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Peace-march in troubled Maoist hotbed Bastar

The march was flagged off by tribal leader and ex union minister Arvind Netam

Statesman News Service | Raipur |

Barely a month after he was threatened by the left wing insurgents, former BBC scribe Shubhranshu Chowdhary has once again invited the ire by organising a peace-march which began on Friday to commemorate the historical ‘Dandi-March’.

The march was flagged off by veteran tribal leader and former union minister Arvind Netam on Friday from the Maoist pocket-borough Narayanpur which serves as the nerve centre of Abhujhmaad. The march is slated to reach Raipur, the capital city of once impoverished predominantly tribal state of Chhattisgarh in forested central India on 23 March.

Mahatma Gandhi’s grand son Gopal Gandhi has agreed to preside over the final event, Choudhary whom both sides of ideological divide view with ‘suspicion’, said.

He said that a after reaching capital Raipur the marchers will hold a victims meet. It is called ‘Chaikle Maandi’ in Adivasi language Gondi which means meeting for peace and prosperity where victims from both sides will meet for the first time.

Shubhranshu said that 92 people had advocated in a phone based opinion poll held in October 2020 that the Maoist problem in Central India should be resolved through the dialogue. The 222 km long peace march, which will traverse through several Maoist bastions has been organised to press for more dialogue then the use of bullets, he added.

The march was set out on 12th March on the same day when Mahatma Gandhi had undertaken Dandi March in Gujarat to protest a tax proposal on sea-salt by the then British government in India.

Gandhi broke Salt law at the end of Dandi March whereas, the pedestrians in this march will request both sides to start dialogues to resolve the problem. Dropping a hint that government often do not keep it’s word, Shubhranshu said that marchers will request the government to follow the constitution and keep it’s promises.

The current Congress Govt in Chhattisgarh had promised to initiate serious dialogue their election manifesto promised in 2018 to do serious efforts to start dialogue to solve the Naxal menace, however not much has been done in this direction, he alleged.