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Odisha: Maoists kill NREGS worker after branding him police informer

Police claim Maoists are coercing villagers to join their ranks as sustained pressure from security forces erode their influence.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2017 15:01 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Maoists,Odisha,Kandhamal district
File photo of a group of Maoists in training.(AP)

The bullet riddled body of a ‘Gaon Sathi’ was found Tuesday near a village in Kandhamal district, 400 km west of Bhubaneswar, two days after he was abducted allegedly by Maoists two days ago, police said.

A few posters bearing the name of BGN (Bansadhara-Ghumusar-Nagavali) division of Maoists were found near the body with a message that Basant Kumar Bhatt, a Gaon Sathi of Durgapanga village was killed because he was a police informer.

“The Gaon Sathi of Durgapanga was engaged in providing information to police about Maoists’ activities. Other police informers would also face similar fate if they continue to work for police,” the posters read. Kandhamal superintendent of police Mitrabhanu Mahapatra said Maoists had never issued any threat Bhatt. “The area had not seen any Maoist movement for quite some time,” said Mahapatra.

The Gaon Sathis are local youths who facilitate smooth implementation and execution of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NRGES) and have been hired by the Odisha goveernment.

With their strength depleting and their area of influence shrinking in the face of concerted action by security forces, Maoists are venting their ire on villagers, branding the police informers if they don’t follow their diktats.

Last week, the rebels left posters and letters in Badatekguda area under Kalimela block with directions that at least 10 people from each village join the Maoist camps and join the organisation at Helkanur hill on October 25. They threatened that the ‘police informers’ will not be spared at any cost. A similar warning was issued to the surrendered rebels for leaving the cadre.

Police officials said this year alone the Maoists have shot dead over a dozen civilians including tribal labourer, a sarpanch and a Gram Rozgar Sevak terming them as ‘police informers’.

Read more: Maoists acknowledge ‘setback’ as violence falls 53% in 6 years

In Malkangiri district, where Maoists are under siege after last year’s setback in cut-off area, the red rebels have killed seven civilians so far, including two this month.

In February this year, Maoists abducted five people in Malkangiri district on suspicion of being police informers and thrashed them at praja court injuring them grievously.

Malkangiri’s superintendent of police (SP) Jagmohan Meena said the killing of innocent civilians reflected the rebels’ desperation.

“None of the people killed by Maoists this year were our informers. They target anyone who is doing good work in village and bump him off. If there is no development in the area it suits their agenda,” said Meena.

The Maoists’ have also been threatening tribal families who they think are sympathetic to police, to leave their homes. Last month, 9 members of a tribal family of Pamel village in Malkangiri fled their homes due to Maoist threat. In April this year, seven tribal families of Elkanur village under Kalimela police limits in Malkangiri district had to flee their village due to Maoist threat.

First Published: Oct 17, 2017 15:01 IST