Monday, November 23, 2009

Operation ‘Tribal’ Hunt spills over into State

B Satyanarayana Reddy

First Published : 24 Nov 2009 03:11:00 AM ISTLast Updated :

KHAMMAM: Operation Green Hunt, the massive offensive against Maoists in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh, seems to be spilling over into the State.

Thousands of tribals, mainly Gotti Koyas, have migrated from Dantewada and Bijapur districts in Chhattisgarh, to the plains and forest regions of Bhadrachalam in Khammam district in the past one year. Importantly, the influx has increased of late, in the past two months ever since the clean-up operation against Naxalites was launched.

State Forest and Police Departments, apprehensive that Maoist sympathisers could be among these tribals, are seeking the State Government’s permission to pack the migrants back to their native places. The Bhadrachalam Division police have already arrested hundreds of Naxal sympathisers from among the migrated Gotti Koyas. According to a recent survey, over 16,000 Gotti Koyas have migrated from Chhattisgarh between 2005 and July, 2009. Official sources said the tribals were crossing over to escape harassment by police and Salwa Judum members.

Besides, forest department officials are ‘‘concerned’’ that the tribals, who are settling in forest regions, could pose a danger to the ecology by resorting to massive deforestation. The police and forest departments reported the matter to the district collector and sought permission to evacuate Gotti Koyas. Officials of both the departments held discussions too.

A police officer said, ‘‘We do not have a right to send them back.

Once we start vacating them, human rights organisations will create an issue. We urged the government to give permission to vacate at least those who have settled in the forest area’’. Another official said once the permission was given, they would evacuate the tribals.

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