Villagers of Khadiberna, a hamlet of Meghpal gram panchayat in Jujumura block recall Gobardhan Badaik as a bright and intelligent student.
After he passed Plus Two in Science from Gangadhar Meher College in Sambalpur, he had aimed for doing a decent job to contribute to his family income.
Destiny, though, had different plans for Gobardhan. Today, he is more famous as a hardcore Maoist who has 26 criminal cases pending against him including five brutal murders.
Youngest among six siblings, responsibility of Gobardhan’s family comprising wife Parbati, two daughters and a son is now being shouldered by his brother. While his youngest daughter was in womb when he last visited home, his other two children have faint memories about the Maoist and long to be reunited with their father.
“Absence of employment opportunities helped Maoists lure Gobardhan into their fold,” said his elder brother Mana Bhanjan Badaik, who is the Sarpanch of Meghpal.
“His popularity in the area helped the Maoists strengthen their base here. Maoists had promised him `10,000 per month which was a huge amount for an unemployed Gobardhan then. Despite objection from family, he went ahead and joined the outfit,” he said.
Gobardhan was 26 years then and there was the responsibility of his family. “Such an amount would lure anyone who is in need of money,” said Mana Bhanjan.
As the Maoist outfit was new to people, they thought that Gobardhan would work for the underprivileged. “But after Maoists unleashed violence and killed former sarpanch of Tampersingha in Meghpal in 2003, we realised that Gobardhan had befriended wrong people. However, it was too late then as Gobardhan had isolated himself from the family,” Mana Bhanjan added.
Stating that they have not heard from Gobardhan since then, Mana recounted the nightmare his family had to undergo after Gobardhan’s association with Maoists came to light. “Life had become hell for us as all of the family members were repeatedly interrogated and mentally harassed,” he said.
However, the situation eased off after the present DIG (NR) Sanjay Kumar took over as SP of Sambalpur. “He could understand the reality and allowed us to live without any fear,” he added.
His family hopes Gobardhan would surrender and return to them someday.