Over 150 people belonging to 35 families have migrated from their ancestral forest village in Chhattisgarh's restive Bastar region after Maoists branded them police informers and threatened to wipe them out, police said on Saturday.
The migrants, mostly poor tribals, belonged to Mohla village in Kanker that forms the 40,000 sq km Maoist stronghold Bastar region along with Bijapur, Bastar, Dantewada and Narayanpur districts.
"The villagers are terrified. They deserted their village after Maoists threatened to wipe them out for allegedly acting as police informers," Superintendent of Police Ajay Yadav told IANS over the phone.
He said the families travelled about 25 km on foot to reach Pakhanjoor village on Thursday night with their belongings.
The local authorities have temporarily made staying arrangements for them at a government school and have been offering them food.
"A few people were killed by Maoists in the interiors of Kanker district in recent weeks on spying charges by Maoists. We are taking care of their security," Yadav said.
Police officials said the Maoists have stepped up violence in the state, mainly in their stronghold Bastar, this year.
In the past two months, the state has reported 28 incidents of Maoists violence that include the massacre of 76 security personnel April 6 and killing of over 30 Special Police Officers and civilians when a landmine blew up a passenger bus on May 17, both in Dantewada district.
The officials said the most surprising is that the guerrillas are now regularly targeting civilians, mainly accusing them of spying for police.
The extremists slaughtered several people in Rajnandgaon and Kanker districts in separate incidents for being 'informers'.