Raipur : The Chattisgarh Police have admitted that some of their men, busy fighting Maoist guerrillas, killed civilians in cold blood in a village in March.
But the police brass says that murder charges will be registered against the guilty men only after the bodies were exhumed and autopsies done "within a day or two", a police official told IANS.
"An initial probe – based on talks with tribals of Ponjer village and police personnel's statements – confirm that a police team visited the village March 31 and caused some civilian casualties," he said.
"The police headquarters and the home department have been informed about the initial probe findings and civilian loss of lives. But murder charges will be registered against cops only after autopsies," he added.
"Police will conduct a fair probe and will not spare anyone who killed innocent villagers in the name of anti-Maoist measures. The guilty have to pay the price, but only after a full probe report is obtained," he said.
Chhattisgarh Director General of Police O.P. Rathore ordered a probe Sunday into the alleged killings of five to seven civilians by a group of policemen in the tribal village of Ponjer in the state's southern tip, a Maoist stronghold.
The police allegedly took seven tribal youths to the neighbouring Santoshpur village for "interrogation", branded them Maoist sympathisers and killed them.
Local media reports claim that the cops shot dead four tribals and axed to death the three others.