Tribals Protest New Police Camp in Maoist Stronghold in Dantewada

The police resorted to firing blank shots, lobbing tear gas shells and waving lathis to disperse the crowd.

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Hundreds of tribals on Tuesday, 12 November, protested against police setting up a camp in Potaali village of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh. The police resorted to firing blank shots, lobbing tear gas shells and brandishing lathis to disperse the crowd. No one was injured in the action, officials said to PTI.

The new police camp, which started functioning on Monday, is located in a strategically important core Maoist area of Dantewada, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) P Sundarraj told PTI. The area is 350 kilometres away from state capital Raipur.

Potalli is inside dense forests around 10 kilometres from Aranpur police station, and is close to an area where a Doordarshan cameraman and three security personnel were killed in a Naxal ambush during the 2018 Assembly elections.

The camp would facilitate anti-Naxal operations in the area as well as providing security to development works in the area, the police said.

“The villagers were armed with bows and arrows and were on their way to the police camp. They were getting violent under the Naxal influence and trying to surround the police camp. Hence, the cops were forced to fire blank shots and tear gas shells. After this, the villagers dispersed and ran to their villages. Those responsible for Jhiram Ghati attack and assassination of MLA Bhima Mandavi hail from this area and they are afraid that this police camp might threaten there influence and, hence, they are using villagers to shut down the police camp.”
SP Dantewada Abhishek Pallava

Earlier on Tuesday, Dantewada collector Topeshwar Verma and superintendent of police Abhishek Pallava visited the new camp and met villagers, some of whom expressed displeasure over the establishment of the new camp.

He said women commandos of the DRG have been deployed in the camp so that villagers can complain in case of any misbehaviour with the womenfolk in the area.

(Inputs from PTI)

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