As one travels from Jagdalpur to hinterlands of Dantewada in Chhattisgarh cutting through dense sal forests, remains of Maoist’s past carnages prop up now and then along the road, making one conscious of blood that has been splattered on this red corridor.
Last year alone, there had been 41 incidents of improvised explosive device (IED) blasts triggered by Maoists, who were also involved in 112 incidents of gun battles with security forces during this period. In these attacks, 19 security personnel and 46 civilians, including a BJP lawmaker from Dantewada, Bhima Mandavi, and several ultras were killed. Overall, however, Chhattisgarh witnessed a 32 percent decline in Maoist-related violence last year compared to previous year.
As the jungles give way to paddy and corn fields and pinched- villages of mud-and-thatch houses start dotting the landscape, a new vista opens up, its purity untouched by decades of violence and apathy.
Here at night fall, villages still come alive with sounds of mandar (traditional drum), lilting folksongs and retelling of folktales, a throwback to a tradition preserved for centuries.
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