Attempts to open a police camp again faced strong resistance from tribal villagers in Bastar. Hundreds of villagers of Abhujhmad (Mystery area) staged a protest in the Narayanpur district of East Bastar against the move.
The tribal villagers from Abujhmad and village panchayat Metanar gathered at remote Brihbeda village and took out a rally staging a protest against the opening of a new police camp in their area.
Tribal villagers said they were apprehensive about opening the camp in their area. They feared that the new police camps in their area will provide security forces with an opportunity to get into their virgin forests.
They will be portrayed as Naxal or booked under fake charges as Naxal and Naxal supporters either got killed in fake encounters or implicated in fake charges and sent to jail.
Notably, for the last seven months, tribals are continuously staging demonstrations against the opening of police camps and spraying of bullets over the unarmed tribals.
It has been alleged that in May, police opened fire over the tribal villagers in Silger situated between the Sukma-Bijapur border to suppress their protest.
After that incident, tribals have continuously staged demonstrations and demanded justice. Moreover, a similar unending protest was reported from the Pusnar and Burji area of Naxal that affected the Bijapur district.
Tribal boy Suresh Mandavi said the new police camp will permit security forces to carry out more atrocities on us tribals who live restriction-free lives in their uncharted territories including the dense jungles.
While complaining, he said that around four innocent tribals were killed and more than 40 were injured in the Silger firing incident and till the time we have not received justice. No police official was booked or punished for the gruesome act.
Superintendent of Police Narayanpur, Girijashankar Jaiswal said, "we don’t have fresh plans to erect a camp in the Narayanpur district. Maybe somebody has misinformed the tribals and such a thing happened."
However, Manku Ram Netam, the local journalist who covered the news of the fresh tribal protest in Narayanpur said hundreds of villagers gathered at the site with their traditional weapons who have decided to go for an indefinite strike against any opening of police camps in their area.
Sohan Netam, a tribal leader, said we are not against development, but we want a hospital, and schools to be a priority, not pucca roads.
If such roads were built, our culture, lifestyle, tradition, tranquillity of our minds everything will go at stake. Therefore, instead of police camps, we demand hospitals, education, schools and others, he added.
Security experts said, if the police want to eliminate Naxals, they have to win the heart of tribals, the use of massive force cannot alone flush out Naxals.