Why Names Of Top Maoist Leaders Dropped From NIA’s Final Report, Asks CM Baghel On Tenth Anniversary Of Jhiram Valley Attack

Paying homage to the victims on the tenth anniversary of the attack, he also said that the Maoists have been pushed on the backfoot in the state.

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) why the names of top Maoist leaders `Ganpati' and `Ramanna' were removed from the NIA's final report on the 2013 Jhiram Valley attack in which several Congress leaders were killed.

Paying homage to the victims on the tenth anniversary of the attack, he also said that the Maoists have been pushed on the backfoot in the state.

Maoists attacked a convoy of Congress leaders during the party's `Parivartan Rally' in the Jhiram Valley in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh on May 25, 2013, killing 29 people, including then state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, former leader of opposition Mahendra Karma and former Union minister V C Shukla.

Talking with reporters here at the Civil Lines helipad before leaving for Jagdalpur in Bastar to attend an event to pay respect to the victims of the attack, Baghel also accused the BJP of stalling the investigation into the incident.

"The Jhiram Valley incident shocked the entire nation…The then UPA government had ordered a National Investigation Agency probe into it, while the then (BJP) state government (of Raman Singh) constituted a one member judicial commission headed by Justice Prashant Mishra to investigate it," Baghel said.

“The NIA in its FIR had named Naxal leaders Ganpati (also spelt as Ganapathi) and Ramanna and their names were in the case till August 2014. However, in September 2014, when the initial report was presented by the NIA in court the names of the two Maoist leaders were missing. In the final report too they have not been named as accused," Baghel said.

He asked why the Narendra Modi government at the Centre had "saved" Ganpati and Ramanna, adding that the name of a criminal is not removed once it is included in an FIR.

"The BJP should clarify why their (Ganpati and Ramanna's) names were removed and why they want to save these Naxal leaders," Baghel said.

The judicial commission headed by Justice Mishra submitted its report to the Raj Bhawan (Governor) and not to the chief secretary or the state government in 2021, he noted.

"Subsequently, the state government appointed a new chairman and a member in the same commission and expanded its term. But then Leader of Opposition in the Chhattisgarh Assembly Dharamlal Kaushik secured a stay (from Supreme Court) on the probe with help of BJP Member of Parliament and advocate Mahesh Jethmalani," the CM claimed.

He alleged that the blame for the attack was put on the "Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee" of the Maoists soon after the Modi government took over and the probe was terminated.

"The BJP has been constantly stalling the investigation. We have written to the Union Home minister and the NIA several times but the investigation has not progressed," the CM claimed.  

Later, speaking at the event in Jagdalpur, the headquarters of   Bastar district, Baghel said his government has pushed naxals on the backfoot with its three-pronged strategy of 'trust, development and security'.

The event was held at Lalbag Maidan here where Jhiram Memorial has been built.

“The supreme sacrifice of martyrs in the fight against Naxalism will not go in vain. The Bastar region will be freed from Naxalism and restored as an island of peace,” Baghel said.

“Our leaders who were martyred in that incident had talked about change. They used to say that we have to bring change in the lives of farmers, tribals, youth and women...Our government has worked hard to achieve their vision. With the strategy of development, trust and security, we have contained Naxals to a few limited areas,” he said.

His government ensured development of Bastar with its schemes and policies and accelerated its pace by providing education, health and infrastructure facilities while preserving tribal culture, Baghel added.

On the occasion, Baghel and his cabinet colleagues paid floral tribute to those killed in the attack. The CM also administered a pledge to those present to remake Bastar as an island of peace.

-With PTI Input