July 6, 2012 2:23:28 am
The Chhattisgarh government on Thursday decided to order a judicial inquiry into the alleged Maoist encounter in which 19 people were killed at two places in Bijapur and Sukma on June 28. A Cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Raman Singh decided that the government would soon approach the Chief Justice of Bilaspur High Court to assign the probe.
A week after the incident at Sarkeguda village,the government has been facing pressure from rights groups as well as opposition parties to order an independent probe as relatives of the victims have claimed the deceased were innocent tribals.
A magisterial inquiry a mandatory requirement whenever an encounter takes place is already on.
The operation was undertaken by a joint team of CRPF,STF and district force. The forces have claimed it was a genuine encounter as a meeting of Naxals was on and some of them fired at them,prompting retaliatory firing. Authorities have so far been able to establish the identity of only seven confirmed Naxals in those groups of villagers.
Officials in the Union Home Ministry,meanwhile,said the nine Naxal-affected state governments and all central para-military forces had been called for a meeting in Delhi on July 13 specifically to discuss the issue of human shields Naxals use against the security forces. The forces have been asked to make an assessment of the cost and feasibility of providing sophisticated night-vision devices to the personnel to enable them to see better in the darkness.
Probe Terms of reference
* Did the security forces actually have an encounter with Naxals in the villages?
* When and why did the incident take place?
* Was any person other than policemen or Naxals injured or killed in the incident?
* What were the circumstances under which security forces had to undertake the operation at night?
* Did security forces take proper precaution before launching the operation?
* What were the circumstances under which the forces had to open fire?
* Could firing have been avoided?