Chhattisgarh Govt. orders judicial probe into Bijapur CRPF encounter
Raipur, July 6 (ANI): The Chhattisgarh Government has ordered a judicial probe into last week's Bijapur encounter in which over 20 Maoists were killed.
The decision to order a judicial probe by a sitting high court judge came after certain Maoist sympathizers raised questions over the genuineness of the encounter.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had earlier on Thursday termed the encounter as genuine, saying the CRPF has completely been transparent over the matter.
"The CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) has been completely upfront and transparent in this matter. Let me tell you what we know, it was a planned operation, where three teams were sent towards a particular village, where we had intelligence that those were the camps of the Maoists," Chidambaram told media in Kolkata.
"On the way to that point, one of the teams came under fire. It was 11:30 p.m. at night. It is in a jungle, it is unfamiliar territory, when they came under fire, and they suffered causalities. I think you are not highlighting and reporting the fact, there were six causalities on the side of the security forces," he added.
Hailing the paramilitary forces, Chidambaram further said the CRPF has been kind enough to take the bodies of their adversaries by the same helicopter for help.
"Two of them have been seriously injured, one of them is still critical, once hey suffered six causalities, they returned the fire, in the return fire, they found that 16 people were killed because 16 bodies were recovered. The security forces evacuated the two seriously injured by helicopter; they also evacuated two of their adversaries by the same helicopter, this is again not been adequately reported," he said.
The Congress Party, however, appeared to be on the other side of the coin on the CRPF action, but stated that there are no differences between the Central Government and the ruling party on the issue.
"We would like to dismiss any reports stating that there are differences between the Central Government and the Congress Party. The point of view and perspective can be different, but that does indicative that there are building cracks," said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari.
"The Chhattisgarh Congress Committee has formed an investigation committee (on security personnel gunning down suspected Maoists) and its report has been submitted to the Chairperson. After studying the report, the actions suggested by the Chairperson would be considered," he added.
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, was launched on June 27 in a joint operation by over 300 CRPF and state police personnel from three directions.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry has convened a meeting next week to formulate Standard Operating Procedures for actions against Naxals if civilians are spotted in between following the controversy over last week's anti-Maoist operation in Chhattisgarh.
The meeting will take stock of the ongoing anti-Naxal offensives in different states and emphasise on taking maximum precautions to avoid any civilian casualty during the fight against Maoists.
The Director General of Police of all Naxal-affected states, the chiefs of paramilitary forces and senior Home Ministry officials will attend the meeting, which is to be held on July 13. (ANI)
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