Maoists urge villagers to boycott panchayat polls, strengthen militia

Malkangiri: After a prolonged lull, the Maoists, in a desperate bid to reassert their supremacy in the cut-off areas of Chitrakonda block of Malkangiri district, have urged the people of six panchayats to boycott the ensuing panchayat elections and strengthen the militia by joining their outfit.

The left wing extremists had organised a large meeting at Jantri village of Andrapalli panchayat of Chitrakonda block on Saturday, reports said.

Asked about the incident, Subala Charan Behera, driver of a government motor launch, told OTV today that he was about to finish his duty at about 5.30 PM on Friday after anchoring the launch at Jantri when the Maoists through their messengers asked him to bring the people of five panchayats to attend their meeting.

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“Acting on their directive, we had a one trip in the night and five trips in the next morning and brought the people to the meeting which started at about 1 PM. More than 3000 people attended the meeting which ended at 5.30 PM. Later, we made several trips to leave the people at their respective panchayats. Finally our duty ended at about 11 PM. We had a night halt at Jantri and left for Chitrakonda at about 4 AM today.

Behera said the villagers of six panchayats including women who had come with bows, arrows and axes. They had also brought their food with them.

Asked whether the Maoists had threatened him and his crew, he said they asked us to bring the people and send them to their respective panchayat after the meeting. “As we had no fuel, they provided us the diesel for transportation of the people. They also asked us to remain present till the end of the meeting. We had to obey their order”, Behera informed.

Talking to media persons today, Malkangiri SP Mitrabhanu Mohapatra said a group of Maoist cadre of Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee had organised a meeting at Jantri village of Andrapalli panchayat under Chitrakonda block yesterday.  Naming the meeting as anti-police meeting, the Red Rebels had forcibly brought the villagers of six panchayats to the meeting with the help of two government motor launches and four country boats provided by the district administration to these six panchayats.

The SP said the Maoists, who have forcibly detained the boats which are the only source of communication for the tribals in the cut-off areas, claim that they are fighting for the welfare of the poor tribals. “All these activities speak volume of their double standards”, he pointed out.

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He said the Maoists are in a desperate bid to organise such meetings as they know that their influence in these areas has drastically gone down in the recent past and the people who had joined their outfit are now returning to the mainstream of the society.

“I request the people that they should not be lured by the false promises of the Maoists”, he added.

Mohapatra said police will intensify operations in the cut-off areas in association with the BSF personnel and efforts would be made to bring more and more people of this area to the mainstream of the society.