Sanhati, March 29, 2012

by Sudha Bharadwaj

It is quite evident that after the phase of “Salwa Judum” and the phase of “Operation Green Hunt”, anti-Naxal operations have entered a new phase variously called “Operation Haka” and “Operation Vijay”.

While certain media reports present very different pictures of this Operation [see appendixes], both the spokespersons of the Security Forces and Maoists claim that this Operation took place in the Abujhmaad/Maad area fairly deep in the forests; a large number of joint paramilitary forces about 3000 in number participated.

While the police reports speak of Naxalite camps destroyed, Maoists encountered and arrested, the Maoist spokesperson claims that houses were burnt down, adivaasi villagers were beaten, including beaten to death, and those arrested have not been produced before courts.

During the phase of “Salwa Judum” about 500 deaths were documented on affidavit in a part of South Bastar alone, and these affidavits have been filed in the Supreme Court by Kartam Joga and others. Kartam Joga is a senior CPI leader who is now in jail on false allegations of participating in the Tadmetla attack on the CRPF. This case, linked with the Nandini Sundar case, is awaiting final adjudication in the Supreme Court.

Another list of 192 extra judicial killings, alleged to have occurred in Dantewada during Operation Green Hunt, between 2009 and 2011, has been submitted by the National PUCL with a request for investigation/enquiry before the NHRC, but no action seems to have been taken so far.

In the above circumstances, certain issues arise before us in the human rights community.

Free and independent reporting in the media of the ongoing Operations would be the only source of information regarding what is happening in these interior areas. How do we, together with journalists associations, ensure journalists are protected ?

Since an extremely hostile atmosphere has been created vis-à-vis Civil Liberties groups in Chhattisgarh, particularly in Bastar, Dantewada, how do we collectively set up some effective and sufficiently high powered human rights monitoring ?

How do we ensure that earlier enquiries pending before the NHRC are completed effectively and expeditiously ?

The recent affidavit of the CBI in the Supreme Court that, when they went to investigate the Morpalli-Tadmetla-Timmapur arson incident, as directed by the Supreme Court, they were fired upon by the Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Force (SPOs) is particularly an issue of great concern, and the manner in which it is dealt with by the Supreme Court would be very important.

Since, in the circumstances, the possibility of killings of non-combatant villagers is enormous, how do we campaign to ensure strict adherence to the NHRC guidelines that whenever a complaint is made alleging that an encounter is a false one, it must be effectively and fairly investigated into ?

The role of the judiciary when arrested persons are not produced before the courts is crucial. If habeas corpus petitions are not effective in the High Court, should we consider moving the Supreme Court directly ?

The Government is in a denial mode in which officially there is no armed conflict in this area. It is thus protecting itself from the operation of international conventions relating to the protection of human rights. How can this be effectively
countered ?

Please do send your comments and suggestions.

Sudha Bharadwaj
General Secretary
Chhattisgarh PUCL.

Appendix A : Nai Dunia (Bilaspur Edition, 19th March 2012)

Naxalite firing on helicopter in Abujhmaad

Narayanpur. In Operation Vijay carried out by the police for five days with the purpose of liberating three villages in Naxalite-dominated Abujhmaad from the Naxalites, the police liberated three villages Jatwaar, Hikonaar, and Toke where the Naxalites had their school, Anganwadi and farmhouse. During this operation the police demolished several camps of the Naxalites. In about a dozen encounters three Naxalites were arrested. One of these was a member of the Childrens’ Action Team.

The Superintendent of Police said that in the course of this when the helicopter reached to take the injured jawaans, the Naxalites fired on it, due to which two bullets hit the helicopter but no major incident occurred. During the operation the police recovered apart from weapons, explosives, a large quantity of Naxalite literature, articles of daily use and pamphlets. SP Mayank Shrivastava, after returning from the 5 day operation said that that there had been continuous information that in three villages of the Ghamandi Panchayat of Abujhmaad – Toke, Hikonaar and Jatvar – where Naxalites had established their empire and were running their own school and anganwaadi (crèche) and were working against democracy. At the same place there had been information that the villagers were cultivating crops on their own lands for them.

On this basis a joint team of the Police which included 8 Officers and jawans of the CRPF, COBRA, and District Police Force left for the jungles of Abujhmaad under the name of Operation Vijay, since there are no means of transportation in Abujhmaad. In this way it took about 2 to 3 days to cover a distance of about 45 km. In order to reach these villages, encounters with Naxalites took place about a dozen times in which two jawaans of the COBRA were also injured. There is also a possibility that several Naxalites were also killed in these encounters though they were not successful in recovering even one dead body. But there is information that one senior Naxalite has been injured. In these encounters several camps of Naxalites were demolished. In these camps, a large quantity of Naxal literature, and items of daily use were also recovered, but since the distance was too much so most of the recovered materials were destroyed on the spot.

SP Mr Shrivastava said that when the helicopter had come to Jatvar to airlift the injured jawaans, during that time the Naxalites had also fired on the helicopter owing to which 2 bullets hit the helicopter. During the operation three Naxalites were arrested with weapons – Ghasiraam Vadde, Betia Ram Vadde and Sadhuram of the Baal Action Team (Children’s Action Team) were arrested. One 303 Rifle, one 12 bore gun and 4 Bharmaar guns (country made), a large quantity of live cartridges, electric wire, multimeter, Printer, Naxal literature, Naxalite uniforms etc were recovered. Apart from this there are allegations that Jenigota and another person were injured in police firing. It was also alleged that rice, lentils, chickens and other household items were looted from several houses. Naxalites have said that Boye, Raju, Paali, Maalu, Mangi were beaten up very badly and Sanuu Podadi, Vakte Badde of Ikunaar; and Lalsu Vedde, Vitiya Vedde …. [incomplete in the newspaper]

Appendix B : Patrika (Bilaspur Edition, 20th March 2012)

Police entered Abujhmaad for the first time

Operation Haka – Explosives and arms found in large quantity. Dozens of camps of Maoists destroyed, Operation went on in 450 km thick jungle.

Reached in these areas :

[1] From Chhotedongar, Mardapaal, Kaknaar, and Bhatpaal up to Killam.
[2] From Matwaada and Bhairamgarh in Beejapur to Lekhavaada and Podgu.
[3] From Gadchiroli to Kohkameta, Iraqbhatti, Toke.

For the first time police entered 80 km within the stronghold of the Maoists. Chhattisgarh Police and CRPF carried out searching operations with 3000 strong force. In this period 13 Maoists were arrested and dozens of camps were destroyed. This Operation was carried out to raise the morale of the Police force. This major action was carried out two years after the bar on entering Abujhmaad had been lifted. According to DGP Anil Navaani, in this Operation named “Haka”, the police entered inaccessible jungle areas and destroyed the Maoist camps of Lekhavaada and Podgu.

Appendix C : Navbharat (Raipur Edition, 24th March 2012)

Terror of the Security Forces in Abujhmaad

On the lines of Salwa Judum, houses were burnt, adivaasis beaten up, death of two persons, several injured.

Naxalites alleged that the police is clearing the way for the Army.

Conspiracy is being hatched to chase off the adivaasis from Maad. Claiming that this Operation was a part of Green Hunt, Naxalite leader said that the armed forces, on the one hand, run the Civic Action Programme, and on the other, on the lines of Salwa Judum, they are hatching new conspiracies each day to burn houses, and to chase away adivaasis from Maad, so that the multinational corporations can capture the minerals and forest wealth of this area.

Raipur. Navbharat Samachar. The Naxalites were alleging that in the name of Operation, the security forces have wreaked terror on the adivaasis. During the Operation conducted from 13th to 18th March, the Security Forces raided a dozen villages in the Abujhmaad area and beat up several adivaasis, owing to which they have sustained injuries. The Naxalites have alleged that in this Operation some villagers have also been killed.

Through the statement and photographs released by the Maad-North Bastar Divisional Committee, its Secretary KA said that in these villages the security forces of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra conducted joint operations in these villages and caused large scale mayhem, to which the PLGA has also countered. In this encounter two jawaans of the COBRA battalion were injured. Naxalites have claimed that they have seized the rations of the security forces. It was alleged that this operation by the Security Forces was in order to clear the way for the Army. The Naxalite leader in his statement has said that the villagers of Godelmarka, Ikonaar, Jetvaaya, Podenaar and Toke villages have been affected the most. It has been said that an adivaasi named Dunga has been killed in the course of beating. It has also been said that some houses of the adivaasis have also been burnt. Idma Karu of Kodenaar has not been produced before the court even after being arrested by the police. In this statement issued, it was said that more than 3000 jawaans of the CRPF, STF, COBRA and BSF were involved.

Faking Democracy- Operation Green Hunt