Magisterial probe ordered into Sukma ‘encounter’

Konta, May 24:
A magisterial probe has been ordered into the May 17 exchange of fire between security forces and alleged Naxals in Silger in Sukma district in which three villagers were killed and several injured, officials said on Monday.
As per the police, Naxals hiding among a crowd of villagers protesting against a new security forces’ camp opened fire first, and the retaliatory action killed three, whom officials later identified as members of front outfits of the outlawed CPI (Maoist). However, villagers had claimed the firing from security forces was unprovoked and those killed were local residents without any Naxal links. An official statement issued on Monday said Sukma Collector Vineet Nandanwar had, on Sunday, ordered a magisterial probe into the Silger incident that happened under Jagargunda police station limits, some 390 kilomegtres from here, on May 17. It said deputy collector and executive magistrate Rupendra Patel will be the investigation officer and a report on the probe will be submitted within a month. The camp, which houses personnel from the CRPF’s 153rd and 168th battalions as well as state police units, was opened on May 12 and villagers were protesting against it and demanding its removal since May 14.
The police have claimed that on the day of the incident, the protesters pelted stones and tried to set on fire two mine-protected vehicles (MPVs) , while Naxals hiding in the crowd opened fire.

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