Dantewada: Amid widespread outrage over the ferrying of three policemen killed in a Maoist landmine blast in Chhattisgarh in a garbage truck, a top official of the state has defended the action, Wednesday.
OP Choudhary, the Collector of Dantewada, said that the administration respects the martyrs and as the ambulances were used to transfer the injured (in the attack) to the nearest hospital, the bodies were transferred for the guard of honour ceremony in a truck that was “clean”.
Choudhary added that the truck, which belonged to Kirandul municipality, was well-maintained.
The administration adhered to all the rules, even decorated the coffins with flowers and had not in any way tried to hurt anyone’s sensitivities intentionally, he said.
Contrary to the Collector’s efforts to dismiss suggestions of any wrongdoing, state Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar only suggested that the incident happened because of some sort of “miscommunication” between the concerned officials.
However, the driver of the truck is on record confirming that the truck in question was regularly used to carry garbage.
Importantly, Chief Minister Raman Singh has so far not spoken out on the issue.
The policemen were killed in the Maoist landmine blast on Sunday night in Dantewada. They were part of a seven-member police team which was travelling in a Bolero jeep that ran over a landmine planted by Maoists.
Another policeman succumbed to injuries later.
DGP Vishwa Ranjan had earlier said that no ambulance was available at the time and that’s why the truck - the only municipality vehicle available – was used. He too said the mini-truck was washed and cleaned before the coffins were placed on it.
The bodies of Laxman Bhagat, Aslan Ekka and Bhushan Mandwai were brought to district headquarters Dantewada town from the blast site in Kirandul, some 40 km away, on Monday. The bodies were then dispatched to the policemen`s respective native villages.