Security forces in Chhattisgarh have been accused of killing two tribal boys from Bhatpat village in Dantewada district in a fake encounter after branding them as Maoists.
Family members of the sixteen-year-olds – Sonaku and Bijlu – have been up in arms against the authorities ever since the incident occurred on Saturday morning. The two teenagers had reportedly gone to Burgum village in Jagdalpur to inform relatives about a death in the family when they were captured and executed by District Reserve Group (DRG) personnel.
The same day, Bastar superintendent of police RN Dash had praised the “achievement” of the security forces. “Two ultras were gunned down by a team led by three former women rebels, who had surrendered earlier. They participated in the anti-Maoist operation as assistant constables,” he said.
But Paiku Ram, Sonaku’s father, had a different story to tell. “My son and his friend had gone to Burgum to inform my eldest daughter, Masi, about the death of a girl child in the family. As it was already late in the evening, they decided to return the next day. However, DRG personnel dragged the two out of Masi’s house early on Saturday morning and shot them near a rivulet about 250 metres away,” he said.
Villagers and relatives of the victims protested against the DRG, saying they wouldn’t take back the bodies unless justice was delivered. Besides “suitable punishment” for those behind the killing of Sonaku and Bijlu, they demanded Rs 15 lakh as compensation for each of the deceased’s families and government jobs for their next of kin.
Dantewada Congress legislator Devti Karma expressed distress over the incident. “I demand a high-level probe into the incident. It’s evident that the boys were killed in a fake encounter,” she said.
Dash couldn’t be reached for comment despite several attempts. He didn’t respond to text messages either.