India celebrates 75 years of Independence, but National Areas Still Waiting for Freedom
India is celebrating its 75th anniversary of independence this year, but people in national and ethnic backgrounds like Bastar are still fighting for freedom and ‘purna swaraj’.
In the remote Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, News18 met with sarpanch of 30 villages, which, in the lowest democratic areas, allowed for greater democratic size at the village level.
The sarpanch is the head of the city, but lives in constant fear, even though he is a representative of the community. They usually live in the district headquarters or block the headquarters but not in their constituencies where they are elected. In fact, when they have to deal with developmental problems in their villages, they are made into mere spectators.
Channu Korsa is a span of Silger in the Sukma region. Channu claims to have become a Spaniard in 2004 and won an unopposed election but has stopped going to the city since the Salwa Judum campaign in Bastar.
Many villagers also live outside the camp in the camps. Although she lives in the district headquarters, she assists the villagers with basic necessities such as assignment and water. Channu says he wants to provide electricity, school ashrams and basic services in his village. He says that after 17 years the government finally approved the basic facilities of the camp.
“When no one was ready to be a local shop in the village, I ran for office and became a sarpanch but could not stay in the village. Today, there are more than 20 such panchayats in the Sukma region where sarpanches are selected, but they cannot be found locally. “It seems that even though the country is now independent, we cannot see our region as completely independent,” he lamented.
Kalju Kawasi is the head of Bijapur’s Tuswal Panchayat region. He currently lives in a village in Dantewada. He says he lived in his village until 2013 but gradually the Maoists evicted him and his family.
But in the panchayat election in 2020, he submitted his nomination and won.
He says he wants to do something for the city, but because of the precarious situation and the capture of Maoists, there is nothing he can do.
You are looking for a hospital, a bookstore, a good school, or at least ways to reach them from their neighborhood.
“The Maoists kicked us out of the village and called us police spies. We are concerned about the development of the city but there is nothing we can do, “said Kalju.
Sunday Alami, a sarpanch from Tumri Gunda Panchayat of Bijapur district, claims to be a sarpanch for the second time, but in 2016 the Naxalites kicked him out of the village by calling him a police informant.
“I wanted a development road in the village but the Maoists did not like these things, after which they kicked me out of the village. So to be safe, I live anywhere, sometimes in the Dantewada region or in any other city. My relatives come here whenever I have to go to the village. So when the locals said you could come today, I went to the village. It was my dream to provide basic necessities, schools, anganwadis and hospitals and local employment to local people, but now we can only use the resources provided by the government. How far can we go? Even today our village lives without necessities. I was only thinking about the development of the city, as a result I was evicted, and now I have a huge responsibility to save my life, ”he said.
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Saibo ram, a Janpath member from Koshalnar in the Bijpur region, said that our area is rich in forest products, forest resources, tender leaves and many other things as a result of which the people here get jobs. “But they also need clean water, a road, a drain, a school, a hospital. We want to give them those but because of the Maoist rule in the village, I do not even live in my area. I am afraid that if I say anything in the name of development, they will let me speak or they will let me into our district, ”he said.
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