Chhattisgarh Police Retracts Claim, Says Man Killed in Encounter 'Not a Maoist'

"He had no Maoist link and had gone hunting with friends. He was killed in a crossfire," the police said on Monday.

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Twenty-six-year-old Manuram Nureti, who was labelled a Maoist after he was gunned down by police on the intervening night of 23 and 24 January this year, was, in fact, 'not a Maoist', said the Chhattisgarh Police on Monday, 31 January.

Speaking to The Quint, P Sundarraj, Inspector General of the Bastar Range in Chhattisgarh, said:

"He was a normal villager who had gone hunting with his friends. They were carrying three Bharmar rifles and were returning from their hunt when the incident took place. He was killed in a crossfire and wasn't a Maoist. We have carried out an investigation, and after recording statements from the people who were with Manuram that day and his family members, we have come to know that he wasn't a Maoist."

What Had Happened to Manuram Nureti?

Manuram Nureti was a resident of Bharanda village in Narayanpur district and had gone hunting with his three friends. His family had earlier said that he wasn't a Maoist. However, the police claimed that he was.

After the incident, on 24 January, Manuram's brother Renuram Nureti, who has been serving in Bastar Police since 2014, and his wife Manvati had denied the police's claim of Manuram being a Maoist.

Speaking to The Quint, Renuram Nureti had said:

"He is not a Naxal, he is a victim of Naxals. My brother wasn't a Maoist…He had also applied for recruitment in the police force. I will ask my superiors as to why they are saying he is a Maoist.”

Manvati, meanwhile, had said, "He was out hunting birds with a slingshot. He had gone out after dinner saying that he will be back in a while. But he never got back. He was caught and killed by the police. We do farming work. He wasn't a Maoist, all of this is a lie."


False Encounters Not a New Phenomenon in Bastar

Bastar has witnessed various police encounters that were initially claimed to have been Maoist operations and later ruled out as fake encounters by judicial commissions.

Earlier, in September 2021, a judicial probe was conducted into one such encounter from Edesmetta village of Bijapur, where, in the year 2013, eight people were gunned down and labelled as Maoists. But the probe revealed that the deceased persons were, in fact, not Maoists.

The findings of yet another judicial probe into an encounter that had occurred at Sarkeguda, Bijapur, in 2012, had also revealed that those killed in the encounter were not Maoists.

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