National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has called for a dialogue rather than increased militarisation for a political solution to the Maoist problem.
Asserting its opposition to the politics of violence and abduction, the Chhattisgarh unit of People’s Union for Civil Liberties also sought intervention by “democratic forces” to end the “spiral of violence” in the region.
Condemning the attack on Saturday on a convoy of Congressmen, the NAPM said that “the lives of those in power and leadership is important and so are the lives of common tribals (adivasis) who are being tortured, jailed and killed by security forces and Maoists alike. Both claim to represent the interests of tribals but their stance has only alienated them and perpetuated injustice on them. Their rights have often been violated resulting in a large number of tribals in jail on trumped up charges. In the same Durma valley, state administration violated all laws and procedures to facilitate land for Tata Steel.”
‘Green Hunt also attack on democracy’
“Even while politicians across the spectrum are terming this as an attack on democracy,” NAPM said, “let us not forget that every time tribals are jailed, killed, their house burnt, women raped and schools occupied to facilitate resource grab or termed as collateral damage in ‘Operation Green Hunt’, democracy is attacked and faith of citizens in the State’s ability to uphold justice and rule of law is shaken.”
It accused the Salwa Judum of worsening the situation in the region and charged that the State government pointed out: “It [Salwa Judum] was declared illegal and banned by the Supreme Court but the State government responded by making them part of the regular force.”
“Even as Salwa Judam wrecked untold miseries on tribals and continued to brand them as Maoists and their supporters, the administration failed to provide them justice. A democratically elected State government or the Centre cannot use the dictum of ‘you are with us or against us’. Their allegiance must be to the rule of law and to protect the citizens,” the Alliance said.
Asserting that “violence on both sides is condemnable and should be avoided forever,” it expressed fear that the latest ambush by Maoists would be used by the State to justify militarisation in the region and make lives of tribal people more difficult.
Underscoring the “urgent” need for political intervention and dialogue, NAPM said guns would not solve the problem. “Politics of violence and counter-violence will only make lives of tribals and others more difficult which will impact democratic norms and freedom of citizens as is obvious in the shrinking spaces for non-violent, democratic movements and arrests of activists.”
The statement was signed by, among others, Medha Patkar, Prafulla Samantara, Sunilam, Arundhati Dhuru, Vimal Bhai, Rajendra Ravi, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Ramakrishna Raju, Krishnakant, Sudhir Vombatkere, Meera, Seela M. and Madhuresh.