Chhattishgarh tribes caught in crossfire

They fear the area will turn into a “war zone” in the coming weeks after the Maoists massacred 75 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers and one policeman on April 6 in Chintalnar forest. “We are leaving our houses, everyone is in a rush to desert their village because all believe that CRPF may attack Mukram village and other areas of Chintalnar forest where the troopers had a night stay before being killed by ‘dadas’ (Maoists). Police may think we tipped off the dadas about the CRPF night halt that day,” said Poriam Bella, an 18-year-old resident of Mukram village.

Fear runs deep in the minds of these tribals in the 40,000 sq km economically backward Bastar area, of which up to 25,000 sq km is believed to be intensively mined.
They are afraid they may be killed by police after being branded as Maoists or by Maoists after being called police informers.

An elderly resident of Chintagufa said: “There is no end to our agony. About 50,000 people had been left homeless by Salwa Judum (a government backed civil militia movement launched in June 2005), but life was beginning to look up for a few month as some tribals were beginning to return. “But now a strong rumour that the CRPF may go after civilians for allegedly supporting Maoists has returned to haunt,” he said.
The feeling of CRPF revenge attacks has also gripped a stretch from Sukma area in Dantewada district on national highway 221 down to Konta towards Andhra Pradesh via Dornapal.

Bastar is made up of five districts - Dantewada, Bijapur, Narayanpur, Bastar and Kanker — and is known as one of India’s most impoverished pockets.

Only HM to address security issues
In a bid to put an end to conflicting views on sensitive internal security issues, government has decided that only the home ministry will henceforth speak on the issue, reports PTI from New Delhi. Cabinet Secretary has written to all ministers on Saturday and made it clear that only the Home Ministry would speak as it is the nodal ministry.

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