Tribal leader, who shared stage with Rahul, denies being Maoist

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Lanjigarh (Orissa), Aug.28 (ANI): A tribal leader, who shared dais with Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi during a recent rally in Lanjigarh area of Orissa on Saturday denied allegations that he was a Maoist.

On Thursday, tribal leader Lado Sikoka had participated in the rally and addressed people.

"They (police) have taken us, picked us suspecting to be Maoists and they kept us in Rayagada. They (police) asked us why we have become a leader and have links with Maoists. But we haven't seen Maoists, we have heard about Maoists. We have not seen whether they wear plain clothes or uniform, we don't know," said Sikoka.

Sikoka, meanwhile, asserted that the tribals would not bow to atrocities inflicted on them.

"Rahul Gandhi said that he would save our Niyamgiri. He told us, 'You fight for the hills and we are with you.' If we leave Niyamgiri, we would die. For Niyamgiri, we are alive and we told this to him," said Sikoka and added that Rahul gave a patient hearing to their grievances and promised help.

Rahul's visit to the backward Lanjigarh area came at a time when UK-based Vedanta's mining plan in Niyamgiri Hills, home to Dangaria and Kutia Kandha tribes, suffered a body blow with Union Environment Ministry rejecting the stage-II clearance for its mining proposal on Tuesday.(ANI)

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