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Naxals hijacked the Kalinga Nagar tribal movement.

KALINGA NAGAR: Left Wing radicals have virtually hijacked the Kalinga Nagar tribal movement. The observance of the first anniversary of the police firing on Tuesday provided ample proof that one year down the line the radicals have established supremacy over Kalinga Nagar region.As everyone, including the administration, waited with trepidation on how the locals would conduct the anniversary, the Naxals clearly took the centre stage. But to the administration’s discomfiture, the entire show was openly run by the radicals, their sympathisers, frontal organisations and supporters. The local populace was reduced to mere spectators.The Government could have used the occasion to try and assuage the feelings of the tribals and bring in a reconciliation. But well aware of the ground reality and in fear of reprisal, the leaders of the ruling BJD-BJP preferred to stay away. And those from the Opposition who sought to cash in on the occasion were clearly shown that they were not welcome.As the Reds ran the show castigating the BJD-BJP Government, they did not spare the Congress either, which has been lending support to them. Congress leader and former MLA of Sukinda Sarat Rout, who was present there to express solidarity with the tribals, left the spot immediately after the movement leaders lashed out at the UPA Government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.A tribal outfit, the Bisthapan Virodhi Jan Manch, which is spearheading the agitation and the year-long blockade of the Daitari-Paradip Express Highway, saw no wrong in influx of Naxals into the area. ‘We will welcome whosoever came ahead to support us. It does not matter if he is a Naxal or not’, said Manch convenor-cum-secretary Rabindra Jarika.However, the participation of the locals was curiously minimum with their number barely crossing a thousand. An overwhelming 80 percent of the around 15,000 congregation comprised outsiders drawn from Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattishgarh, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.Early on Tuesday morning, though the local tribals conducted their customary rituals for the dead at Veerbhumi - the place near Ambagadia where the victims were cremated.They also performed rituals at Champakoila, spot of the clash with police. As many as 500 kith and kin of the victims were tonsured as per customs. Thirteen pillars were erected at the spot in memory of the dead.But as the public meeting commenced, the presence of locals dimmed. There was not a single representative of the victims on the dais, which was occupied by leaders of CPML, All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha and outfits of the like. Raising slogans at the Centre and State Governments, they exhorted people not to allow setting up of any industry on their land.The administration, however, have put up a brave face. ‘The low turnout of locals shows that support for the movement is diminishing’, observed SP Asit Panigrahi.


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posted by Bimal 4.1.07,


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