Raipur, May 19 (IANS) The Chhattisgarh government Sunday ordered a judicial probe into allegations that troopers in an anti-Maoist operation killed civilians in Bijapur district, and announced compensation for the families of the victims.
Chief Minister Raman Singh announced a probe into the incident that occurred May 17-18 night. Justice V.K. Agrawal, who is already inquiring into two similar cases of alleged killing of civilians in the Bastar region by security personnel last year, will head the probe.
At least eight tribals, including three minors, were allegedly killed by Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA) troopers in Arasameta village.
The para-military troopers claimed that the tribals were killed by the Maoists and did not fall to their bullets.
Protests were held Sunday in the insurgency-hit Bastar region over the alleged fake shootout in Arasameta village.
Human rights activists and workers of the opposition Congress termed the killings as a "brutal act by the police against civilians".
Chief Minister Raman Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party held a meeting with Chief Secretary Sunil Kumar, Director General of Police Ramniwas and other officials before announcing a compensation of Rs.5 lakh each for the families of the victims.
The government also condemned the killing of a COBRA trooper in the Bijapur incident.
Bijapur is one of the seven districts that form a 40,000 sq km Bastar region which is considered a nerve centre of the Maoist activities since the late 1980s.