Javed Iqbal | Tuesday, March 13, 2012, DNA

On March 12, Rahul Sharma, superintendent of police, Bilaspur, shot himself in the head with his service revolver. Some cite personal problems, others feel he was under severe pressure from his superiors.

I first met him on April 3, 2009, when motorcycle-borne Maoists had gunned down Channu Karma, a relative of Mahendra Karma, in broad daylight, just a few kilometres away from the police station at Dantewada. I had taken the above photograph of the witness of the crime, who sat distraught, holding his head, unable to talk. Rahul Sharma (framed by the window) then the Superintendent of Police of Dantewada, had entered the scene of the crime, and instantly called someone in Raipur, and in a calm demeanour, described the situation and everything that was being done by his department to handle yet another political assassination in Dantewada. He would later ask me where I had come from, and I replied I came from Mumbai. I would live in Dantewada for months under his office.

A few days later, on April 11, an alleged encounter had taken me to the village of Goomiyapal, then to Hiroli, then Samalwar, where the police had claimed to have killed three Maoists in the forest, yet the dirt roads leading away from the village of Samalwar were filled with pools of blood. The villagers too claimed that three people were taken away by the police from Samalwar and that there was no encounter in the forest.

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