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Tribal influx on the rise in Khammam

Posted by Admin on November 11, 2009

KHAMMAM: With the central security forces along with Chhattisgarh police intensifying combing operations to flush out the Maoists ahead of the full-scale battle, thousands of fear-stricken tribals are migrating to the border villages of Khammam district.

The migrant Gond and Gothikoya tribes from Dantewada and Narayanpur districts have set up temporary habitations in the thick forests of Bhadrachalam, Paloncha and Kothagudem Agency areas. "The tribal influx has been very high for the last one month. With pressure from the police and the local Salwa Judum activists mounting, the tribals are fleeing their native villages to reach the safer tracts of Khammam border villages," said a manager of a voluntary agency in Chintoor close to Chhattisgarh border.

Unconfirmed reports said close to 80,000-1 lakh tribals from southern Chhattisgarh have migrated in the recent past. Though some voluntary organisations are providing shelter and food for the migrant families in nine habitations, thousands of tribals are still homeless. "The forest officials of Khammam district attack our makeshift dwellings in the forests asking us to vacate the forest land. With cops, Salwa Judum men targeting us on one side and Maoists on the other, we are caught in a no man’s land," Madakam Bira, a tribal from Kunta area, said.

Sources said though the local tribes help the migrant families, the fear of backlash from Maoists, Salwa Judum activists and the cops is constant. "Their plight is pitiable since Maoists take them away on the ruse that they are police informers and kill them," a police official involved in anti-naxal operations along the Khammam border said.

Sources said with the activities of Salwa Judum on the rise to counter the Maoist influence, the tribes in the southern parts of Chhattisgarh have always been living on the edge. "The innocent tribes of Dantewada are caught between the devil and the deep sea and they have been facing this music since June 2005," an IPS officer said.

Dantewada district, situated in the southern tip of Chhattisgarh, shares border with Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa and the people inhabiting the district are predominantly tribals – mostly Maria Gonds and Dorlas – as they account for 82 per cent of the rural population. "The irony is huge funds are allocated for anti-naxal operations than for their development. Little wonder, they flock to Khammam villages in droves in times of crisis," a revenue department official of Bhadrachalam said.

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