Inability to secure a job prompted "captain" Soren to join the outlawed CPI (Maoist). Son of a retired army officer from Vijaypur village near Dumka, Soren along with his live-in partner Santoshila Hembrom were arrested by the Dumka police a couple of days ago. They were charged with supplying essential items to Maoist armed squads active in different parts of the district.
In his confession to the police, Soren spoke of his futile efforts to secure a government job following the retirement of his father, Som Soren.
In 2004 he came in touch with Santoshila, fell in love with her and they started living together as husband-wife without the bond of a formal marriage. Thereafter, they both sought employment only to see their efforts go in vain. Soren told the police that the failure to get a job took him to Maoist "area commander" Praver Da in Shikaripara block of Dumka in April 2008. Praver was considerably impressed with Soren's ideology and accepted his proposal to join the outfit. He was entrusted with the task of supplying day-to-day items to the armed squads after procuring them from Dumka and providing information about police movement. For his efforts, Soren was paid a fixed amount every month. Soren is not the only unemployed tribal youth who has turned a sympathizer of the Red rebels.
According to reports, the banned outfit has been recruiting unemployed youths residing in remote pockets on a monthly payment of Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000.
The Maoists have been reportedly zeroing in on Paharia youths. The Paharias, one of the most deprived and primitive tribal groups residing along the Rajmahal Hill range, are conventionally skilled in warfare.
The hilly and dense jungle terrain where the Paharias reside are strategically advantageous for Maoists. Maoists have reportedly established their stronghold in that area by mobilizing Paharias by instigating them against the state authorities.
Paharia is the most privileged community among tribals in the Santhal Parganas as both the Centre and the state government spend crores of rupees on them every year for their preservation and development. It is another matter that most of the funds do not reach the tribals.
The announcement by the erstwhile government to form a separate Paharia battalion to bring the community into the mainstream has still not crystallized. The Paharia youths are recruited by the Maoists after a 15-day training and the assurance of a monthly remuneration.
25 Jun 2009, TNN
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