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Tribals up in arms against Maoists

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OST Bureau

Nuapada, Nov 27:

Fed up with ceaseless repression and wanton killing of innocent people by Maoists , tribals residing in the Sunabeda sanctuary of Komna block in Nuapada district have finally decided to wage war against the left wing ultras.

Nuapada villagers : Up in arms against Maoists
Nuapada villagers : Up in arms against Maoists

Determined to drive away the red rebels from the area, the tribals have warned the former not to venture into their village again. They are now guarding their villages with bows and arrows with assistance from the local police and the CRPF jawans.

The warning served by these tribal villagers has made a big dent in the clout that local Maoist leader Karthik and his associates used to enjoy in the area.

The tribals had remained silent to the activities of the Maoists inside Sunabeda sanctuary since 2007. However, their patience ran out once the ultras began killing innocent tribals after branding them police informers.

“The Maoists never wanted development in our area. We had provided all kinds of protection and support to them. But they, in turn, started killing us on the false charge of being police informers”, the irate tribals told OST.

Citing instances of mindless killing, they said that the Maoists brutally killed Bishnu Meher, a milkman, on the night of October 28 this year after dragging him out of his house suspecting him to be a police informer.

The villagers also informed that the Maoists whisked away four villagers on November 11 accusing them of assisting the Special Police Officers (SPOs). “While one of them managed to escape from their custody, they were forced to release the other three after the villagers had a face-off with them,” they added.

Fed up with the constant threats, the tribals, at a meeting in Sunabeda on November 12, asked 21 Maoists, including four women cadres present at the meeting, to leave the sanctuary forthwith.

With the bitterness between the tribals and the Maoists reaching a new high, the local police and CRPF personnel are now providing security to the tribals, who have urged the Koraput collector and SP to set up permanent police camps in all the villages in and around the sanctuary.

Since the Maoists are now camping in inaccessible and remote areas like Dekanpani, it would be difficult for them to operate from these areas if the tribals drive them away from their villages, say observers.

Tribal youth are now conducting night patrolling in their villages while the police have provided protection to them at Sunabeda, Godabhata and Kuliabandha villages. They have also asked tribals of the adjoining villages to maintain night vigil with an assurance that they would rescue any abducted tribal from the Maoists.

While the change in the attitude of the tribals against the Maoists has provided an opportunity to the police, efforts are on by the Maoist leaders Karthik and Kailash, who are in charge of Sunabeda sanctuary and Dharambandha areas respectively, to restore links with the tribals.

When asked about the prevailing situation, Nuapada SP Umashankar Das said, “Since our primary job is to restore peace in the area, we would certainly provide protection to the tribals.”