Shobhan’s death throws up problems stalking Adivasis

Underdeveloped:A cluster of shacks in Dampur village in Tiryani mandal of Adilabad district.-Photo: S. Harpal Singh  

The death of the dreaded Maoist Athram Shobhan alias Charles once again brings to fore the core issues stalking the poor Adivasis of Adilabad which seemed to have aided the recent endeavour of extremists in re-establishing their supremacy in the interior parts. An ever growing chasm between the administration and the aboriginal tribes, corruption at grassroots level being the main reason for it, had forced the peace loving Gond youth in taking up arms in their struggle for justice.

Though no fresh instance of Adivasi youngsters joining the underground movement has been reported from the interior parts of the district, the police do not deny that the Maoists command considerable sympathy among the aboriginal tribes. Their methodology in dispensing instant justice is what beckons the average Gond to do something against his grain.

A total of 51 tribal youths, 45 of them being Gond Adivasi from the agency villages in the district are known to have joined the extremist movement during the last three decades, mostly during the turbulent 1980s and 1990s. While 18 of them have been killed in different encounters and eight are still operational, the rest have surrendered themselves to join the mainstream.

“The main reason for tribals becoming naxalites is the injustice meted out to them. Many of the youngsters in question or their families have been subjected to gross injustice in disputes by civil authorities,” pointed out a senior police officer who was involved in anti extremist operations in the early years of this century, as he talks about the cause and effect.

“Even now you can see our people being ill treated by electricity supply staff, medical staff, revenue officers, teachers and even bankers. We have to pay bribes to get things done, notwithstanding our poverty,” laments Tekam Manku, a Kolam farmer from Shivguda in Kerameri mandal.

Manku and his compatriots used to pay a bribe of Rs. 600 to the power staff just for mending a fuse wire. An inquiry by higher ups in the TSTransco had a staffer suspended for such corruption a few months back.

There however, is a ray of hope as the government has posted dedicated officers in crucial positions whose work has earned them good name. For example, the Project Officer of Utnoor Integrated Tribal Development Agency, R.V. Karnan who has concentrated not only on alleviation of poverty but taking administration to the door steps of the aboriginal tribes. Establishing personal contact with the Adivasis is the Superintendent of Police Vikram Jeet Duggal who has launched the Police Janamythri mass contact programme by organising medical camps etc and helping out the poor aboriginal people with their day-to-day grievances even in other departments. His presence and that of his senior officers at such programmes has instilled confidence among the Adivasis, an example being villagers of Gudem in Bejjur mandal organising an anti naxal rally on their own.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 1:35:31 PM |

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