The Chhattisgarh police’s claim to have killed 15 Maoists in an encounter on Thursday near Gollapalli in southern Bastar district of Dantewada has set off a serious controversy, as villagers counter-claimed that it was a fake encounter.
Although the police publicised the encounter as a big success against the Naxalites, the Dantewada collector has ordered a magisterial inquiry on Saturday into the killing.
Although the police are yet to present a single Maoist killed in the encounter, they have succeeded in photographing the bodies along with the seized arms and ammunition.
Bastar Inspector General of Police A.N. Upadhya confirmed to Hindustan Times, “The police have not recovered any body so far”, insisting, however, that only Naxalites were killed in the encounter.
But villagers managed to find the bodies next day. And women were seen grieving over their dead relatives, reportedly killed in the encounter. They claimed the dead were not naxalites and were killed for some unknown reason.
It is not for the first time that the Chhattisgarh police have been in the news for alleged fake encounters, the most controversial ones being in Ponjer (Dantewada), Satoshpur (Bijapur) and Ambikapur in north Chhattisgarh.
IGP Upadhya rebutted, “Because of the fear of the Naxals, the tribals are describing the encounter as a fake one.” Dantewada police chief Rahul Sharma also said, “The cops have achieved a major success.”
According to a leader of the Communist Party of India and president of Adivasi Mahasabha, Manish Kunjam, the photographs released by the Dantewada police show the dead - clothed by the police in Naxal uniform - were innocent villagers.
When asked why did the police not recover a single body even after photographing the dead ultras, Sharma said the police party had to shift their injured personnel as it was getting late.
Meanwhile, Kunjam identified those who were killed in the reported encounter, including six women. He said, “Four were from Singavaram village, eight from Danteshwarpuram, three from Korraspadu and one each from Mailasur and Puspallihave.”