Chhattisgarh police arrest 3 of Maoist-run school, deny charges of atrocity
The incident happened on February 4 in Markedbeda village and came to light when the villagers lodged a complaint against the members of the District Reserve Guards (DRG), a police force comprising surrendered Maoists and locals from the rebel dominated areas of the state.Updated: Feb 14, 2020 15:53 IST
Police in Chhattisgarh have arrested three women, who taught in a school allegedly run by Maoists in Narayanpur district, but denied the claim of villagers they thrashed children and elderly and burnt down the school.
The incident happened on February 4 in Markedbeda village and came to light when the villagers lodged a complaint against the members of the District Reserve Guards (DRG), a police force comprising surrendered Maoists and locals from the rebel dominated areas of the state.
Narayanpur’s superintendent of police, Mohit Garg, said police never went to the village.
“Yes, we have arrested three persons from nearby Metnar village and they have been identified as Ramsu Vedda, a Maoist local organisation squad (LOS) member, Sunita Gawde, LOS deputy commander, and Maini, a Maoist area committee member,” Garg said.
He also claimed that the three arrested women were wanted in several Maoist-violence related cases in Kanker district.
“The trio was produced in the court on February 11,” he said.
A resident of Markedbeda, Mahru Nuruti, said a DRG team with surrendered Maoists from their village came on February 4 and they thrashed the villagers including children after cordoning off the area.
“They came here and started beating everyone branding them as Maoists and arrested three of us, who were teachers in a local school,” said Nuruti.
Another villager, Sirgo Weda, alleged that the DRG squad set the make-shift school in the village on fire.
“They demolished the school and also damaged the utensils of the school. The DRG team also looted Rs 25,000 from two women,” Weda also said.
Police, on the other hand, claimed they did not know anything about burning of the school.
“We have no idea about the school but we had intelligence inputs there was a school in Markedbeda village which was run by Maoists. The Maoist statement released after the arrest of three also claimed that there was a school,” Garg said.
Garg was referring to the purported statement of Arjun Padda, the secretary of Raoghat area committee of CPI (Maoist), who reportedly claimed that the arrested women were teachers at the school operated by CPI (M).
The senior police official said the allegations of beatings and school’s burning were “mere propaganda” of the Maoists.
Markedbeda is deep inside the dense forests in Narayanpur district and is not accessible by road. DRG has a knowledge of the forests and is deployed in the region for counter-Maoist operations.