A 24-year-old youth fell victim of mistaken identity and was killed in retaliatory firing by security forces in Garu area of Latehar district, about 170 kilometres from the State Capital. In the firing another youth was injured and was taken for treatment, said sources.
Superintendent of Police, Latehar Prashant Anand, said, “One person has been killed in the jungles of Kookoo Piri under the Garu police station today. The deceased was not an extremist. Our team is there in the jungles let’s see what findings come out from there.”
Anand said that security forces had the information that there were some people there with country made weapons. He said that they knew people go to the jungles with ‘bharawthuwa bandook’ (old style country made weapon) to shoot wild boars etc.
Asked whether the elite force fired unilaterally as one with ‘Bharawthuwa bandook’ can’t dare to open fire on the forces that too on the CRPF CoBRA and Jharkhand Jaguar, Anand said there came a few fires from that end also.
Sources in the police department revealed that the incident took place when a group of villagers (mostly youths) went out for hunting in Kookoo Piri jungle under Garu Police Station of Latehar district. Teams of CRPF, Jharkhand Jaguar and State Police had launched a search operation in the area and they spotted a group with arms, they added.
“Incidentally, the villagers started the firing by spotting a wild animal and in the retaliatory firing one youth, identified as Brahmadev Singh (24), died on the spot, while another person Deenanath Singh (25) was injured as a bullet hit his arm. During the search operation 5 persons were apprehended by the forces and are being interrogated,” said the sources.
Ironically enough, the CRPF stated in the forenoon that a Maoist’s body was recovered during an encounter in Latehar and no rebuttal came from the elite force till the time of filing of this report.