After Lloyd Steel started an iron ore mining project in the Maoist-hit Gadchiroli district, the extremists have recently released a letter, calling politicians “agents and middlemen of capitalists” and warning them that they may have to face a ‘jan adalat’ (people’s court) for their “anti-tribal” activities.
The letter has been issued by Shrinivas, secretary of western sub-zonal bureau of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee.
Incidentally, some of the politicians named in the letter are also opposed to Lloyd Steel’s operations, as they want the company to set up the ore processing plant at Gadchiroli too. Presently, the company has been sending the ore after mining to its sponge iron plant at Ghuggus in Chandrapur district for processing. The mining activity, which began at Surjagad in Etapalli tehsil on April 6 as first reported The Indian Express, has been suspended since April 18.
“Over 60 Naxals have been killed by police in the last seven years in Gadchiroli. The police told Lloyd Steel that Maoism has been crushed in Gadchiroli and hence they can start mining. The capitalists profiteer from tribal resources and politicians like Deorao Holi and Vijay Wadettiwar (MLAs), Ashok Nete (BJP MP) Dharmarao Baba Atram and Deepak Atram (former MLAs) acted as middlemen and got Rs 1 crore from the company. They should be beaten with ‘chappals’ and thrown out of the district. They will have to stand in jan adalat to answer people’s questions,” the statement by Shrinivas has said.
Apart from politicians, the Maoists have also warned all other “middlemen, vehicle owners, contractors, all shop owners, etc” that they too will have to face ‘jan adalat’.
Deepak Atram, Wadettiwar and Dharmarao Baba Atram have been protesting against Lloyd Steel, over their processing unit demand. The mine, leased out way back in 2007, couldn’t start operations for eight long years due to Maoist opposition. But soon after operations started, local politicians, mainly from opposition Congress and NCP, started opposing it, demanding setting up of a processing unit in Gadchiroli.
A company source said it is willing to comply with the demand and had actually applied for land in the district, but could not get it. “Its a forested district and our application has been pending for years. How can we be blamed for it,” the source said.