New Delhi: Terming as "cold-blooded murder" the killing of eight tribals in Bastar district on Friday, tribal body Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch (AARM) today demanded immediate action against the security officials involved and an impartial probe into the incident.
"This is nothing but cold-blooded murder by a joint team of the CRPF, Chattisgarh armed force and the district force. Nothing can justify the killings, least of all bogus theories that the villagers were killed in crossfire between Maoists and the security forces," AARM Chairman and CPI(M) MP Bajuban Riyan said in a statement here.
Holding the BJP government in Chhattisgarh accountable for the killings, Riyan said, "It is shocking that the administration permitted (security) officials to be present at the time of post-mortem, clearly to influence the report and conceal the truth that the adivasis were shot at close range."
He demanded immediate action against the security force officials involved, including their prosecution on criminal charges of murder and sought a high-level impartial probe with a time-bound mandate.
Asking AARM units to organise protests against the killing, the CPI(M) leader said the compensation announced by the government was "highly inadequate and must be increased."
According to the police, eight villagers, including three children, and a personnel of elite Cobra battalion of CRPF were killed in a gun-battle near Edasmeta village in southern Chhattisgarh on the intervening night of May 17-18.
The tribals claimed they had gathered outside their village to celebrate seed-sowing festival `beeja pondum` when the securitymen fired on them.