Chhattisgarh villagers protest against ‘fake’ encounter
A group of residents from 25 villages in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Monday staged a protest in Tadmetla village of the district alleging that security personnel killed two people in a “fake encounter” against Maoists
A group of residents from 25 villages in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on Monday staged a protest in Tadmetla village of the district alleging that security personnel killed two people in a “fake encounter” against Maoists, villagers said.
On September 5, police said that two Maoists – carrying a reward of ₹1 lakh each on their head – were killed in an encounter with security personnel in a forest between Tadmetla and Duled villages under Chintagufa police station limits when a joint team of personnel from different security forces was out on an anti-Maoist operation.
According to police, the killed Maoists were identified as Sodhi Deva and Rava Deva, who were active in the Jagargunda area committee of the Maoists.
However, villagers have alleged that Sodhi and Rava were local residents and not involved in any Maoist activities. “Both were innocent and living peacefully. The two were on their way back home from Chintalnaar Bazaar when they were picked up by the police and dragged into the jungle. The next day police claimed that they were killed in an encounter,” a villager said on condition of anonymity. According to locals, Rava ran a grocery shop in the village and Sodhi was a farmer and a tailor.
Residents said they will intensify their protest against the security forces and organise a rally fromTadmetla to Burkapal village in the district on Thursday.
Alleging excesses by the local security forces in the area, Narendra Deva, a resident of Tadmetla said, “This is how we live. We do not know when any of us will be get picked by them (security forces) and killed which is why we have decided to hold a protest.”
Police have dismissed the villagers’ allegation, saying that they have “strong evidence” to show that the Rava and Sodhi were Maoists and were also involved in the killing of at least two people in the area.
“The modus operandi of militia cadres is that they mostly stay in villages and act at the behest of Maoists. We have strong evidence regarding involvement of these two deceased militia cadres in the murder of Tadmetla’s deputy sarpanch, and assistant teacher and other villagers,” inspector general of police, Bastar range, Sundarraj P said.
“Possession of documents like PAN card, Aadhaar card, voter ID card etc does not mean that these people do not have links with Maoists or are not involved in violent activities,” Sundarraj added.