In a blatant effort to derail the democratic set up and posing an open challenge to the district administration, naxals have issued a fatwa of sorts to the elected people’s representatives of the local bodies in Gadchiroli.
As a result of this, several gram panchayat, zilla parishad members and office bearers of different political parties have resigned from their respective posts in south Gadchiroli, one of the worst naxalite-affected terrains in Gadchiroli district.
The naxalites of CPI (Maoist) had even kidnapped many gram panchayat and zilla parishad members, including a woman ZP member last month and coerced these elected representatives to resign on Monday — one day ahead of Maharashtra Day.
According to reports reaching Nagpur on Tuesday, panchayat samiti members who resigned from their posts include: Gangaram Bhandekar, Vijay Kudyani, Subrato Haldar, Khushal Madavi and Bharat Zhade. The zilla parishad member from Bhamragarh area, Madni Bogami of Congress also resigned from her post.
Earlier, Madni’s husband, Malu Bogami, a senior Congress leader and president of Gadchiroli Zilla Parishad was kidnapped and killed by Ultra leftists in 2002.
Last weeek, Maoists kidnapped four elected representatives of neighbouring Etapalli gram panchayat. They were freed only on an assurance of quitting their respective posts.
Another ZP member from the district, Geeta Hichami, had assured the rebels that she would resign from her post soon.
Gadchiroli district collector Abhishek Krishna admitted that Bogami has resigned from her post and a letter was sent to the chief executive officer of the district accordingly. Krishna also informed that office bearers of several political parties of south Gadchiroli have resigned following warnings from naxalites.
Leaders of different political parties who resigned from their posts include: district BJP vice president, Sunil Biswas, district BJP general secretary, Bhikaji Atram, Bhamragarh tahsil BJP president, Joga Usendi, Bhamragarh Congress chief, Raju Wadde and Bhamragarh NCP president, Ramji Pungati.
In a series of political killings, the naxalites killed those who failed to follow their dictate.
On April 24 this year, naxalites killed deputy sarpanch of Wangeturi gram panchayat, Rainy Kowase. On April 13, the ex-zilla parishad member, Kewal Atkamwar was shot dead at Etapalli, Pawan Bhalavi, husband of former president of Arewara panchayat samiti was killed on April 20 and Chamru Joi, the sarpanch of Gardewada gram panchayat on April 22 this year.
As many as eight civilians have been killed by naxalites in the district since January this year.