Modi in Dantewada, ‘Hostage Crisis’ in Neighbouring Sukma
Modi is in the Naxal-hit region of Dantewada amid reports that 400 villagers have been taken hostage 80 Km away.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the naxal-affected Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh today has been marred by reports of a hostage crisis in Sukma district, about 80 km away.
New reports indicate that the Naxals have taken 400 villagers hostage from Marenga village.
Speaking to The Quint however, the SP of Sukma district said:
There is nothing like a hostage crisis. A bridge is under construction in that area. The naxals are opposed to it. Last night around 11.30pm, Naxals took away some villagers who are working as labourers. We don’t have the exact number of villagers who have been forced to go with the Naxals.
–Shravan Kumar, SP of Sukma district
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is seeking a report on the situation in Marenga.
MHA sources were quoted by CNN-IBN as saying that it was possible that Naxals had warned villagers not to attend the Prime Minister’s rally and that it was wrong to associate the hostage report to Modi’s visit.
Narendra Modi is the first Prime Minister after Rajiv Gandhi to visit the region to inaugurate development projects. Other prime ministers since Gandhi had visited the region, but for election campaigns only.
The Prime Minister held a “Mann Ki Baat” session at Education City and Livelihood College in Dantewada where he interacted with students.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to inaugurate two projects there worth a total of Rs.24,000 crore - a steel plant in Dantewada’s Dilmili village and the second phase of a 140 km railway line from Raoghat to Jagdalpur.
He will be accompanied by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh
The Prime Minister was scheduled to inaugurate an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) and Police headquarters, besides laying the foundation stone for construction of 40,000 affordable houses for Lower Income Group and Economically Weaker Sections.
However the dome over a stage being erected for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public rally there collapsed in a severe storm, forcing the cancellation of his engagements there.
Dantewada is rich in mineral resources, especially iron ore. The area has witnessed a string of Naxal attacks in the past, with the worst being the 2010 Maoist assault that left 76 CRPF personnel dead.
Later in the day Modi will visit Kolkata where he plans to launch three mega social security initiatives - one pension and two insurance schemes. He will also meet with West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamta Banerjee.
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