Chhattisgarh: Man found dead days after meeting CM, Union minister; cops suspect Maoists’ role

Days after he met Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and Union MoS for Tribal Affairs Renuka Singh, demanding rehabilitation after he had to flee his village in Chhattisgarh due to Salwa Judum violence, the body of a 35-year-old man was found in Kolaiguda village late Sunday, police said Monday.

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Police suspect the victim, Dudhi Ganga, originally from Arlampally village in Sukma who had fled to Andhra Pradesh nearly five years ago, could have been killed due to personal reasons. They believe Maoists could be responsible. Investigation is on, officers said. Ganga had met Baghel in Raipur on April 4 and met Union MoS Singh in New Delhi subsequently, to demand land in either Andhra Pradesh, where he lives now, or in Chhattisgarh, away from his old village.

He had served time in prison between 2014 and 2016 in a case of rape and murder of a woman in his village, senior police officers said. According to police, Ganga had gone to Kolaiguda in Sukma to attend Aam Pandum festivities when he was picked up allegedly by Maoists on Friday. His body was left near the village on Sunday night, police said.

While police suspect it was a case of revenge killing — they said he was killed in the same manner in which he had allegedly killed the woman in 2012 — his friends and members of Walsa Adiwasulu Samakhya, a group of displaced people from tribal communities, believe otherwise. Ganga was a prominent member of the outfit, whose members are demanding rehabilitation.

“His was one of the names that we had submitted to Bastar divisional commissioner for rehabilitation. In fact, he was vocal in putting forth their condition and demands. None of us knew about his past,” Shubhranshu Chaudhary, founder of New Peace Process, who had accompanied people from tribal communities to both Raipur and Delhi, said.

As news of Ganga’s death emerged, almost all those who had given their names to return to the state want to remove their application, said Chaudhary, who has worked extensively in Bastar.

“This murder has sabotaged our efforts to rehabilitate displaced tribals,” he said. “Nearly everyone is scared and they have the right to be. It was violence like this that forced them to flee,” Chaudhary said.

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