Chhattisgarh Police Says Woman Maoist Killed, Denies Charges of Rape and Staged Encounter

Chhattisgarh Police Says Woman Maoist Killed, Denies Charges of Rape and Staged Encounter

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Police officials in Chhattisgarh have refuted allegations that personnel from the department’s District Reserve Guard (DRG) unit raped a young woman and then killed her in a staged encounter. Dantewada district’s superintendent of police Dr Abhishek Pallav said the body of a female Maoist was found following an operation by security forces against the guerrillas. “On May 31, based on information about the presence of CPI (Maoist) cadres from PLGA (People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army) platoon no. 16, an operation was launched in Gumlanar area. During the operation, there was an encounter between Dantewada DRG and Maoists near Gumlanar in Geedam at around 0630. The body of a woman Maoist was recovered during the search operation. She was a member of PLGA platoon no. 16 and had prize money of Rs 2 lakh,” he said.

An autopsy was done following the protocols in place, officials said, adding that the allegations appeared to be an attempt to “defame and demoralise” the jawans.

The woman’s relatives have written in a police complaint that she was picked up by security personnel from her house late in the night, raped, murdered, and mutilated. They have also alleged that when they tried to save her, the DRG jawans beat them up.

The Maoists or Naxals, who claim to be fighting for the rights of rural people and the poor, have battled government forces across large swathes of India since the 1960s.

The local sarpanch told News18 that no encounter had taken place in the area as claimed by the police. He said the woman was set to get married on June 10 and added that though she was associated with Naxals a while back, she had been living peacefully with her family for the past seven years.

Human rights activist Bela Bhatia told News18 that she had met the woman’s family. “They told us that at first, the police were not keen on registering a complaint. However, after repeated pressure, the police accepted,” she said.

The woman’s relatives have asked for an FIR against seven DRG jawans on charges of rape and murder, saying that all of them were Maoists and later joined the police force after surrendering about three years ago. They identified the personnel as residents of a neighbouring village.

The District Reserve Guard is a special unit of Chhattisgarh police, comprising surrendered Maoists and local tribals. It works closely with the police as well as paramilitary forces.

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