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Villagers protest arrest of tribal leader branded as Maoist in Odisha’s Rayagada dist

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Reported by Ranjan Rath
Rayagada, Oct 20:

Several villagers of Rajuluguda village, under the banner of Lok Sangram Manch, today protested in front of Muniguda police station in Odisha’s Rayagada district demanding the release of a tribal rights actvist who was arrested by the police on Sunday night on charges that he was a Maoist involved in a number of violent incidents.

Hadibandhu Kadraka ( masked) accused of being a Maoist
Hadibandhu Kadraka ( masked) accused of being a Maoist

According to reports, police arrested Hadibandhu Kadraka of Rajuluguda village under Muniguda police station limits on charges of being part of a Maoist group, which was about to plant landmines under a culvert.

Briefing newsmen this morning, Rayagada SP K Siva Subramanyam said a police team, acting on a tip-off that some Maoists were planning to plant a landmine under a culvert near Sarabali village under Muniguda police station limits, had kept a close watch on the area on Sunday night.

At 5 AM this morning,  the SP claimed , a group of 3-4 Maoists were found approaching the culvert but tried to flee the spot when they saw the police .

However, the police managed to nab Kadraka and reportedly seized a tiffin bomb, three electronic detonators, three 7.62 mm live cartridges, a 25-metre long wire and two Maoist banners from his possession, the SP said.

Giving details about the arrested Maoist, the SP said apart from his involvement in the murder of Dadhi Sikaka in 2011, Kadraka is also involved in 11 violent Maoist incidents.

On the other hand, Hadibandhu’s wife Tulasi Kadraka, in a complaint lodged with the Muniguda police station today, alleged that the police had abducted her husband.

Condemning the arrest, CPI-ML’s national spokesman Bhala Chandra Sarangi today said Hadibandhu, the former president of Lok Sangram Manch, has been fighting for cause of the poor tribals by organizing a land rights movement in the district. He was also at the forefront of the protest against the Vedanta Alumina company’s bid for mining exploration in the undivided Koraput district, Sarangi said.

“How come the police arrested Hadibandhu against whom the Maoists had circulated posters in the district, branding him as an agent of the police? Sarangi asked.

He warned that the tribals would take to the street if the police do not release Hadibandhu at the earliest.