Villagers divided over Maoist agenda

Anti-Maoist group has allegedly snapped power supply to 5 panchayats of Swabhiman Anchal

Published: 01st February 2020 06:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2020 10:27 AM   |  A+A-

Villagers taking out a rally at Khajuripada to show their strength | Express

By Express News Service

MALKANGIRI:THE January 25 face-off between Maoists and villagers has created a rift between the pro and anti-Maoist supporters in the erstwhile cut-off area of malkangiri now known as Swabhiman Anchal.
Now allegations are surfacing that villagers who supported the Left Wing ultras are not allowed to access health centre while power supply to their panchayats has been snapped.

During the face-off at Janturai, villagers had seen some residents of Panasput, Andrapalli, Gajalmamudi and Jantri along with the Maoists. The next day when Collector and SP visited the village, locals told them about it and decided to snap ties with who they described as ‘Maoist supporters’.

Armed with traditional weapons, both Maoist supporters and their opponents held separate public meetings at Khajuripada and Darlabeda respectively on Thursday as a show of strength.

Panasput, Andrapalli, Gajalmamudi and Jantri villagers who are at loggerheads with their counterparts since the incident, alleged that they are not being allowed to visit the health centre at Jodamba. Besides, electricity to their villages has been allegedly snapped too. Although they had assembled at Khajuripada to have a discussion with their opponents over the issues, they did not do so seeing the villagers armed with weapons and police at the spot, they alleged.

On the other hand, the other group of villagers belonging to Jodamba, Janturai and Sindhiput panchayats assembled at Darlabeda holding placards and banners blaming the Maoists for Saturday’s incident when 10 of their houses were set afire after the face-off. The villagers also held banners showing the `100-crore development package for Swabhiman Anchal announced by the Chief Minister during opening of the Gurupriya bridge.

They said they attacked the Maoists for self-defence as the latter had fired in the air to terrorise them when they refused to withdraw support to ongoing development works.

The villagers said they have no enmity with villagers of the five panchayats but will continue to oppose the Maoists for their anti-development stand. Meanwhile, local SDPO and security forces are camping in the area to avoid any untoward incident.

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