New Delhi: In the wake of allegations that the June 29 encounter in the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh during which 17 Naxalites were killed by the central paramilitary forces was fake, the Centre on Thursday called for a meeting on the Naxal menace on July 13.
The meeting will be chaired by the Union Home Secretary and attended by all top officials of the nine-Naxal affected states and the central paramilitary forces.
According to reports, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) called the meeting after it was alleged that those killed by the security forces were ordinary villagers, who were mistakenly killed by the security forces when they were holding a meeting with a group of Naxals to settle a land dispute in their locality.
Expressing doubt over the claim by police that 17 Naxals were killed in the Bijapur encounter, the Chhattisgarh Congress unit set up an 11-member committee to probe the incident.
State Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel alleged that the CRPF-Naxal encounter could be “fake” as the deceased included several women and children.
The committee, headed by PCC vice-president and Konta MLA Kawasi Lakhma, was asked to visit the encounter spot and meet victims’ families and submit its report within a week.
Expressing concern over the killing of “innocent” women, children and other villagers in the encounter, the Congress leader alleged that the probe team would unravel the truth behind the incident.
The team headed by Konta MLA was asked to submit its report to the Chhattisgarh Pradesh Congress Committee chief Nand Kumar Patel within a week.
CPCC working president Satyanarayan Sharma also alleged that villagers of Kuttguda and Sarnitota were holding a meeting with a group of Naxals to settle a land dispute in their locality when the security forces opened indiscriminate fire on them.
A four-acre land in the locality has been in possession of Naxals for long. The villagers wanted to settle the issue peacefully with the ultras to get back the disputed land patch. But, the security forces suddenly appeared at the site and opened unprovoked fire, killing many innocent tribals.
The fierce encounter took place in the dense jungles of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh that left six jawans wounded.
The encounter, which took place in the forests of Silger, an uncharted Maoist zone between the Naxal hotbed of Jagargunda and Basaguda in Bijapur district of Bastar region, was a joint operation by over 300 CRPF and State police personnel launched from three directions.