Chhattisgarh still numbed by police assault

By Sujeet Kumar


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Raipur : People in Chhattisgarh are still unable to overcome the shock caused by the brutal police assault on women and even an old man during a public protest here last week.

Although no one died in the May 24 incident in the impoverished northern region of Surguja, the television footage of policemen with stout sticks beating up men and women and kicking many with their boots has only stoked mass anger.

On top of it, the government has failed to take action against what clearly were guilty policemen, save an inspector who has been suspended.

Worse, the incident took place in Ajaibnagar village in state Home Minister Ramvichar Netam's home district Surguja, about 400 km from here.

The police went on the offensive when people blocked a national highway to highlight alleged police inaction in an alleged case of murder of a local hotelier.

Television news channels aired footage showing policemen kicking elderly men and women with their boots. The media reported that the policemen dragged out people from their houses without any provocation.

"It was really too much in Surguja. The police crossed all. I cannot understand what ignited the police to attack a man of over 80 years and even helpless women," a senior officer at the police headquarters here told IANS.

"After watching TV footage of the police action I was thinking the government will deal with the guilty policemen seriously, but it seems all the inhuman cops will get away scot-free," the officer lamented.

A Raipur-based social activist said on condition of anonymity that the government should have tendered a public apology and punished the policemen involved in the incident.

The Chhattisgarh Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the police to explain its conduct.