Various organisations dub Gadchiroli encounters 'fake', seek probe by Supreme Court judge
As many as 40 Naxals were killed in encounters with C-60 commandos and CRPF personnel in Gadchiroli district in east Maharashtra on April 22
Representatives of various organisations, including members of the CPI, today dubbed as "fake" last month's encounters that led to the killing of 40 Naxals by the police in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district.
As many as 40 Naxals were killed in encounters with C-60 commandos and CRPF personnel in Gadchiroli district in east Maharashtra on April 22. Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, the committee members demanded an inquiry into the encounters, which took place on April 22 and 23, by a Supreme Court judge.
The 40-member team, consisting of representatives from outfits such as the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations, the Civil Liberties Committee, the Women Against State Repression and Sexual Violence, the Indian Association of Peoples Lawyers and the CPI, earlier visited the encounter sites and also met the Gadchiroli SP. The committee members alleged that commandos of C-60, an anti-Naxal unit of the Maharashtra Police, encircled the Maoists and killed them. It was "one-sided rapid firing" with an intention to kill the ultras which is not permissible under the law, they claimed, adding contrary to officials claim, the police did not ask the rebels to surrender.
It was a "mass killing" of the Maoists by using sophisticated weapons and the police have no power to do so, Kranti Chaitanya of the Civil Liberties Committee said. A sitting judge of the Supreme Court should probe the twin encounters, Chaitanya demanded. How is it that not a single policeman received even a scratch in the encounters. This shows the encounters were "fake" and "cold-blooded mass murders", Venkayya of the Indian Association of the People's Lawyers (IAPL) said.
A case under the IPC section 302 (murder) should be registered against the policemen involved in the operation which took place in the forests of Boriya-Kasnasur and Nainer, Venkayya demanded. "If this is not done, we will approach the Supreme Court, the National Human Rights Commission and the National Commission for Women (the slain ultras included females)," the activist-lawyer said.
Eight civilians, residents of Gatepalli village who had gone to attend a marriage, were among those killed in the gunfight, Venkayya claimed. Deputy Inspector General of Police Ankush Shinde (Gadchiroli Range), however, rejected the allegations made by the team and questioned its locus standi (the right to bring an action) in probing the encounters.
Shinde said a magisterial inquiry has already been ordered into the encounters and it will bring out the truth. Speaking after the gun-battle, Maharashtra Director General of Police Satish Mathur had said "accurate and specific" intelligence, low morale of Naxals and divisions in their ranks had led to the success in the operation.
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