Wednesday, May, 29,2024

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Congress' Bhupesh Baghel raises doubts on Kanker Naxal encounter, state rubbishes charge

Raipur (Chhattisgarh): A day after 29 Naxals were killed in an encounter with security forces in Chhattisgarh the Congress has cast aspersions on the encounter claiming that during the BJP tenure several innocent villagers had been labelled Naxals and killed.

Former Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel who is also a Congress candidate in the Lok Sabha elections was the first to raise the doubts claiming that there had been several fake encounters during the BJP regime in the state and even innocent villagers were arrested on grounds of being Naxals. Baghel said that the Police had been threatening villagers as well. He claimed that during his tenure several Naxals had been killed or they had surrendered.

The charges were repeated by Chhattisgarh State Congress Chief Deepak Baij who said that the government should make it clear that all 29 were naxals only, or that some villagers were also in the fatalities.

Addressing a press conference here today, Baij asserted that if any innocent tribal had been killed in this, the government would have to face serious anger from the tribals.

"The government is claiming that 29 Naxals were neutralised; if all these 29 people were Naxals, then it's a big achievement of the security forces, but it's too early to comment on this. Bhupesh Baghel is a former Chief Minister of the state, and whatever he says, he says after full consideration. We can't deny that he has some input from his sources. Since the BJP government has come to power, we have seen several incidents where villagers were killed in the name of anti-Naxal operations. Bhupesh Baghel's allegations raise many questions, and the government must respond to all the questions about this operation," he said.

"The government should further make it clear that all 29 were naxals only or that some villagers were also involved in the fatalities," he added.
Further, the state Congress chief alleged that since the BJP government came to power, the tribals of Bastar are worried and scared.

"In the tribal areas of Bastar, mothers and sisters are feeling unsafe going to the forest. Roads are not safe, and fake encounters have increased. Cases are being registered against them in the name of fake Naxalites. Since this government came to power, the tribals of Bastar are somewhere worried and scared. The government's intentions are not clear. It is saying something else, and the officers are saying something different. So there is confusion in government and its officers," Deepak Baji said.

He also added that the Congress has always stood where there is truth, but where there is wrong, it is also important to call it wrong.

"If questions are being raised about this encounter, then the government should conduct an investigation and clarify its position," Deepak Baij said.

The Congress' charges were rubbished by State Deputy CM Vijay Sharma who questioned the Congress for raising doubts on the bravery of security forces.

"It is sad to hear that the former Chief Minister of the state, Bhupesh Baghel yesterday said that the encounter is fake. What does this mean?

The soldiers whom I have seen, have they been falsely injured? All the weapons that have been recovered, are they fake? All the Naxals wearing uniforms have been killed, is this fake. Now saying this and changing the subject again is very wrong," Chhattisgarh Deputy CM Vijay Sharma said.

"All the Naxalites killed in the operation (in Kanker) were hardcore Naxals. A huge amount of arms and ammunition have been recovered from them...Their post-mortem is going on, it may take time... The government is open for talks and discussion as we want peace in Bastar at any cost... This is not connected with the elections... We want development works to reach Bastar... Yesterday I met with the injured jawans and they are out of danger... Soon they will recover," he added.

IG Bastar P Sundarraj said that the autopsy of the bodies was on and a large cache of arms and ammunitions were recovered from the Naxal cadre.

"Yesterday, an encounter broke out between security forces and Naxalites which lasted for around 4 hours...Teams of DRG and BSF cordoned off the area and as a result, 29 CPI Maoist bodies were recovered, out of which 15 were female and 14 were male. Arms and ammunition were recovered in large quantities from the spot...The autopsy of bodies of the Maoists are underway," IG Sundarraj said.
The killing of 29 Naxals is one of the biggest counter Naxal operations in recent times.

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