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After ‘surrender’ drama, Bastar cops set free 19

Days after Naxal ‘surrender’ drama before CM, Bastar cops set free 19

Bastar, January 14: Ten days after Chhattisgarh organised a ‘Naxal surrender’ ceremony in the presence of Chief Minister Raman Singh and Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam, the police have quietly released 19 of the 79 who “surrendered” because the charges against them were found to be “frivolous”.

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The 19 people were told to leave the Dhanora police station premises last Thursday. Under pressure to crack down on Naxalites, the police tried to pump up “surrender” figures by detaining 19 villagers on charges of pasting posters, collecting firewood and cooking food for Maoists.

Police sources admitted that since “the 19 were not hardcore extremists, the administration thought it fit to release them”. Earlier, BJP MLA Mahesh Baghel and former Congress legislator Phulodevi Netam staged a dharna inside Dhanora police station where these people had been detained. This forced the police to move the remaining Naxals to Jagdalpur prison.

Rambharose Mandavi, the alleged commander of the surrendering Maoists, is an active Congress member from the block (his membership number is 3059). Mandavi was allegedly picked up to settle scores with his wife who happens to be the panch of Era village. “My husband has never been involved in any Naxal activity,” she claimed.

Phulodevi Netam, the former Congress MLA, alleged it was an attempt by the police to threaten the local party leadership. “The police are threatening people to surrender as Naxals, some officers want out-of-turn promotions,” she claimed.

BJP MLA Mahesh Baghel also claimed that several of those shown as “surrendered” Naxals were in fact BJP cadres. “Bastar police should check facts before staging such an event before the Chief Minister,” he said.

Villagers in Kondapakhna, from where five people had “surrendered”, were angry and named an SPO for threatening to fix them in false cases. “Will these people live in villages if they are really Maoists?” asked Bindo, whose son Santu has been sent to Jagdalpur prison. Relatives of others held also maintained that there were farmers who had no links with Naxals.

Relatives of Bissu Ram Gond, a resident of Bokrabeda, said that he had a two acre field on which he grew paddy but he agreed to the “surrender” ceremony because he wanted to make some quick money. “Police officers told him that he will get a thousand rupees if he is ready to be part of the surrendering party,” said Sonau Ram. The money was handed over to all “surrendering Naxals” at the ceremony by Chief Minister Raman Singh.

Mahesh, whose son Dharmu was one of the persons to be released, said that his family was in danger as the Naxals have already threatened the villagers that people who had taken part in the “surrender” ceremony will soon be deal with.

Chhattisgarh DGP O P Rathor said that the police does not need to explain why some people had been released days after the surrender. “We have a surrender policy under which we need to rehabilitate surrendering extremists.

While some Maoists are hardcore, some have been supporting them in a passive way. The entire episode is being twisted by some people who are trying to make political capital out of it,” he said.

Chief Minister Raman Singh, who had earlier described the surrender as a “historic event”, has already ordered IGP (Bastar Range) R K Vij to submit a detailed report to the state government.


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posted by Bimal 15.1.07,


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