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Mrunal Manmay Dash

As the sun sets in this village, men saddle up with sticks and iron rods; not to go fight any war but to guard their homes against unidentified robbers and looters.

This has been a regular sighting at Haridapadar village under Ganjam’s Aska block since a month.

As per the reports, panic has spread in the village following a series of alleged loot and burglaries by unidentified miscreants in the villagers. And without adequate Police patrolling, the locals have decided to turn vigilantes by taking up the responsibility of guarding their own village themselves.

Such is the fear the miscreants have managed to instill in their minds, the villagers have lost their sleep and are taking turns among themselves to guard different places in the village in the night.

Sources said, some of the villagers have also sustained injuries in a couple of face-offs with the miscreants a few days back.

However, they still remain elusive to the locals and the Police.

The villagers alleged that had there been enough patrolling by the police they would not have to spend sleepless nights guarding their village against the raiders.

A local of Haridapadar, Ramachandra Badatya said, “The police had come to our village for two days and after that there is no sign of them. That is why we are forced to take up sticks and rods to guard our village.”

Another local Rabindra Behera said, “All the villagers are paicked. We want the administration to provide us a good night’s sleep by arresting the miscreants. But I am afraid, that is not the case.”

However, this is not the lone village which has been a victim of police inaction.

There are a couple of other such villages in Kalahandi’s Koksara block where the residents have been arming themselves up against the intruding raiders in the night.

As per reports, Ghumerguda and Majhipada villages under the district are grappling with menace of robbers.

The locals of these villages have resorted to night watching with sticks and rods as their side arms in order to save their family and property from marauders.

Pertinent to mention here that the villagers have been in a state of panic after a sudden spike in cases of robbery rocked the area.

As per reports, the locals had staged a gherao of Moter police outpost demanding arrest of the miscreants a few days back after which the Koksara police intensified the patrolling but the effort is apparently not enough which has forced the villagers to turn vigilantes themselves.

Speaking to OTV, a local resident, Debendra Bhaisal said, “There are some unidentified miscreants who knock our doors at the dead of the night and try to force themselves in. We have been guarding our village for last 15 days.

However, the DSP of Dharmagarh, Dheeraj Chopdar played down the apprehensions of the villagers as rumours.

Speaking to OTV, Chopdar said, “There was a robbery in the past in the area that has probably prompted the rumour. I urge the residents to not panic and report any suspicious activities by any unknown person to police. We will immediately reach the spot.”

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