Locals, activists demand probe into Gadchiroli encounter

Several senior activists who are based in the district headquarters are yet to reach the villages around the encounter site. (DH photo)
Highlights: 
Several senior activists who are based in the district headquarters are unable to reach villages around the encounter site
Activists say Maoists were trapped and were not given a chance to surrender

Nearly a week after the twin encounters with Maoists in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, activists and politicians are demanding a probe into the incident.

While they admitted that those who were killed were Maoists, they raised doubts over the encounter. According to them, the Maoists were trapped and were not given a chance to surrender.

Several senior activists who are based in the district headquarters are yet to reach the villages around the encounter site.

"Bullet is not the answer...if there is an encounter, how come there is not a single injury on the side of the forces...not a scratch," asked Laslu Nagoti, a senior activist, lawyer and a member of the Arewada-Nelgunda Zilla Parishad.

"Villagers are yet to speak...encounters have taken place in the past but this kind of casualties were never seen...it has come as a shock to them," said Nagoti.

The CPI (ML) Liberation has also demanded a probe into the incident. CPI state executive member Dr Mahesh Kopulwar also demanded a probe into the incident.

"I am not saying anything...let there be a judicial probe into the incident," Kopulwar said and also questioned as to why there are no injuries on the side of the police. "Full details are yet to come out," he added.

A veteran activist-journalist, who wished not to be identified, said that as of now, villagers are not speaking. "In fact, people are yet to reach out to them. Let a few days pass and the whispers will turn into a clamour," he said.

But he also said that the Maoists have taken the law into their hands. "But bullets (from whichever side) cannot be the answer," he added.

Former Congress MLA and veteran tribal activist Dr Namdeo Usendi said: "Naxalism is a socio-economic problem and it has to be solved in that manner. Policing and development both are needed," he said.

But Usendi expressed doubts over whether the matter could be addressed through a probe. A villager, who requested anonymity, said: "It's a scary situation. We have never faced such a situation."

Cops refute doubts

The Maoists were wearing "Naxal uniform" and fired at the police party, an officer attached to the Gadchiroli Police and Anti-Naxalite Operations (ANO) said.

"We had gone there on the basis of an information that Maoists have gathered...they first opened fire and we retaliated," the officer said.

He also pointed out that the Maharashtra government has a "surrender policy" under which Maoists are rehabilitated so that they can lead a normal life. "So far, many Maoists have surrendered," he said.

From the Maoists who died in the operation, the officer said they recovered two AK-47 rifles, two SLRs, one Insas rifle and several other firearms of various bores.

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Locals, activists demand probe into Gadchiroli encounter

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