Maoist sympathiser accuses Odisha Govt. for harassing tribals

Guntur (Andhra Pradesh), Nov.1 (ANI): Maoist sympathizer Dandapani Mohanty on Thursday accused the Odisha Government of harassing innocent tribals for allegedly associating with various Maoist organizations.

Interacting with reporters at Bodapadu village in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district, Mohanty said that post the abduction cases of a legislator and Italian nationals, police have been unnecessarily questioning innocent locals.

"Since the case of abduction of Jhina Hikaka, a legislator in Odisha, who was later released by Maoists Jhina Hikaka came into light, the police and state authorities had promised certain things to both the people and rebels, however it has failed to fulfill those. After the hostage crisis of another Italian national ended, state authorities resorted to attacking the common man and carry out various combing operations. They are trying to oppress the people and stall the fight by tribals to safeguard their interests and fight for their rights," said Mohanty.

In March, a group of Maoists kidnapped Jhina Hikaka, a state legislator, adding to the tension.

Earlier in April, Maoist rebels freed an Italian tour guide, Paolo Bosusco almost a month after kidnapping him in a remote part of Odisha in what was believed to be the first seizure of a foreigner by the leftist guerrillas.

Also known as Naxals, the rebels have fought for decades in a swathe of central and eastern India, including many resource-rich regions, where tension runs high between poor farmers and industrial developers.

He added that tribals would continue to suffer if the provincial and federal governments continue their atrocities.

"I also think that the federal and provincial government is expected to increase the torture on the tribals with time. Former secretary of the Odisha unit of the outlawed CPI-Maoist, Sabyasachi Panda, had declared ceasefire in the Italian abduction case earlier this year but the government did not listen to him at the appropriate time. Each day innocent tribals are being doubted and they are suffering due to this," said Mohanty.

In the last few years, the rebels have stepped up their efforts against the government as well as the locals, after various locals complained that Maoist activities such as killings and abductions increased considerably in the area.

Maoists have also significantly increased their presence in tribal and rural regions in the states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of millions of landless people.

The government calls them India's main internal security threat and an obstacle to higher growth and more jobs in Asia's third-largest economy. Hundreds die annually in the conflict, although levels of violence have fallen in recent years. (ANI)