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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Chhattisgarh ‘encounter’ report in House, Bhupesh Baghel says guilty won’t be spared

Baghel said, “It is unfortunate that there was no FIR or action taken then (in 2012). Seven years later, a report like this has come. Whoever is responsible will be punished.”

Written by Dipankar Ghose | Raipur | Updated: December 3, 2019 6:55:19 am
Chhattisgarh 2012 encounter, Chhattisgarh encounter, Chhattisgarh encounter June 2012, chhattisgarh cm bhupesh baghel, Chhattisgarh 2012 encounter probe, India news, Indian Express Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel.

Tabling the report of a judicial commission that looked into an alleged encounter in 2012 that killed 17 people, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday said that no one found guilty will be spared.

Speaking on the sidelines of the last day of winter session, Baghel said, “It is unfortunate that there was no FIR or action taken then (in 2012). Seven years later, a report like this has come. Whoever is responsible will be punished.”

This comes two days after The Indian Express reported that Justice V K Agarwal commission found that there was no evidence to suggest that 17 people killed the encounter were Maoists, or that there was any firing from the “meeting” of villagers in Sarkeguda village of Bijapur district.

Baghel said the report would now be sent to the Law Department for examination. “Based on its findings, a committee will decide the course of action. But there is no question of any guilty person being spared…17 people lost their lives,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the Opposition BJP moved a breach of privilege notice against Baghel over alleged “leak” of the report before it was tabled in Assembly.

Former CM and BJP leader Raman Singh said, “The Vidhan Sabha is on. The government received this report a month ago, and it was put before the House only today — that too suddenly. Our objection was that such an important report should be tabled before the House but it was leaked to the media (before that). It is an insult to Vidhan Sabha, and to its members, that we read this report in newspapers instead of it being tabled.”

In response, Baghel said, “The BJP was shouting in Assembly today but why were they silent on this for so long? Seventeen people were killed. Where was their (BJP leaders’) voice then? Is raising this issue bigger than the deaths of innocent people? Normally there is six months’ time to table a report; we have done it early.”

Kawasi Lakhma, state minister and five-time MLA from Konta in Bastar, demanded FIR against the then CM and Home Minister — in 2012, BJP led the state government.

The saffron party countered that the Congress-led UPA was in charge at the Centre in 2012, and the CRPF, which carried out the alleged encounter, was under then Home Minister P Chidambaram.

In a statement, the Congress party said that Raman Singh was raising questions, instead of “being ashamed.”

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