Villagers in Chhattisgarh erect life-size statue of Maoist leader Maniram

Express News Service
RAIPUR: A life-size statue of a Maoist fighter, who was killed while planting an improvised explosive device, has been erected in a Chhattisgarh village. 

The police in Chhattisgarh’s conflict-ridden Bastar district believe the villagers had established the statue of Somji alias Maniram, but didn’t rule out the possibility that the Maoists influenced them to do so. 

“Somji was a tribesman. Tribes usually raise bust-size carvings to venerate their community members. Maybe under the influence of the Maoists, the villagers had instead built a life-size statue,” Sunderraj P, Bastar inspector general of police told The New Indian Express.

Instead of taking down the statue, the Bastar police are planning to use it as a counter-propaganda tool. 

“He was involved in the killing of innocent villagers, arsons and other violent activities for over 17 years under the control of Maoist leaders who hailed from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,” Sunderraj said “We don’t object to the decision of villagers to set up this statue. We have planned to launch our counter-propaganda using it. The villagers would be made aware of how the local tribal cadres are exploited by the Maoist leaders, based outside the state, and how they finally meet such a tragic end. The local youths will be re-educated that the violence has no future and can meet the same fate,” Sunderraj said.