Sarkeguda firing incident: Judicial Enquiry Commission indicts security forces

Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], Dec 1 (ANI): A one-member judicial commission has indicted security forces for killing 17 people, including seven minors, in Sarkeguda village in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district in June 2012 and has stated that there was no firing by the villagers and no evidence to prove that they were Naxalities.

On the intervening night of June 28 and 29, 2012, 17 villagers, including 7 minors, from Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta were fired upon and killed by a combined team of CRPF and police personnel and 10 others were injured. Six security personnel also sustained injuries in the incident.

The commission chaired by Justice VK Agarwal, a retired Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court submitted its report to the state government earlier this month.

"The report concludes that the security forces opened fire unilaterally on the members of the meeting, killing and injuring many of them. There was no firing by the members of the meeting," the Commission stated.

"The injuries to the 6 security personnel occurred due to the firing of fellow troopers. This firing probably resulted out of panic of some security personnel when they were confronted with an unexpected meeting of villagers so late in the night," it added.

The report further went on to summarize that the incident did not end at the firing and the security forces went on to assault the villagers after that, and also killed one person in his house on the next morning.

"The report concludes that the police investigation into this incident is manipulated and dishonest and that there is no evidence to show that any of the deceased or injured villagers was a Naxalite, or indeed that any of the participants in the meeting was a Naxalite," the Commission said.

The villagers claimed that they had been meeting in an open ground at night to prepare for Beej Pandum (sowing festival) the next day when they found themselves suddenly surrounded by security forces who opened fire without any warning. They said that as the firing ended, the security forces beat them mercilessly with rifle butts and boots, and one villager was chased into his house and shot dead the next morning in cold blood.

On the other hand, the Security Forces claimed that they had suddenly come upon a meeting of Naxalites in a dense jungle, and the Naxalites had initiated the firing, injuring 6 security personnel. The security forces had only fired in self-defence, and all the deceased had been killed during the firing in the night itself.

On July 11, 2012, the Chhattisgarh state government set up the Commission Of Inquiry to look into the details of the incident at Sarkeguda. (ANI)