Rights

Chhattisgarh: Locals Allegedly Beaten up by Police During Gunbattle With Maoists

According to reports, one of the villagers said he was allegedly beaten up by police personnel with rods and gun butts, an allegation the inspector general said he would look into.

New Delhi: Some villagers were allegedly beaten up by police personnel in Teklagudam village in Chhattisgarh during an encounter between Maoists and security forces on Saturday which killed and injured dozens of security forces personnel, the Indian Express reported.

Teklagudam village was the first site of the gunbattle between Maoists and security forces on Saturday, sources told the daily. Then the Maoists chased the police personnel outwards – towards Jhiragaon, which is hardly 1 km from Teklagudam, where 14 bodies of security personnel were found on Sunday.

One of the villagers, Mangdu Barse, 20, told the daily when he had ventured out of his house to pick forest produce on Saturday, he was allegedly beaten up by police personnel with rods and gun butts. He said he was one of the few who stayed back in the village till late.

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Bastar inspector general P. Sundarraj told the Indian Express he would look into the allegations. “We have no information of villagers being targeted, our forces were engaged in combat with Maoists. I will look into the allegations.”

Another resident of Teklagudam, Bhima Korsa, 29, told the Indian Express, “When we saw the police personnel approach, we locked ourselves in our houses. Those who didn’t get beaten up. After a few hours, we heard the noise of heavy firing and we fled.”

According to the report, during the gunbattle, around 150 locals of Teklagudam escaped into the forest. Then they went to Poovarti, which is around 30 minutes from the village on the other side of hills. The locals told the newspaper they were worried about being caught in the crossfire between police and the Maoists.

“Some of us went to Poovarti, some only went inside the jungles. We returned only on Monday, after the security personnel had left the area,” Ramesh Korsa, 17, told the daily. A school student in Jagargunda, Korsa, told the daily he was among the last few to flee.

Some young men told the daily they were scared of police retaliation.