The keenness of the people to be part of the mainstream is strongly evident in Jodamba village whose tribal inhabitants have started patrolling at night to prevent Maoists from entering the area. Since the last few days, local youths armed with bows, arrows and other traditional weapons are on alert in the key areas of Jodamba and nearby villages to thwart any attempts of the rebels to come in. They resorted to this practice after Maoists recently threatened villagers of dire consequences if they supported police.
Sources said that a group of around 25-30 men is carrying out night patrolling in the area and each member has been assigned with a specific responsibility. They are deployed randomly at several locations in and around the villages.
Kamlu Khilla, a villager, said, "We were unhappy with the Maoists for obstructing development which resulted in absence of power supply and proper road connectivity in our village for decades. Besides, innocent villagers were slaughtered by the rebels on suspicion of being police informers."
Another villager Sukra Hantal attributed the bold initiative of locals to the frequent visits of Malkangiri Collector Manish Agarwal and SP Rishikesh D Khilari to supervise development works and security scenario in the region. This has instilled confidence among the villagers, he opined.
Sources said the Andhra-Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee of the banned CPI (Maoist) was dominating the area by taking advantage of the inaccessible Swabhiman Anchal. However, the outlawed outfit’s influence on tribals started to wane after the cut-off region was connected with the mainland after Gurupriya bridge became operational.
Notably, Maoists have been further pushed into a corner due to intense combing operations by security forces and construction of roads in the region recently