In the Maoist hotbed of Chhattisgarh’s Bastar zone, the perceived security threat could even facilitate the accused members of the outlawed left-wing extremists to get free rides on the state-owned choppers.
Around nine ‘sangham’ members (village-level supporters who constitute lower cadres of CPI-Maoist) lodged in Dantewada jail were ferried in the chopper by security forces to attend a hearing at judicial magistrate court in Konta, Sukma district. They were arrested by Sukma police. The cases of loot, dacoity, arms act and colluding with rebels have been registered in Jagargunda police station in Sukma against those arrested. The nine “sangham” cadres also face the charges of theft and stealing the cattle (cow, goat, buffalo) and poultry for the use and consumption of Maoists in their hideouts, the district police stated.
Some half-a-dozen helicopters in the remote strife-torn forested terrain of Bastar region are seen accomplishing valuable services during emergency when it gets engaged in air-lifting the jawans injured in Maoist violence, assist in ferrying cash for the banks or taking rations for security personnel. However, the "Maoists" in one of the worst-affected district of Sukma, about 460 km south of Raipur, too availed this service by default taking the air routes to reach the court.
“We had to ensure the safety and security of both the sangham members and the security forces who escort. The risk perceived to move on rain-damaged and ambush-prone road forced us to take the Maoists supporters, who are sangham members, by chopper to attend court hearing at Konta in Sukma, about 180 km away from Dantewada, where the rebels are imprisoned”, Sukma district superintendent of police D Shrawan Kumar told Hindustan Times.
There is no jail in Sukma and those arrested in the district are lodged in Dantewada jail. Two choppers were pressed into action to take the “Maoists” to the court at Konta.
The use of choppers to transport the ultras has astonished many. “Every criminal has his day in the court but never thought the “Maoists”, who are tribal villagers, will avail services of chopper to attend the court proceeding”, said Gautam Nag, an advocate in Sukma.