Chhattisgarh: Decade After Sarkeguda Fake Encounter, Villagers Await Justice
A decade after the fake encounter in Chhattisgarh's Sarkeguda, the survivors are still awaiting for justice.
Video Producer: Mamta
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam and Harpal Rawat
On 28 July 2012, seventeen people, including minors, were killed, and six others were injured, in Chhattisgarh's Sarkeguda when the police opened fire at a gathering, where villagers had assembled to prepare for a festival.
The fake encounter was carried out by the police along with the Central Reserve Police Forces. The operation was conducted to eliminate the Naxalites in the village. However, none of the people killed in the encounter were Naxals.
Puleya Sarek, a villager who was injured told The Quint, “There was a gathering; we were discussing the preparations for the festival. We were discussing finances and collecting money."
Suddenly, the police and security forces entered the village and started firing. We were shouting that we are the villagers here but they continued firing.Puleya Sarek, villager injured in the fake encounter
Jailed, Killed Instead of Detention
Madkam, whose brother was killed in the incident, said, “There was a man in that gathering who climbed the tree at night to save his life. In the morning, he ran towards his house and was a few steps away when the police shot him instead of just capturing him. He entered his house injured, the police dragged him out and crushed him to death with stones."
Another survivor of the fake encounter, Senti, said that those who were injured were first taken to the hospital and then to the prison.
“They took me to the hospital in Raipur. I was discharged after 25 days but they didn’t release me. After that I was in jail for six-and-a-half years,” said Senti.
No Help From Any Govt
At the time of the incident, BJP was in power in the state and now Congress has formed the government.
The survivors claimed that none of the governments helped them in any way and the next of kins of those injured or killed have received any money.
“The government said that they’ve given Rs 20,000 to some people. I have not received a single penny,” said Sarek.
For Senti, who was jailed for over six years, the situation is even more worse. His family had to loan money from different sources to get him released from the jail. Now, he has sold everything in his house to repay those debts.
I was in jail, I don’t know anything about the compensation. My family said that they did not receive any compensation.Senti, injured in the fake encounter, was jailed for over six years
P Sundarraj, Bastar IG, said that the government had constituted a sub-committee to investigate the Sarkeguda case.
“The committee had recommended the government to provide financial help to the deceased's families or to those who were injured in the incident. Now anti-Naxal operations are conducted with utmost care so that there is no cross-casualty. The recommendations of the commission are taken care of," said P Sundarraj.
In December 2019, a legal investigation report came out, and according to that, none of those who were killed were Naxals. After two-and-a-half years of that report, the villagers are still waiting for justice.
In May 2022, Chattisgarh Chief Minister, Bhupesh Bhagel said, "We have submitted the report in the assembly. The investigation will be done and compensation will also be given."
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