RAIPUR: In a rare gesture, the inhabitants of a tribal village got united against the Maoists and got the kidnapped parents of a security personnel released within 24 hours of their abduction by pressuring the rebels in the strife-torn Dantewada.
The Maoists apparently yielded to the demands of tribal villagers and freed the elderly couple after realizing the inherent power of local masses in the conflict-ridden Bastar.
A Jawan named Ajay Telam, deployed with the District Reserve Guards (DRG) in Dantewada, had irked the rebels owing to his pro-active role in motivating the return of the Maoist cadres to the mainstream under the ongoing ‘Lon Varatu’ (Back to Home) campaign.
The DRG personnel, around 250 in Dantewada, are flag bearers of the campaign. Recently, they had played a key role in securing the surrender of several Maoist cadres carrying rewards on their heads.
Ajay’s parents — father Lachhu Telam and mother Vijjo - were abducted and taken to remote forested terrain near Gumiyapal village.
The tribals of Gumiyapal, expressing resentment over the incident, decided to get united against the Maoists to free the elderly couple.
“It’s a rare sign of unity. The first time, we saw an entire village standing firm against the rebels’ intention. They walked together 15 km up to Bade Pali to put forth their views with the rebels and ensure the couple's release”, said Abishek Pallava, Dantewada SP.
The abduction could also have been planned to get the Jawan eliminated if he comes into the jungle to free his parents. “We counselled him not to venture into the forest owing to a risk to his life”, the SP added.
The kidnapping of jawans' kin is the fourth such incident in Dantewada this year. The Maoists are doing this in a bid to force the family members to call the DRG men back into the villages.
“In the last three incidents, the relatives of DRG jawan were killed by the Maoists”, said Pallava.