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Recent killing of 25 CRPF troops at Chhattisgarh’s Sukma, a belt known as “the Maoist Tora Bora”, a reference to the Taliban hideout in Afghanistan, was a reminder for the security forces deployed in the most inaccessible topography of Eastern Bihar district. The magnitude of the Maoist situation in this region mainly consists of Jamui, Lakhisarai, Munger, Banka and parts of Bhagalpur may be different to some extent with that of Chhattisgarh.
But situation is same as the outfits in this region have been enjoying full support from local denizens. The team of @News5pm visited several remote places which are highly inaccessible and try to understand the sentiments of the residents mostly tribals and other Maha Dalits (most backward communities).
@News5pm has decided to make aware the readers about the ground zero reality with some specific stories related to the miseries and plights of the denizens in the areas and found how they developed a hostile attitude towards the government machineries which subsequently helped the outlaws to penetrate in the areas and in several cases they also been used as the human shield for the rebels. We hope our readers easily could judge the situation and also find the reason for sustaining Naxalism in Eastern parts of Bihar.
Story :- One/
Where people have to migrate for drinking water
Jamui: Kesto Murmu and his wife Radhiya Besra had to face tremendous difficulties recently when they were busy migrating from their native place to another village in search of water. Most natives of Gurmaha hamlet under Barhet block of Jamui district like Kesto, were forced to migrate to nearby Mahazanwa located at the top of Sringirishi hills in Lakhisarai district in search of drinking water. This, because during summer, Gurmaha has not a single drop of water for drinking.
“Not only during the summer but throughout the year we have to share the contaminated greenish water from a ditch along with cattle and wild animals,” said Moktu Koda, another villager at Chormara, another village near Gurmara. “Water borne diseases along with malaria and kala-azar are common in the area,” said another villager Raju Koda. Phoolmuni pipped up and said that her two cows had died last year due to scarcity of water. “Imagine the inconvenience if you would have to move home and hearth to another place just for the sake of water every year,” Sumita Kisku, mother-in-law of Radhiya remarked innocently.
Temporary migration of hundreds of villagers of dozens of villages with the onset of summer has been a common phenomenon in Maoist-ravaged hinterland of Jamui, Munger and some parts of Lakhisarai district along with neighbouring Banka district. “Even after sixty five years of Independence, over one hundred and fifty hamlets in Jamui, about a hundred in Munger, and thirty in Lakhisarai do not have drinking water facilities. People have to depend on natural resources for drinking water but during summer when water sources dry up, the denizens are compelled to migrate to other places in the search for water,” claimed Kishore Jaiswal, a Munger based social worker.
Jaiswal pointed out that the hamlets located in most inaccessible parts of the districts were considered ideal hideouts for Maoist rebels. “Resentment was writ large in such villages against the government and it is very easy for the rebels to establish their supremacy in the localities after taking the residents of such ill-fated villages into confidence,” he affirmed.
“The government basically failed even to arrange drinking water for us. It was in fact, the party men (Maoist rebels) who helped us by digging a well in our hamlet in the year 2010,” said a villager on condition of anonymity at Sitlakodashi village under Kajra PS at Lakhisarai, where the Maoists had ambushed a police party on August 29, 2010. “This community well was sponsored by the party men. The village didn’t have any drinking water facility before 2010,” the villager said.
Echoing the villager, a top ranking CRPF official shared his unique experience in the region. “During an operation some year ago we had to stay three days at Bharhari and we had to depend on a well for drinking water. The well was constructed by Revolutionary Peoples’ Committee, a body of the Maoists,in 2007” he recalled. According to him, in 2007 the 7th Congress of the CPI (Maoists) was organized at Narkol near Bharhari falling under Barhet block in Jamui. “Top ranking Maoists leaders like late Kishanjee, Ganpath Rao etc came to Narkol to attend the Congress and the well that was constructed around that time, presently caters to more than seven hundred people in adjoining hamlets in quenching their thirst,” the CRPF official said.
A top ranking cop in Eastern Bihar has also expressed strong concerns about the scarcity of drinking water in the remote areas which were known as rebel strongholds. “We are fighting against the rebels who have public support in such inaccessible localities. On the one hand we have virtually failed even to arrange drinking water for the villagers. How then, can we expect their support?” he asked. While giving reference of A K Ambedkar, the than inspector general of police, Bhagalpur range, the officer pointed out how Ambedkar in high level meetings with the state’s higher officials and even with Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, had highlighted the issue. “Even at one such meeting at Jamui where the chief minister was present in 2011, Ambedkar had submitted a report on such a vital issue,” he recalled.
Not a single top ranking district at Jamui and at Lakhisarai, was available to give their comments as to why after receiving central funds for Naxalite special area development project or even central funds under security related expenditures (SRE), people in the remote parts in the districts did not have drinking water facilities.
Another top ranking official at Munger division however expressed his concerns. “We have to work like activists; the style of working like a typical officer would not be able to solve such issues,” he told on condition of anoymity. He said that soon, a meeting would be called where one active social activist from each block in the districts along with the block development officers and district magistrates from respective districts would be present to formulate strategies to counter such pressing problems.
(to be concluded)