Two days after 24 Eastern Frontier Rifles jawans were killed by Maoists in a surprise raid on the Silda camp here on Monday, life returned to the same old routine for people at the Silda market, though shock and fear were palpable in the area.

The camp, however, resembled a gutted forgotten settlement of the past as curious persons crowded to have a look at the devastation caused.

After observing an undeclared bandh on Tuesday, shop-owners opened shutters and business was as usual but they missed the bustle inside the erstwhile EFR camp.

Kamal Das, who sells fruits on a makeshift cart adjacent to the entrance of the camp, recounted how the jawans used to be a regular buyer of his wares. “They were friendly people and never misbehaved with me. It will take me quite an amount of time to come to terms with the incident,” Mr. Das said.

The main concern amongst the local people is the entry of the Maoists to the area.

“The presence of the Maoists in the area will also bring in security forces. This will only lead to more violence and bloodshed. We are already hassled by the regular bandhs and blockades and any more disruption will not be fair,” Bablu Dutta, who owns a shop in the market and an eyewitness to the attack, said.

While most of the local population believes that the presence of the EFR jawans offered them a sense of security, some beg to differ.

“When they could not save themselves even after possessing sophisticated weapons, how could they have protected us?” asked Pratima Kadma, a resident of the small settlement on the rear of the camp. Most still feel the need for a security camp in the area viewing the increased Maoist activities here and did not sound happy at the camp being shifted.

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