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

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.

Vedanta is out but corporate loot continues in Odisha: Local activists tell NAPM yatra

By Our Representative
Lok Shakti Abhiyan leader Prafulla Samantara, winner of the Goldman Environmental (also known as Green Nobel) Prize in 2017, has regretted that though Sundergarh in Odisha, like other forest areas, is a fifth schedule area, where Forest Rights Act (FRA) and Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) is applicable, but these laws are being “outrightly violated to facilitate corporate loot.”