Chhattisgarh villagers allege police torture

May 28th, 2008 - 3:11 pm ICT by admin  

Raipur, May 28 (IANS) A group of 16 men and women from Chhattisgarh’s restive Bastar region Wednesday alleged they had been tortured by the police after they were accused of being helpers of Maoists. The villagers, including class 11 student Sony and 70-year-old Dasrath respectively of Ghumar and Chindbat villages, are in state capital Raipur to expose alleged police atrocities.

One of the 16 said: “We want to die rather than go through regular physical torture by the police and the paramilitary (troopers).”

But the police said it had not received any complaint.

“We have not received any complaint till now. Once we get it, the matter will be inquired into and suitable action will be taken,” Pawan Deo, deputy inspector general, Kanker, told IANS. The villages are in Kanker district of Bastar region.

Deo said: “There is also the possibility that the villagers are visiting Raipur to highlight alleged atrocities under the influence of Maoists to build pressure on the police.”

Surrounded by forests, Ghumar and Chindbat villages, some 300 km south of here, come under the jurisdiction of Antagarh police station. They have a population of about 550 people, most of them from the Gond tribal community.

The villagers, who have been brought to Raipur by a non-government organisation - the Forum for Fact finding Documentation and Advocacy - said that Maoists often come to their villages and ask them to donate rice at gun point.

“We have no link with the rebels. In fact, they take away our food forcibly while the police and the CRPF (troopers) beat us for acting as Maoist helpers. We are caught between the police and the Maoists,” said Budhiari, 50.

Showing her injury on a wrist and in both hands, she said: “The police assaulted me last week, accusing my 15-year-old son Phaguram of having a link with the Maoists though he never met them.”

Chhattisgarh’s southern mineral rich Bastar region is a hotbed of Maoist insurgents. Last year 435 people including about 200 policemen were killed in Maoist insurgency-related violence.

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