The Government’s official stand on Salwa Judum has been that it is a ‘spontaneous’, ‘voluntary’ ‘peaceful’ movement against the Maoists initiated in June 2005. That it is a ‘Gandhian movement’. However, this picture of the Salwa Judum is far from accurate. The fact is that the Salwa Judum is being led by sections of local elites, contractors and traders, that it is officially part of anti-naxal initiatives, and that it is being actively supported by the State Government.
An official Government document – The Work proposal for the ‘People’s Movement against Naxalites’drawn up by the Collector of Dantewara in 2005, clearly spells out the modalities of the Salwa Judum’s operation. The document mentions the need to give the movement prominent leadership, specifies how much funding is necessary and what tasks must be conducted by which department, identification of villages, creation of Village Defence Committees, appointment of Special Police Officers (@ Rs1500 pm), training of Village Defence Committees and Special Police Officers, distribution of traditional arms like bows and arrows, axes, hoes, sticks etc., strengthening of a system of police informers, publicity and propaganda campaign against Naxalites.
…in order to make the Abhiyan successful and reach its desired end, it must be given security. The police chief must be directed to attend all the meetings. The responsibility for this will be the District Collector’s…rallies must also be given adequate protection. Police Head and Executive Magistrate must be given responsible for security.
…Police must now become aggressive. Sometime for unknown reasons, some excesses take place during the course of such operations and some innocent persons become victims of this action. By keeping silent on such matters during big operations, the support of higher-ups is necessary.