Chhattisgarh: Padma Shri Awardee Manjhi Facing Threats From Maoist

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Despite having no commercial ties to an iron ore mine, Manjhi, a traditional medicine practitioner in Narayanpur who was awarded the Padma Shri, is threatened by Maoists.

Chhattisgarh: Padma Shri Awardee Manjhi Facing Threats From Maoist
Source: Google [Image by the Statesman]

Padma Shri Hemchand Manjhi, a practitioner of traditional medicine in Bastar’s Narayanpur district, has declared he will return the award and stop practicing medicine due to constant threats from Maoists.

Six months ago, Maoists killed Komal, Manjhi’s nephew, and the 72-year-old has since received death threats. It was only last month that Manjhi, known popularly as ‘Bastar’s Vaidyaraj,’ received the Padma Shri for his lifetime of medical devotion to tribal people.

Manjhi denied the allegations, claiming he had no commercial ties to the iron ore mine. “I talked to my family about this decision before making it. Maoists needlessly mocked me in their handouts. Since I was 20 years old, I have been helping people by using “jadi-booti” to cure illnesses and maladies. But not any longer,” Manjhi said.

In December of last year, Komal was assassinated by Maoists who claimed he had stolen Rs 16 crore from the mines. “These days, they say I stole Rs 11 crore” the ‘vaid’ said. Manjhi moved to Narayanpur town for safety after Komal was killed, and he was given three security guards. Manjhi claimed he was forced to relocate into a rented home since the residence he was provided lacked basic amenities. “I have no knowledge of any of my dealings. There is danger in the rental home we occupy. I make a request to the government to give me suitable housing and security. The previous house I was given by the district government was empty of all utilities, including a boundary wall.” he added.

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