Row over move to withdraw MLA's security in Naxal area

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Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, Nov 13 (UNI) A controversy arose over administration recommending withdrawal of security cover to tribal Congress legislator Kawasi Lakma, who represents Konta constituency in this Naxalite infested district.

Official sources said, District Collector K R Pisda has sent a letter to the state government, suggesting withdrawal of 'Y' category security being provided to Mr Lakma, claiming there was no threat to him from the Maoist rebels active in the region.

The district administration's move came few days after a First Information Report (FIR) was lodged against Mr Lakma accusing him of trying to extort money from a government official posted in the area.

Janpad Panchayat Chief Executive Officer (CEO) B R Bhagat had lodged a complaint with the police, alleging Mr Lakma had accused him of 'making lot of money' and demanded his ''share''.

Suggesting withdrawal of security cover being provided to the legislator, the Dantewada district administration said in its letter that Mr Lakma had been misbehaving with government officials.

Besides, the legislator did not participate in any of the anti-naxalite movements being organised under the Salwa Judum campaign during the last two years, the administration pointed out adding that hence there was no threat to him from the Naxalites.

Mr Lakma, a loyalist of former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, told UNI over telephone the administration was trying to browbeat and bully him to toe the BJP government's line of 'Salwa Judum'' by registering false case and trying to withdraw his security cover for moving in area worst hit by Naxalite activities.

The tribal leader said he had joined a number of legislators and others to oppose the manner in which 'Salwa Judum' movement was being carried out as he felt that it was agianst the larger interests of poor tribals, who were caught in the conflict between the anti-Naxalite lobby and the armed Maoist rebels.

However, leaders of Salwa Judum movement have come out openly against Mr Lakma, alleging his open stand against the anti-Naxalite movement was infact benefitting the rebels. In a meeting held few days ago, Salwa Judum leader Swayam Mukka had accused him of being a Naxalite sympathiser.

Congress in Chhattisgarh is divided over 'Salwa Judum' with senior leaders taking divergent stand over it. Leader of the opposition Mahendra Karma and his supporters and the BJP government are extending their support to 'Salwa Judum', which had begun in June 2005.

However, Mr Jogi and legislators supporting him were opposed to the ongoing 'Salwa Judum', pointing out that more than 700 people had so far lost their lives in Bastar region since the movement started two years ago.


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