Reported by Simanchal Panda
Rayagada, Aug 13:
The appearance of anti-Maoist posters carrying the name of an organisation called the Dongaria Kondh Samaj at two villages in Odisha’s Rayagada district has surprised many.
The posters in Kui language, which were found near the Homoeopathic hospital at Munikhola village under Muniguda police station limits as well as in Parsali village under Kalyansingpur block have accused the Maoists of involvement in the recent murder of Manu Sikaka of Phakeri village in Parsali panchayat. The posters say Manu, an active member of the Dongaria Kondh Samaj was working for the conservation of the Niyamgiri hill and had vehemently opposed the expansion of the Vedanta Alumina plant at Lanjigarh during a recent hearing.
He was found murdered on July 26.
The posters said there is public outrage in the entire Niyamgiri region following the murder of Manu and asked the Maoists to take immediate steps to clear the air and restore peace in the area, failing which it would give a fitting reply to the red rebels.
However, the local people suspect the poster campaign could have been the handiwork of either a non-tribal group or the police.
A local social activist associated with the Save Niyamgiri campaign said he had never heard of any organisation called the Dongaria Kondh Samaj and pointed out that the posters are DTP printouts and not handwritten.
” The posters have only created confusion and nothing else. It has unnecessarily dragged the Dongaria Kondhs into the war between the police-Maoist war. No one in Manu’s village had accused the Maoists of killing him. In any case, if they suspected the hands of Maoists in the murder, why would wait to so long to express their anger against the ultras ?’ he asked.
Incidentally, the police had earlier accused leading members of the Dongaria Kondh tribe in Niyamgiri of extending support to the Maoists and had even picked up some of them on charges of being Maoists. The villages in and around the Niyamgiri hill were subjected to regular combing operations at the height of the anti-Vedanta agitation by the local tribal people.