Indian Vanguard

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Is Bonai going Narayanpatna way?

Posted by Admin on September 10, 2009

orrisaExpress News Service

First Published : 10 Sep 2009 04:30:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 10 Sep 2009 07:38:45 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: What started as an operation to track down the radicals who launched back to back attacks in Sundargarh’s Bonai sub division is fast becoming a pain for the State Government. The arrest of 30 villagers by the anti-Naxal force during the last week of August has snowballed into a crisis with the administration having little or no control over it.While tribal anger has spilled onto the road with locals laying seige to NH 23 for last two days, the political leaders of the region have pulled weight behind them leaving the Government red-faced.Drawing a parallel with the boiling situation in Narayanpatna may sound out of place but a closer look would say the anti-Naxal strategy has backfired in Bonai where simmering anger may just have helped the Red radicals gaining control over the region.

While the railway route in Sundargarh has become increasingly vulnerable to Naxal attacks – as the recent attacks would vouch – the successful blockade of NH 23 by tribals may just give the rebels access to this significant mode of communication.For records sake, Sundargah is a mineral rich district.

Although the tribals today agreed to relent from their agitation, what gave a solid jolt to the State Administration is that at least three MLAs of this region – from parties such as Congress and BJP and an Independent legislator – have joined forces with the tribals who have been strongly resenting arrest of the 30 villagers.In fact, since Biju Janata Dal just has two MLAs in the region, one of them being a non-tribal, a political intervention was out of question.

All that the administration could do was watch.In fact, a fact finding team which visited Silapunji and Mundapali villages from where the persons were picked up by security forces for their alleged Maoist links today corroborated that the 30 villagers were daily wage earners.Requesting the Orissa Human Rights Commission’s intervention, a four-member team went to the villages, located under Chandiposh panchayat, to take stock of the situation and found that families of those picked up by the police were nnocent tribals who are in pitiable condition grappling with hunger and poverty since their husbands and sons were arrested.

It has been ten days since they were arrested and their families have just no clue of what prompted the police action.Some of the women folks are in advanced stages of pregnancy and cannot fend for themselves, the team members said.

The team comprising activists like Prafulla Samantara and Radhakanta Sethi, met Chandiposh sarpanch Srikant Samant who also corroborated the fact the 30 arrested villagers have no connection with Maoists.

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