Another fake encounter?
The unremitting hostility between the police force and Maoist extremists in hinterlands of Chhattisgarh has been looming for a long period of time with frequent attacks and counter-attacks orchestrated by both the sides. Fresh allegations of foul play have surfaced in the area over the killing of a suspected Maoist woman extremist by the police in Gumpad forest of southern Bastar district, Sukma on June 13. The photograph of the dead woman, Madkam Hidme, showed her wearing a neat, loose-fit uniform with no marks of fierce gunfight has sparked controversy.
IG makes it clear, she was a Maoist
The Inspector General (IG) of Police of Bastar range S R P Kalluri issued a statement that Hidme was a member of Kistaram area platoon no.8 of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and she was killed in an encounter with a joint team of the District Reserve Guard (DRG) and Special Task Force (STF). However, according to the tribal rights campaigners, the statement made by the police is wrong. They claim that security personnel abducted Hidme from her home, dragged her to the forest and gang-raped her before shooting on her head. They allege that Hidme was an innocent woman.
Police sources that a magisterial inquiry is on to reveal the truth. The investigation will be conducted independently, without using the a photograph as a reference. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) state coordinator told Hindustan Times, “ The image of the dead woman in a uniform that appeared two sizes too big for her raises suspicion. The trouser was folded close to the feet. Will a hardcore Maoist venture out in a loose-fit uniform with no belt and conveniently move inside the difficult forested terrain wearing a pair of sandals? The outfit had no bullet holes, though she was allegedly killed in a fierce gunbattle.”
A case of mistaken identity?
Tribal activist and AAP member Soni Sori also tried to visit the village, but she was prevented by the police on grounds of ‘security reasons’. Another theory is also doing the rounds, as several believe that the police wanted to take action against another woman named Madkam Hidme and killed the wrong Madkam Hidme.
The Logical Indian hopes whatever may be the truth is, it should come out as early as possible. A free and fair probe should be ordered and the guilty, whoever it may be should be brought to books. No matter what were motives and the incidents which preceded it, all we wish is the truth to come out.