Maoists seek more wages for poor

BHOPAL: After torching an earth moving machine engaged in road construction work last week, Maoists in Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district have now put up banners demanding more wages for tribal and other poor engaged in plucking tendu leaves from the forests.

The banner read that instead of Rs 65, people engaged in plucking tendu leaves should be given Rs 150 per 100 leaves. Besides, the rebels have demanded an end to the road construction works in the remote areas and tree felling in the jungles.

The banners have been put up close to Songuda, Chakghat, Pitkona, Sonpuri, Chouria, Dabri, Darkasa, Iko, Munda, Tuna villages of Baiher and Lanji tehsils in Balaghat district.

“After receiving the information, we have recovered a banner close to Songuda village, inspector general of police (Balaghat range) U R Netam told TOI. Maoists haven’t put up banners at other places, he said.

The IGP said that police were keeping a close watch on the Maoist-affected areas of the district adding that night patrolling has been intensified.

A day after Maoists abducted Sukma collector Alex Paul Menon in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh, a high alert was sounded in Balaghat on April 22. Two days later, a group of 25 rebels, including four women, set afire the JCB machine in a bid to stop the work of building 13 km road under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojna at Gaighat area in Balaghat.

Balaghat is situated close to the rebel-hit Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra’s Gondia district as well.

Tanda and Malajkhand dalam were operating in Balaghat district. These dalams often cross over to Gadchrioli in Maharashtra and Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh and indulge in violence. Maoists have their presence for more than two decades in Balaghat. They killed a police informer Jhadu Singh in 1992.

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