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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightFake encounters should...

Fake encounters should stop

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Twelve Maoists were killed in an encounter with security personnel in Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district on Friday morning. With this, the number of left-wing extremists killed in the state this year has risen to 103 - a news item that was prominently published in the news media on the 11th of this month. During the operation, two security personnel were injured when Maoists used an explosive device. This is the third Naxal hunt by the force in the last month, and the Bijapur hunt comes three weeks after an 'encounter' that killed 29 militants in Kanker district; the police press release added all the usual ingredients of an encounter story. The note also said that Chief Minister Vishnudev Sai congratulated the soldiers and senior officers who had performed a 'heroic act'. The police explained that the encounter took place on May 10, Friday at 6:00 am on the basis of information that the leader of Naxal terrorist group People's Liberation Guerrilla Army had mobilised with 100-150 people in the forest of Pidia, 450 km from the capital Raipur. Initially, the police informed that the 12 people who were killed could not be identified, but later, it was announced that six of them were militia cadres and the other six were Naxal armed forces. But within two days, the relatives of the victims came forward completely rejecting the stories of the police encounter. Locally-rooted media like 'The New Indian Express' and 'Mookanaik', quoting relatives, reported that the poor labourers who pick beedi leaves called tendu for their livelihood were systematically rounded up and shot dead by Naxal-hunting special forces.

As it is the leaf-plucking season, in the morning, the youths travel in groups. When the suspicious police and paramilitary forces followed them, they tried to flee but were surrounded and shot while fleeing. Among the 12 people who the police say are Maoist commanders and cadres, there is a class 5 student and a demented youth. The slain 40-year-old Sanu Havlamin's mother said he is hearing- and speech-challenged. Twice earlier, the police had called him for questioning and let him off. His mother, Sukle, says that the police beat her once when she told him about his problems. Why were these unarmed youths shot dead when they could have been arrested?', asks the mother. She rejects the police claim that Havlam's head carried a bounty of Rs 30,000. She reveals that her son goes to Gangalur every week, 30 km away, in broad daylight to buy ration. The father of the murdered Dula Tamov had the same to say. They don't know that their children had a price on their head. Everyone knows that children and relatives were killed from the notices put up by the police. The police's evasive reply was that even when the tribal families revealed so much about their own children, they were retaliating against those who shot them. Earlier, the Congress, led by former Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, had come forward with accusations of fakeness against the Kanker encounter. The BJP's response was that Congress is supporting terrorism.

At the same time, the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), which was organized by more than 35 civil rights organizations, reveals that the government is using Naxal hunting as a cover for tribal genocide and that since the BJP came to power, tribal massacres have increased in Chhattisgarh in the name of Naxals. The organization accuses the clandestine war on tribal farmers of disarming the Maoists as genocide. The regime has been carrying out armed attacks ranging from aerial bombardment using Israeli-made drones. Villages in Bastar have been bombed five times since January this year. CASR has openly said that the Sena has been left free to do anything in the name of eliminating Maoists. BJP administrations in various states are allocating land for corporations that have their eyes on natural resources. Mass killings in the name of Maoist conflict have become one of the ingenious ways of displacing the indigenous population for capitalist monopolies. That is why, as demanded by the opposition parties and civil rights organizations, a transparent investigation is needed in this regard, and if irregularities are found, action should be taken regardless of against whom. However, with the state being the beneficiary (and sometimes the sponsor) of many confrontational acts, it is questionable how effective it will be. In any case, India, the 'mother of democracy', needs to be freed from the demonic and subversive activities that are killing its own children. And the country must be saved from the destructive forces that are engaged in those treasonous and anti-civilian activities.

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TAGS:BJP governmentEditorialChhattisgarhfake enocounters
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