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Security forces' operations in adivasi areas compared with Russia-Ukraine war

By Our Representative 
Speakers at a media conference organized in Delhi by the advocacy group Forum against Corporatisation and Militarisation have strongly protested against “brutal state repression” of the tribal areas, pointing towards how they are being harassed by paramilitary forces in order to help the corporate interests seeking to expand their wings in adivasi areas.
Sainu Gota from Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, said that any dissent against iron ore mining in Gadchiroli is met with brutal repression from state forces. Forty thousand acres of land is being grabbed for the iron ore mining in Gadchiroli alone livelihood of adivasis is completely dependent on the forests. Paramilitary forces harass people when they go to collect the forest produce.
Rajashree Lekhami from Gadchiroli, working with the Gram Sabha, said that the laws which are made for the adivasis are not being followed. The Parlakota river is getting polluted as a result of the mining. There is increasing presence of police camps as mining increases, which adivasis do not need the police camps. There is also fear among the adivasis because of the police camps. People hesitate to go to the forests to bring things they need because of the police camps.
Lalsu Nogoti, Zilla Parishad member of Gadchiroli, said that the primitive tribes are always targeted. No constitutional provisions like PESA and other laws belonging to 5th and 6th Schedules are negated completely and land is being grabbed for big mining projects benefiting the corporates. Additionally, the entry of big corporates means entry of paramilitary forces who harass, torture, rape, kill adivasis in fake encounters. In 100 villages around 25 people have been charged with UAPA.
Raghu from Moolvasi Bachao Manch, Silger, said that there is immense repression by the state forces daily at the protest sit in against setting up of police camp in Silger. All the assurances given by the government are proving false. Tens of adivasis are being picked up by the police and are charged with false cases by branding them as Maoists. Even the people who were celebrating Constitution Day were arrested under flimsy charges.
Gajendra from Moolvasi Bachao Manch, Silger, said that the adivasis also need development but not at the cost of their land, natural resources and culture. The protestors are being threatened by the police and administration by lodging false cases and death threats. He himself along with Raghu another leader of the Silger movement were stripped and beaten up by the police for five days which resulted in severe injuries.
Anil Kisku from Jharkhand Jan Sangarsh Morcha spoke on the anti-camp and anti-mining resistance that is going in various parts of Jharkhand. He said, innocent adivasi youth are being picked up and killed in the name of ‘encounter’ by the paramilitary forces. In the Parasnath mountains of Jharkhand, tens of police camps are being built. The police do not even inform the families of those they detain or arrest.
He added, one individual was detained by the police and the falsely implicated in a case. In Dholpatta, in 2017 June, a person named Motilal Baske was killed by the security forces, and was described as a Maoist. When it was publicised in the media, people checked and it was found out that he was no Maoist.
Rupesh Kumar Singh, independent journalist from Jharkhand, spoke about Operation Samadhan-Prahar. He said that like Operation Green Hunt, the Indian government is waging a new war against adivasis of central and eastern India for looting the mineral rich land. Immense militarisation is underway in various parts of the country under this operation. There is unholy alliance of the Central government and the State government to silence the voices of adivasis protesting against setting up of police camps and looting the natural resources.
Himanshu Kumar, prominent Gandhian and human rights activist, spoke about the abuse of power by paramilitary forces in Chhattisgarh and various other states like Jharkhand and Maharashtra. He said, the adivasis face the attack of the government because they live in areas that area mineral rich. Most number of paramilitary forces are in adivasi locations in order to help corporates to exploit minerals. A perennial war is going on against the people in central Indian states, which can only be compared with the Ukraine-Russia war.

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