CDRO’s Statement On Encounter of Maoists At Kanker-Narayanpur Border of Chhattisgarh

  • April 22, 2024



Press Release

19th April, 2024


On the 16th of April, at least 29 Maoists were killed by the security forces at the Kanker-Narayanpur border of Chhattisgarh. Though the government agencies have reported the killing of these Maoists as an encounter, the killings of 29 persons on one side with no loss or even serious injury among the security forces make one suspect that this was a unilateral assault. Later reports that appeared in the mainstream media claiming the biggest “anti-Naxal operation” since 2017 have given the detailed planning that went in to carry out these killings, thereby proving beyond doubt that it was not an encounter. According to media the deceased include more than 15 women. Many of them are alleged to be cadres who live in the village and are supposed to be informers of Maoists, as per the police. However, in the past, it was seen time and again that poor tribal women had to bear the brunt of the security forces. For example, on 2nd April of this year, 13 Maoists were killed in an 8-hour-long encounter. One of the persons killed was Kamli Kunjam. Somli, her mother, claimed that Kamli was deaf and had limited ability to speak. In her words, “My daughter couldn’t hear; she was deaf. She could not speak properly as well. How could she help Maoists?”


The long-term conflict between Maoists and government security forces has considerably impacted Bastar’s Adivasi people, especially women. Security forces have been accused multiple times of brutal sexual and physical violence against Adivasi women: in 2017, the National Human Rights Commission, prima facie, found allegations of rape, sexual and physical assault by state police personnel on 16 women to be true.


In 2018, a 23-year-old Adivasi woman said security forces raped her at her home in Bijapur district. This year, a 6-month-old baby was killed by a gunshot. While police said the Maoists killed her, locals say it happened when police opened fire at those protesting the felling of trees.


The successive governments in Delhi have looked at the Maoists as a law and order issue and have tried to wipe off Maoists through different efforts like Operation Greenhunt in the past. Narendra Modi-led BJP government had initiated Operation Samadhan-Prahar, and the present Operation Kagar should be seen as an extension of Operation Samadhan-Prahar. Since the BJP government came to power in Chhattisgarh in December 2023, action by the security forces has intensified – in 2024, as per the police reports, 79 Maoists have been killed, more than triple the number in 2023.


These military actions should be seen alongside the changes brought to the laws to facilitate the grabbing of mineral-rich forest land to set up industries by the crony capitalists and their imperialist partners. The easy passage of the “Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023” in the parliament or the absence of proper implementation of the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, 1996, which gives special powers to the Gram Sabhas in Scheduled Areas, especially for the management of natural resources, clearly brings out the lack of government willingness to improve the lives of the marginalisedsections of the society. The Maoists have often been seen championing social causes on behalf of the marginalised sections of society.The timing of the encounter operation just on the eve of parliamentary elections raises doubts about the government’s intentions over the whole encounter. It shows that both the central and state governments are not concerned about the plight of the people in general and the poor Adivasis in particular.


The military operations by the state are clear violations of the international covenants on civil and political rights, which restrain the government from conducting a war on their own citizens and bestow the right upon the rebels to defend their lives and safety by all means, including armed resistance. Further, it may be noted that in 2012, a fact-finding team from CDRO brought to daylight the cold-blooded murder of 17 Advasis in the villages of Sarkeguda, Kottaguda and Rajpenta in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh in the name of encounter. Later the findings of the judicial commission, led by former Madhya Pradesh High Court judge Justice VK Agarwal, supported the findings of the CDRO team. Also, in 2023, the CDRO team documented the unprecedented aerial bombings of tribal villages by the government, as well as several instances of state repression of the Anti-Camp Movement and matters of illegal forceful land acquisition to build roads and camps.


CDRO strongly condemns the present and the past use of state machinery, including military and armed forces, against the poor Adivasis.


The CDRO strongly feels the Maoist issue is a sociopolitical issue and needs to be resolved through political dialogue, not through military solutions.The military solution to wipe off Maoists through Operation Greenhunt, Samadhan-Prahar or Kagar may kill some Maoists but will not be able to wipe off the movement. Instead, the government should resolve the lopsided development model, which further impoverishes the poorest sections of society, if they are sincere in improving the lives of the Adivasis.


CDRO demands:

  • Condemns the use of armed forces to tackle socio-economic issues and demands an immediate withdrawal of armed forces to its barracks.


  • Stop the encounter killings of the tribals and the violation of the tribal women in the name of controlling the Maoists.


  • Institute a time-bound high-power judicial commission to go into the modus operandi of the forces.


  • Initiate unconditional dialogue for a political solution to the Maoist issue: start genuine implementation of PESA and FRA and stop the acquisition of forest and tribal lands for corporate plunder in the name of development.


(Asish Gupta)

(Tapas Chakraborty)

(Kranthi Chaitanya)


Coordinators, CDRO


Constituent Organisations of CDRO:

Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Punjab); Association for Democratic Rights (AFDR, Haryana), Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR, West Bengal); Asansol Civil Rights Association(West Bengal); Bandi Mukti Committee(West Bengal); Civil Liberties Committee (Andhra Pradesh); Civil Liberties Committee (Telangana); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (Maharashtra); Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR TamilNadu); Coordination for Human Rights (Manipur); Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (Assam); Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights; Peoples’Committee for Human Rights (Jammu and Kashmir); Peoples Democratic Forum(Karnataka); Jharkhand Council for Democratic Rights (Jharkhand); Peoples Union For Democratic Rights (Delhi); Peoples Union for Civil Rights (Haryana), Campaign for Peace & Democracy in Manipur, Delhi; Janakeeya Manushyaavakasha Prasthanam, Kerala


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