Ambikapur: The family of a 16-year-old girl gunned down by the Chhattisgarh Police has denied that she was a Maoist, as alleged by the police. In fact, the villagers said the "fierce encounter" never took place and the policemen have simply murdered an innocent girl.
Some 50 families of Karcha village in Surguja district, over 425 km from capital Raipur, are in shock since July 6 when police pumped two bullets into the girl, Meena Khalko. She succumbed to her injuries within an hour.
Terrorised by the incident, the girl`s father Budeshwar and mother Gotiyaro plan to flee the village, saying that the police are upset with them for talking about the killing to politicians and the media.
"Ye policewale hamri pyari ladki ko mar diye, wo hamko bhi mar denge, (The policemen killed my lovely daughter and they will kill me as well)," Budeshwar said on Monday.
State Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, who visited the village on Sunday amid rising anger among locals, said: "I met several men and women in the village and it`s certain now that police murdered a poor and innocent girl in a fake encounter."
He said the autopsy report has also belied police claims and revealed that the girl was killed from a very close range.
Jitendra Singh Meena, superintendent of Balrampur police district, which was carved out from Surguja, said: "There was a gun fight with Naxals (Maoists) at Nawadih, some four km away from the native village of Meena Khalko. We fired at least 11 rounds at Maoists in retaliation. A woman Naxal was killed."
When asked about charges that the victim was innocent, he said: "Prima facie, it looks like she was a Naxal."
But he admitted that the "girl was probably unarmed and surely not in Maoist uniform".
"We are making a detailed investigation at our own, though the government has already ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident," Meena added.