About seven people killed during an encounter between securitymen and Maoists in Chhattisgarh on Friday were innocents, union home ministry and police sources confirmed on Monday.
The state government has ordered a judicial probe. But the home ministry appears to have come around to the view that the forces may not have done a good job of implementing plans taken last year to minimise “collateral” loss of lives. Besides the state’s Rs 5 lakh compensation, the home ministry has decided to give an extra Rs 3 lakh to each victim.
After 17 tribals were killed in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur in June last year, the home ministry had advised against engaging Maoists in gunfights if rebels use villagers as shields.
Less than a year later, a team of CRPF men and police targeted what intelligence inputs described as a meeting of rebels about 1.5 km from a village on Friday night. The Maoists who fired at the security forces were on an elevated piece of land. The villagers — who were in between — got killed in cross-firing.