A senior Chattisgarh police officer confirmed that the tribal man, Manu Ram Nureti, was killed in a cross-firing between the security forces and the Naxals. The officer acknowledged that Nureti was incorrectly identified as a Maoist earlier.
An encounter between the personnel and the Naxals had taken place on January 23, in the Narayanpur district.
Lost His Life While Hunting
Inspector-General of Police (I-G) Sunderaj P said that Nureti's innocence was proved after the preliminary investigation into the matter. On the night of the clash, the 23-year-old had gone to the forest for wildlife hunting, along with his three friends.
The group had three muzzle-loading guns, bows and arrows for hunting. The District Reserve Guard (DRG) team was on patrolling duty in the nearby area. At around 1:30 am, a gunfight broke out between the team and the Maoists, in which Nureti lost his life.
The security forces suspected him of being a Maoist and associated with the banned outfit CPI (Maoist). However, the probe clarified the cause of his death.
Family Challenges Claims
The police statement comes days after Nureti's family had approached the administration and challenged the department's claims of his links with the Maoists. The deceased's brother, Renu Ram, was the first to question the police for branding his brother.
According to the Hindustan Times report, Ram is a surrendered Maoist who was later inducted into DRG to fight the guerillas. Ram confirmed that Nureti had no links, and was instead keen to apply for recruitment in the police force.
The investigation team also recorded the statements of the three people who had accompanied Nureti for the hunt. All of them confirmed his killing in the cross-fire.