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Rebels ‘at war with graft’

Hazaribagh, Jan. 28: Released by Maoists, four officials, including a Prime Minister’s rural development fellow, made stunning disclosures about their captors a day after Jharkhand Jaguar and CRPF personnel went for their rescue inside Dhaulkatta forest in Giridih, where rebel landmines killed a jawan and injured 14 others.

PM’s fellow and techie V. Sai Vamsi Vardhan and MGNREGS employees Maksud Ansari, Chandra Dev and Shambhu Pandey, kidnapped from Naukania village of Giridih’s Pirtand block on Saturday, heard yesterday’s explosions and saw rebels celebrating with sweets the news that a CRPF jawan was dead.

The team’s account of candid conversations with rebels, which reflect the latter’s deep-seated mistrust for the government machinery, serves to show how age-old disenfranchisement can alienate people.

Speaking exclusively to The Telegraph this afternoon at Giridih district collectorate, the quartet in unison said the Maoists “politely” told them they “were not the enemy of police or government officials but of corruption”.

Vamsi, who left his well-paying job as a software engineer with TCS to become a Prime Minister’s fellow at the age of 23, and the three others, were told by the rebels about how corruption kicked the poor the hardest and filled the pockets of the officials.

Rebels said they blew up buildings — the recent one of a Giridih panchayat a case in point — to protest “their misuse by security forces” and kill police or paramilitary personnel “to save their own lives”.

Shambhu, an MGNREGS panchayat sewak, said: “There were 15 rebels in the group, including two girls, in their 20s.”

Shambhu recalled he asked Maoists why they “oppose development work” by blowing up schools and panchayat buildings “School buildings are used for operations against us,” Shambhu quoted the “commander” as saying.

The self-styled commander, whose name the quartet doesn’t know, told hostages they would never allow the administration to construct roads in “our areas for police to use against us”.

The “commander” went on to ask why sons of the poor never become DCs and why an upgraded middle school in Pio village with hundreds of students has only one para-teacher. “Your DC Diprava Lakra (Giridih) is an honest man but why does he visit remote areas with heavy security?” Shambhu quoted the “commander”.


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