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PUCL Bulletin, September 2006

Lasting peace in Dantewara only through a political solution

Chhattisgarh PUCL

The Chhattisgarh PUCL is deeply grieved and disquieted over the events that have unfolded over the last three days in Errabore in Dantewara district of Chhattisgarh. PUCL has always maintained that unarmed non-combatant citizens should not be subjected to violence. And, in this context it condemns killing of unarmed men, women and children, and conveys its deep sympathy to the family of the bereaved.

At the same time, the killing in full view of Television Cameras and in the presence of armed security personnel of three persons reported by Salwa Judum activists to be naxalite sympathizers reveals the fact that the violence and killing in the area enjoys the open support of the State Government and the Security Forces. This also exposes the claim that the Salwa Judum was a spontaneous peace campaign.

Having said this, it is important to point out that the Errabore incidents confirm the PUCL's findings made six months ago that a near Civil War situation exists in Dantewara today. During this investigation, the PUCL had expressed its clear opinion that the Salwa Judum was not a spontaneous citizen's campaign but a government sponsored militarized campaign to forcibly remove people from their villages to the camps. The incidents at Errabore prove that the government has been totally incapable of providing security to these people.

PUCL has always maintained that the situation in the area cannot be solved in a militarized manner. Today, when the entire state machinery has collapsed, both the Central and the State governments are still engaged in further attempts at military intervention in the area, totally ignoring the urgent necessity to work towards a political solution.

In the wake of these terrible and tragic events, PUCL would like to draw the attention of the conscientious citizens, people's organisations and the government towards its recommendations made six-months ago that:

1. That all killings by the State, the Salwa Judum and the Maoists be stopped;

2. That the government sponsored Salwa Judum campaign be withdrawn immediately, and stop creating armed Village Defence Committees as part of the government's anti-naxal operations;

3. That the Government and the CPI (Maoists) ensure that people return to their homes in peace and security, and that people be assisted in regaining their livelihoods in their villages, and camps be dismantled;

4. That a high level Judicial Enquiry be instituted to investigate the violence against unarmed non-combatants during the so-called "peace campaign" named Salwa Judum, and the culprits be prosecuted;

5. In the context of the Civil War like situation in Dantewara, International norms and protocols be invoked in the effort to ensure lasting pace;

6. In the context of grave threats being posed to the Right to Life and Livelihood of the people being uprooted from their Jal, Jangal and Jameen as a result of various MoUs being signed with the Multinational Corporations as well as Indian Big Capital, the PUCL demands that all these MoUs be revoked in order to ensure the Constitutional Rights of the people of Bastar and Dantewara. Rajendra K Sail, President, Binayak Sen, General Secretary, Raipur, 19th July 2006

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014