CRPF killed civilians, claim widows

Close on the heels of anti-Maoists operation in Chhattisgarh drawing flak for the killing of innocent persons, a similar tale in Bihar’s Gaya district has come to light where the CRPF men have been accused of killing two civilians after branding them as ”naxalites”.

The victims’ widows, Phuljhari Devi and Kaluti Devi, have now petitioned Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and sought justice through an impartial inquiry.

According to the petition submitted recently, Awadhesh Bhuiyan and Phoolchand Bhuiyan, the two Mahadalits (poorest of the poor among the Dalits) were in their respective house when the CRPF personnel were engaged in a four-hour long encounter with the naxalites in the hilly terrains of Chakarbandha under the Dumri police station near Gaya last month. Till the gun-battle between the security forces and the Maoists continued, and the landmine blast rent the air, both the Mahadalits remained indoors.

As per the complaint, Awadhesh and Phoolchand came out of their houses at 3 pm to quench the thirst of cattle heads. Soon, a group of para-military forces surrounded them and branded them as “Maoists”. Though both of them pleaded innocence, but their pleas fell on deaf ears. Within minutes, the security personnel gunned them down.

Their bodies were dumped in a police van following which the CRPF DIG Umesh Kumar claimed that “the two men were Maoists and killed in encounter.”

Their bodies were not handed over to the family for three days. After running from pillar to post, the highly decomposed bodies were given to the respective widows at Anugrah Narayan Magadh Medical College and Hospital. But before handing over the body, both Phuljhari Devi and Kaluti Devi were forced to give thumb impression on blank papers by the Station House Officer (SHO).

Since the bodies were highly decomposed, the cremation was done at Gaya itself. Fearing police reprisal, no one from the locality extended any help during cremation.

‘Mistaken identity’

Sources say the CRPF claim is far-fetched as Awadhesh Bhuiyan and Phoolchand Bhuiyan were in T-shirt and loin cloth before they were shot. Maoists belonging to People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) usually wear their trademark uniform. Besides, the security personnel could not recover any firearm, explosives, empty cartridges, uniform or naxal literature from the site.

Armed with these facts, both the widows have approached Nitish, who is perceived to be sympathetic to the ultra-Left rebels.

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