Monday, June 23, 2008

Naxalism turns Bihar villages in ghost hamlets

Abhay Mohan Jha
Sunday, June 22, 2008 (Aurangabad, Bihar)
A caste war and Naxalite violence killed about 50 people in Bihar's Aurangabad district, about 21 years ago. NDTV revisited the massacre site to discover the twin villages of Baghaura and Dalelchak have turned into ghost hamlets.

Wounds and memories refuse to go away for families living in Aurangabad, even after all those years.

A local villager, Vinay Singh lost his entire family in a Naxal attack 21 years ago. The fear of that attack has kept him away from his village since then.

''The Naxal have captured our land and properties,'' said Gupteshwar Singh, a villager.

''There is no protection in the village. There was a picket and we used to go for cultivation. But the picket was removed,'' said Vinay Singh, a villager.

Villagers cannot even sell their land. They say the Naxals have imposed an embargo on land sales. The few, who have stayed behind, live at the mercy of the outlaws.

''We are somehow living in the village with the government's permission. Which government are you talking about? The new government that is? Those who live in the jungle. Everything happens according to their will?'' said Dinesh Chaudhary, another villager.

For the administration, these villages in Aurangabad have fallen off the map. With the Naxals still running unchecked, the victims like Vinay can only hide in exile.

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