| Edited by Ruchi Dua

Chhattisgarh vigilante outfit Samajik Ekta Manch was dissolved today after India Today TV exposed how the Chattisgarh Police was facilitating illegal activities of the group.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh has also ordered the setting up of a high-powered committee to probe charges of activists and journalists being hounded. The committee will include the secretary in-charge of general administration of Chhattisgarh and also the inspector general of police of Bastar range along with two senior journalists.

The committee will look into all complaints about journalists and activists being hounded out of the state. The chief minister said that anyone who has a complain is free to approach this committee and promised that all charges will be examined seriously by this committee.

A two-week long investigation carried out by the India Today special investigation team in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar, Jagdalpur, Sukma and Dantewada revealed that the police was working in close association with the new vigilante group, the Samajik Ekta Manch.

After India Today’s expose, the founders of the Samajik Ekta Manch today did a press conference in Bastar and declared that they are ‘dissolving the Samajik Ekta Manch with immediate effect.’

The Samajik Ekta Manch has even put out a press release in which they said, “The Samajik Ekta Manch was set up with the intent of helping the central government, state government, district administration and the local police in the battle against Naxalism. It is with the intention of pushing this agenda that the Samajik Ekta Manch organised a series of non-violent and democratic protests. However, some people used the activities of the Samajik Ekta Manch to demonise the local police and state administration. It is in keeping these circumstances in mind that the members of the outfit have unanimously decided to dissolve the Samajik Ekta Manch with immediate effect.”

The Samajik Ekta Manch had been set up in December 2015. Its activities were mostly centered around Jagdalpur. The vigilante outfit had also been accused of hounding lawyers, journalists and social activists out of Chhattisgarh. In the India Today sting operation, the founders of the outfit said that the Samajik Ekta Manch had been trying to fill the void left by dissolution of the Salwa Judum.