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DIG to probe villager’s death

Ranchi, March 12: The state government has asked deputy inspector general (DIG) of Palamau to probe the death of Lucas Minz, a tribal who was allegedly killed by the CRPF during a combing operation in Latehar district in January.

State HRD minister Baidyanath Ram, who has been authorised by chief minister Arjun Munda to speak in the Assembly on matters related to the home ministry, announced this in the floor of the House today, the second day of the budget session.

The matter was raised during Question Hour by Bagodar CPI(ML) legislator Vinod Kumar Singh, who, along with other MLAs, have been seeking a CBI or judicial inquiry. While Opposition members echoed Singh’s demand, he even sat in the Well of House for a while to press for his demand.

“A post-mortem conducted on Minz’s body proves he was killed by a bullet. CRPF and police operation was on in the area from where his body was recovered. The operation was conducted on the directive of superintendents of police of Latehar and Garhwa districts. How can a junior officer of Barwadih police station, who was also part of the operation, probe the matter?” said Singh.

Minz, a resident of Nawarnagu village under Barwadih police station of Naxalite infested Latehar district, was killed on January 31. His body was recovered along the bank of a river on February 6 after which his family performed the last rites.

Later, his brother and a few political activists alleged Minz was killed by CRPF personnel who along with state police were conducting an anti-Naxalite operation code named, Operation Mocks.

They claimed that the CRPF and the police busted a rebel camp near Nawarnagu village before continuing their search for the Naxalites. While proceeding further, they came across Minz and asked him if he knew of any other rebel hideout.

Minz couldn’t reply as he was mute. But, the security forces personnel apparently assumed he was a sympathiser and fired on him.

When he did not return home, Minz’s family started looking for him. But it was only on February 6 when a few villagers, who had gone fishing, spotted his body and informed the authorities. He had a bullet injury in his head.

Minz’s elder brother filed an FIR with the Barwadih police station on February 12 after which a case was registered against unknown persons under sections 302, 34, 201 and 27 of Arms Act.

The family has also lodged a complaint with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the second week of February.

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