CRPF, cops kill 19 Maoists in twin Dantewada encounters

Locals Protest ‘Fake-Kill’ At Collector Office

Soumittra Bose & Rakhi Chakrabarty | TNN

Nagpur/New Delhi: In a morale-boosting operation for the security forces, the CRPF and Chhattisgarh police killed 19 alleged Maoists in the inaccessible jungles of Bijapur and Sukma in twin encounters that began around midnight and continued well into Friday morning. Six jawans were injured in the operation; the condition of two of them is critical.

While the gunbattles in the heart of the Maoist stronghold were being celebrated as a breakthrough in the fight against the extremists, allegations flew that the encounters were staged and the victims were in fact “innocent civilians”. A 16-year-old girl was among the Maoists killed. It led to local residents such as CPI’s national executive member C R Bakshi to question the police version of events.

Within hours of the bodies being lined up in Dantewada, a crowd gathered at the office of the Bijapur collector, protesting against the “fake encounters”.

Both CRPF and Chhattisgarh police dismissed the allegations and pointed to the injuries of the six CRPF jawans as proof of the shootouts in the hitherto impenetrable “liberated zone”. Two Maoists, who were taken alive, have been flown to Raipur for treatment. “For the first time, troops conducted operations in this part of the liberated zone,” said CRPF director-general K Vijay Kumar.

The encounters happened when a CRPF contingent, including its COBRA wing, and Chattisgarh police were tipped off about the movement of Maoists from Koraput in Odisha to Chhattisgarh as part of their plan to enforce an annual economic blockade on June 26 and 27.

Courtesy: The Times of India, June 30, 2012

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