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Burning of villages: Chhattisgarh government blames it on Maoists

Aman Sethi

Raipur: A week after The Hindu first published allegations that security forces burnt close to 300 homes, sexually assaulted three women and killed at least three men (two are still missing) in three villages in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district, the State government finally broke its silence and blamed the atrocities on Maoist guerillas.

Speaking in the Vidhan Sabha, Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar admitted that 327 troopers of the Chhattisgarh Police and the Central Reserve Police Force conducted a five-day area domination exercise from March 11 to 16 and raided the villages of Morpalli, Timapuram and Tarmetla; he claimed that in each instance the security forces were ambushed by the Maoists who burnt the villages and escaped.

Rejecting the Minister's explanations, the Opposition held Chief Minister Raman Singh personally responsible for the incident and boycotted the Vidhan Sabha for the day.

According to Mr. Kanwar's statement, the security forces raided Morpalli village on March 11, when they were attacked by Maoists. The Maoists then allegedly set fire to a number of homes and escaped. Citing the testimony of one Madavi Ganga of Morpalli village in this regard, Mr. Kanwar said a case had been registered in the Chintalnar Police Station.

Leader of the Opposition Ravindera Chaubey refused to accept the Minister's statements. “No one from the administration has been able to visit the site. How can we believe this,” he asked.

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