Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Family of slain tribal CRPF man asks: we are poor, why us?

Joseph John Posted online: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0807 hrs

Barangjor Tagarpani (Jashpur) : They are tribals, and often very poor, so the residents of this village in the northeastern corner of Chhattisgarh can’t figure out what the Naxals have against them. As the body of 45-year-old Louis Kais, killed in the April 6 ambush in Dantewada, reached home, the morbid contradiction of the Maoists murdering the very people they claim to protect hung heavy over every mud hovel in the village.

Each of the 65 families of Barangjor Tagarpani, a remote village of mostly Christian tribals in the Kansabel block of Jashpur district, has at least one member in the police — mostly constables, who are also their families’ sole bread winners. Louis Kais was the exception — he was in the CRPF.

Nearly a week after Kais was buried in the cemetery attached to the local church, the villagers can’t hold back their emotions. When local television crews reached the village to film the funeral, Kais’s sister Sunita ran out of the mud hut where the family lives, wailing hysterically.

“I want you to show to the entire country, the Naxals and their sympathizers, the plight of the tribal people who live in this village. Please show our houses, our children and how we are living. Did any of us belong to the enemy class against whom the Naxalites are fighting?” she shrieked.

“Let the leaders of the Naxals and all those who support them come to this village. Let them talk to me and convince me about the cause they are fighting for. In this village, everyone is poor. They know what poverty and hunger are. My parents are labourers who did menial jobs to bring us up.

“When we went hungry, did anyone come forward to offer us food? They have to come out and tell the world. Why did they kill the poor?”

Sunita spoke about how her brother had been reluctant to join the CRPF when he was selected in 1994. “But everyone in the village told him that his job would bring great financial help for his family.” Kais is survived by his wife Kalista, daughters Akansha (9) and Anusha (6), son Ashwin, his father and a brother.

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