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SALWA JUDUM: UNREPORTED INDIA’S HIDDEN WAR

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 11, 2007

Source: HRW

Have you heard about Salwa Judum – India’s hidden war in tribal dominated area of central Indian state Chhattisgarh? I am sorry! I haven’t until I attended at a People’s Convention at Hindi Bhavan, New Delhi organized by Campaign for Peace and Justice in Chhattisgarh (CPJC)!

Sociologists, activists and scholars have condemned Salwa Judum as State machinery’s license to its people to kill its own people in the name of counterfeit encountering Red Corridors.

Can you believe it happens in central part of this vast country, known and proud of being world’s largest democratic nation! Indian Medias of both print and electronic are known of their capability to unearth but it seems they are naïve on India’s hidden war against tribal communities of Chhattisgarh that makes India’s hidden war still hidden from nation’s eyes and ears.

CNN IBN in 2006 March warned the nation provoking the Home Ministry by exposing the Red Corridor of Naxals (Maoists) in tribal dominated areas of Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhan, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

A documentary film “India’s Hidden War” produced by reporter Sandra Jordan and Director James Brabazon was screened and left its images of deep wound and violation against the innocent tribal communities of Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh who used to live peacefully in their own world.

Sandra and James traveled deep into the Indian jungle to expose how India’s aspirations for a superpower economy are resulting in an increasingly bloody civil war. Government funded militias are battling red guerrillas of Naxal for control of India’s mineral resources. Hundreds of thousands of tribal villagers are caught in the crossfire between Red Corridors and Salwa Judum. (Picture: Salwa Judum Camp)

Salwa Judum in Gondi term means a peace campaign merged by capitalists, traders, land owners and elites to fight against Naxalites from mid 2005, often supported by state machineries, state police forces and politicians. Ever since Salwa Judum merged, the lives of people, particularly Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh, where 90% of its habitants are tribal communities, became turmoil.

According to CPJC, the leaders of Salwa Judum have empowered sections of tribal communities with bows and arrows, swords, axes and arms, marched from village to villages to ethnic cleanse from Naxalites. Villagers who refuse to join Salwa Judum have been treated as members or pro-Naxalites. Tribal villagers are forced to relief camps run by Salwa Judum and those who refused were severely beaten even murdered by Salwa Judum activist with support state police forces and Naga Regiments. [1]

Salwa Judum leadership composes from top political leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress. They appoint the Camp leaders, mostly from non-tribal communities. Under political leaders and non-tribal camp leaders, recruits the hot blood youngsters with indoctrinations of hate campaign into State Police Officers, who are trained and paid by Government machineries to join hands with ordinary innocent tribal villagers to loot, burn and rape in the name of retaliating Naxalites.

Salwa Judum, Naxalites and Security Forces have killed over 500 lives ever since the merge of Salwa Judum in Dantewada district alone. Violation against women includes the gang rap, custodial rape, mutilation of private parts, murder, continuous sexual abuse in villages, police stations and even so called relief camp of Salwa Judum. (Picture: Image of unsanitary in Salwa Judum Camps)

The lowest 70,000 to maximum 100,000 Villagers are forced to internal displacement and migration to neighboring states of Orissa, Jharkhan and Andhra Pradesh, who there suffer pathetic life situations.

Government of Chhattisgarh has setup 20 Salwa Judum camps in Dantewada district where it is reported to have 47,500 villagers taken shelter. The fact-finding team of CPJC reports that most of the relief camps face acute shortage of food, water and amenities. People are forced to live in extremely unsanitary conditions and did not allow tribal villagers to return back homes.

In some of the relief camps, Government is trying to convert into permanent villages of which many villagers are worried that their villages and cultivation lands with MSF in Chhattisgarh rich mineral resources would be one day turn into the clutches of capitalists, traders and elites to convert into mineral factories.

Challenging the constitution validity of Salwa Judum, the Supreme Court of India issued notice to Chhattisgarh government in May 2007 to stop Salwa Judum committing atrocities in the pretext of countering the Naxalite movement and urged to order impartial enquiry into atrocities committed by this group. [2]

The state machinery’s crime against its own people has been desperately kept hidden to the nation and world. The victims testified in People’s Convention that state machineries intentionally didn’t allow Medias to come and report on India’s hidden war of Salwa Judum.

Deep in India’s central jungle, weaker section of India’s tribal societies who already suffered socio-economic and educational backwardness, remains unheard of their man made and state sponsored crime on humanity. (Picture: Children without acute food and amenities)


The People’s Convention demands from Chhattisgarh Government

1. Disband and disarm Salwa Judum immediately.

2. Stop appointing Special Police Officers.

3. Stop Recruiting children and adolescents below 18 years of age.

4. Allow tribal communities to return to their villages.

5. Government to rebuild burnt and broken homes.

6. Stop harassment and allow free access to journalists, civil society organization, and medical camp and education workers.

7. Repeal the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005

8. Create a conductive atmosphere for dialogue to find political resolution to political issues.

9. Stop arrest, detention and false implication of Human Rights Activists, Social Workers etc. and release all such persons.


The People’s Convention demands from Government of India

1. Stop aiding and abetting Salwa Judum in the name of promoting “local resistance groups.”

2. 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.

3. Recognize the right to live and dignities of internally displace people living outside Chhattisgarh and ensure their safety.

4. Create a conductive atmosphere for dialogue to find political resolution to political issues.

People’s Convention demands from Naxalite

1. Stop all forms of violence

2. Create a conductive atmosphere for dialogue to find political resolution to political issues.

3. Stop recruiting children and adolescents below 18 years of age

4. Allow safe return of villagers to their home including Salwa Judum supporters.


[1] Salwa Judum: Civil War in Chhattisgarh, CPJC, New Delhi, 2007, p. 6.

[2] The Hindu, May 20, 2007

Images courtesy: http://cpjc.wordpress.com/tag/photographs/

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