An adivasi protest in Chhattisgarh is gaining strength – but not getting much attention
A protest that began last Monday with about 1,000 people has now swollen to more than 5,000. As Scroll reported last week, the arrest of a primary school cook, Hadma Mutchaki of Hamirgarh village, brought 1,000 adivasis to demonstrate outside Tongal police station in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district on February 16. The police had charged Mutchaki with aiding the Maoists in the murder of a police informer. But the protestors said he was innocent and had been wrongly framed.
Men, women and children sat on the national highway outside the police station, blocking it for 17 hours, and bringing all road traffic between Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh to a halt. The next day, activists Soni Sori and Bela Bhatia persuaded the protestors to move from the highway to a ground near the police station. But the protest itself did not dissipate. It gained strength after the police detained three of the protestors, Hidma Kawasi, Ramji Mandavi and Podiyami Budhra. The final straw came when the three men emerged from police custody with injury marks. They alleged they had been beaten up while in custody. As the news spread, thousands of adivasis from villages across Darbha, Kuakonda, Chhindgarh and Sukma blocks of Bastar and Sukma districts converged on Tongpal on Thursday.
Maoists Vow for Armed Struggle
KORAPUT: The Maoists would continue their armed fight against police for the rights of poor in tribal areas, stated secretary of Koraput-Srikakulam Divisional Committee of Maoists in a press release on Monday. “Maoist outfits in Narayanpatna have been working since long for tribal rights and have been successful in ending the harassment by landlords. The liquor trade has been stopped and the land of tribals returned to them through revolutionary means,” it stated.
Opposing the Green Hunt operation of police in the region, Daya stated in the release that the efforts of the State and the Centre to stop Maoist movement in Narayanpatna would fail as they would continue their revolution. “The police operation has motivated the landlords to exploit the tribals again. Our fight is for saving the tribal land, forest and ensuring that the tribals have their share of all round development,” it stated.
Naxal carrying reward held in Bijapur
A naxal, carrying cash reward of Rs 6000 on his head was arrested from Chhattisarh’s insurgency-hit Bijapur district, police said. Roopsingh (35), a militia cadre, was apprehended by a joint team of security forces during an area domination exercise in the forests of Bhairamgarh police station limits last evening, Bijapur Superintendent of Police KL Dhruv told. The squad of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and district force was dispatched from Bhairamgarh towards Titondi and Ghusawad forests for an area domination operation.
Near Ghusawad, they nabbed the rebel while he was keeping an eye on the movement of security forces, the SP said. The arrested cadre was involved in as many as six cases of naxal incidents including murder, attempt to murder and attacks on the security forces in the region, he said.
Explosives found under culvert, diffused in Jharkhand
Security Force personnel on February 22 recovered explosives planted under a culvert near Penk-Kanchkiro within the Nawadih Police Station limits in Bokaro District, a senior police officer said, reports Business Standard. The recovery was made when the security personnel were on an anti-naxal [Left wing Extremist (LWE)] operation in the Maoist-stronghold area, Superintendent of Police, A Vijayalaxmi said. She said the security personnel spotted a 10 kg can-bomb planted under a culvert, which was recovered and defused.
CRPF outsources Copters for anti-Naxal operations
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which handles the anti-Naxal [Left Wing Extremist (LWE)] operations in the red zone of the country, has sought a private player to provide choppers for casualty evacuation, reports The New Indian Express. In the past, there have been incidents where the IAF pilots refused to fly into conflict zones to rescue the CRPF personnel. Satpal Kapoor, IG, CRPF, on February 2, 2015, signed a contract with Dhillon Aviation Private Ltd, a Jalandhar-based aviation firm, for supplying two Bell helicopters for a period of one year to begin with.
29 dead in Bastar ‘fake encounters’
The outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) has accused the Bastar police of killing 26 “civilians” and three “political workers” in fake encounters in the last one year in different parts of Bastar. In a press statement sent to The Hindu , the south regional committee (SRC) secretary of the CPI (Maoist), Ganesh Uike, alleged that 20 “civilians” were killed by the police and paramilitary forces in Bijapur district of Bastar between January 2014 and January 2015.
“Five civilians were killed in fake encounters in Sukma district, and one villager was killed by the police in Dantewada district. All of them were later declared Maoists.” He said three of his party workers — Jamali, Rambatti, Lakshmi — were also killed in staged encounters. “In the name of containing Maoism, security men are violating human rights of Bastar tribals,” he added.