Andhra Pradesh

Adivasis in AOB live in a state of constant fear

Troubled times: Tribal people affected by the Maoist activity working in a field for daily wage in the Visakhapatnam Agency.

Troubled times: Tribal people affected by the Maoist activity working in a field for daily wage in the Visakhapatnam Agency.   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

16 of them have been killed by Maoists after the Ramaguda exchange of fire

Till about a year ago, Nando (name changed) an Adivasi from the Ramgarh or Ramaguda village was a proud farmer. He had about two acres on which he grew ‘dhanyam’ (paddy), millets and some vegetables. But today, he is a landless and homeless person, staying with his family in an undisclosed area in the Visakhapatnam Agency and works as a coolie.

This is the case with 14 other households in Ramaguda and another 80-odd houses spread across different villages in the cut-off area of the Andhra Odisha Border (AOB). Most of them have moved to Chitrakonda or Jodamba or Malkangiri in Odisha or Munchingput and Pedabayalu or other undisclosed areas in the Visakhapatnam Agency.

Reprisal killings

The residents of some of the villages on the Andhra-Odisha border in the Agency area of Visakhapatnam district live in constant fear, as the shadow of death looms large.

Maoists are active in the area, and whenever a major encounter takes place, as it did on in October 24, 2016, there are bound to be reprisal killings by the extremists, suspecting some of the villagers to be police informers.

Kangaroo court

On October 24, 2016, about 31 Maoists, including the top leaders of the MKVB (Malkangiri-Koraput-Visakhapatnam Border) division and the AOBSZC (Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee) of the banned CPI (Maoist) were wiped out in one single EoF (Exchange of Fire) with the elite anti-naxal force of Andhra Pradesh, the Greyhounds.

Ever since, the Maoists have been killing Adivasis branding them as police informers. And the killings have spread from the cut-off area of Andhra region to parts of Odisha. Till date about 16 Adivasis have been killed as per the police record, as a fallout to the Ramaguda exchange of fire.

Since the encounter, things have changed in the AOB area. The Maoists have been visiting the village and holding frequent inquiries. Based on suspicion and hearsay, they organise a Kangaroo court and shoot the Adivasis to death after giving them a thrashing.

Though all the villages are in the cut-off area, technically they fall under the Malkangiri district of Odisha, said Rahul Dev Sharma, SP, Visakhapatnam.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 1:22:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/adivasis-in-aob-live-in-a-state-of-constant-fear/article19920198.ece

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