New Delhi: National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has taken a suo-motu cognisance of the June incident in which 19 people were killed in a gunfight inside the forests of Chhattisgarh's Dantewada during an anti-Naxal operation.

Though the Commission has received a preliminary report from Chhattisgarh saying that a judicial inquiry has been ordered into the incident, it has decided to pursue the matter with the state government for a "credible response".

"It's been three months and the Chhattisgarh government has not provided the Commission with any detail over their findings. They cannot sit back and relax by saying that the judicial inquiry is in process. The Commission expects a credible response and cooperation from the state," NCST Chairperson Rameshwar Oraon told in New Delhi.

Controversy had erupted over the killing of 19 persons in anti-Maoist operations by security forces in Chhattisgarh amid questions whether or not the victims were all Naxals.

Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo while dubbing as "notorious" the Chhattisgarh government's record in conducting anti-naxal operations, had expressed suspicion that several tribals were gunned down in the name of naxals.

He had also raised question over the state government's authority to call for such a joint-operation by the CRPF and the state police, in which several women and children were killed.

Talking to reporters last week, Deo had said, "NCST has taken up the case and its findings are awaited."

Meanwhile, NCST has asked the state government to provide it with complete details of the people who were killed in the operation and those who were behind ordering it.

"We are in the process of collecting information. The state government is delaying the process in the name of magisterial inquiry," Oraon claimed.

The Constitution has given NCST the authority to take suo-motu cognisance of such incidents and the states are bound to cooperate with the Commission, he said.


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