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'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk
 
The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.
In a statement, it said, the information it has received suggests that "they were villagers from the nearby Pedia village who were out to gather leaves, a long-term traditional agrarian practice for Adivasi peasants during this season."
Quoting widowed wives and children of the murdered peasants, FACAM claimed, "They were dragged by the paramilitary personnel while they were gathering the leaves and shot dead."

Text:

On 11th May 2024, twelve people from Chhattisgarh were killed in a fake encounter by the paramilitary forces of the Indian state, which claimed that they were all members of the banned CPI (Maoist) killed in exchange of fire. FACAM has received information that they were villagers from the nearby Pedia village who were out to gather leaves, a long-term traditional agrarian practice for Adivasi peasants during this season. According to the villagers, the widowed wives and children of the murdered peasants, they were dragged by the paramilitary personnel while they were gathering the leaves and shot dead. The government later reported this as killings during an encounter with the armed forces of the Maoists.
While a delegation of democratic rights activists, widows, children, family and well-wishers of the murdered villagers which went to seek the bodies and register their protest against this fake encounter was shunned from the Bijapur District Collector’s office, 30 Adivasi peasants were detained for protesting against this incident. As of this writing, only 25 of them have been released. The Bijapur District Collector did not hand over the bodies of the murdered villagers, raising further suspicions regarding the Indian state’s claims.
This is not an isolated instance but is part of the escalation that began on 1st January 2024 with the initiation of Operation Kagar in Abujmarh area and the leap of Operation Samadhan-Prahar into the fascist Surajkund Scheme. A similar instance happened on the 19th January 2024. Madkam Soni, Punem Nangi from Nendra village, Bijapur and Karem Kosa from Gotum village, Bijapur were killed by the security forces when they were going to join a protest in Gorna village against the paramilitary camps being set up in their area. The state has claimed that all three individuals were Maoists. Similarly, on 27th January, Podiya Mandavi from Pedka village died in police custody after he was wrongfully detained by the police for his alleged involvement in a Maoist IED blast that took the lives of 10 police and paramilitary personnel. Villagers say that he was taken into custody while going to watch a cock fight, a common pasttime activity among the villagers. Knife marks on his body suggest he was tortured in custody and an FIR remains to be filed regarding this death even after democratic rights activists tried to do so.
The Indian state’s war against Naxalism is practically a genocidal war on people, particularly the Adivasi peasants
Since the beginning of 2024, the Indian state’s officials have thumped their chests regarding their purported successes against the Maoists, with many of their statements alleging that they are successfully killing off leading Maoists, but most such incidents are tainted with human rights violations. Be it the killings in Kanker on 16th April where 17 unarmed and injured combatants were shot dead in clear violations of the Geneva Convention, or the recent 30th April incident where allegedly 10 Maoists were killed which later turned out to be 6 Maoists and 4 Adivasi peasants who were shot dead in cold blood.
The Indian state’s “war against Naxalism” is practically a genocidal war on people, particularly the Adivasi peasants who are resisting corporate loot of India’s natural resources, the grabbing of their lands for imperialist and big Indian corporate interests and the rampant militarization in Bastar and rest of India’s resource-rich regions which aim to quell any and all resistance, armed or unarmed, towards corporatization. FACAM condemns the continuous fake encounters in the name of anti-Maoist operations.
Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM) demands:
  • An independent investigation into the fake encounters that have happened since 1st January 2024 with a retired Supreme Court judge at its helm.
  • An end to the draconian Surajkund Scheme and Operation Samadhan-Prahar.
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*All India Revolutionary Students Organization (AIRSO), All India Students Association (AISA), All India Revolutionary Women’s Organization (AIRWO), Ambedkar Student Association- DU (ASA-DU), Bhim Army Student Federation (BASF), Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organization (BASO), Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Collective, Common Teachers Forum (CTF), Democratic Students Union (DSU), Fraternity Movement, Nazariya Magazine, Progressive Lawyers Association (PLA), Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS), Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), Vishwavidyalaya Chhatra Federation (VCF)

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