Staff Reporter

BERHAMPUR: Six tribals, who arrested on charge of helping Maoists through video shows of the movie ‘Lal Salam’ in remote villages in Gajapati district, were acquitted by the Additional District Judge (ADJ), Paralakhemundi.

The arrested tribals were Narendra Dengamaka, Prashant Kardraka, Baluka Majhi, Manoj Majhi as well as two women Sunita Majhi and Barmuin Majhi.

They were arrested from Jilakuta village of Mohana block in Gajapati district on Sept. 22, 2006, while they were holding a video show of the movie ‘Lal Salam’ at the village.

Some booklets written in Kui language, TV, VCD player and the generator used for the show had been seized. Police had alleged that these persons were involved in preparing the support base for the Maoists for their attack on R.Udaygiri town.

According to the counsel of the arrested persons, Upendra Prasad Nayak, the ADJ Paralakhemundi acquitted his clients on Thursday as there was no sufficient evidence against the accused to prove the charges made against them.

“The arrested were also charged with Section 120 (A) of the IPC which relates to revolt against the State and other charges related to extortion and other criminal activity,” Mr Nayak said. Moreover ‘Lal Salam’ was a censored mainstream movie with Nandita Das as its main actor.

After her release from Paralakhemundi jail Sunita Majhi claimed that they were part of Kui Gana Natya Manch, a cultural organisation aimed at building up consciousness against exploitation among the tribals through dance and music. She claimed that they had no relations with any illegal activity.

After their release the six acquitted persons reached Berhampur on Friday evening to meet other persons from Gajapati district in Berhampur circle jail, who have been arrested on similar charges of helping naxals.

They alleged that the prosecution was intentionally delaying the hearing of cases related to the under trials by not getting the prosecution witnesses to court in time.