Maoists issue fresh threat to Odisha villagers for standing up to them
Maoists have issued fresh threats to Odisha villagers who had refused to follow their diktats and fought them bravely a day before the Republic Day. The rebels left posters in the ‘Swabhiman Anchal’ area in Malkangiri district-- a hotbed of insurgency-- telling villagers to “stop being swayed by fake promises of the police”.
The handwritten note in Telugu also warned of fatal consequences for opposing the Maoists. The Thursday note was also an acknowledgment of their clash with villagers when the Malkangiri division of Maoists had only yesterday issued an audiotape denying any face-off with people in Janturai village.
On the night of January 25, tribals in Janturai village under Jodambo gram panchayat in the ‘Swabhiman Anchala’ area had killed one Maoist and injured another, when more than 25 rebels swooped down on their village opposing the construction of a road in the left-wing rebels’ stronghold.
The villagers armed with stones and arrows had resisted their move and killed local area committee member Ganga Madi alias Adma and injured Jipro Habika. In retaliation, Maoists burnt down about a dozen houses in Jodambo village of ‘Swabhiman Anchala’ and looted the locals.
Malkangiri SP Khilari Rishikesh Dnyandeo said police would always stand by the villagers who raised their voice against Maoists.
“Although we condemn the violence in any form but it seems that it was a natural outburst of the villagers, in their self-defence, against the unreasonable demands and illegal means of the Maoists. When the villagers asked had the Maoists done for the area in 30 years and why were they opposing the development, the rebels resorted to blank firing,” said the SP.
Referring to the video footage of the face-off between the villagers and the Maoists that is doing the rounds in social media, the SP said it clearly shows that the Maoists are threatening the villagers and holding explosives like grenades.
The SP said the ultras had mercilessly beaten up elderly persons and children in the Jodambo village, looted property and burnt down several houses. He promised protection to the villagers.
“The villagers in the ‘Swabhiman Anchala’ have nothing to fear and they will be protected,” he said.
Around 1000 policemen from the Special Operations Group, District Voluntary Force and Border Security Force are guarding the affected Jodambo gram panchayat area since last few days.
The police said new houses will be built for those whose houses were burnt. Several villagers had been given shelter in Kuntarpadar police camp till the situation normalizes and given Rs 30000 each.