PC sees stark reality in Maoist territory

Tribals narrate their woes to Chidambaram

Residents of this Maoist-stronghold in West Midnapore district on Sunday poured out their woes of poverty to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, clamouring for his attention to the all-round neglect and impoverishment for decades. The tribals even tried to convince him that they had little hopes of a better tomorrow.

While Chidambaram, who flew into the Naxalite bastion on Sunday morning to boost the security forces, gave them a very patient hearing after beckoning some curious onlookers, including women, who had gathered near the Lalgarh police station.

But he was least prepared for the long list of grievances that the locals had. Even though the securitymen threw a protective ring around him, Chidambaram spoke to the villagers, enquiring them about their problems and if they were getting the benefits of development schemes.

It was the village women who mustered all the courage to vent their ire against the Buddhadev  Bhattacherjee government, bittering complaining about absence of power, water and 100 days work and so on.

One plucky woman sprang a surprise when she just said in a pessimistic tone, “we’ve seen a lot of ministers just come and go. They only talked to us before the media and got their photos clicked. This has been practice and we’re used to it as there has so far been no change in our condition”. The home minister, who was far from angry with that response, just nodded as she reiterated that she was confident that none of the problems being faced by the locals would be redressed.

To her utter surprise, Chidambaram decided to proceed to a nearby village road and entered into a house to see the living conditions. A middle-aged woman, who earns her living by selling forest wood, said in broken Hindi: “We don’t know who is a Naxalite. We bring wood from the forests. We often go hungry”.

“Very, very poor people live here. But they abhor the Naxalites (Maoists). They understand the difference between the government and the Naxalites.

When I asked them they said they had no education, current, no medical care, no rations. They are agitated. I told them I will convey this to the state government,” Chidambaram told the visiting newsmen.

Alarmed over Chidambaram’s tete-a-tete with the local tribals, the PCAPA on Monday threatened to launch an indefinite bundh in the Lalgarh zone. The residents of Salboni village held a demonstration opposing the visit of the union home minister in the region. Effigies of Chidambaram were burnt amid slogans asking the minister to go back.

Orissa Naxal attack toll rises  to 11

BHUBANESWAR, dhns: The death toll in the naxal attack in Orissa’s tribal dominated Koraput district on Sunday has gone up to 11 with the recovery of bodies of two more jawans belonging to the  Orissa police’s elite special operation group(SOG) on  Monday morning.

Police sources said, the bodies of Bhibisana Sahu and Chandra Pradhan were recovered from the spot of the incident during a search operation. Nine SOG jawans were killed on the spot when a mini bus they were travelling in was blasted off by Maoists naxals on Sunday morning.

“A joint combing operation by the state police, the Border Security Force(BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) is already on in the area to nab the naxals responsible for Sunday’s incident”, a highly placed source in the state home department here said.

Meanwhile, the state home secretary A K Padhi on Monday directed the Koraput SP to file a report on the Sunday’s incident to the government as early as possible.

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