Friday, March 19, 2010

Branded Maoists, tribals languish in jail

Express News ServiceFirst Published : 19 Mar 2010 06:02:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 19 Mar 2010 10:54:54 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Branded as Maoists and arrested in September last year, the 30 tribals of Sundargarh’s Chandiposh panchayat continue to rot in a district jail as their plight is now set to trigger a wave of protest.Seeking their immediate release, the tribals plan to gather at a ‘Janadhikar Samabesh’ at Chandiposh on April 10.
Security forces had arrested the tribals after a police officer Ajit Bardhan was murdered by the Maoists in the bordering areas of Orissa and Jharkhand. Mostly daily wagers, the tribals were charged with the murder and links with the Maoists.
The arrest led to a volatile situation in the region as political leaders of Sundargarh joined forces crippling normal life. The same is set to repeat.
‘‘We waited for the State administration to act but in vain. It’s time for direct confrontation,” local MLA George Tirkey told mediapersons here and warned the mines and industries will face the impact of the agitation.

Tirkey said the Government may have been posing as pro-tribal but its actions are otherwise.The share of tribals in Sundargarh is declining fast -- from 64 per cent in 1951, it has dropped to 50.19 per cent in 2001. The current census will see the figure dropping below 50 per cent.

The exodus of tribals is not just a matter of concern, the outsiders’ influx is a greater worry, who, he said have hijacked the livelihood and security of the indigenous population.

Activist Prafulla Samantara said, the Government is targeting tribals since they are vulnerable and those who raise their voice are being nabbed.In Keonjhar, seven members of Juang community have been arrested after being branded as Maoists while a writer of Ganjam Dandapani Mohapatra’s house was raided because police found his magazine from Subhashree Das’ place. Subhashree, wife of Maoist Sabyasachi Panda, was arrested recently

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