Ahead of Chitrakot Assembly bypolls in Chhattisgarh, scheduled to be held on 21 October, the Naxal cadres is back in action in Maoist-hotbed Bastar district by calling for a election boycott. This time around, the Maoists are not just resorting to warnings — they have killed a villager in Bijapur and abducted three in Dantewada, in the adjoining districts of Bastar. The message is clear — to create terror among tribals and desist them from casting votes.
Instead of posters and banners, the Maoist cadre have nailed wooden boards on trees asking villagers not to participate in the upcoming assembly by-elections at Chitrakot.
The warnings have been displayed on tree trunks at Pakhnar and Toynar villages in Darbha block of Bastar. The Bastar police has claimed that the Darbha Committee of the CPI (Maoist) even put a wooden plank at village panchayat office at Toynar with a handwritten note asking villagers: "Throw out the opportunist, fraud polling parties."
In one of the warnings issued by the ultra-Left cadre, they have compared Kashmir with Palestine and have condemned the Narendra Modi government by stating it as 'Fascist regime' for alleged oppression of minorities.
Earlier, too, on the occasion of World Tribal Day (Vishwa Adivasi Diwas) in August, the banned Maoist outfit CPI (Maoist) had issued a two-page note and urged tribals to initiate struggle against the fascist regime, which will be supported by the ultras.
"The 10 crore adivasis (tribals) in this country are not Hindus, but due to Hindu fascist and Brahminical forces, the identity, existence and rights of tribals are under severe threat. Therefore, this day should be observed as a struggle against this threat," said Sainath, secretary, Darbha division committee, CPI (Maoist) in the note accessed by Firstpost.
To assert their authority and create a sense of fear among the villagers, the Naxals killed Parke Kristaiyya, a 32-year-old villager near Dudheda-Nayapara village in Bijapur district on 12 October. A leaflet found near the deceased mentioned Madded area committee of the CPI (Maoist) had carried out the killing of Kristaiyya, accusing him to be a 'police informer'.
Similarly, in another Maoist-affected district Dantewada, the Naxals abducted three persons, including a government sub-engineer involved in a road construction project on the same day from Potali village. However, the three abducted were released on Sunday evening. "All the three abducted by the Naxals have been released yesterday (Sunday)," Abhishek Pallav, superintendent of police, Dantewada told Firstpost.
Ahead of the bypolls in Dantewada on 23 September, the Maoists had put up posters and banners in various parts of Bastar criticising the Chhattisgarh government for "killing innocent tribals under the garb of Naxalism" and calling for a boycott.
Though the by-election in Dantewada was peacefully held and security forces were hailed for the same, the Chhattisgarh Police apparently came under pressure after the Maoists blew up an oil tanker by triggering an IED blast that killed three people in Kanker district on 24 September, a day after the bypolls. Questions were raised about the preparedness of security forces as they were caught unawares.
According to locals, the Kanker incident was a retaliation by Maoists, as voters of Dantewada defied their diktat and participated in large numbers during the elections.
"The killing of Kristaiyya in Bijapur and abduction of three construction workers in Dantewada by Maoists ahead of this Chitrakot bye-election, is to create fear among the villagers and deter them from casting their votes. No one can tell when they would unleash a sudden attack in the most unpredictable manner. Fool-proof security arrangements have been made in Bastar," said a state government official in Bastar district.
The Chitrakot by-poll has been necessitated after sitting Congress MLA Deepak Baij was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bastar Parliamentary constituency. Chitrakot Assembly seat in Chhattisgarh is part of Scheduled Tribe reserved Bastar Parliamentary constituency. It is categorised as a semi-urban seat.
While, the ruling Congress has fielded Rajman Benzam as its candidate, the BJP's candidate is Lachhuram Kashyap.
Kashyap was Chitrakot MLA from 2003-08. He lost 2018 assembly election to Deepak Baij by a huge margin of 17,770 votes.
Compared to Kashyap, Benzam is new to electoral politics and at present he is the District Congress president (Rural), Bastar.
After winning the Dantewada seat, the Congress is expecting to bag Chitrakot seat as well.
Updated Date: Oct 14, 2019 20:32:10 IST