Statements


Click here to read CPJC’s statement on the National Human Rights Commission’s recent report on Salwa Judum

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Campaign for Peace & Justice in Chhattisgarh

c/o F-10/12, GF, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi

Website: www.cpjc.wordpress.com Email: cpjcindia@gmail.com

An team of research scholars and students from various Universities across the country and independent researchers visited Dantewada and Bijapur districts of Chhattisgarh from 6th to the 10th of June 2008. The initiative was taken by the Campaign for Peace and Justice in Chhattisgarh a campaign group formed by individuals and organisations who are deeply concerned about the gross violation of human rights going on in Chhattisgarh.

During the four days, we visited a number of villages and a few camps and documented the testimonies of victims who recounted horrid stories of violence they have witnessed and experienced since the start of the Salwa Judum in 2005. As a team, our observations of the area are frightening as cases of killings, sexual crimes, destructions of villages and food stocks and gross human rights violations on a large scale are rampant. We believe that contrary to the Chhattisgarh Government’s assertion of Salwa Judum being a peaceful, spontaneous and autonomous movement, it is in fact a part of well concerted, militarised strategy on the part of the officialdom.

The Adivasis have narrated gruesome incidents of violence against them. Raids by the Judum members resulting in the loss of lives and property in the villages are a regular phenomenon. Loot, arson and torture as a means to coerce people to go to the Salwa Judum camps. In some cases, arson has been used as means not only to coerce people to go to Salwa Judum camps but also to prevent them from returning to their villages. We documented numerous instances of girls and women being raped and subject to other forms of sexual violence by Salwa Judum and security forces.

The atrocities don’t however end at the borders of the camps and in fact several cases of torture and murder have been reported from these camps. Basics such as food, water and sanitation have been denied to those in the camps. Those who stayed back in villages or ran away from Salwa Judum camps live in constant fear of yet another raid by the Judum. Their mobility and access to basics such education, health and weekly markets are severely restricted .

Acts of intimidation and violence by the forces in the pretext of protecting villagers and justifying it by branding them to be Naxalites seems to be a thought out strategy. The level of militarisation and criminalisation in Dantewada and Bijapur is frightening. Constant surveillance has insecurity and has created a tense, war like atmosphere. Our grave concern is that arming civilians as a counter insurgent strategy will eventually create a criminilised society where jungle raj will be the rule of the day.

You may be aware that the NHRC, pursuant to the Supreme Court order on 31st March 2008 has constituted a fact finding team which after a preliminary visit in May, had organised a public hearing on 10th June 2008 in Dantewada. Several people from various villages from across Dantewada and Bijapur attended this hearing and deposed before the commission. Our observations are presented to the National Human Rights Commission that arrived in Dantewada on the 10th of June 2008.

Our fear that the people who have been courageous enough to voice their discontent and give testimonies to NHRC being harassed and threatened by the militarized network. A group of IDPs who had fled Chhattisgarh to Andhra Pradesh due to the violence unleashed by Salwa Judum and had come to depose before the NHRC were detained and harassed at the Konta Police station on there way back to AP. We fear that people from villages within Chhattisgarh may also be harassed and tortured by the Salwa Judum.

[These are preliminary observations by the team presented at a press conference in Raipur on 11th June. We are in the process of preparing a detailed report which will be circulated shortly. ]

Team members: Kamal Nayan Choubey – Ph.d Scholar, Univ. of Delhi

Ranjay Kumar – Univ. of Delhi

Vikas Kumar – Univ. of Delhi

Preeti Chauhan– Univ. of Delhi

Sanchita Bakshi – Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

Aditya Swarup – NALSAR Univ of Law, Hyderabad.

Contact details: Praveen Mote-09313879073; Sridevi Panikkar-09868099304

Demands from the Chhattisgarh Government

  • Disband and disarm Salwa Judum immediately.
  • Stop appointing Special Police Officers.
  • Stop Recruiting children and adolescents below 18 years of age.
  • Allow tribal communities to return to their villages.
  • Government to rebuild burnt and broken homes.
  • Stop harassment and allow free access to journalists, civil society organization, and medical camp and education workers.
  • Repeal the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005
  • Create a conductive atmosphere for dialogue to find political resolution to political issues.
  • Stop arrests, detention and false implication of Human Rights Activists, Social Workers etc. and release all such persons.

Demands from the Government of India

  • Stop aiding and abetting Salwa Judum in the name of promoting “local resistance groups.”
  • Institute a high level independent enquiry into all acts of violence-rape, arson, loot, murder and disappearances by Salwa Judum and paramilitary forces and initiate criminal proceedings.
  • Recognize the right to live and dignity of internally displace people living outside Chhattisgarh and ensure their safety.
  • Create a conductive atmosphere for dialogue to find political resolution to political issues.

Demands from the Communist Party of India (Maoist)

  • Stop all forms of violence
  • Create a conductive atmosphere for dialogue to find political resolution to political issues.
  • Stop recruiting children and adolescents below 18 years of age.
  • Allow safe return of villagers to their home including the Salwa Judum supporters.

Appeal to Members of Parliament

  • Raise this issue in the parliament and demand a parliamentary debate on Ministry of Home Affairs’ policy of promoting “local resistance groups” in general and Salwa Judum in particular.
  • Institute a Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate the role played by the state police, political parties and Ministry of Home Affairs in creating the civil war situation.

Appeal to all concerned citizens

  • Please visit Dantewada to assess the situation yourself.
  • Raise your voice against Salwa Judum and the flagrant human rights violations in Chhattisgarh, wherever you are.

 

Statement by Peoples’ Movements and Concerned Citizens on Rani Bodli Attack

16 March 2007

We strongly condemn the massacre of police men and SPOs in Rani Bodli camp by the CPI (Maoist), in which 54 people were killed.

At the same time, we strongly condemn the Government’s policy of militarization in Chhattisgarh and its support for the Salwa Judum, which is an unaccountable militia. The Security forces and Salwa Judum have been killing people and burning villages. A large number of rapes have been reported. All democratic institutions have failed to take up this issue and the Maoists are now brutally retaliating.

We strongly object to the government’s use of using schools and ashram shalas as camps and the use of SPOs as human shields in the war against Naxalites. The government’s policy of miltarisation is clearly counterproductive. Law and order has broken down in Chhattisgarh, killings have increased by both sides and ordinary people are suffering. The BJP Government of Raman Singh has lost its credibility to continue in office since it has failed to protect the lives of the common people.

We object to the land acquisition that is taking place in Chhattisgarh under the cover of the ongoing violence in the state. TATAs, ESSAR and several other companies are getting the state government to act like their agent in this. From different tribal/dalit organisations in the state we learn that the BJP government has been violating all constitutional norms and legal systems blatantly to aid this brutal land grab.

We demand:

  1. that all paramilitary and security forces be withdrawn from adivasi areas
  2. the government declare a ceasefire with Maoists
  3. Salwa Judum should be immediately withdrawn
  4. People should be enabled to go back to their villages from so called rehabilitation camps
  5. An independent commission be set up to enquire into and punish all violations whether by the government, Maoists or Salwa Judum
  6. All land acquisitions (ongoing and planned) in the state be put on hold immediately
  7. State government to respect public hearings and people’s verdicts and not to coerce people or Gram Sabhas to give land for projects

The following are the signatories:

Signature/Name Movement /Organisation

Arun Khote National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights

Medha Patkar National Alliance of People’s Movements

Nandini Sunder Professor, Delhi University

Rajendra Ravi NAPM, Delhi

Shreeprakash INSAF

Vijayan MJ Delhi Solidarity Group

Bijulaal M.V Indian Social Institute

Mukta Srivastava NAPM, Mumbai

Sumanya Velamur Initiative, Mumbai