Fear, distrust prevail in Gadchiroli

Fear, distrust prevail in Gadchiroli

Addl. Director General of Police (Special Operations) Maharashtra State, D Kanakratnam (C) and other top officials addresses the press conference regarding an encounter earlier with 37 Naxels at Gadchiroli of Maharashtra on Tuesday. PTI Photo

A week after India’s biggest anti-Maoist operation left 40 Maoists dead in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, fear and distrust rule the roost.

 Outsiders are looked at with suspicion -and locals are very careful about speaking about the incident.

The hot pursuit against Maoists is now continuing in neighbouring states of Telangana and Chhattisgarh.

“There is a sense of fear, confusion, suspicion,” said a veteran journalist and activist, who did not wish to be identified.

 The encounters took place in Boria Kasnasur jungles off the Indravati river in Tadgaon in Bhamragad tehsil and Rajaram Khandla post in Jimalgatta forests in Aheri tehsil.

 While 34 casualties have been reported so far in Bhamragad, there were six deaths in Aheri - in the operations carried out by the Gadchiroli district police, C60 special force for the Anti-Maoist Operations and the 9th Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force.

 “I don’t know...just heard...,” was the common reaction of people in villages on the way to Tadgaon.

“It is such a remote place that journalists in Gadchiroli district headquarters too have never gone there,” a senior journalist pointed out, adding that the cellphone network connection is also not good. In making the first phone call, people are not speaking — and only after dropping some references. Then also, they are keeping the conversation short. Many of them just refused to speak on the phone — and only in person despite the huge distance constraints.

 And in most cases, people agree to meet at locations of their choice. And before the meeting, their men scan the location — like in spy novels and thrillers.

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