Tribals, refugees at loggerheads security beefed up

NABRANGPUR: Police have been deployed as a precautionary measure in Raighar block from Sunday following a discord between local tribals and Bengali settlers. Superintendent of police Ghanshyam Parida said that police is trying to organise a meeting of both the communities soon to pacify them.

The encroachment of tribal lands by the settlers and felling of trees in the reserve forests has become a bone of contention between the two communities. Tribals have also complained about it.

According to reports, the murder of a Bengali settler in Raighar last month has enraged the community. Tribals had allegedly attacked Anil Mandal while the latter along with some of his men was felling trees in Bodokumari village forest. Mandal had died on the spot.

Dalits had also organised a rally at Umerkote last month. The rivalry came to fore in the recent Mondei festival by tribals at Raighar in which the Bengalis did not participate.

The Kalosi Puja Committee of Raighar has reportedly demanded that the Bengali settlers should reside and remain in their settlement camp. They should not be allowed to encroach the lands of tribal and government for cultivation.

Earlier, the Union Government had set up camps for refugees from East Pakistan in the district. In Raighar and Umerkote blocks, the refugee population is dominant over locals and plays an important role in elections after they were accorded the citizenship. They are even economically better off then the local tribals.

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: April 26, 2001
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