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'Salwa Judum' escalated violence in Chhattisgarh: PUDR

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi Apr 13 (UNI) The Chhattisgah government sponsored 'peace mission' known as 'Salwa Judum' has been dubbed as ''anti-Maoists counter-insurgency programme' by four civil rights organistations'' which, they say, has also resulted in ''escalation of violence and a large scale violation of human rights in tribal areas of the state.' The report prepared by their 14-member team during its visit to Bjapur and Bhairamgarh distrcits of the state between November 28 to December first, 2005 said under the 'Salwa Judum' (SJ) programme, the villagers were 'forced' to accompany the security forces entering into the villages said to be stronghold of Maoists.

In this way, ordinary villagers are caught between the security forces and Maoists who "enjoy mass support.' The team respresenting-- People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), People's Union for Democratic Rights(PUDR), Association for Protectin of Democatic Rights(APDR-West Bengal) and Indian Association of People's Lawyers -- released its report at a press conference here last evening. The report said the SJ leadership had been created from the tribal elite transporters, contractors and traders ''and the tribal areas were being opened up for their 'exploitation.'' With this, the tribal society has been divided on vertical lines which resulted to an alarming increase in killings, the report added.

The civil rights organisations, however, condemned mass killings such as by landmine blasts. Maoists have already apologised publically for such an incident in Chhattisgarh six weeks ago.

The report said while the crime committed by the Maoists was immediatley taken note of by the administration and vicitms were invariably compensated and police case registered, but 'excesses by the security forces'' went 'unrecorded and unheeded'.

With escalation of violence because of the SJ programme, almost 30,000 people had been uprooted from the affected areas.

The PUDR secretary said instead of launching such SJ programmes, the Centre and State must engage Maoists in sincere dialogue and should also review ''development model'' adopted in the country that ends up ''exploiting'' land, forest and water resources and destroying the indigenous communities for the benefit of big capital, both Indian and foreigner. And, this process invariably prepares a fertile ground for uprising and militancy, the report added.

UNI JSS PA ND1124

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