Raipur: The decade-long desertion of Bhejji has now come to an end as its natives, who fled the village in the aftermath of Salwa Judum militia clash, have started returning and resettling in one of the worst Naxal-hit places in Chhattisgarh.
Nearly 1,500 villagers had left their homes in Bhejji village of Sukma district in a state of shock and fear when the erstwhile anti-Naxal movement Salwa Judum was kicked off in 2005.
The villagers were settled at the government-aided 'relief camps' at Dornapal and Konta.
"We always wanted to come back to our very own land. It's like our dream come true," Bhejji village sarpanch Guddu told PTI.
Guddu is among the 150 people - around 64 families - who have resettled in Bhejji in the last one month by erecting kuchcha houses (made of natural material like mud, grass, bamboo, thatch or sticks).
Deriving its name from Goddess Bhejji Dai (mother) temple located in the village itself, Bhejji lies around 60 kms away from the district headquarters.
When Salwa Judum movement was launched in 2005, it was believed to be a ground-breaking solution to the intractable Maoist problem in the state, but contrary to the expectation it triggered an unending violence, Guddu said.
"Leaving the ancestral land was never an easy task for us, but we had no option to go for the sake of our lives and see our children alive," he said.
"During ten years of exile, we suffered a lot. But, now gradually things are transforming. The climate of fear and violence is changing, thanks to security forces as well as administration," the sarpanch said.
So far we have succeeded in convincing nearly 150 people, but gradually all 1500 will be brought back to their native land, he said exuding confidence.