Nabarangpur: Around 40 tribal families residing in a forest on Kalahandi-Nabarangpur border were allegedly beaten up and looted by a group of people from the neighbouring village in the district.
The tribal people alleged that an open well which they have been using for drinking water purpose was also poisoned by the attackers.
As many as 40 tribal families were residing at Bhatapani and Dumerpali areas in Sahajakhol forest on Nabarangpur-Kalahandi border for the last 15 years. They had been also cultivating forest land for agriculture purpose.
Some people belonging to Jungle Surakhya Bahini of neighbouring Gotamunda village had been opposing their habitation and farming on forest land. However, the tribals had not paid any heed to the opposition of the Jungle Surakhya Bahini.
Quarrel, verbal duel and clashes were ensued between the tribals and the members of Jungle Surakhya Bahini several times. The conflict took an ugly turn on June 30 when hundreds of people from Gotamunda barged into the tribal hamlet and ransacked their huts, thrashed them and looted their jewelleries. They also allegedly poisoned an open well in the village.
“Around 30-40 people had also come to the village last year during farming season and threatened us to vacate the place. They also came this time and forced us to leave the village. Where should we go leaving behind our farm land which we have been cultivating for last 20 years?” asked a local.
The tribals have lodged a complaint with police following which a case of atrocity has been registered.
“Forest department has not made any complaint regarding their living in the forest. But, some people of Gotamunda village have threatened them and asked them to vacate the place. They alleged that were beaten up and forced to leave the area. We have registered an atrocity case and investigating the matter,” said Krushna Chandra Swain, Aamapani Police IIC.
On the other hand, the victim families have taken shelter under polythene sheet on the premises of Kuamba primary school in Chandahandi block of Nabarangpur.