Skip to main content

Naxal-infected Bastar region being turned into laboratory of Hindu nation, as RSS seeks to "purify" it: Report

A Bastar tribal whose daughter was picked up, killed
By Our Representative
An eight-person fact-finding team under the auspices of the All-India People’s Forum (AIPF) has found an unprecedented atmosphere of mutual suspicion and insecurity among the villagers of the Naxal-infected regions of Chhattisgarh it visited – Bastar, Dantewada, Sukma and Bijapur districts -- with the region fast turning into a Hindutva laboratory.
“The adivasi villagers are fearful that the police and paramilitary forces will brand them as Maoists”, a report prepared by the team says on the basis of testimonies of individual villagers, adding, “At the same time, they are also fearful that the Maoists will brand them as informers.”
“In areas where Christian minorities are present”, the report says, “RSS outfits are acting as a law unto themselves, terrorizing the minorities. They have no fear of stern action by the police because they feel they enjoy patronage of the government and the ruling party.”
Saying the region is turning into a "laboratory for Hindu nation", the report says, testimonies of Christians in Bastar district showed "systematic attempts to persecute Christian minorities; foment communal division and violence in adivasi villages; bend pro-adivasi laws to communal ends; and allow Hindutva groups to dictate to the police and administration."  
The report says, violence against the people of the region is happening in Bastar today “under cover of a war to ‘save Bastar from Maoism,’ or ‘make Bastar safe for democracy’,” adding, “The Constitution is in fact being trampled to ‘make Bastar safe for corporations’ and ‘purify Bastar for the RSS’.”
Pointing out that incidents in which Maoists unleash violence upon civilians, branding them informers and killing them are “extremely worrying”, the team in its 52-page report titled “Bastar: Where the Constitution Stands Suspended”, says, “A situation of polarization” exists in which “the State and the Maoists both put pressure on them saying they must perforce take one side or the other.”
 Suggesting that the main problem is related with failure of the government to provide basic social infrastructure, the report quotes a person living in a now disbanded anti-Maoist militant group Salwa Judum camp at Ketulnar near Kutru as saying, “My village is 40 km from here, there is no road, school or hospital in my village. The Maoists had abducted six people in my village, out of whom three were killed. The remaining three were badly beaten and then released.”
Team members of fact-finding team talking with villagers
In the camp, this person said, about 2,000 people lived, all of whom having either been brought from other villages. They worked as labourers for their livelihood. The report adds, Salwa Judum has been replaced now by organizations like Naxal Peedit Sangharsh Samiti, which lure those who suffer from Maoist violence into the camp, using them “politically”.
The report regrets, even after the Supreme Court directive against it, Salwa Judum is in operation under several names, one of them being Samajik Ekta Manch, which was dissolved “after its exposure by a recent India Today sting operation.”
“Senior police officials were caught on camera saying that this Manch was formed by the police to do ‘our work’ – to help the police by driving out ‘trouble-making elements’ like journalist Malini Subramaniam, Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group advocate Shalini Gera, and researcher and human rights activist Bela Bhatia from Bastar”, the report says.
Pointing out that the government’s policy of militarization is having disastrous effects in the region, the report states, “Above all, the space for democratic protests and the functioning of political parties and mass organizations is extremely circumscribed. Political parties like CPI and activists like Soni Sori who raise issues of human rights and civil liberties are subjected to harassment.”
Underlining that “villagers are extremely vulnerable to sexual violence by police and paramilitary personnel”, the report says, since the AIPF visit this June, “horrific case of rape and murder of the teenage girl Madkam Hidme in Gompad village has come to light.”
“The situation of elected people’s representatives is also worrisome, where the police demands that they openly become informers and facilitate fake surrenders, and they live in fear of Maoist violence”, the report says, adding, “There are people’s representatives who have been jailed and who have opposed state oppression on villagers.”
Members of the team included Madhya Pradesh MLA Dr Sunilam of Samajwadi Samagam, Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, Amlan Bhatacharya of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (West Bengal), two advocates, well-known researcher and activist Bela Bhatia, and Dantewada-based Aam Aadmi Party leader Soni Sori.
---
Click HERE for full report

Comments

TRENDING

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen