After a lull, Maoists on Thursday night struck in Orissa’s Malkangiri district as they gunned down two tribal villagers including a village headman branding them as police informers. In April, Maoists had killed a tribal youth in cut-off area of Malknagiri charging him to be a police informer.
Malkangiri SP Akhileswar Singh told The Indian Express that a group of armed Maoists showed up at the house of Deba Padiami and his neigbour Ganga Madkami in Badliguda village of Kalimela block last night as they defied their calls to attend their meetings. Police said both Padiami and Madkami had been defying Maoists’ calls for some time. They even did not show much support for the Martyrs’ Week observed by the rebels. Padiami was the village headman.
“They were sleeping in their homes when the Maoists came,” said the SP. Police said the retribution was also for silent support the villagers extended to the BSF jawans who had camped 3-4 km away. Though the camp came up over a year ago, for a last couple of months the villagers started supporting the jawans.
In February this year, Maoists had slit the throat of tribal NGO worker who worked in cut-off area of Malkangiri under Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme. Sadananda, who had gone to the cut-off area of Malkangiri district, with two workers of Watershed Support Services and Activities Network, an NGO, to oversee the OTELP work when they were abducted by a group of armed Maoists. While the Maoists released the two NGO workers, Sadananda was killed later in the day.
In last 7 months, 22 civilians have been killed by Maoists in Malkangiri on charges of being ‘police informers’. Most of the victims are members of ex-members of Panchayatiraj institutions.
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In a related development, the 154 Maoist-dominated villages in cut-off area of Malkangiri may now be connected to mainland with the state awarding the contract for construction of a 910-metre bridge over Gurupriya river. Tese villages have been cut-off from mainland after the Balimela reservoir came up in 1960s. The bridge coming up at a cost of Rs 172.58 crore, is likely to be completed in 3 years time.
In the past several contractors had refused to take up the construction work due to Maoist threats. The project was included in the Left-wing Extremist scheme of Centre in 2010. However, when tender was floated, only one contractor applied, which was rejected by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.