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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Justice Delivered After Five Years To Tribals From Chattisgarh

They were arrested under UAPA for allegedly assisting Maoists in the killing of 25 Central Reserve Police Force personnel

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Transcontinental Times Staff
Transcontinental Times Staffhttps://www.transcontinentaltimes.com
Submissions filed under "Staff" are acredited to their authors at the bottom of the article if any.

INDIA.Chattisgarh: 121 Tribals who were arrested on charges of assisting the murder of 25 Central Reserve Police Force Personnel, got acquitted by a Chhattisgarh court on Friday.

The murder happened in an ambush planned by Maoists in 2017 in the Sukma district’s Burkapal area.

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The mishap occurred on April 24, 2017, when a team of around 100 soldiers belonging to the 74th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force were guarding workers constructing a road in the Burkapal-Chintagufa area of the Bastar region.

The Tribals were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act  (UAPA) for allegedly assisting Maoists in the attack. One of the injured soldiers had alleged that the insurgents had first sent villagers to reiki the location of the personnel, after which nearly 300 of them had attacked the CRPF.

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The attack against the central forces was one of the biggest since April 6, 2010, when 76 Central Reserve Police Force soldiers were killed in the Dantewada district.

On Friday, Special Judge for the National Investigation Agency cases Deepak Kumar Deshlhre noted that the prosecution had failed to prove the involvement of the accused people in the attack and their suspected links to Maoists, said defence lawyer Bela Bhatia, PTI reported.

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The prosecution also failed to prove that any arms and ammunition were recovered from the accused Tribals.

Bhatia said that most of the Tribals, including one woman, were arrested in 2017 and some were held in 2018 and 2019. They belong to Burkapal, Gondapalli, Chintagufa, Tadmetla, Koraigundum and Tonguda villages, the Hindustan Times reported.

Apart from the stringent UAPA, the Tribals were booked under the Indian Penal Code Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 307 (murder attempt), 302 (punishment for murder), 396 (dacoity with murder), 397 (robbery with the attempt to cause death or hurt).

They were also charged under Sections 3 (punishment for causing an explosion likely to endanger life or property) and 5 (punishment for making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances) of the Explosive Substances Act, the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and Sections 25 (carrying prohibited arms) and 27 (punishment for using arms) of the Arms Act.

The trial in the case began in the National Investigation Agency(NIA) court at Dantewada in August 2021.

“Five years of their lives were wasted behind bars and they were brought to court hearings only twice during the trial when it is mandatory to produce the accused in person in every hearing,” Bhatia told the media. “Bail was denied in the designated NIA court at the district level as well as the High Court.”

She asked if the Chhattisgarh Police should not be charged with criminal conspiracy for turning “Ordinary villagers into scapegoats in their fight against Maoists”.

The advocate also questioned if the state government will give compensation to them for the time they were jailed.

ALSO READ: Rural Tribal People Of India Suffer State Suppression


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