New Delhi/Raipur: An embarrassed Chhattisgarh government Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry after blood-stained uniforms and boots of killed paramilitary personnel were found in a garbage dump at a government hospital.
"Chief Minister Raman Singh has taken serious note of uniforms and boots found dumped in garbage at Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Government Hospital premises in Raipur on Wednesday and has ordered a magisterial probe," a government statement said on Thursday.
Raipur Sub-divisional Magistrate Suresh Kumar Agrawal has been asked to conduct a probe into the matter and submit a report within 15 days.
The probe will focus on three angles -- the procedure of disposing of uniforms and other belongings of killed security personnel, how it was disposed of, and who were guilty of the incident.
Earlier, amid outrage over recovery of uniforms belonging to martyred CRPF jawans in a garbage dump near a Raipur hospital, Centre has asked Chhattisgarh government to investigate the matter and punish those involved in "insulting" the troopers.
"I have asked Chhattisgarh CM to fix responsibility in this case and punish those involved in insulting the uniform of the deceased CRPF men," Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said. The Home Minister said he spoke to Chief Minister Raman Singh in this regard after it was brought to his notice that "the uniforms of the slain troopers were probably thrown away."
"Spoke to Ch'garh CM @drramansingh regarding the insult of CRPF martyrs's uniform and asked him to institute an inquiry into this incident," he tweeted. Speaking to reporters here, he said, "I have asked the CM to fix responsibility of those who were responsible for this incident and that the entire thing should be investigated".
He stressed that security forces personnel, whether of the state or central forces, should be accorded appropriate honour. The CRPF also has instituted an inquiry into the incident which came to the fore yesterday in state capital Raipur, leaving the Chief Minister red-faced. Acting Central Reserve Police Force chief R C Tayal said the inquiry would be conducted by the an officer deputed by the Inspector General (Operations) of the force in the Maoist violence affected state and a report would be submitted soon.
"We have ordered an inquiry to find out how it happened. Serious action will be taken against the guilty. We suspect some political workers took these items from the lower staff in the hospital in Raipur.We are looking into it," Tayal, who is back here after camping in Raipur after the December 1 encounter, said. 14 CRPF personnel, including two officers, were killed in the encounter in Sukma district of the state on Monday. Camouflaged pattern blood-stained uniforms like the one worn by CRPF troops in operations and jungle boots were found lying in the garbage dump near Ambedkar Hospital in Raipur yesterday, sparking an outrage.
This is the same hospital were the autopsy of the slain soldiers was done after their bodies were flown-in on Tuesday from the site of the encounter in south Bastar's Sukma. Officials said these items, worn by combat soldiers, were handed over to local police as per procedure who register a case under sections of the CrPC and they are called a "case property" and not even handed over to the next of kin.
"My message is that we have full respect for our martyrs. If I need to say sorry (to the families of those killed) I will do that. Normal process in such cases is that these (clothes and boots) are taken by the case investigating police officer. Let me get the details (of the inquiry) and we will take required action," Tayal said. CRPF Inspector General in Chhattisgarh H S Sidhu said the inquiry will soon be completed and sent to the force headquarters here.
Officials said it is suspected that the hospital authorities considered the uniforms as "medical waste and not worth retaining" and hence were discarded and thrown away. The Home Minister said he has already stressed that sacrifice tales and dare devilry of martyrs should be preserved, memorials should be made and testimonials be written about them.
Raipur district Congress chief Vikas Upadhyay had visited the hospital yesterday and taken away the uniforms and other belongings of the troops to the Congress office. "We rushed there (to the hospital) after learning that the uniforms of the slain CRPF men were lying in a dustbin filled with garbage near the mortuary where their autopsies took place," Upadhyay had said.
"We collected four sets of blood-stained uniforms and 10 pairs of shoes and carried those to Congress Bhawan. Later, CRPF officials came here and we handed over all the belongings to them," he had said. Dean of Ambedkar Hospital, Vivek Chaudhary had said that "After a post-mortem is performed, the viscera and other remains are preserved and not kept openly. The video that I saw (of the blood-stained uniforms left lying in the open) is very unfortunate."