Monday, April 20, 2009

Maoists to sponsor bandh on April 22

- CRPF accused of fake encounter
RAJ KUMAR

CRPF jawans on patrol in Latehar. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, April 19: The CPI(Maoist) has called a Jharkhand-Bihar bandh on April 22 — a day before the second phase of elections — in protest against the “killing of five villagers” by CRPF jawans at Barhania valley in Latehar district on April 15.

The encounter took place immediately after a landmine blast, allegedly carried out by Maoists. The CRPF personnel claimed that the five were Naxalites, but villagers said they were innocent.

Residents of Barwadih block in Latehar observed a bandh today in protest against the incident. CPI(ML), which has fielded a former Maoist, Keshwar Yadav, from Chatra supported the strike that evoked a positive response.

Santosh Kumar, a CRPF inspector, had claimed that “those killed were men deputed by Naxalites at a trench near the explosion site to loot arms and ammunition from CRPF jawans after the blast”. Four persons — two CRPF jawans, a bus driver and a conductor — were killed in it.

Rubbishing the claim, a villager said: “The CRPF personnel called the five men from their residence and shot them to avenge the death of their team members in the blast. The slain were not Maoists, but innocent villagers .”

Another villager identified the victims as Supai Bodra, a PSU employee, his son Sanjay, brothers Mashi and Supas Bodra and Pitai Mundu.

CPI-ML state secretary Janardan Prasad Ram said the villagers’ allegations were true. “Our party workers conducted an inquiry. It revealed that the CRPF had carried out a cold-blooded murder,” Prasad said, adding he would report the matter to National Human Rights Commission.

CPI-ML’s district secretary Birju Ram said party workers today took the father of Supas and Mashi to Barwadih police station to lodge an FIR.

Latehar police superintendent Hemant Toppo said: “Injuries on the bodies of four of them suggest that they were present near the blast site. It is not true that the CRPF men had picked them from their homes,” he added.

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