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Archive for August 22nd, 2008

India: Doctors Without Borders Banned from Maoist Areas

Posted by Rosa Harris on August 22, 2008

From the Asian Tribune – Wed, 2007-08-08

By Subash Mohapatra

The Chhattisgarh Government asked Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to stop its humanitarian and medical aid in the conflict hit rural villages of Chhattisgarh, a central tribal state of India. There are allegations that MSF is providing health services to Maoists rebels.Salwa Judum activistsSalwa Judum activists

MSF (Doctors without borders) is an international, medical, humanitarian aid movement. The organization provides urgently needed medical assistance without discrimination. By stopping the MSF to work in the remote villages affected by the Maoist insurgency, the government denies the right to life to thousands of indigenous people. The government itself is not present in these villages and is not providing any medical health services.

The state of Chhattisgarh in the heart of the tribal belt of India has witnessed Maoist rebel activities since the 1970s. The Maoist rebels (also called Naxalites) are mainly active in the remote tribal regions of the state. The tribal population, the Adivasis, are the base of their recruitment. A dramatic turn in the conflict occurred in 2005 with the formation of Salwa Judum. This state-sponsored paramilitary movement was created to counter the Naxalite threat. Since then, tens of thousands indigenous people were forced to abandon their villages and forests and to settle in Salwa Judum run relief camps.

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