Here jeans make you a Naxal!
MENASINAHADYA (CHIKMAGALUR): It’s not just in some nations that a strict unspoken dress code prevails: eight hours away from cosmopolitan Bangalore is Menasinahadya,where wearing jeans is taboo. Reason: chances of getting branded as Naxals or as one of their supporters are high! “If we move around wearing trendy T-shirts and jeans, we are likely to get a thrashing from the police.
They suspect us of Naxal links and subject us to grilling,” said a youth (22),who preferred to remain anonymous fearing police action. A resident of Menasinahadya, he said there were several youngsters like him who are torn between aspirations and the dark ground reality.
Nestled in the thick Kudremukh forests in Koppa taluk, Menasinahadya has become a Naxal hotbed in the past four years. Three days ago, five civilians, including two were killed in a barbaric encounter in this silent hamlet where the only loud noises are that of gunshots. Menasinahadya has no metalled road or electricity and reaching it is a 5-km trek through the leech-infested rain forest.
“We’re caught in the crossfire between the police and Naxals. We, too, want to dress like the youth in Chikmagalur or Bangalore, but cannot.We are forced to crush our desires and that only increases our frustration,” said Pradeep, a tribal who has completed his graduation. The people of Menasinahadya are just seeing civilisation.
But if any of the youngsters are found sporting a cap and carrying a rucksack, the next few moments are a nightmare.