Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Narayanpatna/ Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:
Popular tribal leader and head of the Narayanpatna Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) Nachika Linga, who been underground since 2010, did not make the much-awaited public appearance today at Balipeta village, where he was scheduled to address the general body meeting of the ( CMAS) at 11 am and seek their views on his plans to work overground.
There were media reports that he would surrender to a local court after the meeting.
Nachika told the local OST reporter over phone that he was compelled to defer the meeting to a later date because he did not feel “safe to come out of the jungle in view of the heavy presence of BSF and armed police personnel in and around Balipeta”.
A large number of social activists and media persons had reached Narayanpatna this morning in anticipation of Nachika’s proposed meeting and his possible “surrender” to the court. However, they were prevented from reaching anywhere near the venue by BSF personnel who were all over the place. Sevral media teams and journalists were frisked and advised not to go ahead.
The meeting venue at Balipeta was virtually taken over by the BSF men and many of them were posted along all entry routes to that place. Scared, the members of the CMAS who had reached Naraynpatna in large numbers preferred not to venture into Balipeta.
According to reliable sources in Odisha police, arrangements were in place to quietly arrest Nachika Linga and produce him before a court in Laxmipur as soon as he arrived at the place of meeting.
” The media hype over his possible ‘surrender’ on Tuesday complicated matters,” the sources said.
Sources in the CMAS say Nachika wants to operate openly and even take part in the coming elections. However, they also concede that he is under tremendous pressure from the Maoists not to do so.
“Nachika does not have anything to do with the Maoists but as long as he is in the jungle, he will have reasons to fear them. They lord over the forests and they are a big threat to his life,” a senior leader of the CMAS told OST.
Dismissing rumours that Nachika had changed his mind and that he would not surface in the near future, the CMAS leader said, he would come out very soon but would prefer that to be a quiet and low-key affair.
” You never know, he may come out today itself”, he said with a mysterious smile.
Later in the day, after the BSF personnel withdrew from Balipeta, there was a well-attended public meeting which was addressed among others by social activist Prafulla Samantara and veteran journalist Rabi Das. Both speakers appealed to the state government to hold talks with Nachika Linga and create an environment in which Nachika Linga could come out and work for the people in an open manner.