C''garh villagers allege assault after Naxal arrests, cops deny

charge Raipur, Feb 14 (PTI) Tribals of Markabeda village in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region have alleged that security forces tortured them after three suspected Naxals were arrested from there.

Villagers of Markabeda, situated on the border of Kanker and Narayanpur districts, over 120 kilometres from here, said the assault by security personnel took place on February 4.

However, police refuted the allegations claiming no operation was carried out in the village at that time, and the arrests were made from another village on a later date.

'The police thrashed villagers. They demolished a makeshift school run by us for our children as there is no government education facility nearby. Security forces also looted Rs 25,000 from two women from the village and broke utensils,' two villagers told local reporters.

These villagers also claimed police took along with them women who were voluntarily teaching their children in the makeshift school.

A purported Maoists statement being circulated on social media said two women functionaries teaching in the school operated by its 'Janatana Sarkar' outfit were picked up by police from Markabeda on February 4.

Denying the allegations, a police official said three Naxals, including two women, were arrested from another place in Narayanpur and not Markabeda.

'A District Reserve Guard team was out on a counter- insurgency operation on February 10 when they spotted some suspects on a hill between Metanar and Maspur villages in Narayanpur district. When they tried to escape, three of them were nabbed,' Narayanpur Superintendent of Police Mohit Garg told PTI.

He identified them as Ramsu Wadada (28), a member of Kanknar LOS (local organization squad member), Sunita Gawde (40), Kiskodo LOS deputy commander and Maini alias Sugantin Anchla (35), Partapur area committee member.

'During interrogation, they admitted to involvement in an IED blast incident near Sonpur village (Narayanpur) on January 10 this year in which two ITBP jawans were injured,' Garg said.

'Anchla and Gawde were carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh on their heads respectively, while Ramsu had a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head. They are involved in several Naxal crimes in Kanker. These three were not picked up from Markabeda as is being claimed,' Garg said.

He said security forces had not visited Markabeda in the recent past so there was no question of atrocity on villagers as is being alleged.

The statement issued by the Raoghat area committee of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) claimed Gawde and Anchla were teachers in the school being run by them in Markabeda, and the third person held was an 'innocent villager from Hirangar'.