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News & Views on the Revolutionary Left

Stop Salwa Judam; ACHR Director

Salwa Judum campaign criticised for human rights violations;

Ministry for developing areas suggested

Highest number of deaths were in Chattisgarh

"The claims of the security forces that all persons killed were
"naxalites" are far from the truth.

NEW DELHI: As many as 749 people were killed in the naxalite conflict in 2006, according to a report released by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) here on Wednesday. These include 285 civilians, 135 security personnel and 329 alleged naxalites, "Naxal Conflict in 2006" said.

Most killings were reported from Chhattisgarh (363), followed by Andhra Pradesh (135), Jharkhand (95), Maharashtra (60), Bihar (45), Orissa (25), West Bengal (22), Uttar Pradesh (2), Karnataka (1) and Madhya Pradesh (1).

While there was a decrease in the killings as compared to 2005 during which 892 people lost their lives, the Salwa Judum campaign and its disastrous consequences, such as the rights violations by the naxalites, the security forces and the Salwa Judum activists, captured centre stage. The report said the campaign led to the forcible displacement of 43,740 persons as of December 2006 in Dantewada district, the spread of the conflict to 1,427 police stations, and an increase in the striking capability of the naxalites.

"These acts of the Maoists constitute serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court," according to Suhas Chakma, ACHR director.
The naxalites, who frown at the lack of development, were blocking many development initiatives in the areas where they exercised control by targeting labourers, officials and companies. They were systematically targeting all government buildings that could provide shelter to security personnel, the report said.

"The claims of the security forces that all persons killed were "naxalites" are far from the truth.

"Wrong policies"

There have been credible reports of torture, rape and extra-judicial executions by the Salwa Judum activists and the security forces, especially in the process of forcibly bringing the villagers under the Salwa Judum fold," Mr. Chakma said.

"The Centre is supporting wrong policies."

The Salwa Judum campaign, which was responsible for 48.5 per cent of the total killings in Chhattisgarh, had more to do with local political considerations than resolving the naxalite conflict, Mr. Chakma said. 

The ACHR expressed concerns over the continued "law and order" approach of the
Government in dealing with the crisis as reflected by the creation of a division within the Home Ministry to address the naxalite conflict.

The report recommended the creation of a separate Ministry for speedy development of the naxalite-affected areas, similar to the Ministry for Development of the North-Eastern Region.

Also, it wanted the Centre to intervene and ask the Chhattisgarh Government to end the "Salwa Judum" campaign, not to bring civilians in conflict with the naxals, and investigate all allegations of human rights violations.


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posted by Bimal 12.1.07,


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