Ire over village head’s slaying in Chhattisgarh mounts

August 13th, 2011 - 5:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Aug 13 (IANS) Public protest escalated Saturday in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada, India’s worst insurgency-hit district, against the killing of the village head of Chikpal reportedly by para-military troops.

Tribal villagers and a local legislator have accused the police force deployed for anti-Maoist drive in the district of “systematically killing people in staged encounters”.

Residents of the Dantewada district and the legislator from Konta in the region, Kawasi Lakhma, held protests in the Nilavaram and Chikpal areas for the third consecutive day and sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.

The Chikpal village head, Madkami Massa, was picked up from his village by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) last week.

Meanwhile, police exhumed the body Friday, amid rising protests by locals, and handed it over to the family after post-mortem.

The CRPF and local police had claimed that a suspect was killed in an encounter and buried the body, saying that there was none to claim it.

“The incident is part of a systematic killing of tribals in Dantewada by police in name of Maoists,” Lakhma said in a statement. He said that the killing had terrorised the tribals in Chhattisgarh and must be handed over to the CBI for a thorough probe.

“The killing in name of Maoist is cowardice,” the statement said. “Those who orchestrated it must be booked on murder charges. Security forces in Dantewada have now become killers.”

Manish Kunjam, president of the All India Adivasi Mahasabha, an influential tribal body in Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region that includes Dantewada, has vowed to continue the stir till justice is provided.

“The killing was cold-blooded murder,” Kunjam told IANS over phone. “We will continue with demonstrations and protests till the guilty cops are booked under section 302 of the IPC and a high-level probe is ordered.”

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