Police accused of killing three tribals at relief campApril 9th, 2008 - 4:49 pm ICT by admin
Raipur, April 9 (IANS) Three tribal women accused Chhattisgarh police Wednesday of killing their spouses in front of them at a government-run relief camp last month. The police have begun probing the charges. The middle-aged women, two of them holding infants, broke down before reporters here while charging a policeman and two special police officers (SPOs) with dragging out their husbands from their relief camp dwellings and brutally killing them before their eyes March 18.
The women - Bijjee, Hungi and Aayete - have also filed a petition in the state’s Bilaspur-based high court. Bijjee, now pregnant, already has four children while Aayete has three.
“We were living in the Matwada government relief camp for about three years. On March 18, two SPOs and a cop came, dragged out our spouses and beat them mercilessly till they breathed their last,” they charged.
Matwada camp in Bijapur district, some 550 km south of here, is one of the 23 government-run makeshift relief camps in Bastar region where about 50,000 people - mostly tribals - have settled down since June 2005 when the controversial government-backed civil militia movement Salwa Judum was launched to counter Maoist threats.
The tribal men allegedly killed by police have been identified as Deva Markami, Madda Markami and Haddme Mandavi. Their frightened spouses said: “We have identified the three killers - two SPOs and an assistant sub-inspector posted at Jangala police station.”
One of the survivors of the March 18 police attack was Somru Gurrami who revealed: “I was beaten up by the SPOs and police along with the other three but I survived as they thought I had died. Actually, I fell unconscious.”
A human rights group - Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy - has brought the three women to Raipur from Bijapur to confront the media with the tragedy. Seeking trial of the alleged killer cops, the group has demanded compensation from the government of Rs.2.5 million for each of the three widows.
Police had earlier blamed the Maoist insurgents for the killings but now appear shaken by the women’s charges.
“I can’t say much now about the issue, especially about involvement of police or SPOs in the killings at Matwada camp. We are conducting a probe to ascertain facts,” Girdhari Nayak, inspector general heading anti-Maoist operations in the state, told IANS.