Condemn the Fake Encounter Killing of 12 Adivasi Villagers in Gangalloor, Chhattisgarh


  • May 13, 2024
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Local villagers and activists alleged that the 12 persons killed by security forces in Chhattisgarh were villagers from the nearby Pedia village who were out to gather tendu leaves.

 

Groundxero | May 13, 2024

 

On 11th May 2024, twelve Adivasi people in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur district, were killed in an encounter by the paramilitary forces of the Indian state, which claimed that they were all members of the banned CPI (Maoist) killed in exchange of fire.

 

Two days later, local villagers and activists on Sunday alleged that it was a fake encounter and those killed were civilians who were later branded by police as Maoist insurgents. A report in Hindustan Times quoted local villagers alleging that those killed by security forces were common villagers from the nearby villages who were out to gather leaves, a long-term traditional agrarian practice for Adivasi peasants during this season.

 

According to the villagers, the widowed wives and children of the murdered peasants, they were dragged by the paramilitary personnel while they were gathering leaves and shot dead. The government later reported this as killings during an encounter of the armed forces with the Maoists.

 

Soni Sori, social and tribal activist working in Bastar region, also alleged that the encounter was totally fake and that the police have killed innocent adivasis from Pidia and Itawar villages out in the forest to pluck tendu leaves.

 

The encounter in Bijapur Bijapur district on Friday took place barely three weeks after 29 Maoists were killed in a gunbattle in Kanker district of the state. With the latest killing, the number of Maoists killed this year in Chhattisgarh is now 103 — the highest since 2019.

 

Condemning the fake encounter killing of 12 Adivasi villagers, the Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM) has demanded an independent investigation into all the fake encounters that have happened in Chhattisgarh since 1st January 2024 with a retired Supreme Court judge at its helm. In a statement FACAM said:

The Indian state’s “war against Naxalism” is practically a genocidal war on people, particularly the Adivasi peasants who are resisting corporate loot of India’s natural resources, the grabbing of their lands for imperialist and big Indian corporate interests and the rampant militarization in Bastar and rest of India’s resource-rich regions which aim to quell any and all resistance, armed or unarmed, towards corporatization.

 

The full Statement of FACAM is given below:

 

On 11th May 2024, twelve people from Chhattisgarh were killed in a fake encounter by the paramilitary forces of the Indian state, which claimed that they were all members of the banned CPI (Maoist) killed in exchange of fire. FACAM has received information that they were villagers from the nearby Pedia village who were out to gather leaves, a long-term traditional agrarian practice for Adivasi peasants during this season. According to the villagers, the widowed wives and children of the murdered peasants, they were dragged by the paramilitary personnel while they were gathering the leaves and shot dead. The government later reported this as killings during an encounter with the armed forces of the Maoists.

 

While a delegation of democratic rights activists, widows, children, family and well-wishers of the murdered villagers which went to seek the bodies and register their protest against this fake encounter was shunned from the Bijapur District Collector’s office, 30 Adivasi peasants were detained for protesting against this incident. As of this writing, only 25 of them have been released. The Bijapur District Collector did not hand over the bodies of the murdered villagers, raising further suspicions regarding the Indian state’s claims.

 

This is not an isolated instance but is part of the escalation that began on 1st January 2024 with the initiation of Operation Kagar in Abujmarh area and the leap of Operation SAMADHAN-Prahar into the fascist Surajkund Scheme. A similar instance happened on the 19th January 2024. Madkam Soni, Punem Nangi from Nendra village, Bijapur and Karem Kosa from Gotum village, Bijapur were killed by the security forces when they were going to join a protest in Gorna village against the paramilitary camps being set up in their area. The state has claimed that all three individuals were Maoists. Similarly, on 27th January, Podiya Mandavi from Pedka village died in police custody after he was wrongfully detained by the police for his alleged involvement in a Maoist IED blast that took the lives of 10 police and paramilitary personnel. Villagers say that he was taken into custody while going to watch a cock fight, a common pasttime activity among the villagers. Knife marks on his body suggest he was tortured in custody and an FIR remains to be filed regarding this death even after democratic rights activists tried to do so.

 

Since the beginning of 2024, the Indian state’s officials have thumped their chests regarding their purported successes against the Maoists, with many of their statements alleging that they are successfully killing off leading Maoists, but most such incidents are tainted with human rights violations. Be it the killings in Kanker on 16th April where 17 unarmed and injured combatants were shot dead in clear violations of the Geneva Convention, or the recent 30th April incident where allegedly 10 Maoists were killed which later turned out to be 6 Maoists and 4 Adivasi peasants who were shot dead in cold blood.

 

The Indian state’s “war against Naxalism” is practically a genocidal war on people, particularly the Adivasi peasants who are resisting corporate loot of India’s natural resources, the grabbing of their lands for imperialist and big Indian corporate interests and the rampant militarization in Bastar and rest of India’s resource-rich regions which aim to quell any and all resistance, armed or unarmed, towards corporatization. FACAM condemns the continuous fake encounters in the name of anti-Maoist operations.

 

Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM) demands:

 

  1. An independent investigation into the fake encounters that have happened since 1st January 2024 with a retired Supreme Court judge at its helm.
  2. An end to the draconian Surajkund Scheme and Operation SAMADHAN-Prahar.

 

FORUM AGAINST CORPORATIZATION AND MILITARIZATION

(FACAM)

 

Constituents: All India Revolutionary Students Organization (AIRSO), All India Students Association (AISA), All India Revolutionary Women’s Organization (AIRWO), Ambedkar Student Association- DU (ASA-DU), Bhim Army Student Federation (BASF), Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organization (BASO), Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Collective, Common Teachers Forum (CTF), Democratic Students Union (DSU), Fraternity Movement, Nazariya Magazine, Progressive Lawyers Association (PLA), Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS), Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), Vishwavidyalaya Chhatra Federation (VCF)

 

 

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    By: Sudhir Kumar on May 15, 2024

    A clear manifestation of the state of creeping, parasitic, internal colonization and imperial power – explaining the militarization and turn to fascism over the last three decades – faced by the majority of our people, whether adivasi, dalit, OBC or minority; whether engaged in fishing, forestry, animal husbandry, farming, craft, cultural production or wage labour; whether in Chattisgarh, Kashmir, Manipur or numerous other places where people continue to struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination against an increasingly and brazenly coercive state. It is no less an indication of the limits of constitutionalism and electoral, representative, ‘democracy’, or indeed of the design for the centralization of power and the continued rule of dominant elites over vast and diverse communities fully capable of self-consciously governing themselves and co-existing, co-developing, co-evolving with others, including their more-than-human brethren!

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