Chhattisgarh: No Naxals, 3 tribals killed in police firing in Silger, claim villagers; activists demand higher-level probe

Raipur: A day after the Silger encounter in Bijapur-Sukma border, shrouded a controversy when protesting villagers alleged that police opened fire upon them to end protests leading to death of 3 tribals and 18 were injured. Six people are still missing.

Bastar Police said altogether 3 people were killed in the incident in the cross firing on Tuesday.

The villagers alleged gross human right violations. They said that while they were staging a peaceful protest close to Silger camp, police opened fire to terminate it.

Villagers alleged nine people were killed in the incident.

The villagers killed in the incident were identified as Uika Pandu from Teemapura, Bheema Ursam from Gundam, and Kawasi Waga from Sudwa village.

"We do not want a police camp therefore we are protesting and to end our demonstration police fired upon us," said Madvi Hunga, a villager.

Eighteen of the villagers are injured and six of us are still missing, said Hunga.

Local journalist Shankar who is continuously covering the incident said, "the villagers are continuously protesting since May 12. However, for the last three days, the situation has been quite tense, and people wanted security forces to abandon the place at any cost. During the course, more than three times police carried out lathicharge, fired tear gas shells to disperse the villagers but the situation did not come under control.

Villagers who joined the protest denied any kind of firing from their side or any Maoists had fired upon the security forces.

Senior journalist Alok Putul tweeted a video related to Silger firing to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and asked him to promise to save these tribals from violence.

Meanwhile, human rights activists and tribal leaders of Bastar demanded strict action against the officers who had ordered firing on Monday.

Bela Bhatia, a human rights activist working in the Bastar region, demanded an impartial enquiry and FIR against the officers who ordered the firing on villagers.

Chhattisgarh: No Naxals, 3 tribals killed in police firing in Silger, claim villagers; activists demand higher-level probe

"We will visit the place and file a factual report, she added.

While putting her views on the Silger incident in a forum, Tribal leader Soni Sori alleged that police started working for Conglomerates. They can not raise the camps without the consent of the villagers, she added.

In addition, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan issued a press note and demanded an impartial probe must be carried out under the chair of a retired High Court judge.

Inspector-General of Police, Bastar Range, Sunderaj P, refuted the allegations and claimed that Maoists were taking the villagers as their shield during the protest.

This was a Maoist-compelled protest against the police camp. The protest ended on Sunday night, but the Maoists forced the innocent villagers to return on Monday,” said the IG.

Maoist don’t want to camp in their core area, he added.

Maoist call for Bijapur and Sukma shut down on May 21

In the Silger police camp firing incident, Maoists South Zonal Committee issued a press release and claimed the police story related to firing from Maoists is fake. Police indiscriminately fired upon the villagers under the instructions of SP Bijapur and IG Bastar, Maoists alleged. Thus, to register the brutal action they called for the shutdown of Bijapur and Sukma districts on May 21.

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