Sumant Parida, a youth social activist from Rayagada district of Odisha alleged that the police are trying to harass him by terming him to be an associate of Maoists.

Sumant is a member of Lokshakti Abhiyan, an organisation involved in taking up issues related to environment, displacement and rights of tribals and Dalits.

Speaking to newsmen in Berhampur along with Lokshakti Abhiyan convener Prafulla Samantra, he said in recent past anti-Naxal squad of the Rayagada district police had raided his house and pressed him to provide information regarding some Maoist leaders. “Security personnel threatened me if I did not provide information regarding the Naxalites that I never knew,” said Sumant.

According to Mr Samantra, it was an effort to frame up Sumant. He claimed that Sumant was a Gandhian and believed in democratic movements against anti-people policies of the government and corporate sector and had no links with the Naxalites. “He is former president of Rayagada College students’ union and now earns his living working as plumber,” Mr Samantra said.

He is also involved in a movement to protect Jhanjabati and Nagavali rivers.

“The Naxalites also have a squad named Jhanjabati. It seems the police officials might have linked Sumant with the Naxalites because of it,” Mr Samantra said.