Tribals in Dantewada Up in Arms Against New Police Camp, Cops Lob Tear Gas Shells to Quell Protests
Work on a new police camp commenced from Monday in Potaali village, located in a strategically important core Maoist area in Dantewada, some 350 kilometres from state capital Raipur.
Dantewada: Hundreds of tribals on Tuesday protested against setting up of a police camp in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, prompting police to fire in the air and lob tear gas shells though no one was injured in the action, officials said.
Work on a new police camp commenced from Monday in Potaali village, located in a strategically important core Maoist area in Dantewada, some 350 kilometres from state capital Raipur, Inspector General of Police (Bastar range) Sundarraj P told PTI.
Potalli is inside dense forests around 10 kilometres from Aranpur police station, and is close to an area where a Doordarshan cameraman and three security personnel were killed in a Naxal attack during last year's Assembly elections.
Personnel belonging to Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) and District Reserve Guard (DRG) have been deployed at the camp, the DIG said.
On Tuesday, a large number of villagers gathered in front of the camp to protest and refused to push back despite requests from the authorities there, after which a few rounds were fired in the air and tear gas shells lobbed, Sundarraj said.
"No one was injured in the incident and the situation is peaceful there. It seems Naxals are frustrated with the establishment of the police camp in their stronghold. They are, therefore, instigating tribals," he said.
The camp would facilitate anti-Naxal operations in the area, in turn ensuring security to development works there, he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, Dantewada Collector Topeshwar Verma and Superintendent of Police Abhishek Pallava visited the new camp and met villagers, some of whom expressed displeasure over the establishment of the new camp.
These villagers claimed the camp will lead to them bearing the brunt of police action and also make them the subject of atrocities, Pallava said.
"However, we assured villagers the police camp has been set up for their safety from Naxals and to ensure development works take place in the area without disturbance.
We have assured them no atrocities will take place," the SP said.
He said women commandos of the DRG have been deployed in the camp so that villagers can complain in case of any misbehaviour with the womenfolk in the area.
"After the collector and I returned from the village, a large number of villagers, armed with bows, arrows, axes and sharp edged weapons tried to march to the camp. Subsequently, security personnel lobbed tear gas shells and opened blank fire in the air to disperse the crowd," the SP said.
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