The alleged fake encounter in which two students were killed in Dantewada district of south Chhattisgarh rocked the Assembly proceedings on Thursday, resulting in the suspension of 36 Opposition MLAs.

The main opposition, the Congress, brought a “calling attention motion” to raise the issue of the alleged encounter death of Sonaku Ram and his friend Bijalu Ram Kashyap on September 23 this year in Barsoor block of Dantewada.

“The police killed Sonaku Ram and Bijalu Ram Kashyap and branded them as Maoists. On September 24, Bastar range Inspector General (IG) of Police and Superintendent of Police (SP) addressed a press conference and declared that two armed Maoists had been gunned down by the police. But Sonaku Ram was a regular student of Hitameta Pota cabin. He had gone to his relative’s place along with Bijalu when the police caught them and took them to an undisclosed location. Both were shot dead without any investigation or verification. However, on October 27, a senior law officer told the High Court that some unknown persons had killed Sonaku and Bijalu. These contradictory statements have put up a question mark on the credibility of the state government,” alleged state Congress president and Patan MLA Bhupesh Baghel.

Responding to the opposition’s allegations, Home Minister Ramsevak Paikara claimed that both the deceased were “Maoists” and were killed in “retaliatory fire” from a police team which was out on a search operation. He also denied that government officers had made any contradictory statements.

But a united opposition of the Congress and the Chhattisgarh Janata Congress refuted Mr. Paikara’s claims.

“Entire Bastar region is witnessing fake encounters and gang-rapes. Bastar IG Kalluri says Sonaku was a Maoist for 16 years. How could a person, whose age was 16 years, can be a Maoist for 16 years? Was he born as a Maoist from his mothers’ womb? Are you saying that the tribals are born Maoists?” asked Mr. Baghel.

The Home Minister tried to pacify the opposition by saying that Bal Sangham (Maoists’ children wing) was active in the area where the alleged encounter took place.

Reacting to the Home Minister’s claims Mr. Baghel asked how a Maoist can be a student of a government-run school.

The home minister was visibly uncomfortable with the united opposition’s onslaught and senior officials from the state home department and the police department could be seen circulating small notes to him