Doubts raised over target precision
The ‘encounter’ near Basaguda in Bijapur, about 500 km south of Raipur, has raised questions on the effectiveness of military training as villagers alleged that the forces had killed “innocent” tribals. HT reports.Updated: Jul 01, 2012 23:59 IST
The ‘encounter’ near Basaguda in Bijapur, about 500 km south of Raipur, has raised questions on the effectiveness of military training as villagers alleged that the forces had killed “innocent” tribals.
“One should understand the psychology of jawans who fight and get killed. We too feel no collateral damage (deaths of non-combatants) should occur but do we have any system of screening or segregation when a gunfight ensues,” asked Ram Niwas, additional director general (anti-Maoist operations).
Bijapur collector Rajat Kumar told HT he had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident even as the police maintained those killed were Maoists.
Joing the probe chorus, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties general secretary Sudha Bharadwaj said: “We demand independent investigation and prompt action against the guilty.”
“To check and avoid collateral damage in the area where civilians live is basic to combat training. But the forces had to retaliate against the gunshots coming from various directions. And when the villagers are used as a human shield by naxals it obviously becomes difficult to identify friends and foes,” said brigadier (retired) BK Ponwar, guerrilla warfare expert.
Another former army officer feared such incidents could help the Maoists to capitalise on the suffering of poor tribals. “It was a good plan but the police might lose the trust of the locals. It is a 360 degree battlefield with no international boundaries, so the forces should have surrounded the area from different directions, evaluated the risk factors or waited until morning if they believed there were Maoists present,” the officer said.