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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Land and rights, not police camps!

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The struggle of Adivasis against the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) police camps is their assertion to preserve their rights over their land, the dignity and self-respect as tribal people. As forest dwellers and stewards of nature, their role as protector of land and natural resources is their very life and survival.

In a clear case of undermining Indigenous Peoplesโ€™ human rights, as many asย 296 Adivasis (indigenous tribes) of 38 villagesย were injured seriously after the brutal attack by CRPF in Dandakaranya forest areas in Central India last May 17, 2021. Three villagers including aย pregnant woman diedย from injuries after the police opened fire on protesters which caused a mass stampede.

Villagers from around 30 villages and also from the Sarv Adivasi Samaj (SAS), an umbrella organisation of tribals in the region, have been protestingย  the setting up ofย CRPF camp in Bastarโ€™s Silger villageย on the borders of Bijapur and Sukma districts in Chhattisgarh in Central India. Theย Silger CRPF camp put up on May 12ย is among the latest security installations in Southern areas of Chhattisgarh.ย In the past months,ย tens of thousandsย of tribal person and villagers joined sit down protests and mass demonstrations against the camps.

Increasing police and paramilitary encampment in communities, such as the CRPF camps in Dandakaranya, areย linked to brutality and impunity,ย human rights violations,ย illegal arrests, torture,ย disappearancesย andย extrajudicial killings. Police camps have alsoย protected and facilitated the entryย of big corporations to intrude tribal lands. The Government of India has long exploitedย  the Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh area forย iron ore mining, worsening Adivasis economic suffering. The forest land in Dandakaranya has long been the source of livelihood and identity, cultivated by Adivasi families for generations. All these have continuously been disregarded by the government by violating their right to self-determination.

The Government of Indiaโ€™ obsession in militarizing the area is part of counter-insurgency operations to eliminate the revolutionary forces in Central India across the States of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and West Bengal. Across India, it resulted in massacres, indiscriminate killings and ever-escalating terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. Being theย third largest military spenderย andย top military arms importer in the world, India is hell bent to the imperialist counter-insurgency program to quell all forms of dissent than to address the root cause of peopleโ€™s armed resistance.

For Adivasis, the marginalized and most oppressed who have long suffered exploitation from feudal lords, state fascism and terror, the struggle continues until their right to land, genuine social change, development and social emancipation is realized.

End militarization and repression of Adivasi in Dandakaranya forest!

End militarization and state terror in Dandakaranya forest and all tribal villages! Pull-out CRPF camps in Adivasis and tribal communities!

Free all villages illegally arrested immediately and unconditionally! Justice for all the victims of the May 17 Massacre! End impunity, hold the CRPF, police, paramilitary and Government of India accountable!

Stop the killings and rights violations of the Adivasis and indigenous communities in India!

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