Strewn stones, charred tree trunks, embers, and the dented windshield of a bulletproof anti-landmine vehicle line the road leading out of a newly built CRPF security camp near Silger village in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district.
Three people were killed and several others were injured here on Monday when police opened fire on a group of tribals protesting the CRPF camp. Tribals from over 30 villages in Sukma and Bijapur have been protesting outside the camp for the past four days. “We’d been camping here for four days and had depleted our rations.
So we decided to hand over a memorandum opposing the camp and return a few days later if they still refused to dismantle it,” said Korsa Somaru, 65, one of the demonstrators. But, he said, they’ve chosen to stay put now that three of their own have died and several more have been wounded.
While the tribals claim that security forces opened fire to put an end to their protest, the latter claims that Naxal cadres dressed as protesting villagers assaulted the Silger camp with stones and gunfire, forcing them to retaliate. “Our men returned the fire and managed to bring the situation under control,” said Bastar IG P Sundarraj.
Police arrested five people, one of whom was a woman, and have yet to hand over the bodies of the three people killed, saying that they have not been found.
Kawasi Wagha, 37, from Chutwai; Korsa Bhima, 32, from Gundam; and Uika Murali, 22, from Timmapuram, were known by villagers as “protesters.”