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Family pays for vote boycott defiance

Ram Sevak Chauhan, a resident of Tandwa in Aurangabad district of south-central Bihar, had not imagined his family would pay a heavy price for defying the Maoist poll boycott.

Almost a week after the familys audacious decision to cast votes, heavily armed Maoist guerrillas descended on his house in Harish Udana village, around 40km south of the Aurangabad district headquarters town, and punished the family.

If the statement of Ranjeet Chauhan, son of Ram Sevak Chauhan, is to be believed, over 20 rebels brutally assaulted his parents. They were looking for me. Luckily, I was not at home at the time of the attack, he said.

Ranjeet Chauhan, a marginal farmer, said the Maoists evacuated his family and locked the main gate of their mud-built house. They threatened to eliminate the family. They told my parents not to open the door till I offered to depose before them, he said, adding that the family was forced to live under the open sky.

Ranjeet Chauhan said the family voted despite the Maoist call to boycott the April 10 elections. The family antagonised them (Maoists) by not adhering to their diktat and were made to face the consequences, he said. Though the entire village was asked not to vote, his family suffered the most. His mother Subhashini Devi continues to be apprehensive. I shudder at the thought of being punished by squad members. They are brutal in every sense of the term. At times they behave as if we are not human beings and have committed a serious offence by taking part in the elections, she said.

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