Even as the Congress upped its ante on last week's anti-naxal encounter in Chhattisgarh and claimed innocent tribals and children were killed by the security forces, union home minister P Chidambaram on Wednesday said he was "deeply sorry" if any civilian died in the anti-Maoist operations.
Union tribal affairs minister V Kishore Chandra Deo told HT that he is also collecting information from various sources and will present them before the Prime Minister. "I am determined to go to the bottom of the encounter. I am concerned about the safety of the tribals and ensure that such type of incidents don't happen again," Deo said.
Chidambaram, however, backed CRPF's "transparent and upfront" role in placing the facts. "The CRPF DG has nothing to hide or fear. I do not think any central force has been so transparent," he said at a press conference here.
The home minister also added that the state government will have to take a call on any inquiry into the operation as it was "conducted under the directions of the state police".
The Congress, however, refused to buy the state government's argument that only Maoists were killed in the encounter. BK Hariprasad, Congress general secretary in-charge of Chhattisgarh slammed the state government's version and claimed that a preliminary report of the party's fact-finding team had found that several "innocent people and minors" got killed.
Even Deo has decided against approaching the BJP-led government for a report on the last week's encounter. "I have asked NGOs as well as my party sources to provide me with information. I am not depending on the state for information as I don't expect it to give the correct picture," Deo told HT.
[Courtesy: Hindustan Times, July 5, 2012]