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Traditional Healer Hemchand Manjhi Mulls Padma Shri Award Return

Hemachand Manjhi

Narayanpur, Chattisgarh: Traditional healer Hemchand Manjhi, acclaimed for his exceptional contributions from a remote village in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district, has said that he will¬† return the Padma Shri award he received, following threats from Naxal insurgents.

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Fondly known as Vaidyaraj, Dr. Manjhi also announced his decision to cease his practice. The 72-year-old, renowned for his expertise in traditional medicine, was bestowed with the Padma Shri last month, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.

On May 26 night, Naxalites set ablaze two under-construction mobile towers in Chameli and Gaurdand villages under Chhotedongar police station limits, unfurling banners and distributing pamphlets threatening Dr. Manjhi, as reported by the police.

Allegations surfaced from the Naxalites, claiming Dr. Manjhi’s involvement in facilitating the Aamdai Ghati iron ore project in Chhotedongar and receiving substantial kickbacks, which Dr. Manjhi vehemently denied.

Previously, Naxalites had leveled similar accusations against Dr. Manjhi and issued severe warnings. Speaking on this Dr. Manjhi once again denied the charges, and he said he has no association with the iron ore mine.

He said he had a detailed discussion with the family and decided to return the Padma Shri award and discontinue his traditional medicine practice.

“I will return the Padma Shri award. Maoists question the legitimacy of my recognition. I did not seek this honor; it was bestowed upon me for my decades-long service to humanity. I have been offering herbal remedies for various ailments, notably cancer, since I was 20 years old,” he stated.

Dr. Manjhi expressed distress over the past violence, citing the murder of his nephew, Komal Manjhi, by Naxalites in December last year. Currently residing in Narayanpur town under police protection with his family, Dr. Manjhi urged the administration to provide a proper house. The iron ore mine in Aamdai Ghati, allocated to Jayaswal Neco Industries Limited, has been a longstanding point of contention with Naxalites vehemently opposing the project.

 

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