Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of the death of a tribal from Chhattisgarh in state’s Balaghat district. The Commission’s move comes in wake of outrage by tribals and Chhattisgarh government accusing MP police of “killing a tribal man of their state and attempting to eliminate his associate in a fake encounter”.
Chhattisgarh forest minister Mohammed Akbar has written twice to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in last one week seeking a probe into death of Jham Singh Dhurve, a native of Balsamundra village of Kabirdham district in Chhattisgarh, who had ventured into MP’s Kanha Tiger Reserve area with his friend Nem Singh Dhurve for fishing on September 6, 2020.
The MP police later claimed that Singh was killed in “crossfire” during a naxal combing operation in Balaghat. His aide Nem Singh had returned home the next morning with information that Jham Singh fell prey to security personnel’s bullets.
“A combing operation was underway inside Kanha reserve core area after receiving information about Maoists’ presence there. An exchange of bullets followed and the man was found (dead) there,” Balaghat range IG KP Venkateshwar Rao told media, adding that a case has been registered and a magisterial probe is on.
Residents of Dhurve’s village visited the spot next day but could not find his body and later approached Jhalmala village in Chhattisgarh where they were informed that Balaghat police were probing the case.
In his letter dated September 14, Akbar referred to his earlier letter written on September 12 and requested a high level probe into the matter and to keep Chhattisgarh government informed.
“It’s a murder of a tribal from Chhattisgarh by MP police and attempt to murder is a serious issue,” Akbar said. He said he has yet to receive information about action taken in the case.
Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission said tribal community is outraged and anguished in absence of action. The tribals took out rally in Balaghat on September 14 but police placed barricades to stop them. The MLAs of Mandla, Balaghat, Dindori, Seoni and also of Chhattisgarh submitted memorandum against the incident. The Commission has given three weeks time to IG of Jabalpur range and SP of Balaghat to present report before the Commission.
Akbar also accused MP police of unprovoked firing on the two men, quoting primary findings of Jhalmala police in Chhattisgarh. Akbar also forwarded the complaint to Chhattisgarh Governor Anusuiya Uike with all evidence on Tuesday, seeking her intervention in the matter.
“Two Kawardha tribals had gone to MP for fishing and police gunned down one of them and another one narrowly escaped bullets,” said Chhattisgarh Congress spokesperson Sushil Anand Shukla, adding that no action has been by MP government, which has called them “Maoists”.
Chhattisgarh BJP president Vishnudev Saay told News18 that if the men shot at were not Maoists, then “those who fired bullets should be punished”. Though he fended off further queries saying he would seek details of the incident.