he family of an alleged Maoist, killed in an encounter with the Bastar police earlier this month, has said he was a farmer with no Maoist links and he was killed in a “fake encounter.”
Bastar Inspector-General of Police S.R.P. Kalluri had said Hadma Batodi Kashyap, of Sunga village under the Mardoom police limits of Bastar district, was killed in a “fierce encounter” on the morning of February 4 and a country-made gun was recovered.
However, Hadma Kashyap’s family has said he was picked up by the police from his house in the early hours of February 3.
“Around 25 policemen surrounded our house. Six of them entered it and asked my husband to show them a way out of the village. When my husband refused, they gagged him and took him along with them,” said Galo Kashyap, wife of Hadma.
Then, Galo visited village head Sudhram Mandavi to inform him of her husband’s “abduction.”
“I went to the Mardoom police station to find out the whereabouts of Hadma, but the constable told me that he was not there. I went to the station the next day too, but the police refused to say anything.
“On February 5, some villagers told me that Hadma’s body was seen at Maharani Hospital at Jagdalpur,” Mr. Mandavi told The Hindu .
“He was a simple farmer of our village. He had no connection with the Maoists. I can show you his Aadhar and voter identity cards and bank passbook. He was also allotted a house under the Indira Awas Yojana. According to the victim’s family, he had been arrested by the police on a previous occasion too.
“Three years ago, they arrested my father on the charge of being a Maoist, but he was acquitted by court,” said Munni Kashyap, his daughter.
Tribal activist and Aam Adami Party leader Soni Sori, who brought the family to Raipur to a media briefing, said Hadma would help villagers in times of trouble.
“Since he was seen as a possible leader, the police may have perceived him to be a threat. He was declared a Maoist with a reward of Rs. 1 lakh on his head. The police gave the family Rs.10,000 for the funeral. First they kill innocents and then pay for their funerals. He was a father of seven children,” Soni Sori told The Hindu .
But Bastar District Superintendent of Police R.N. Das said the allegations were part of a larger conspiracy to defame the police. “Everything that is happening in the Bastar range is being called fake, fraudulent and staged, be it encounters, surrender or arrests. It’s all propaganda, but the police work perfectly here. The encounter was genuine.”