Chhattisgarh villagers in shock after civilian killings


Mahasamund (Chhattisgarh) : Residents of a village in Maoist-hit Chhattisgarh are still in shock in the wake of police allegedly killing two civilians after chasing them in Mahasamund district close to the Orissa border Oct 9.

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Dozens of state police personnel had fought a gun battle with Maoists and claimed to have killed eight militants describing it as an achievement. But their claims were mired in controversy with accusations that two of those killed were civilians.

“All of a sudden, there were gun shots and everyone in the village began running. My servant sneaked into the kitchen. He was followed by policemen. My husband did not even realise what was going on and before he understood anything, police personnel sprayed bullets on them and they died,” Himadri told IANS.

Himadri, whose husband Gautam Patel (40) and servant Dau were killed, is still in shock and trauma like other villagers of Lendgidipa, around 150km from state capital Raipur.

The villagers, majority of them debt-ridden farmers, had never thought that police would have chased down civilians and killed them.

“We always supported police and were never in touch with the Maoists. We thought that police would not allow the Maoists to set up bases here. But police stunned us by brutally killing them. We are literally shocked at what police did,” said Roshan Patel, 32, a farmer.

Chhattisgarh Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan told IANS: “Yes, two civilians were killed in cross-firing Oct 9 but we have to find out how they got killed.”

He added: “Only a probe would reveal whether they were killed by Maoists or police.”

Asked whether a magisterial probe is on into the killings, he said: “It’s a legal complication to have a probe whenever civilians get killed.”

Villagers alleged that Maoists were roaming in the area freely asking local residents to attend meetings organised by them in the areas and to bring their kids to the meetings.