Bastar Solidarity Network (Delhi Chapter) Statement on Gadchiroli Massacre and the War against Adivasis in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.



Bastar Solidarity Network (Delhi Chapter) strongly condemns the continuous spate of killing and use of armed forces and sophisticated weaponry against the adivasi population of the country, simultaneously in Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Chattisgarh. The state is trying to justify these macabre killings and torture of the villagers as ‘encounters’ but from their
pattern of attack, it is clear that these are nothing but massacres of the adivasi population in the hinterland of the country.

In Jharkhand the joint forces of BSF, CRPF, COBRA, Jharkhand jaguar and Jharkhand police started a combing operation in the Kolhan forests of Jharkhand. It was reported in the local media that the security forces used mortars, rocket launchers and other such sophisticated
weapons. Although the security forces did not kill anyone in Jharkhand, but they squarely stopped the supply of food and water to villages for days, thereby starving the people, while the operation was on. They even arrested some local elected Adivasi representatives as ‘Maoist aid’.

The most macabre massacre of adivasis in recent times, was however conducted in Tadgaon in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra, by the C-60 forces along with CRPF, on the 22nd and 23rd of April. Almost 40 people were brutally killed in this action, which included many
unarmed villagers along with cadres of CPI (Maoist), who had gone to attend a local
wedding. These people were surrounded from all sides and ruthlessly fired upon. Once again the security forces used deadly weapons including Under Barrel Grenade Launchers to kill the people. This massacre codenamed Operation Samadhan was masterminded by Vijay
Kumar, who is infamous for his role in strategizing the brutal war that was unleashed on the Tamil people by the Sinhala chauvinist state of Sri Lanka with the help of India. The police thereafter have barricaded the entire region and are not allowing even mediapersons to investigate the issue, which shows they have much to hide. The police theory of ‘encounter’
and ‘firing in self defense’ falls flat as there is not a single injury sustained by the security forces. In fact according to the official admission the number of casualty is much higher than the number of arms recovered, which clearly points at the fact that many of the people who were killed were unarmed. It clearly demolishes the justification of the security forces and
shows that this was in no way a proportionate response in self-defense against an armed Maoist attack. It was rather a one sided massacre. Many decomposed bodies were fished
out of the Indravati river, two days after the massacre.

The few ground reports that have emerged of this incident clearly shows how unarmed villagers were massacred in the action. One report mentioned that 8 youth of Gattepalli village, that includes 5 men and 3 women and of whom one is a school student, have all gone missing since the ‘encounter’. They had all gone to attend the marriage in Kansasur village. The security forces did not spare the people who were attending the wedding and kept firing at them killing the unarmed villagers.

In another separate incident, the security forces have killed eight cadres of CPI(Maoist) in Chhattisgarh. But once again the lack of any injuries sustained by security forces point at thefact that these people were either abducted and killed separately or were killed in one sided
firing. There are also reports about villagers being terrorized by the security forces to not open their mouth about the massacre to any ‘outsider’.

The supreme court of India, in the PUCL vs state of Maharashtra verdict of September 2014, had observed that killing in police ‘encounters’ clearly affect the credibility of rule of law. It had further laid down 16 guidelines as standard operating procedure for an independent
and credible investigation into every cases of ‘encounter.’ The SC had also mandated that no gallantry award can be awarded to any officer till the credibility of such ‘encounter’ is established. The celebration in the corporate media of this massacre and circulation of a video of the security forces dancing to film songs at their successful action, defies the Supreme Court guideline blatantly. Instead of doing an independent probe of the massacre of adivasis, and instead of protesting against the ban on reporting in the region, the corporate media is busy parroting and celebrating the state’s version.

Infact, this entire massacre has been orchestrated at the behest of the corporate. The entire adivasi hinterland of eastern and central India has been turned into a war-zone because of the government’s open support to private and multinational mining companies to plunder the minerals that lies underneath these regions. Such a plunder inevitably entails the loss of home and hearth for the adivasis who have not only lived there for generations but for
whom the forest is their home and source of livelihood. The move by the government to displace them is facing stiff resistance from the people. In order to crush this resistance the government has deployed battalions of security personnel and converted these places into a war zone. The infamous Operation Green Hunt launched under the previous regime in 2009, had only been intensified under the current fascist rule. The number of security personnels deployed in these adivasi areas has crossed 4 lakhs. They are heavily armed with imported weapons and they not only kill adivasis, by branding them as terrorists but also plunder their
homes, rape women and force them to get displaced.

This ugly war by the state yet again has claimed so many adivasi lives. Bastar Solidarity Network once again condemns in strongest possible terms the massacre of adivasis and the state’s bid to forcefully evict them from their homes by striking terror. We demand that proper FIRs be lodged against the guilty security forces under section 157 CrPC and a time
bound judicial enquiry should be held in order to punish the guilty.

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