Delhi University Professor Nalini Sundar and JNU Professor Archana Prasad have been booked along with some Maoists over the murder of Shamnath Baghel, a villager, in the insurgency-hit Sukma district of Chhattisgarh. Police investigation is underway.

 

 

Armed Naxals had allegedly killed Shamnath Baghel with sharp weapons late on Friday night  (November 4), at his residence in Nama village in Tongpal area, around 450kms away from Raipur. It is said that Baghel and some of his associates were spearheading the protest against Naxal activities in their village since April this year.

 

 

"An FIR was lodged against DU Professor Nandini Sundar, Archana Prasad (JNU Professor), Vineet Tiwari (from Delhi's Joshi Adhikar Sansthan), Sanjay Parate (Chhattisgarh CPI (Marxist) State Secretary) and others along with Maoists for the murder of Baghel based on the complaint of his wife on Saturday," Inspector General of Police (Bastar Range) SRP Kalluri told PTI.

 

 

Prof Nalini Sundar, since late 2005, had been campaigning against the controversial ‘people’s militia’ Salwa Judum (SJ) established to take on the Maoists in the state. In this case, Baghel and other villagers had registered a complaint with the Tongpal police in May, this year, against Sundar, Prasad, Tiwari, Parate and an unidentified woman activist from Sukma for allegedly inciting tribals against the government and seeking their support for Maoists. It is alleged that Sundar had gone to the village using a false name of Richa Keshav. According to the police official, some armed Ultras were referring to that complaint and anti-Maoist demonstrations while attacking Baghel on Friday.

 

 

IG Kalluri said that Baghel’s wife had accused Sundar and others of murdering her husband. She had said that her husband had been getting threats from Maoists since he and other villagers had complained against Sundar in May this year.

 

 

The group was booked under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder), 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 and 149 of IPC at Tongpal police station, the IG said, adding, "strongest possible action will be taken against those guilty after the investigation".

 

 

Giving further insight into the activities that possibly could have led to Baghel’s death, IG Kalluri stated,  “Villagers of Nama and the neighbouring Kumakoleng village (both under Kumakoleng village panchayat) had started a self-motivated protest against Maoist activities in their villages after forming their own security group named ‘Tangiya (axe) group’ in April this year. Following the development, according to villagers, Sundar and others came to the village to allegedly threaten them not to oppose the Maoists.”