16th July 2015


The People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh condemns in no uncertain terms the abduction and killing of four constables belonging to the Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Force (erstwhile SPOs) attached to Police Station Bedre, district Bijapur by the Maoists. As per newspaper reports, these constables were killed in a Janadalat on account of atrocities committed by them during the Salwa Judum campaign. Two of the constables had been travelling in public transport – a bus – and were taken down by Maoists searching the bus. The bodies of the dead constables were left on the Kutru Road by the Maoists along with pamphlets and banners. PUCL reiterates its principled stand against such politics of abduction and murder. Human rights organisations internationally have repeatedly insisted on the Geneva Conventions being complied with by all parties to armed conflict. Meanwhile three villagers picked up by Maoists from Village Rawas, district Kanker were released last evening.

The incident comes in the wake of the announcement made in May by Chavindra Karma, son of slain Salwa Judum leader Mahendra Karma, that Salwa Judum II would be launched under the banner of “Vikas Sangharsh Samiti”. The Bastar IG SRP Kalluri and Chief Minister Raman Singh had supported this move. The Congress Party on the other hand had disassociated itself from such movement stating that the Supreme Court in its judgment in “Nandini Sundar & Ors” has directed disbanding of the Salwa Judum and similarly constituted armed vigilantes as unconstitutional. A rally proposed by the Vikas Sangharsh Samiti a month ago had to be cancelled owing to Maoist threats.

The past few months have seen widespread agitations in Bastar region on account of various proposed industrial projects. Thousands of villagers have been protesting against the proposed Ultra Mega Steel Plant at Dilmili and the Nagarnar- Vishakhapatnam Slurry Pipeline in district Bastar, and the Polavaram Dam in district Sukma. The Chhattisgarh government must seize the opportunity to have a dialogue with the village communities and instill confidence in them in the Rule of Law, the social welfare obligations of the State and the autonomy granted under the scheme of the Scheduled Areas. This would be much more effective in weaning the people away from violent rebellion, than mere military operations which often fail for lack of local intelligence. Today the concentration of security forces per lakh of population in Bastar region is 1773, as opposed to 139 for all-India, 169 for Chhattisgarh, and about 800 for Kashmir. Recently the DG CRPF Prakash Singh in a press conference in Koraput, Odisha had stated that if need be drones may be deployed to wipe out Naxalite camps deep in the forests of Bastar.  On the other hand, of the 2,918 schools being closed down in Chhattisgarh on account of “rationalization”, 782 of them lie in the Maoist conflict-affected region of Bastar.

Lakhan Singh                                                                                                                                      Sudha Bharadwaj

President                                                                                                                                            General Secretary