2015 ‘extra-judicial encounter’: Chhattisgarh petitioners flee homes fearing police reprisal
The killings, the petition alleges, were carried out in 2015 and 2016 under the pretext of counter-insurgency operations in state’s Maoist-affected areas.india Updated: Jan 10, 2018 07:08 IST
The lead petitioners in a public interest litigation (PIL), which accuses security forces of six extra-judicial executions and disappearances, including that of a 10-year-old child, in Chhattisgarh, have fled their homes in Bijapur district fearing reprisals from the police.
The women are currently in Delhi to urge the Supreme Court to take over the PIL from the Bilaspur high court.
The killings, the petition alleges, were carried out in 2015 and 2016 under the pretext of counter-insurgency operations in state’s Maoist-affected areas.
At a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday, petitioners Suneeta and Munni Pottam said that on December 27, 2017, Bijapur’s superintendent of police MR Ahire had accused them of maligning the state police at the behest of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and had threatened them with arrest when they approached him with a fresh complaint regarding another police encounter on December 21.
“On December 21, we heard a burst of gunfire near our village Korcholi,” Suneeta said. “When we rushed to the spot, we saw the police had killed someone and were dressing the body in a uniform. When the women raised an alarm, the police violently assaulted them,” she added.
The police has disputed these claims. “I don’t think the allegations are true,” said DM Awasthi, special DGP, anti-Naxal operations. “If anyone gives me a written complaint, I will surely investigate and action will be taken.”
2015 Encounter Case
In 2016, Suneeta and Munni filed a petition in the HC accusing the police of killing Sukku Kunjam, Kuhdami Ganga, Tati Pande, Manoj Hapka and Seetu Hemla in four separate encounters from November 2015 to August 2016. The petition also names Sodhi Sannu, a 10-year-old who disappeared during a police operation in Andri village on February 19, 2016 and hasn’t been found since.
A series of petitions are currently being heard by the apex court. On January 7, 2017, the National Human Rights Commission held the Chhattisgarh police responsible for rape, physical and sexual assault of 16 women in 2015-16. It is still recording statements of 18 other complainants.