Naxal kangaroo court in Gadchiroli under cops’ noses

NAGPUR: In a thick forest near Jimulgatta in Aheri tehsil, around 160 km from Gadchiroli town, Naxals organized a massive ‘jan adalat’ last week. The audacity of the rebels can be gauged from the fact that the jan adalat’s location was within 10 km of Jimulgatta sub-police station.

It was learnt that Aheri-Jimulgatta area committee commander Shankar Anna, South Gadchiroli division committee Bhaskar Hichami alias Prabhakar, and platoon commander and divisional committee member Laxman led the proceedings, comprising 250-300 rebels.

Sources said four Naxal units comprising armed cadres rendered protection near the spot. Hundreds of tribal villagers also attended the so-called ‘jan adalat’ or people’s court, which is learnt to have stretched for several hours.

Unconfirmed sources said that information of the gathering had reached Jimulgatta sub-police station but inadequate strength of the force present and absence of central paramilitary personnel forced the police to refrain from launching an offensive. “There could have been an ambush for the cops too,” said a senior officer.

Three people from Jimulgatta, whom the Naxals had abducted on May 14, were ‘produced’ before the tribal population where ‘charges’ against them were read out. Pulayya Veladi, former sarpanch of Jimulgatta village, Ramnayya Yadawar, former zilla parishad member and an activist of the Nationalist Congress Party and Vyankati Medhi, member of Jimulgatta gram panchayat, were presented before the ‘people’s court’.

Naxals force two panchayat samiti members to quit posts

The Naxals recently held a Jan Adalat to decide upon the ‘charges’ against public representatives which they had abducted on May 14. They were freed only after the assembled villagers urged the Naxals to pardon them.

Although the gathering was ostensibly held to hold the trial of corrupt public representatives, anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare too was condemned by Naxals during the meet.

In the last few months, Naxals have eliminated several elected civic body members after presenting them before such kangaroo courts.

Pictures of the gathering, available with TOI, show hundreds of tribals gathered in a clearing in the forest, watched over by armed rebels.

During the gathering, the rebels are learnt to have charged the local MLA with accepting huge bribe worth crres of rupees to let Surjagarh mines operate.

The Naxals charged Yadawar with corruption, stating that he had joined politics to earn wealth and took interest in such government schemes which would enable him to siphon off funds meant for welfare of tribals. Pulayya Veladi, former sarpanch of Jimulgatta village, and Vyankati Medhi, member of Jimulgatta gram panchayat, were charged for misleading tribals on the pretext of solving their problems through the village-level ‘tanta mukti samitis’ or dispute resolution committees, and accepting bribes to render favours in committee decisions.

It was learnt that two panchayat samiti members, Hrishi Kortet from Peta village and Shriniwas Gawde of Jimulgatta, were also forced to furnish in writing their intentions to vacate their posts before the Naxal court after they too were deemed lacking in sincerity towards their role.

Gadchiroli superintendent of police S Vireesh Prabhu said an operation had been launched in the area following intelligence inputs about the gathering but that the Naxals changed their venue at the last moment. “We are still verifying the incident. We have heard that the Naxals suddenly gathered some forest labourers and villagers engaged in tendu leaves collection and bamboo cutting to conduct the meeting,” he said.

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