Command over challenging terrains makes Gutti Koya youth the prime target
On June 17, a 12-year-old Gutti Koya tribal girl was allegedly abducted by the Charla-Sabari Area Committee of the CPI(Maoist) from her house in a settlement. The settlement in the Chintoor Agency comprises families that fled from the Moaist-hit Chhattisgarh prior to 2011.
The girl was abducted to be groomed as a Maoist to be deployed on the borders of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh.
Spending over a month with the Maoists, the girl managed to meet the Chintoor police on July 27. Her meet was not an attempt to surrender before the police as a Maoist, but to plead with them for medical treatment and send her back to her parents. She pleaded with the police not to brand her as a Maoist.
In December 2020, a 14-year-old Gutti Koya tribal boy was allegedly abducted by the Maoists from his house. In the police records, his official status remains ‘missing’. A native of Chhattisgarh, his family settled in Goluguppa, a habitation of the Internally Displaced Families (IDP) in Chintoor Agency.
The incidences of abduction of Gutti Koya minors from the IDP settlements appear that the Maoists embraced the new recruitment strategy of “abduction:”. The tribe is known for its command over the terrain on the Andhra-Chhattisgarh borders.
In the two cases of the abduction of minors, the pleas by their parents yielded no result to free their children from the clutches of Maoists, who are desperately inching forward to strengthen their force with the Gutti Koyas.
Chintoor ASP G. Krishnakanth told The Hindu that the 12-year-old tribal girl stated that she was subjected to physical labour during her brief stint with the Maoists. “Investigation is on to ascertain the facts beginning from her abduction,” Mr. Krishnakanth said.
When the apex court declared ‘Salwa Judum’ as unconstitutional in 2011, about 6,660 victims of the Salwa Judum–Maoists conflict fled Chhattisgarh to East and West Godavari districts. Above 90% of them are Gutti Koyas who settled in the reserve forests in the twin Godavari districts.
On Saturday, a flex banner displaying the photographs of Maoists trekking the hilly terrain with loads of baggage surfaced near Edugurallapalli that shares a border with Sukma district, the heart of Red Corridor. The banner in Telugu condemned the kidnap of the 12-year-old girl. However, the authenticity of the banner was yet to be ascertained.
Since July last, four Gutti Koya tribal youth, including a 19-year-old girl, surrendered before the East Godavari police, reportedly after serving some months in the respective committees of the Maoist groups. They all settled in the Chintoor Agency. The age of the three youth is 19 and one was 20 when they surrendered.
East Godavari SP Adnan Nayeem Asmi said the four youth had been recruited by the Maoists, including Charla-Sabari Area Committee