India: Conflict over Anti-Maoist Militias
Posted by D and I Consulting on July 14, 2011
Thanks to Revolutionary Frontlines for sharing this. The Indian state has declared war on the Adivasi (indigenous) people of India by forced displacement from their homes in order to pave the way for multinational corporations to extract resources from their land, such as limestone, dolomite, coal, and bauxite. The Maoists of India known as “Naxalites” have militantly defended the Adivasi people and have won the support of thousands of the poorest of the poor in India because of this. The Communist Party of India (Maoist) which leads this struggle against the repressive Indian state has been the target of many attacks, both physically and ideologically. Individuals who have spoken out in support of the Maoists, such as Arundhati Roy and Dr. Binayak Sen have faced arrest and threats from the State. India’s central government has now called for the regional government of Chhattisgarh to disband its anti-Maoist militias that were formed to terrorize the people including anyone suspected of being a Maoist supporter. This should not be seen as a victory – the Indian state has recently moved specialized armies into Maoist liberated areas in order to carry the murders of hundreds of individuals fighting for liberation.
MUNEEZA NAQVI, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW DELHI, July 06, 2011 – India’s Supreme Court has told the government of an eastern state to disband a militia being used to fight Maoist rebels, a move that was hailed Wednesday by rights activists.
The court’s order to the government of Chhattisgarh on Tuesday said the arming of mostly poor tribesmen was unconstitutional.
“It’s really a significant judgment. The judgment upholds constitutional principles,” said Nandini Sundar, a sociologist and rights activist who was one of the people who petitioned the court.
State officials were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
They have previously denied supporting the Salwa Judum militia and called it an independent movement that sprang up in response to atrocities committed by Maoist rebels. Rights groups deny that claim and say the vigilante group has, with the help of government forces, carried out brutal attacks that have displaced tens of thousands of people in the region in an attempt to crush the communist uprising.The Supreme Court also ordered the state government to stop recruiting and arming tribes people as special police officers.
Sundar said the court’s decision would have major repercussions across India and force other states battling Maoist rebels to reassess their strategies.
“You cannot be expedient and opportunistic in fighting an insurgency,” she said.
Federal Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said the government would study the court order to assess its impact on anti-Maoist operations in the country.
The rebels, known as Naxalites, have been fighting to create a communist state since 1967 and are active in several states. But Chhattisgarh, one of India’s poorest states, is the heartland of their struggle.
The rebels’ rallying cry of land and jobs for the poor resonates deeply with the population, many of them from India’s impoverished indigenous peoples and resentful of authorities who mine the region’s rich natural resources with little benefit to local residents.
The government has called the Maoists the country’s most serious internal security threat and in 2010 announced “Operation Green Hunt,” a push to flush out the rebels from their forest hide-outs.
In recent years about 2,000 people — including police, militants and civilians — have been killed in the violence.