The Silger Naxal encounter in Chhattisgarh has been mired in controversy after it emerged that ultras used innocent civilians as human shield during the bloody clash. A fact-finding team of the state Congress party mounted pressure on the Government on Monday alleging that 19 people killed by security forces were not Naxals but innocent tribals including children and women.
Social activists too have doubted the genuineness of the encounter and demanded an inquiry.
Chief Minister Raman Singh remains unperturbed. Naxals should be held responsible if civilians were killed during the operation as they have been using tribals as human shield, he defended. ‘’If innocents were killed then it is the Naxals who are responsible. Naxals keep innocent villagers as back-up for themselves’’, he said.
Sources in the Home Ministry said there is strong possibility of Naxals using innocent villagers as human shield during the June 28 encounter as first shot was fired by the Maoists and many of them may have escaped.
‘’What forces are supposed to do if the insurgents are to be found in the company of innocent people? Blaming security forces alone at this juncture would not be entirely justified. Two jawans were also hit in the chest and in the face and it’s definitely Naxals who shot them,’’ the sources said.
Union Home Secretary RK Singh said relevant information was received before the operation and the security personnel were attacked first, and force retaliated. He also ruled out any inquiry saying six CRPF Jawans were also injured, enough proof of genuine encounter.
‘’Who fired at them? No children were killed. Only one woman was killed in the encounter. Naxals have women cadres,” Singh said.
Earlier on June 29, Home Minister P Chidambaram had said 45 armed Naxals were present including some senior Naxal leaders.