Mystery and fear shroud killing of civilian in Sukma

The way the police disowned Mr. Rathod, sparked anger among his relatives and people of Chintalnar

August 29, 2016 01:43 am | Updated 01:43 am IST - RAIPUR:

At around 12 noon on Friday, Maoists started checking the vehicles travelling between Chintalnar village and Dornapal town in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of south Chhattisgarh.

Around 15 to 20 Maoists in olive-green uniforms were on the road and more than 30 guerrillas were in the forest nearby. The rebels were looking for two persons: “Thakur Assi and Thakur Nabbe”.

The ultras found their target after five hours, 24-year-old Sanjeet Kumar Rathod alias Thakur Nabbe from Chintalnar village, who was travelling in a local passenger vehicle. He was immediately abducted, his hands were tied and he was executed within 20 minutes.

The Maoists also left a handwritten statement near his body, calling him a “police informer”.

“We have been warning him since 2003-04, but he continued to provide our party’s information to the police. We had warned him five times. But this time, we are punishing him,” said the statement by the Jagargunda area committee of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).

However, immediately after the murder, Bastar range Inspector General (IG) of Police S.R.P. Kalluri issued a statement terming Mr. Rathod as a “Maoist supporter as per police records”.

“There are cases registered against him. He has been shot by the Maoists near Mukram Bridge and is being brought to Chintalnar police camp for treatment, evaluation, and possible evacuation,” the IG said. Mr. Rathod, however, succumbed to his injuries on the way to Chintalnar.

According to police sources from Bastar, Mr. Rathod was working for “both sides: the Maoists and the police”, but after his death, both the sides had disowned him. Mr. Kalluri termed Mr. Rathod as a “Maoist supporter”, but did not comment on why he was not arrested if there were cases registered against him.

The way the police disowned Mr. Rathod after his death, sparked anger among his relatives and people of Chintalnar because most of the young men from the village do what he was doing – “playing on both sides.”

“We will go to the IG and ask for weapons to take on the Maoists and if the IG does not support us, we will go to the Maoists and expose everyone who helps the police in the area,” relatives of Mr. Rathod were heard saying at the time of his funeral in Dornapal on Saturday.

The 12 people on the Maoist hit list include Mr. Rathod’s brother Ashish and his two cousins. After Friday’s killing, almost two-thirds the population of Chintalnar had migrated to Dornapal out of fear. Many returned to their village on Sunday. However, 12 people on the Maoist hit list continue to be “underground” and fear for their lives.

Asked about the safety of 12 men, Sukma District Superintendent of Police Mr.I.Kalyaan Elesela said it was natural for them to be scared after the killing. “All of them are settlers and not tribals and have economic interests. The local thanas (police stations) have assured them of their security,” he said.

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