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Swami Agnivesh attacked by protesters in Chhattisgarh

Saturday March 26, 2011 09:21:28 PM, IANS

Raipur: Social activist Swami Agnivesh was Saturday allegedly assaulted by some people, suspected to be special police officers (SPOs), in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district while he was on way to a jungle area where policemen had allegedly burnt down over 200 huts of poor tribals.

Dozens of people, including women, stopped Agnivesh's vehicle at Dornapal town, pulled him out, manhandled him and threw eggs at him and abused him, eyewitnesses told IANS.

Eye witnesses said a few media persons accompanying Agnivesh were also roughed up by the protesters who took away their cameras and abused them as well. The protesters blocked the National Highway 221 in a bid to stop Agnivesh from proceeding further.

Sources at Dornapal, over 450 km from here, said the protest was managed by SPOs on instructions of some senior police officials to stop the social activist who was determined to visit three tribal hamlets in interiors of the district where people had allegedly suffered police brutalities recently.

Sources said that Agnivesh had informed Chief Minister Raman Singh over telephone before reaching Chhattisgarh regarding his scheduled trip to the villages. However, the planned protest has left him shocked.

Agnivesh termed it "a stage managed attack as police wanted to hide facts about brutalities on civilians in Tarmetla".

The protesters had grilled Agnivesh and asked him to explain why he rushed to Chhattisgarh on information of houses being allegedly burnt though he hardly ever visited areas that witnessed civilian killings by Maoists.

Agnivesh tried to explain that he had also condemned the killings by Maoists but the protesters did not allow him to proceed to Tarmetla and its nearby areas where tribal civilians have accused police of killing and raping a few people besides burning down at least 200 huts.

The district authorities have sent relief material and rations to the affected villages and have also distributed cash among the victims.

District Collector R. Prasanna has set up a magisterial inquiry besides a four-member panel to go into the charges of the villagers, but District Superintendent of police, Dantewada, S.R.P. Kalluri maintains that "the whole act of house burning is nothing but a pure Maoist propaganda".

 

 

 

 

 

 

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