Chhattisgarh: Deputy Sarpanch killed, 2 injured by suspected Maoists in Bastar
- Shatrughan Korram, 34, former deputy sarpanch of Temrugaon, was shot dead by an unknown group of people in Chalka weekly market and fled after the attack
Maoists allegedly killed a former deputy sarpanch and injured two others during a kangaroo court (Jan Adalat) in Amujhmad area of Naryanpur district of Bastar region, police said on Tuesday, in yet another case of increasing targeting of panchayat body heads, who are considered a link between the villages and the administration.
The increasing killing of villagers in Maoist-infested areas in the jungles of Bastar division comes at the time when the number of encounters with left-wing extremists has come down by around 40% in the past one year. Also, there have been reports of a dip in the recruitment of cadre for Maoists. Experts believe that all these factors have caused some desperation among Maoists, who are now attacking villagers to create a scare.
In this case, the police said the two injured have been admitted to a district hospital and the deceased body has been brought to district headquarters for postmortem.
“The incident took place on Monday evening in Temrugaon under Benur police station. Shatrughan Korram, 34, former deputy sarpanch of Temrugaon, was shot dead by an unknown group of people in Chalka weekly market and fled after the attack,” said inspector general of police, Bastar range, Sunderaj P. The injured were Ramesh Yadav (57) and Batti Karam (35).
Superintendent of Police ( SP), Narayanpur, Mohit Garg, there were pamphlets from Maoists Bayanar Area Committee claiming that Korram was a police informer and he would be killed like his father was shot dead in 2007.
“Police team has been sent to the incident site and dead body recovered. Search parties were also sent but Maoists fled,” the SP said.
On January 24, a deputy sarpanch was killed allegedly by Maoists in the Kondagaon district of Bastar region. Similarly, on January 6, a sarpanch of a village in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district was killed by Maoists at his home.
Senior police officers believe that Maoists want to create an environment of fear among villagers which can help them increase recruitment.
“There has been a decrease in recruitment of sentries in 2017-18. The other very important factor behind recent killings is that there is total indiscipline in the ranks of Maoists, with local cadres now killing people without even taking the approval of senior cadres. And lastly, there is total ideological disarray with movement becoming an armed war with no ethics,” a police officer, who was not willing to be named, said.
Also Read: 15 former Maoist couples marry on Valentine's Day in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada
The tribal activists have condemned the continuous killing of civilians.
“I don’t know why Maoists are killing villagers but this should be stopped. If Maoists claim they are here for tribals why are they killing them? Maoist should answer this question?,” said Soni Sori, a Bastar-based activist.
Bela Bhatia, a human rights activist, also condemned the recent killing and said that any capital punishment should be condemned.
Last Saturday, Maoists in Chhattisgarh have allegedly issued a threat to five people, including journalists, accusing them of pro-corporate and pro-government activities.
Chhattisgarh police, which are yet to establish the veracity of the threat, have cited it as another evidence of Maoists' growing ‘frustration’ in the region.
As per the records of Chhattisgarh police, total of 36 policemen lost their lives in Maoists' attacks in Bastar in 2020 while total 46 civilians were killed in 308 incidents of Maoists perpetrated violence in Bastar last year.