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Following threats from leftist terrorists, traditional medicine practitioner Hemchand Manjhi says he will return the Padma Shri award and discontinue his work

Manjhi, popularly known as Vaidyaraj, also added that he will discontinue his practice.

Hemchand Manjhi, a renowned traditional medicine practitioner from Narayanpur district, announced on Monday (27th May) that he will return his Padma Shri award due to the escalating threats from Naxalites. Manjhi, popularly known as Vaidyaraj, also added that he will discontinue his practice.

Last month, the 72-year-old traditional medicine practitioner received India’s fourth highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri award. According to the information, Naxalites have been repeatedly issuing threats and distributing pamphlets against him which he says is insulting to him.  

Recently, on Sunday night (26th May), Naxalites torched two under-construction mobile towers in Chameli and Gaurdand villages which fall under the Chhotedongar police station. According to the Police, Naxals also put up banners and dropped pamphlets there threatening Manjhi. The pamphlets had a picture of his facilitation ceremony when he received the Padma Shri award from President Droupadi Murmu.

According to reports, Naxalites have alleged that Manjhi helped in the commissioning of the Aamdai Ghati iron ore project in the Chhotedongar area of Narayanpur. The leftist terrorists further allege that Manjhi received huge kickbacks for it. Manjhi has denied all these charges in the past.

Earlier, Naxalites had levelled the same allegations against Manjhi and threatened him with dire consequences. 

Speaking with PTI on Monday, Manjhi again refuted the charges and said he had already clarified to villagers that he has no connection with the iron ore mine. He said that after discussing with his family, he has decided to return the Padma Shri award and discontinue his traditional medicine practice.

Manjhi said, “I will return the Padma Shri award. Maoists say how I got the award from the President. I did not demand the award as I got it for my service to the people since I was 20-year-old. I give jadi-booti (herbal medicines) for different ailments, particularly for cancer.” 

He added, “Earlier, they (Naxalites) killed my nephew Komal Manjhi by levelling false allegations. My family is living under the shadow of threat.” 

On 9th December, last year, Naxalites hacked his nephew Komal Manjhi to death in Chhotedongar which is located around 45 km from the Narayanpur district headquarters. They killed him after accusing him of acting as an agent for the Aamdai Ghati iron ore mine project and making huge money. 

After his nephew’s murder, police brought Hemchand Manjhi to Narayanpur town. He has been living there in a rented house with his family under the protection of three security personnel. 

Manjhi said, “I was allotted a house by the administration in Narayanpur but it has no boundary wall, facility of water, and other amenities so I decided to live in a rented house. I appeal to the administration to provide me a proper house.” 

Manjhi stated that they are self-sufficient individuals. The administration has assigned three to four guards for our security. He expressed his desire to build a small house in Dongar and receive security there, indicating his intention to relocate and reside there.

It is pertinent to note that for a long time, Naxalites have been opposing the iron ore mine in Aamdai Ghati which has been allotted to the Jayaswal Neco Industries Limited.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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