DSS activist says he was kidnapped by police on behest of his opponents

DH News Service MANGALORE, May 24 2000

Dalit Sanghrasha Samiti activist Manjunath Kundar, who was missing for about 15 days and later found near Sakaleshpur, has alleged that his political opponents in connivance with the police, masterminded his ''kidnapping`` and he was tortured to the hilt at the time of his ''illegal confinement``.

Mr Kundar who basically hails from Adyapadi village near here, has been now taking treatment in the Government Wenlock hospital. He has been shifted from Sakaleshpur hospital to the current hospital a couple of days back. He has been a DSS leader who has taken an active role in protests relating to Adyapadi Shobha murder case.

Ms Shobha, another DSS activist, was murdered at Adyapadi a few months back in a mysterious way and the killers are not yet found. The DSS has been holding protests against the delay in completing the investigation.

''This is precisely the reason why I have been targetted by the police. I have been in the forefront of the DSS protests relating to the Adyapadi Shobha murder case which has infuriated the police,`` Mr Kundar told Deccan Herald in the Wenlock hospital.

Giving the blow-by-blow account of the episode, Mr Kundar said he was asked by two known police constables - Sujan Shetty and Seetharam - on April 30 night to accompany them to meet the PSI Rajendran. The jeep was parked at a distance from Mr Kundar`s house. (Mr Kundar has also named those constables in his statement before the police now) ''I was suddenly attacked from behind by two unknown persons. My hands were tied and eyes were tightly closed by a cloth. Later I felt that something was injected into my body and I lost my senses. When I awoke, I was in an unknown house surrounded by unfamiliar people,``.

''I understand that my kidnap was planned and executed by my political opponents on the basis of telephonic conversations which my kidnappers had, during my confinement. After 15 days, I was thrown in a gutter and later I found that the place was Sakaleshpur,`` he added.

To recall the background, Mr Manjunath Kundar was reported missing from his residence on April 30 night and the issue was later taken up by the DSS and human rights activists. The Janadhwani People`s Union of Civil Liberties (JPUCL) also moved a ''habeus corpus`` petition in the Karnataka High Court.

The JPUCL maintained that there has been a long-standing fight between Mr Kundar and his neighbour Giriyappa who is the vice-president of Kandavar Gram Panchayat. Mr Giriyyappa belongs to the Congress party who is said to have the backing of district- in- charge minister Ramanath Rai. The tussle between the two political activists is said to have been started with regard to possession of a piece of land. There used to be skirmishes between them and the tussle reached a boiling point when Mr Manjunath was attacked with lethal weapons allegedly by the group of Mr Giriyappa on March 22.

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