Saturday, May 24, 2008

CRPF men gun down child, woman in Chhattisgarh camp

A child and a woman were killed instantly when dozens of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers lined up men and women and fired at them in a village deep in Chhattisgarh's forested Bijapur district, which is a Maoist hot-bed, official sources said today.Raju, 2, and Ram Bai, 25, died on the spot in the CRPF troopers' gunfire. A six-year-old boy and a woman were critically injured when the CRPF men posted at Cherpal village allegedly assaulted the tribals. The injured have been rushed to the district hospital at Bijapur. Bijapur district Superintendent of Police Mr Ankit Grag said: "We are probing into the circumstances that provoked gunfire, killing two persons." Cherpal, located some 450 km south of here, is one of the villages where about 1,200 tribal persons were uprooted due to a civil militia movement, Salwa Judum, launched in June 2005 against the Maoist insurgents. They are now settled in a government-run makeshift relief camp.Official sources say that CRPF troopers deployed at the relief camp to guard them against Maoists, asked the men and women at midnight to come out for an urgent meeting and then started beating them up. Tension gripped the entire area after camp settlers raised slogans today and assembled in hundreds outside the district hospital to protest against the incident. The police have registered a case and have begun a probe. The camp settlers claim that trouble began when a few CRPF troopers tried to molest some tribal women and met with resistance. Senior police officers at the police headquarters are not forthcoming. An officer said: "We are collecting details of the shocking incident."

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