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‘Fake Maoist Encounter’ by police killed 17 innocent civilians in 2012, judicial probe finds

Social activist and lawyer Bela Bhatia said the Congress party in 2012, called the Sarkeguda encounter fake, had withheld the report for over a month

Bijapur: On June 28, 2012, the Chhattisgarh Police killed 17 persons in cold blood in a staged gunfight at Sarkeguda in Bijapur district and passed it as fake encounter of Maoists, as per the report of Justice Vijay Kumar Agarwal judicial probe, submitted a month ago after seven years of hearing and investigation, got viral on Sunday.

The case report indicts the police suggested clearly about the people killed in the gunfight were not Maoists. The Report clearly said the police claims of firing from the villagers’ side were wrong and the security forces could not provide any proof of the targeted group being Maoists or opening fire at the security forces.

After a series of questions were asked over the death of 17 people in Sarkeguda village, the then BJP government had constituted a one-member judicial inquiry commission which had submitted its reports a month ago.

Before retirement, Justice Aggarwal submitted the report to the government on October 17 and it was presented before the Chhattisgarh cabinet late on Saturday night and tabled in the Assembly on Monday. Political rhetoric is being out on selective interpretation of the report by rival parties.

The commission said the police investigation is flawed and was tampered with. The report rejects the police claims of the confiscation of guns and pellets from the place.

Advocate Isha Khandelwal, who appeared on behalf of the victims, says it was the villagers’ fight for justice. At long last, justice seems to be possible, she said, adding that she had seen the report on social media, but no official copy has been handed to her or the villagers.

Social activist and lawyer Bela Bhatia said the Congress party in 2012, called the Sarkeguda encounter fake, had withheld the report for over a month. The government should have presented it before the House much earlier if it was keen to get justice to the victims, she said.

The security forces claimed that other gunfights are also under the scanner in the Maoist affected Bastar of Chhattisgarh. The police-Maoist gunfight in Kutrem in Dantewada district on September 23 is now being called fake. Soni Sori and Bela Bhatia went to meet the villagers at Gumiyapal where the Kutrem victims belonged, and Sori alleged that there has been no gun battle here.

From Dantewada, Sukma, and Bijapur thousands of villagers by walking to Palanar in Dantewada to start a rally to seek the release of many innocent tribals arrested by the police. The rally was called off even before its start due to the code of conduct in force, but the protests continued. Sori said that the government is retracting from its promise. The villagers would continue the agitation for at least three days.

The Congress government had promised during elections that the cases under which the tribals were arrested, will be settled and they would be released. Lots of villagers gathered on Sunday to remind the government of its promise. The villager’s congregation Palanar demanded that either the detainees are freed or the others also are taken to jail.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmDqNNUWqH4

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