Let’s move to our next topic of Internal security.
In may 2015, formers leaders of Salwa Judum formed Vikas Sangharsh Samiti in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh to carry forward the work of salwa judum in bastar. i.e. to finish Maoism in Bastar and bring development. Let’s know it in brief!
Let’s first know about Naxalism?
- Naxalism originated as a rebellion against marginalisation of the poor forest dwellers and gradually against the lack of development and poverty at local level in rural parts of eastern India.
- It began in 1967 with an armed peasant uprising in Naxalbari village in West Bengal. The term ‘Naxal’ came from the name of the village.
- The origin of the Naxals was a result of the split that took place in the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1967.
- It led to the formation of Communist Party of India (Marxist and Leninist).
- West Bengal being the centre of the movement initially, Naxalism spread to the lesser developed areas like Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.
Now, Let’s clear some air from – Salwa Judum?
- Senior Indian National Congress (INC) party leader Mahendra Karma launched the Salwa Judum in 2005 as a counterinsurgency measure to tackle the Maoist threat.
- Salwa Judum meaning “Peace March” or “Purification Hunt” in Gondi language.
- It is a militia mobilised and deployed as part of anti-insurgency operations in Chhattisgarh, aimed at countering Naxalite violence in the region.
- It was started as a people’s resistance movement against the Naxalites.
- The militia, consisting of local tribal youth, received support and training from the Chhattisgarh state government.
- Salwa Judum was followed in 2009 by Operation Green Hunt – which was actually just a more organised version of the Judum, minus the mass rallies and the forcible regrouping.
Then, Why did Supreme Court intervene in campaign?
- In 2011, Nandini Sundar v/s State of Chhattisgarh case, SC declared it illegal and unconstitutional and ordered its disbandment.
- The petitioner had alleged that the State of Chhattisgarh was actively encouraging a group called Salwa Judum, a civil vigilante structure, to counter Maoist insurgency, and that had resulted in violation of human rights.
- The SC had declared that the recruitment and arming of tribal people as Special Police Officers (SPOs), as a counter-insurgency measure, was illegal and unconstitutional.
- The SC forbade the state government from supporting any civilian vigilante force and declared that it was the responsibility of the state to prevent the operation of any such group.
How did Salwa Judum version 2.0 or Vikas sangharsh samiti (VSS) came into picture?
- Chhavindra Karma, former leader of anti-Maoist militia Salwa Judum and son of the founder of the militia, Mahendra Karma, has formed Vikas Sangharsh Samiti in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on 25 May, 2015.
- Vikas Sangharsh Samiti or Salwa Judum-2 born in Bastar again. [Yes, it is Salwa Judum version 2.0]
- The Samiti carry forward the work of Salwa Judum in Bastar.
- Today, the Vikas Sangharsh Samiti is offering the same justification that was given by the state of Chhattisgarh earlier, that tribal volunteered to fight against the Maoists.
Is there any Way forward to Salwa Judum 2.0?
- A Salwa Judum 2.0 could survive constitutional challenge only if its role is restricted to helping out the state machinery during natural and manmade disasters, and to the regulation of traffic.
- The employing and arming of untrained tribals in the fight against Maoists is unconstitutional and illegal — it doesn’t matter whether it goes by the name “Salwa Judum”, “Vikas Sangharsh Samiti” or any other.
Is Left Wing Extremism (LWE) Division of Home Ministry helpful?
- LWE Division was created w.e.f. October 19, 2006 in the Ministry of Home Affairs to effectively address the Left Wing Extremist insurgency in a holistic manner.
- The LWE Division implements security related schemes aimed at capacity building in the LWE affected States.
- The States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are considered LWE affected, although in varying degrees.
What concrete steps should be taken by Government in such Naxalites area?
- The Central government should form a separate ministry which will undertake the development of areas affected by Naxal activities.
- Ensure the safety of the civilians by stopping the Salwa Judum campaign and ensuring that no counter insurgency measures are taken by risking the lives of the civilians.
- Checking instances of human rights violation by the security forces and the Salwa Judum.
- Registering the crimes perpetrated by the security forces, Salwa Judum and the Maoists and bringing them to justice.
- Banning of Bal Mandal (The child division of Naxalites) with immediate effect.
- Ensuring safety of those who surrendered and those who lived in camps or were related with Salwa Judum activities.
Do you find any solutions on such impasse? Let us know!
Published with inputs from Arun | Image: Salwa Judum Hub