For want of a toilet, 40 lives were wasted
Sunday’s Naxalite carnage, which killed about 40 policemen, could have been averted if only the Chhattisgarh government had provided toilet facilities to its policemen.india Updated: Jul 14, 2009 01:26 IST
Sunday’s Naxalite carnage, which killed about 40 policemen, could have been averted if only the Chhattisgarh government had provided toilet facilities to its policemen.
A police constable, who is not authorized to speak to the media, told HT that the two policemen who were killed early on Sunday morning had left the police post in Madanwada, 200 km west of Raipur, to answer the call of nature in a nearby forest, where Naxalites shot them.
In 2008-09, the Chhattisgarh police spent only Rs 39 crore of its Rs 109-crore budget for building and improving facilities at police stations and posts.
It was these two killings that brought the larger, 100-strong, police party to the area. As reported in HT on July 13, this posse of policemen was also attacked and more than a third of its men massacred, taking the death toll of security personnel killed by Naxals in the state this year to more than 100.
This lapse is all the more glaring as the Naxalites had distributed pamphlets and written wall graffiti against this and the Sitagaon police post, 6 km away.
“So, the attack on policemen manning the Madanwada post wasn’t entirely unexpected,” said the constable.
No senior police officer or government officer was willing to comment on this either on record or off it.
The police also have clamped a complete blackout on any news about the attack and have refused to confirm the death toll. Unconfirmed reports, however, said the death toll may have crossed 40 from 33 overnight.
Meanwhile, the urban-rural divide over Maoist violence was starkly evident in Rarjnandgaon. A day after the attacks, the eponymous town observed a spontaneous bandh in protest against the latest Naxal atrocity.
“The Naxal menace is getting from bad to worse in the state. But the government is doing nothing concrete to curb it, ” said Anmol Sinha, 37, an advocate in Rajnandgaon.
However, the residents of the villages outlying Rajnandgaon were less inclined to condemn the Maoists.
Sukhia, 42, (he refused to give his surname), who lives in Kaneli village, a few km outside town, said without emotion: “Yes, I know about the incident.” That was all.
Other villagers also either feigned ignorance, or came up with non-committal responses.
A senior police official told HT that some of them were scared to speak, while some others “may be motivated by their ideology”.