Freed villagers recall Maoist mayhem
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- Published 1.05.06
Dantewada, April 30: Manikonta is silent, but not in mourning.
The sleepy village in Dantewada, 550 km south of the state capital and 30 km north of the Konta block headquarters, is silent because there is nobody left in its huts.
After losing 15 fellow-villagers to Maoists for supporting the government?s Salwa Judum campaign, residents of the hamlet do not want to stay in Manikonta for fear of more rebel raids.
The return of 35 villagers after their abduction last Tuesday did little to lift the spirits. Their recollections have only added to the fears of the villagers.
Recalling what they had seen during captivity, the villagers said their captors ?selected? 13 hostages, tied their hands from behind and blindfolded them. Then, the rebels stabbed them repeatedly before slitting their throats. The other villagers could only watch in horror.
After the carnage, the Maoists allowed 35 villagers, all of whom had been staying in the Errabore government relief camp, to go. They wanted the latter to deliver the stern ?message? to other villagers and the authorities.
The freed tribals told police that the Maoists did not give them food or even water. They were taken to the Kosaguda and Tonaiguda forests, the hostages added.
?When they wanted water, they were asked to drink urine,? a police official quoting the villagers? statement as saying, while speaking to The Telegraph.
Rambhawan Kushwaha, member of the Dornapal janpad panchayat, alleged that ?the villagers were mercilessly assaulted with lathis and sticks.? ?It was savage and the tribals were butchered like animals. The rebels were so cruel that they did not even spare the villagers after death and planted ?bombs? below them.?
The bodies were buried near Errabore today as the victims? relatives refused to take them back to their village.
On Friday morning, the police recovered two more bodies. Some villagers had spotted them the previous night and informed the police.
Even as the villagers were trying to recover from the shock that seems to have changed their lives forever, the rebels struck again yesterday afternoon when they picked up three persons from Manikonta. After this, police parties from various points stepped into the forests in search of the villagers.
As the wait for their return continued, the abducted trio emerged from the forest this afternoon, much to the relief of the police.
The villagers told Dornapal police on their return that the rebels beat them up and warned of dire consequences if they did not withdraw from the anti-Maoist campaign.