Govt lied about Bastar encounter, says Congress

It was previously reported Sonaku Ram and Bijlu had gone to a relative’s home from Gadhda village in neighbouring Dantewada bearing the news of a death in the family.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | Raipur | Published:October 28, 2016 6:02 am

The Congress has alleged that Chhattisgarh Police tacitly admitted in the Bilaspur High Court that an encounter in which two boys were killed in Bastar district in September was fake. Sonaku Ram Kashyap and Bijlu Kashyap were killed in Saungel village of Bastar district on September 23. The family of the two boys, along with Dantewada Congress MLA Devti Karma, had petitioned the court against the police.

According to the Congress, the police told the court on Thursday that an FIR had been registered on September 24, a day after the encounter, under sections of murder and against unidentified persons, thus tacitly admitting that the encounter was fake. The Indian Express had previously reported from Saungel village, where villagers had alleged that Sonaku Ram and Bijlu had gone to a relative’s home from Gadhda village in neighbouring Dantewada bearing the news of a death in the family. They alleged that the two were pulled out of their aunt’s home at 4 am and killed by security personnel. The police had maintained that both were Maoists. While Sonaku Ram was 16, the age of his friend Bijlu has been contested by the police, who say he is not a minor.

“In court the police said that a case of murder has been registered against unknown individuals, while until now they have been saying it was an encounter… The government has admitted it was lying,” a Congress statement said.

Additional Advocate General Praful Bharat, appearing for the government, said there had been no U-turn. “There are two cases that are running simultaneously. One is of the encounter, and the second is based on the families’ complaint, on which an FIR of murder was registered. After investigation, which is nearly complete, what had happened will become clear. We have also argued that Karma has no locus to be a petitioner in the case, and the court has reserved judgment,” he said.