At a time when human rights activists and opposition Congress in Chhattisgarh are questioning the CRPF-police version of encounter against the Maoists in which 19 persons were killed and claiming that many of the victims were innocent tribals,Chief Minister Raman Singh on Monday claimed the left wing insurgents used children and women as shields.
Putting the blame for the casualties squarely on the rebels,he said if any innocent person was killed or injured,then the Maoists must be held responsible for it as they often use innocent villagers as back-up for themselves during such gunfight and use them as human shields.
If innocents were killed then it is the Naxals who are responsible. Naxals keep innocent villagers as back up for themselves. Congress should not politicise the matter, he said. While Singh defended the state police and attacked the Maoists,demands for a thorough investigation into the incident grew.
After the CPI,the CPM too demanded a time-bound judicial inquiry into what it called highly condemnable incidents of indiscriminate firing and actions by the CRPF and the Chhattisgarh Police. It said 19 persons,including two schoolchildren,were shot dead or were brutally axed to death.
The truth must be established about the Centre and the state governments claims of an encounter between armed Maoists and its forces. The terrible plight of villagers,mainly tribals,caught in the violence between the Maoists on the one hand and the state forces on the other has led to a wide questioning of the methods used by the forces in the name of fighting Maoists which ends up targeting the most exploited sections of our society, the CPM Politburo said.
Human rights activists and Maoist sympathisers too raised their pitch. Like the political class,a group of activists led by Justice Rajinder Sachar and Swami Agnivesh too demanded a judicial inquiry claiming they have no faith in a CBI or a magisterial inquiry. Agnivesh alleged the encounter was a cold-blooded murder of innocent villagers and it reminded him of Jallianwala Bagh massacre.