Maoists hold huge ‘Praja Meli’ to mobilise public support

Malkangiri: While the government is on a mission to crush left wing extremism (LWE) threat, Maoists organised a ‘Praja Meli’ (Villagers Assembly) in a bid to mobilise public support in their favour.

According to sources, nearly three thousand tribal men and women congregated inside the Cheruberu forest in the cut off areas of Malkangiri district along the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border following a call given by top Maoist commander Ora Nageswar Rao.

During the public gathering, Nageswar and his brigade delivered speeches urging the locals to join protests against police and its anti-Maoist operations and held discussions on drinking water, electricity and transportation. Thousands of tribals including women and youth brandishing traditional arms and weapons were seen at the ‘Praja Meli’.

Even as the government is saying that Maoist violence has drastically reduced in recent years, such congregation has raised quite a few questions.

Experts opine that it is a last ditch attempt by the ultras to reinforce their ideology as they are fast losing their influence on tribal youth to turn them against the government.

“Maoists operating along Odisha-Andhra border have suffered a huge setback after the note ban as they lost financial back up for buying arms and ammunitions. Besides with several incidents like murder of innocent tribals, encounters and anti-Maoist operations, they seem to be losing public support,” former Police DG Bipin Bihari Mishra said.

Meanwhile, police have said that such meetings to influence locals will have no impact.

Malkangiri SP Jagmohan Meena said “Since people want development, Maoists in fear of losing their grip are arranging such public gatherings. But it will be dealt with a firm hand.”