The Maoists have allegedly threatened Achyuta Samanta, founder of Kalinga Institute of Social Science (KISS) and Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), and accused him of working against the Maoists on the pretext of providing education to the tribal children. The police said that a banner, allegedly put up by the red rebels, at the proposed educational complex of KISS at Panchada in Koraput district was seized on Friday. “We have confiscated the banner and investigation is underway to ascertain if it is genuine or the handiwork of some miscreants trying to create panic in the region,” Koraput SP Charan Singh Meena said.
“A clear picture would emerge after completion of the inquiry,” Meena said. The banner written in Odia read: “Achyuta Samanta, on the pretext of educating the tribal children, you are working with the police and trying to weaken our organisation. If you don’t refrain from these activities, you will be punished in the Praja Court (kangaroo court of the Maoists).”
The University, founded by Samanta, has been offering free education, accommodation, food and vocational training to over 25,000 tribal children. The proposed branch in Koraput, where the banner was found, is one of the 20 such centres of KISS to be set up in different districts of Odisha, sources said. Samanta expressed surprise over the incident and said that he has been working for the development and empowerment of tribals for the last 25 years.
Samanta said that he has been visiting several tribal-dominated areas of the state as part of his work and has received “a lot of love and affection from the people of these districts.” Undeterred by the threat, Samanta said he is not worried and would continue to pursue the mission he has undertaken.