RAIPUR: Hundreds of tribal villagers in the Maoist-hit Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh on Wednesday protested the setting up of new security camps.
Around 18 gram panchayats expressed their strong “disapproval” on establishing security base camps by digging up the roads and disrupting the routes.
As many as 15 new security camps have been proposed during the ongoing financial year by the government in the strife-torn districts of Sukma, Dantewada, Narayanpur, and Bijapur.
The villagers were also demonstrating against the camps that newly came into existence at Potali, Aranpur, and other areas.
The Bastar Police, while citing these camps as strategically located and close to the tribal hamlets, stated that the protests were carried out at the behest of the rebels.
“Earlier the camps were set up in remote forested terrain but now we are having it near the residential areas. So, these camps will be quite beneficial for the local population not just for their security but also facilitate development locally. Whatever protests recently seen were owing to the pressure mounted on villagers by Maoists. We have inputs on most of the people participating in the demonstration were outsiders”, said Abhishek Pallava, Dantewada district police chief.
However, the scale of protests surprised the local scribes who said that never before they witnessed such an outrageous act by the tribals.
“If the Maoists are restricted to small pockets as claimed by the police, then such protests equally reflect the rising influence of the rebels over the local populace”, they said.
The Bastar Police countered that most of the villagers remain satisfied and contended with the new security camps as the forces had succeeded in winning their confidence.
“Our three-pronged strategy of ‘Vishwas-Vikas-Suraksha’ is yielding good results with over 40% decline in Maoist violence this year compared to the previous year. The people are realising anti-tribal and anti-developmental attitude of Maoists”, asserted Sunderraj P, Inspector General of Police (Bastar Zone).