Maoists hoist black flag at village panchayat office in Maharashtra

Gadchiroli: A black flag was allegedly hoisted by Maoists on the premises of Arewada panchayat office in insurgency-hit Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, police said today.

Some locals spotted the black flag when they went to the panchayat office to hoist a tricolour on the occasion of 72nd Independence Day this morning. Arewada village is located in Bhamragad taluka in the district. It is around 180 kms from Gadchiroli.

“The villagers informed us in the morning that they found a black flag hoisted on the flag post at the panchayat office,” inspector and in-charge of Bhamragad police station, Suresh Madne said.

“Since the village is remotely located, we could not visit it immediately. The village falls under a Naxal-hit region, so there is a possibility that the ultras may lay an ambush and attack the police,” he added.

A gram sevak said he first spotted the black flag when he went to hoist a tricolour as part of the Independence Day celebrations. He, however, did not remove that flag out of fear.

The gram sevak then hoisted the tricolour some distance away on another pole. Madne said he has asked the locals and village panchayat officials to remove the black flag.

“But it is not yet known whether the flag has been removed or not because there is a communication problem,” he added.

Police suspect that Maoists could behind the act. They said the villagers also found a banner allegedly put up by the Naxals outside the panchayat office, which says people should boycott the Independence Day celebrations.

According to police, the banner denounced “fascism and Brahmanism” and said those fighting for their rights were branded as Naxals and jailed.