The rebels thrashed them with sticks and butts of their guns
The outlawed Communist Party of India (CPI)-Maoist rebels assaulted and inflicted injuries to over 30 residents of Chikpal village in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district for taking part in the 74th Independence Day celebrations on August 15, the police said on Friday.
Around 40 Maoists reached the Chikpal village under the jurisdiction of Katekalyan police station on Wednesday night to take revenge against the local residents for wearing patriotism on their sleeves on the occasion of the Independence Day.
The rebels thrashed them with sticks and butts of their guns, the police said.
‘The villagers were assaulted for attending the 74th Independence Day celebrations and flag-hoisting programme at Marjum village, which took place after 30 years. The Maoists had been hoisting black flags on Independence Days for all these years,” said Abhishek Pallav, superintendent of police (SP), Dantewada.
He said 10 villagers, including a woman, have lodged a first information report (FIR) at Katekalyan police station, following which a case has been registered.
“Many villagers were beaten. However, they are not coming forward due to fear of being targeted by the Maoists again. We are sending a team of doctors along with security forces for the treatment of the injured villagers,” said the SP.
The Maoists have other reasons to be unhappy with the villagers, according to the SP.
“There has been an active participation of these villagers in developmental activities that have been initiated by the district administration. The Left-wing Extremists (LWEs) are facing a gradual erosion of discipline and poor command-and-control mechanism, which have led the junior cadres to target innocent villagers for no rhyme or reason. Besides, several local youths had joined the Chhattisgarh Police last year. As a result, the Maoists are apprehensive that the new recruited police hires are leaking information about them,” the SP added.
Intelligence sources said that in 2014 a Maoist meeting was held in Chikpal- Marjum, which was attended by over 10,000 villagers. Both the villages had boycotted last assembly, parliamentary and assembly by-elections.
“Chikpal and Marjum were cut off from mainland in 2008, when Maoists had dug up the Katekalyan -Chikpal road at 40-50 places. This area used to be the hotbed of Katekalyan area committee of Darbha division of the Maoists,” said a police official.
On July 19, 25 people were injured in a similar attack by the Maoists in Parcheli village of the Dantewada district.
Chikpal-Marjum is a key strategic conduit for the Maoists, who freely move between Odisha and southern Bastar, and they are determined to maintain a stranglehold over these villages, the police said.
Soni Sori, a tribal right activist from the Maoist-hit Bastar region, has also condemned Wednesday’s incident.