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Jul 03, 2012 at 06:25pm IST

Naxal killings: Tribal Affairs Minister slams Chidambaram

New Delhi: Tribal Affairs Minister KC Deo on Tuesday slammed Home Minister P Chidambaram over the Bijapur encounter in which the CRPF claims to have killed 20 Naxals. Deo told CNN-IBN that according to his information half of those killed in Bijapur were teenagers and said that the encounter was unacceptable.

"They say bullets don't recognise who is a Naxal, who is not. But people behind the guns can recognise," said Deo.

Deo added that he would take up the issue with Chidambaram and is waiting for a ground report from his party colleagues in Chhattisgarh to finalise his course of action.

The encounter, which took place in the forests of Silger, an uncharted Maoist zone between the Naxal hotbed of Jagargunda and Basaguda in Bijapur district of Bastar region, was launched on Thursday night in a joint operation by over 300 CRPF and state police personnel from three directions.

CRPF officials said two "prominent" Naxals, operating in the Bijapur-Dantewada axis, were also killed in the encounter.

Six CRPF men, including two CoBRA commandos, sustained bullet injuries. Two of them were critical.

Activists allege that the CRPF team involved in the reported encounter killed innocent civilians and not Naxals.

Swami Agnivesh and Professor Haragopal who have often played mediators in hostage crises in the past claim that those killed were innocent adivasis and not Naxals.

"According to my information the people who died were innocent people. Those who are being named as Naxals are not Naxalites but Adivasis. Neither should the CRPF personnel shoot nor should the Naxalites," claimed Swami Agnivesh in New Delhi on Saturday.

However, CRPF Director General K Vijay Kumar refused to get into a war of words with the activists, saying the truth will come out soon.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh blamed the Naxals for using civilians as human shields after the CRPF was accused of killing innocent people.

With additional information from PTI