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Dantewada tense before march

Dantewada in south Chhattisgarh’s Bastar is keeping a close eye on a rights-group-supported padyatra (march) to begin here on Monday.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2009 23:41 IST
Ejaz Kaiser

Dantewada in south Chhattisgarh’s Bastar is keeping a close eye on a rights-group-supported padyatra (march) to begin here on Monday.

The march, to be led by an NGO Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA), is not expected to go down well with the Salwa Judum activists, who support the military intervention in the region.

The move comes at a time when the district, seen as stronghold of CPI (Maoists) is witnessing the Green Hunt operation to flush out rebels.

“When several tribal organisations are supporting the offensive operation against the red guerillas, we will not allow anyone to oppose the ongoing operation aimed at ending the naxal menace,” Sukhdev Thati, former Salwa Judum leader who led the rally, told HT.

Both the police and the VCA are worried that the event — a 23-day-long march followed by “satyagraha” and a public hearing — could result in violence.

But VCA will go ahead with its plans. “Our programme will go on as scheduled but we fear disturbance...,” Himanshu Kumar, Director of VCA, said.

The activists will cover around 20 villages in Dantewada and Bijapur districts of Bastar region.

“We are monitoring and assessing the situation and the chief minister has instructed the district administration and top
police officials to take stock of the situation,” said N.K. Aswal, principle secretary (Home).