New Delhi: The controversy has erupted over the encounter between the CRPF jawans and the Naxals on June 29, while activists allege innocent civilians were killed in the crossfire, security forces claim the operation was a big success with 16 Naxals killed. Both the central and state governments have defended the CRPF action.
The Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh and activists claim the encounter was fake, and those killed were innocent villagers. CRPF officials deny the charge.
CRPF sources say they had specific input of Maoist activity in this area of Bijapur, based on the input three parties of CRPF's elite cobra force and state police marched towards Silger.
The team from Basaguda was fired upon at Sarakiguda while the back up team from Chintalnar was fired upon at Penta.
CRPF officers say it was pitch dark and the Basaguda team returned fire killing 16 people including a 15-year-old girl. The bodies were recovered next morning. But activists refuse to buy the theory.
One of the allegations is CPI Maoist never leaves behind bodies of its cadres, how were 16 bodies left behind? Counter by CRPF is, one body recovered is of wanted Naxal Irupa Somulu. Villagers say he is not from village. If it wasn’t a Naxal gathering, why was he in the village? Bodies of two other Naxals wanted for 2007 Dantewada jail break were also recovered.
Allegation is, injury to CRPF personnel were a result of firing from the force itself. CRPF said bullet injuries are from low intensity weapons not the kind CRPF uses.
Another allegation is, villagers had gathered for seed sowing festival. CRPF counter to that is, why the gathering was at mid night? Why were no children and only one woman part of the festivity?
A magisterial enquiry and police investigations into the encounter has been ordered.
Even as state and union government deny charges of fake encounter, sources in security establishment accept that perhaps innocent villagers, used as human shields, were caught in the cross fire. But will this convince activists gunning for Home Minister P Chidambaram's resignation?