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Soni Sori — Chhattisgarh Couple killed in fake encounter

Seeking justice:Villagers of Kadenar in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh with tribal activist and AAP leader Soni Sori in Dantewada. —Photo: Special Arrangement

Seeking justice:Villagers of Kadenar in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh with tribal activist and AAP leader Soni Sori in Dantewada. —Photo: Special Arrangement

Villagers of Kadenar in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh have accused the police of killing Manoj Hapka and his wife Pandi Hapka in a fake encounter on May 20.

Around 27 villagers, including the parents of Pandi, schoolchildren and local political leaders have raised the issue with tribal activist and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Soni Sori. The police claimed that the couple were Maoists, However, according to Chiatram Podiyami, the sarpanch of Kadenar’s neighbouring village Chidkunti, Manoj and Pandi had left the Maoist outfit five years ago and were living peacefully in the village.

On May 20, a police team, which also included a few former Maoists, raided the village and took the couple along with them. After some time, the villagers heard gunshots and on the next day, the bodies of Manoj and Pandi were handed over to the villagers.

Mr. Podiyami said villagers suspect that Pandi was sexually assaulted as there were stab wounds on her inner thigh.

Police denies charge

“Villagers say it was a fake encounter. The police took them away in front of Pandi’s mother. When she questioned the policemen, they told her that she would get her daughter and son-in-law the next day. Later on, some were told that the couple were killed,” Ms. Sori told The Hindu .

Bijapur district Superintendent of Police K.L. Dhruv, however, denied the allegation.

“The May 20 encounter was based on Intelligence reports. We heard about the allegations only through the media. There was no police complaint. These days every encounter in Bastar is being termed fake by some people. But this was not,” Mr. Dhruv said.http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/couple-killed-in-fake-encounter/article8817056.ece

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