Maoists hoisted a black flag on Independence Day at Sawargaon, a village in this district hardly one km from an Indo-Tibetan Border Police camp on the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border. Some ITBP personnel confirmed that they had information about the incident. “This must have happened late in the night. We had prepared the ground for the Independence Day ceremony. We found the black flag when we woke up,” a villager told this reporter, who visited Sawargaon on Wednesday.

In another occurrence on the eve of Independence Day, two still boxes with explosives were found at the marketplace at Kasansur gram panchayat. Detonators, electric wires, banners and other Naxal material were also recovered from the spot, the Gadchiroli police said.

Meanwhile, Maoists have built a ‘martyr statue’ at Nadekal, an interior village. This is contrary to the district police claim that no statue was built during the martyrs’ week observed by Maoists from July 28 to August 3.

Nadekal, with a population of about 300 people, was in the news last month when 218 local body representatives of the Korchi tehsil tendered their resignations en masse in protest against “police atrocities and non-fulfilment of developmental demands.”

“On June 29 Baiju Hidami, police patil of Fulagondi, and 22 other villagers were beaten up by the police. A few days earlier, CRPF personnel disrupted a marriage ceremony at Nadekal. For eight days no one was allowed to go outside the village,” said Korchi sarpanch Meghashyam Jamkatam. .

Nadekal was in the news for another wrong reason also. There was no teacher in the primary school there for about two months. “School started in June and there are 27 students but no teacher was ready to come” said Sukhdev Achala of Nadekal, who also complained that CRPF personnel had beaten up her and three other women of the village in early June.

The school is entitled to at least two teachers but, according to the villagers, they haven’t seen headmaster C.P. Durrow yet.

Teacher P.A. Gedam, who joined duty on August 8, told The Hindu: “Nadekal is deep inside forests and there is no road connectivity. The other apprehension in our minds is the Naxal movement in the district.”

Asked if Naxals threatened him not to come to the village, he said, “No, in fact I was told to be regular and take active interest in teaching “.

Nadekal’s villagers say they have learnt to live without power, adding the electric poles and wires there have become “objects to be kept in a showcase.”