Raipur, Sep 18: Sending out a strong message to Naxals, large number of people including students, activists, local organisations and traders turned up at 'Lalkar rally' in Chhattisgarh's Bastar against the outlawed CPI (Maoist).
Chanting anti-Maoist slogans and displaying placards bearing messages condemning violence and killing of innocent people by Naxals, the people from different parts of Bastar division, comprising seven districts, gathered at Hata Ground in Jagdalpur town to take part in the protest yesterday.
It was convened under the aegis of Action Group for National Integrity (AGNI) - an organisation spearheading anti-Maoists protest in the region for past few months. "Around one lakh people participated in the rally and unanimously raised voice against Naxals and violence," AGNI national convener Anand Mohan Mishra told PTI.
Bastar has been bearing the brunt of violence for over three decades and facing dearth of development works due to the menace. But now, the people of the region, particularly tribals, want to see peace and development, he said.
People and representatives from at least 70 social communities, school and college students and local citizen voluntarily took part in the rally which clearly indicates they are fed up of the Maoist violence, he said.
The move has also encouraged security forces fighting Naxalism in the region, Mishra said. Folk dance and other cultural programmes were also performed by tribal artistes during the rally. Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, SRP Kalluri said, earlier people did not have the courage to speak against Naxals, but now the situation is changing.
"By extending support to the rally, the residents of Bastar have indicated that they are with us. The day is not far when Bastar will be free of Maoist menace," Kalluri said.