RAIPUR: Just before the outlawed CPI (Maoist) could execute their conspiracy to kill an outgoing sarpanch and her husband after holding a kangaroo court in strife-torn Dantewada district about 480 km south of Raipur, police swiftly acted on a tip-off to save the couple's lives.
Escaping the clutches of death, both will now serve the Chhattisgarh police.
The sarpanch of Hiroli gram panchayat Budri Kunjam was threatened by the Maoists not to contest the upcoming panchayat polls due later this month.
Budri and her husband Bheema were no longer seen by the Maoists as their loyalists and were also accused of being police informers. Their hands were tied along with a few others in the Jan Adalat organised by the red ultras in full public view of the tribal villagers ahead of the decision by the 'court'.
“Our force swung into action on learning the plan of the rebels to award death to the outgoing sarpanch and her husband. We cautiously moved to the Hiroli area, some 60 km away from the district headquarters, and managed to locate them. Taken aback, the rebels fled into the nearby forest,” Dantewada superintendent of police Abhishek Pallava told the Express.
As both are Naxal victims, the police decided to offer them employment in the force. Fearing reprisal by the Maoists, both left their 70 acres of village land and pleaded with the police for security and rehabilitation close to the district headquarters.
“She will the first sarpanch to get a job as an auxiliary police force member. Budri in fact led the campaign earlier with other tribal villagers against the state-run NMDC’s iron ore deposit at Bailadila under the pressure of Maoists around seven months ago. Then the gram sabha held in favour of the iron ore mining was declared fake,” the SP said.
The increased presence of security forces in the region has led to the elimination of around 10 Maoists in recent months while over 50 guerrilla cadres have surrendered.
“All this has raised the trust of local tribals in the forces. They are reluctant now to live a life subjugated by the diktats of the left-wing extremists,” Pallava averred.
Dantewada is among the seven worst Maoist-affected districts in the conflict zone of Bastar in south Chhattisgarh.