An 80-year-old man in whose house four policemen were gunned down by Naxals on Sunday has been detained by the police.
Police sources said the statements made by him do not seem to be true. A senior officer, requesting anonymity said: “If one was present in the bamboo house, it was virtually impossible to escape unhurt.”
The number of bullet injuries the policemen had suffered makes one believe that a huge number of rounds were fired at the house, added the officer. “This raises suspicion on the old man’s theory that he was asked to lie on the ground along with his 8-year-old grandson in house.”
Investigations till now have revealed that the dreaded Panabaras dalam (squad) from Chhattisgarh had carried out Sunday’s attack along with local cadres of Dhanora and nearby villages.
Seven others from Markegaon have been picked up. They are being questioned for their affiliation to Naxal cadres.
For the 40-odd families that remain in the village — many have disappeared into the jungle — life is tough, caught, as they as are, between the gun-wielding ultras and commandoes of the state police.
“If we don’t follow the Naxals, they will slit our throats. And when it comes to the police, they will not even listen to our plea or bother to check if we are associated with Naxalites,” said Kunwarsinh Simpli, a daily wage labourer.
A C-60 commando admitted as much. “They face an imminent threat from both the Naxals and us. They get sandwiched,” he said.
Ramilabai Useindi chipped in: “The rest of us have decided not to move. Let them do whatever they want in front of us.” Useindi does not want to live in the village any more. “Once the situation is calm, I will ask my son to take me to the city where he lives.”
Another villager, Narendra Sakru, said: “Police come only when they have some information of Naxal movement in the area. And all they do is come and question us. If the police want information, they need to give us protection.”
The villagers claim they will not support the Naxals, but neither will they side with the police. “We beg both parties to let us live our life. We should not be dragged into this bloody battle,” said Simpli.