Jheeram massacre hard facts must come out, says CM

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday accused the BJP of trying to hamper the government’s efforts to unearth the conspiracy behind the Jheeram Valley attack in which Naxalites massacred Congress leaders in 2013.

He said this while unveiling a memorial built in the memory of Congress leaders and others killed in that attack in Bastar district.

Baghel also unfurled a national flag on a 100 feet high flag post at the memorial site.

On May 25, 2013, Maoists attacked a convoy of Congress leaders in the Jheeram Valley killing 32 people including then state Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel, former leader of opposition Mahendra Karma and former Union Minister V.C. Shukla.

The memorial, named ‘Jheeram Ghati Shaheed Smarak’, has been built in Lalbagh area of Jagdalpur, the headquarters of Bastar district, where statues of politicians and security personnel killed in the attack have been installed.

Talking to reporters here, Baghel accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to hamper the Congress government’s efforts to unearth the conspiracy behind the attack.

“In the last nine years, we tried our best to bring the facts to light. As you all know, it was a political and criminal conspiracy. But they (BJP) kept on trying to stall our efforts,” the Chief Minister said.

“The National Investigation Agency probe was not satisfactory. When we started a fresh police investigation into the conspiracy angle, the BJP government at the Centre rejected our demand. The NIA reached the High Court against a fresh police probe,” he said.

Baghel claimed that BJP leaders in Chhattisgarh have been trying to pose hindrances in the proceedings of the judicial commission probing the attack.

“The scope of the judicial panel was expanded in November last year by restructuring it. Leader of Opposition Dharamlal Kaushik recently moved the High Court against the judicial probe,” he said.

Baghel said one must know who were behind the killings and why all these hindrances were being created.

He met the families of some of those killed in the 2013 massacre.