeetan Marandi, mark him! All of them followed me to the court and observed me closely. In this way I was identified for the fake witnesses, to which I protested as well. The deposition of the witnesses did not take place that day. 1 April was set as the next court date. That day the depositions of witnesses Moti Sau and Subodh Sau were recorded. Moti Sau identified me and said that it is this Jeetan Marandi that was involved in the incident and was firing. That day too, the Town police station in-charge was present in the court. Upendra Singh started my production in the special court from April 09. It was a part of the big conspiracy by the police to bring me from the prison and producing in the court alone. After all the 30 witnesses deposed, my production was again made as per the normal process. In all 30 witnesses have deposed. This includes one informer of the incident, seven doctors, two investigators, 6 eyewitnesses who deposed under Article 164, the depositions of the eight injured, and five more eyewitnesses. Among them, the witnesses who deposed under 164 have recorded their statements also against manoj Rajwar, Anil Ram and Chatrapati Mandal. All the other witnesses have refused to identify the accused. Motirai, Patirai and Sukhdeb Marandi, on the basis of whose statements the police implicated me in this case, have said in the court that they never recorded any statement with the police. The witnesses who deposed against me did not tell the address of my residence, police station or father’s name. Now the question naturally arises, who described my details and features? The investigation officers have already admitted that they recorded the facts of the case on the basis of eyewitness accounts. In such circumstances, the entire police investigation process itself becomes suspect.
Now I want to point out a few things about the witnesses. What is their past history? And on what basis they are eyewitnesses? Let us think about it. Ramchandra Thakur, Uday Sau, Moti Sau etc. are well-known as the accused in many Naxalite cases. Moreover, they are being produced as eyewitnesses of many cases pertaining to Naxal incidents and criminal acts. That too in incidents that have taken place under Tisri and Dewri police station jurisdiction. I am not making this claim. The Superintendent of Police, Giridih has himself given this information when demanded as per the Right to Information Act 2005. The courts have even issued arrest warrants against these witnesses as absconders with regard to the crimes they have been accused of. Even after all this, they enjoy police protection. The evidence of all these is with the court. This is the truth and the history behind the politician-police-administration’s heinous conspiracy regarding the Chilkhari case, and of their manufactured witnesses. A criminal has been made an eyewitness! This is done solely for the purpose of convicting me.
I consider Puran Kisku and all the other injured as the genuine eyewitnesses to the Chilkhari case. The participation of these persons in the programme is evidenced by their bullet wounds. In contrast, the other witnesses have not been able to provide any evidence of their presence at the site of the incident. This proves that these fake witnesses have been manufactured under a deep-rooted conspiracy. This is the truth of the Chilkhari incident, the real suspects and the suspicious conviction. Now we wait to see who emerges victorious: truth or lie. At the end I would like to make this appeal, that come forward for the sake of justice and be united. This is because I do not deserve punishment. I am innocent. I am a cultural and social activist.
Mandal Kara, Giridih
Memo 393 Giridih, Date: 2/3/11
Copy of appeal given by prisoner Jeetan Marandi to Editor, Dainik Jagran Office.
My husband Jeetan Marandi is a cultural activist. He is a lyricist, musician, singer and a theatre artist. He has been working among the adivasis in defense of their culture and identity by suing these cultural mediums. His weapons are the lyrics of his songs, his flute and drum, and not guns and bombs. Whoever has seen him has found him in the attires of an actor, artist, or a singer.
He was busy recording songs for his music album ‘Garib ki Jindegani’ at a famous Jain pilgrimage place of Jharkhand – Parasnath Shikharji – on the day of the incident in relation to which he has given the death sentence. This fact can be corroborated by the statements of the artists and technicians who participated in the recording that day. It is unfortunate that they were not even called to depose before the court. All the people who are associated with the adivasi art and culture of Jharkhand know Jeetan Marandi very well. The charges in which he has been framed and the sentence pronounced against him are a part of the conspiracy to crush the adivasi consciousness and its popular culture.
I appeal to all the intellectuals, students, youth and the progressive citizens of Jharkhand to be a part of the campaign to defend Jeetan Marandi and oppose his death sentence, so as to strengthen our struggle for getting justice at the Supreme Court.
(Wife of Jeetan Marandi)