Maoists ban on traders' entry into Jharkhand villages cripples life of the poor

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Latehar (Jharkhand), Feb.15 (ANI): Villagers in Maoist-affected Latehar district of Jharkhand are forced to trek long distances to trade products after the rebels have banned the entry of traders into the village.

Twelve villages falling under Laat village council have been facing a tough time due to this restriction imposed by the rebels for over a month now.

"Villagers here do not get vegetables they need. They have to cover long distances to buy things. We are facing a lot of difficulty," said Vinod Prasad, a villager.

Today villagers looking for customers can be seen sitting outside their huts with their products, which include agricultural produce and handicraft items.

Village traders lament that their business has been badly hit by Maoists' move.

"There is restriction on people going about selling their products, they will have to come to the market to sell it. There are not enough traders. Hardly any buyers." said Muhammad Bashir, another villager.

Social activists in the village say that the Maoists consider these traders as police informers and so they have put the restrictions instead of saving the people from being cheated as they preach.

"They have put the restriction as they say that the traders cheat the people. I think that is not true. They are apprehensive that these traders might be police informers and they will inform the police about the whereabouts of the rebels," said Victor Kerketta, a social activist.

Maoist rebels operate in large parts of the eastern, central and southern countryside, and officials say they are now spreading to cities and bigger towns.

Maoist rebellion that began four decades ago championing the cause of poor peasants in the Naxalbari area of West Bengal has now spread to large areas of the country, with the rebels targeting police and government property in hit-and-run attacks. (ANI)

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