Chhattisgarh: 121 tribals acquitted in 2017 Burkapal naxal attack case

Chhattisgarh: 121 tribals acquitted in 2017 Burkapal naxal attack case

India News

A court in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district has acquitted 121 tribal persons arrested in connection with the 2017 Burkapal naxal attack in which 25 Central Reserve Police Force personnel had died.

Special Judge for National Investigation Agency cases Deepak Kumar Deshlhre acquitted the accused on Friday, observing that the prosecution failed to establish their involvement in the offence and links with naxals, said advocate Bela Bhatia, a defence lawyer.

The order, which became available on Saturday, also said that the prosecution failed to prove that any arms and ammunition were recovered from the accused’s possession.

Naxals ambushed a CRPF team near Burkpal village in Sukma district on April 24, 2017, killing 25 personnel of the 74th battalion of the paramilitary force.
The CRPF team was sanitising the area between Burkapal and Jagargunda where a road was being constructed.

As many as 121 members of tribal communities, including one woman, were arrested later in connection with the attack.

Most of them were arrested in 2017 while some were arrested in 2018 and 2019, said Bhatia, also a human rights activist.

They were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act, Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, she said.

“They have finally got justice, but why did they have to spend so many years in jail for an offence they did not commit? Who will compensate them for this?” asked Bhatia.

Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P said that as per the court order, 113 accused — 110 of them lodged in Jagdalpur central jail and three in Dantewada district jail — will be released.

Remaining eight accused will not be released as they are in judicial custody in other cases, he added.

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