Fear of losing ground to security forces drives Maoists to burn down construction vehicles in Dantewada to stop building of roads, new police camps

  • The locals are of the view that recent surrenders of Maoists and new police camps in Naxal-sensitive villages have caused frustration among the ultra-Left cadre operating in Dandakaranya region of Bastar.

  • The spot where the incident occurred is close to a petrol pump and the earthmovers and dumpers were owned by a private company that has been working as a contractor for NMDC.

  • Last Saturday, Maoists had put four tractors, one earthmover and a motorcycle on fire at another Naxal sensitive village Madonar under Chotedongar police station.

The offsite location of public sector undertaking National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) at Kirandul in Naxal-affected Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh was engulfed by fire and dark smokes emanated from burnt vehicles, creating fear among the locals on Sunday afternoon.

In a show of strength and to create terror among the local villagers, road construction contractors and labourers, a large group of Maoists under the garb of tribal villagers put nine heavy vehicles comprising earthmovers, dozers and dumpers at a road construction site of NMDC on fire and escaped. The burning of the vehicles continued for hours.

 Fear of losing ground to security forces drives Maoists to burn down construction vehicles in Dantewada to stop building of roads, new police camps

Maoists burnt earthmovers and dumpers at NMDC's offsite location at Kirandul in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on Sunday. Image courtesy by Debobrat Ghose

Police said that on Sunday afternoon around 25 to 30 Maoists dressed as tribal villagers armed with bows and arrows reached the construction site of NMDC’s screening plant (SP3) – a kilometre from Kirandul police station at Bacheli in Dantewada. The spot where the incident occurred is close to a petrol pump and the earthmovers and dumpers were owned by a private company that has been working as a contractor for NMDC.

“The Maoists snatched mobile phones of workers and drivers of the vehicles and asked them to leave the site. Next, they broke open the fuel tanks and used diesel to put nine vehicles on fire. After that they escaped taking the forest route to another Naxal-sensitive district Bijapur. The search operation is in progress and no arrest has not yet been made,” a Dantewada police source told Firstpost.

The police claimed that the Maoist group was led by two local leaders Sainath and Deva.

According to local sources, it wasn’t just another Naxal attack to terrorise construction workers. The locals are of the view that recent surrenders of Maoists and new police camps in Naxal-sensitive villages have caused frustration among the ultra-Left cadre operating in Dandakaranya region of Bastar – one of the most sensitive Left Wing Extremism zones in the country.

Both police and locals haven’t ruled out the action as the handiwork of Maoists to create a fear psychosis.

“Recently, a large number of villagers opposed new police camps meant for social policing at Potali village in Dantewada. In fact, the Maoists were behind this and they compelled the villagers to stage protest as these extremists don’t want any police camp in their areas of dominance,” a local source from Dantewada told Firstpost.

“For quite some time, the Maoists have been opposing the road construction work at this location as it’s gradually destroying the hill and forest. Yesterday’s incidence was an attempt by them to register their protest and to give a stern message that if the work continued, they would escalate their attacks,” the source said.

Last Saturday, Maoists had put four tractors, one earthmover and a motorcycle on fire at another Naxal sensitive village Madonar under Chotedongar police station.

“Despite the change in government and action by security forces to combat Naxalism, not much has changed on the ground. The Maoists are continuing with their attacks and destruction,” an official working with Dantewada district administration said.

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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2019 11:25:53 IST