In Odisha’s Malkangiri, Maoists warn villagers about using mobile phones
The rebels issued the warning through a written message on a roadside board at Orapadar village in Andrapalli gram panchayat of the erstwhile cut-off area (now renamed Swabhiman Anchal) on Thursday threatening the locals not to use mobile phones.Updated: Dec 12, 2019 23:39 IST
Maoists in Malkangiri district have reportedly put up signboards in a gram panchayat asking people in the area not to use mobile phones.
The rebels issued the warning through a written message on a roadside board at Orapadar village in Andrapalli gram panchayat of the erstwhile cut-off area (now renamed Swabhiman Anchal) on Thursday threatening the locals not to use mobile phones. Anyone violating the diktat would face the consequences, they warned.
Earlier, the rebels had distributed leaflets in villages in the area containing the threat: “Don’t use mobile phones. Persons ignoring this directive will be punished in the Praja court”.
Malkangiri SP Dyandeo S Khilari said the police are aware of the warning and are trying to verify it further. “We are keeping close watch,” he said.
The cut-off area has been a Maoist hotbed for more than two decades with rebels from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh making it their base.
The message said that any villager found using a mobile phone will be punished by the Praja court. Officials said the warning was a way to deter the local people from giving the police information about the possible movement of the Maoists.
Villagers in the area said that the rebels recently threatened some young men after they recovered mobile phones from them. “The Maoists for quite some time have been asking us not to use mobile phones for which we face lots of difficulties. The latest warning is worrying us a great deal. We can’t call for help even during a medical emergency,” said a villager.
The Maoist warnings came a week after the rebels observed PLGA (People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army) week, to commemorate the death of their comrades killed in police encounters over the years. Though Maoist presence has come down in Malkangiri due to combing operations by security forces, posters and banners urging tribals to join their organisation were recently seen at several places in Kalimela region of the district.