Monday, June 29, 2009

They have no grievances against Maoists...

Anjan Chakraborty
SHIARTALA VILLAGE (near Ramgarh), 28 JUNE: Just two kilometres from Ramgarh, Shiartala village wore a deserted look as the security forces marched by in their advance towards Ramgarh yesterday.
This tribal village has about 30 households, but its inhabitants were nowhere to be seen. Three families have stayed on, but their members were all above the age of 60 and they are reluctant to give out much. The younger lot have gone ‘somewhere' which the older lot won't disclose.
They are visibly uneasy at the presence of security forces and their combing operation at the village. They have no grievance against Maoists and say that they have never felt threatened by them. So, have all the villagers who have left their household at Shiartala turned Maoist sympathisers and supporters of the Police Santras Birodhi Public Committee (PSBPC) ?
Mrs Ahladi Murmu, who had stayed back at the village, was quick to dissociate herself and her family members.
“No, no my elder son stays in Dibrugarh, Assam along with his wife and two children. My younger son has gone to visit his in-laws along with his wife. I am staying here with my husband now .” she said.
But the story of neglect and apathy comes out when she is asked what they do for a living.
”My elder son sends us some money. We collect tree branches and leaves from the forest and sell them in the town. But we haven't been able to do that for some months now. The rice that we have in the house will only last three days. The local ration shop doesn't give us anything. It is only for the rich people .Our people have no jobs here” said Mrs Murmu, who seemed comfortable talking about her grievances.
So have all these grievances turned them against the government to join the PSBPC? “The government has done nothing for us. If anything happens in these areas, our village is raided by police as if all criminals stay in our village ? The rich people of Ramgarh town are very good people and they cannot do any wrong. They continue to make money, while we have none,” came her strong reaction. But is that why you support the PSBPC who claims to fight against police atrocities and government's apathy, she was asked.
Mrs Murmu was non-committal as she said, “We have nothing to do with anybody. We haven't done any crime here.”
A few houses away, Mrs Janaki Hembram, another woman in her 60s, refused to talk and shut the doors as she saw the advancing forces with fear writ on her face. The only other family at Shiartala village was that of Mr Rabi Murmu and his wife, both of whom are in their 60s.
The only statement that they would make was: "We have lost all hope.”
Source: The Statesman, 29 June 2009

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