New Delhi: An Open Discussion on the theme: KILL POVERTY NOT THE POOR-“STOP KILLING INNOCENT ADIVASIS” was held yesterday at Indian Social Institute, Lodhi Road,New Delhi, Monday 16th July 2012 by an joint initative of Mission Bhartiyam -National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO)
Many students, activists and academicians participated in discussion to share the views and to find out a common strategy to prevent any such incidents in future. Speakers included Swami Agnivesh, Dr John Dayal, Himanshu Kumar, Nandini Sunder,Advocate Mubeen Akthar, Bimal Bhai, Prof Ashutosh Kumar, Dr. Marianus Kujur and youth activists Anisuzaman.
Denial of justice to adivasis (scheduled tribes) and state violence directed at them continues even today despite official policies and declarations to the contrary. In 1990, the National Commission on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes found that the main causes of ‘atrocities’ were land disputes, alienation of tribal land, bonded labour, indebtedness, and non-payment of minimum wages. The adivasis are handicapped by poverty, illiteracy, economic dependence and ignorance of the law.
Recently the Indian state has intensified its eviction and extermination campaign against the adivasis of central and eastern India under the rubric of Operation Green Hunt. On the night of 28 June 2012 when the adivasi peasants of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta (Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh) gathered to plan the performance of the traditional festival Beej Pandum (seed festival), they were surrounded by hundreds of Police and Para-military forces of the Indian state. The armed forces resorted to indiscriminate firing killing 17 adivasis (including 6 minors) cold-blooded and several others were injured seriously. Two other villagers were likewise killed near Jagargunda village of Sukma district in the same night, and predictably, were shown as casualties of an ‘encounter’ between the Maoists and the armed forces.
As the testimonies of the eyewitnesses coming through the Media, Fact Finding Reports of different Civil / Democratic Right Teams and the statements of different social-political forces (including the Congress Party of Chhattisgarh ) now confirm that the killing of the adivasis was a heinous massacre committed by the Cobra battalion of the CRPF and the Chhattisgarh Police, under the command of top police officials. Even the Union Tribal Minister Mr. K C Deo has said that ‘17 innocent citizens, who were unarmed, who were wearing just a dhoti or a baniyan and who did not even have a sickle or a knife’ had been killed by the CRPF.
But still the central Home Minister and the top officials of CRPF are claiming that these adivasis have been killed in a "fierce" gunfight in the dense jungles of Dantewada on June 27-28 in a joint anti-Maoist operation by the CRPF and state police. This is really a matter of grave concern for all the justice loving progressive and democratic forces of our country.
Swami Agnivesh emphasized on a common strategy to fight with this problem, he told that people must have to know about truth on these reasons. He told that political solutions of these problems must come from the side of public. He told to apply tools of awareness and a nationwide common group to fight for right and to prevent any such incidents.
Himanshu Kumar, a well known activist who are working for adivasis, narrated letters written to him by adivasis and also shared his experiences and view point. He told that President of India is the main custodian of adivasis and thus it automatically becomes his responsibility to react and to come forward on such issue. We also should lodge complaints against guilty.
Prof Nandini Sunder, who recently visited the Bijapur to meet the tribes there described horrible situation there. She told that many things , due to many reasons, are unknown to general public and told that she told about hospitalized persons there whose medical assistance is being provided under the guns and handcuffed.
Bimal bhai said that the strategy should be such that it comes on front without fear. Any such attempt to suppress the voice of adivasis must be defeated by collective effort of adivasis and non adivasis.
Prof Ashutosh Kumar told that adivasis are the important part of Indian culture, while it is clear that corporate groups need minings and other works in forests and for that displacement of adivasis becomes necessary. All these things are related to inhumane development and capitalism.
Prof John Dayal described the issue such that there is a different thinking and approach of system that is not dependent over persons who are in government but in fact it is towards legality and technicality of the terms and provisions. He told that for example, centre directs about abandoning the security operations in case of human shield is provided in those areas, but who will define the 'human shield'? . He told that many such things are still exists that give loopholes in system to carry out such things.
Dr.Marianus Kujur described the problem with the division in society, with rich and poor and with powerfull and powerless. He also told that untill common urban population will not be aware enough to raise voice for their co citizens, the fight will be incomplete.
Youth activists Anisuzaman from Campus Front said “ This is not only the problem of adivasis but many other section of the nation like dalits,minorties and etc. Moreover the problem is coming from oneside which is the state.Thus all the opressed section come togather work against the oppression”.
Many students and youth activists were present there and they all agreed on building a common platform to fight on such humanitarian issue.
1. All the CRPF and CoBRA personnel who participated in the massacre near Sarkeguda village must be charged under Section 302 of IPC and under the SC, ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and prosecuted.
2. All the victim families of this massacre must be given appropriate compensation.
A Joint initiative by
National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO)