Doc treating hurt Maoists leads double life

Jekyll and Hyde

Doc treating hurt Maoists leads double life

The doctor leads a parallel life: by day he is a government employee who draws his salary from the Chhattisgarh health services; by night he goes to the aid of injured insurgents and gets paid a “tip” by his Maoists benefactors.

“I hate this double life but have to live it because I have a wife to support. They drop me back and pay me a tip for attending to their injured,” the doctor, who is more a compounder than a degree-holding physician, says in a conspiratorial tone, misery writ large on his face.

He pleads that his identity not be disclosed for he knows full well the nature of retribution: stood up against a wall and shot. The villagers at Bacheli know the doctor lends a helping hand to the Maoists, but they leave him alone, for reporting him to the authorities or to the counter-insurgency special forces could mean days and nights of interrogation, which could sometimes border on the coercive.

Conspiracy of silence

There is a conspiracy of silence in these parts of Bastar, the hotbed of guerrilla activity which has had the paramilitary forces falling back and slowing down operations because of the recent attacks on them.

The doctor avoids eye contact with people and has practically shunned socialising with others in the village, mainly adivasis, who do not enter into any lengthy conversation with him whenever they need medical attention at the PHC.

The inscrutable adivasis, who sometimes get caught in the skirmishes between the Maoists and the security forces,  do not betray the raging battles that are fought in the dark depths of the forests and craggy hillocks of Dantewada and Bastar. “I don’t know,” says Kutik, an adivasi from Bacheli.

Others like Basinath from Bastar evade discussing the Maoists, saying “they are in Dantewada, not here”. Jivan Chandra Barak, who earns a livelihood running a small shop that sells groceries and provisions, directs Deccan Herald toward Dantewada.

“They (the Maoists) do not come here,” says Barak and gets busy with his ware. Doctors like the one at the Bacheli PHC are useful for the Maoists in these parts of Chhattisgarh. Anyone who can use an injection syringe and tie a bandage is considered helpful.
Often, such doctors have to extend their services at gunpoint. It is on rare occasions that people enter into any discussion about the Maoists at the dhabas that dot the Raipur-Bastar stretch of National Highway 43.

“There are some diamond mines in Derbhog where there is some human activity by the day. At night it becomes a corridor for the Maoists’ nocturnal movements,” said Anil Kumar of Makri village in Kanker.

While the sight of policemen is as rare as the Maoists, there are moments when the men in khaki venture out to be alongside a small tableau on Maoist atrocities. At one photo exhibition on guerrilla excesses on Friday, a clutch of policemen laze about as strains of patriotic Hindi songs blare out from mikes under the tent. By all accounts, it seems the only people who have hung their heads are the paramiliatry personnel who appear to have retreated from the scene of action.

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