Chhattisgarh: Eight years on, probe finds those killed were unarmed, not Maoists

Eight years after security personnel gunned down eight persons, including four minors, in Edesmetta in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh, a judicial inquiry report, submitted to the state cabinet Wednesday, concluded that none of those killed were Maoists, as was alleged at the time of the incident.

The report by Justice V K Agarwal, a retired judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court who was asked to inquire into the incident, said the security personnel “may have opened fire in panic”.

Calling the incident “a mistake” thrice in the report, Justice Agarwal said the tribals killed were unarmed and died in gunfire of 44 rounds, 18 of which were fired by a single constable of the CoBRA unit of the CRPF.

A separate inquiry into the incident is being conducted by the CBI following a Supreme Court order in May 2019.

The Edesmetta incident took place on the night of May 17-18, 2013 – a week before the Jhiram Ghati incident in Sukma district in which 27 people, including top state Congress leaders, were killed in a Maoist attack.

While police had denied the presence then of Maoists in Edesmetta, the CoBRA claimed busting a Maoist hideout.

Edesmetta, 17 km from the nearest road and more than 40 km from the district headquarters, falls under Gangaloor police station in Bijapur district, one of the worst affected by Left Wing Extremism in the state. There is still no road to the village where, according to the judicial report, 25-30 people had gathered to celebrate Beej…

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