2012 C'garh encounter: Cong demands action against culprits

Raipur, Dec 3 (PTI) A delegation of Congress MLAs from Chhattisgarh's Bastar region on Tuesday met Governor Anusuiya Uikey seeking action over the findings of a judicial inquiry into a 2012 encounter in which 17 people were killed.

In the intervening night of June 28-29 that year, 17 people, including seven minors, were killed in action carried out by a team of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Chhattisgarh police in Sarkeguda village in Bijapur.

While the security forces claimed they fired on Maoists after getting specific inputs of their presence, a hue and cry by civil rights activists and local people forced the then BJP government to institute a judicial inquiry.

A report of the one-member judicial commission headed by Justice V K Agrawal, a retired judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court, which was tabled in the state assembly on Monday, said 'security forces opened fire unilaterally on members (villagers) of the meeting from close quarters, killing and injuring many of them.' There was no firing by members of the meeting, the report said, and also pointed out there was no evidence to suggest Maoists were present at the spot.

The Congress delegation, led by state Congress chief Mohan Markam and Excise Minister Kawasi Lakhma, handed over a memorandum to the governor urging action against culprits of the encounter and those who gave them protection, state Congress general secretary Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said.

The judicial commission's report on Sarkeguda incident indicates 17 innocent tribals, including schoolchildren and women, were brutally murdered, the Congress memorandum said.

'The Congress had then raised the issue at national and state level seeking justice for the tribals, and now the judicial commission's report has confirmed the allegations leveled by the party,' he said quoting the memorandum.

The judicial commission report, however, also pointed out that the firing probably resulted out of panic on the part of some security personnel when they unexpectedly ran into a group of villagers so late at night.

The report said the police investigation into the incident was 'manipulated and dishonest', and there was no evidence to show any of the deceased or injured villagers was a Naxal. PTI TKP BNM BNM