After Sukma attack, slain Congress leader’s son wants revival of Salwa Judum | india-news | Hindustan Times
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After Sukma attack, slain Congress leader’s son wants revival of Salwa Judum

Chavindra Karma, the son of Congress leader Mahendra Karma who had played a key role in raising the militia some 10 years ago before being brutally killed by the Maoists in 2013, is taking the lead in attempting to revive the vigilante group.

india Updated: May 18, 2017 07:57 IST
Ritesh Mishra
The site where Maoist militants killed 25 CRPF personnel in Sukma on April 24.
The site where Maoist militants killed 25 CRPF personnel in Sukma on April 24.(HT Photo)

The killing of 25 CRPF personnel in a militant ambush in south Sukma earlier this week has triggered fresh calls to revive Salwa Judum, the anti-Maoist private militia banned by the Supreme Court.

Chavindra Karma, the son of Congress leader Mahendra Karma who had played a key role in raising the militia some 10 years ago before being brutally killed by the Maoists in 2013, is taking the lead in attempting to revive the vigilante group.

“We cannot reveal the strategy of the movement now, but I can say that we cannot sit like this and must free Bastar from Maoists. I am discussing revival of a Judum-like movement with tribal leaders,” he told HT.

Emotions are running high in Chhattisgarh — a hotbed of Left-wing insurgency — following Monday’s attack that left 25 security personnel dead and six others injured. It was the worst Maoist attack since 2010 when 75 CRPF personnel were killed in Dantewada.

Chavindra is stated to have held several discussions with local leaders, exploring ways to revive the militia accused of rights abuses. Salwa Judum, which in local Gondi dialect means “Purification hunt” sparked nationwide condemnation as reports of atrocities piled up, eventually prompting the top court to intervene in 2011 and ban the militia.

The court declared the milita made up of local youths with government patronage as illegal and unconstitutional and ordered the Chhattisgarh government to recover all the arms and ammunition in its possession. The authorities were also ordered to investigate all instances of criminal activities of the Salwa Judum.

Chavindra, however, insisted that reviving an anti-Maoist campaign was imperative under present circumstances. “I respect the SC and no violence will be allowed in this movement, but the condition of tribals in Bastar is getting worse and this is correct time to hit-back,” he added.

However, several senior Chhattisgarh police officials were dismissive of Chavindra’s efforts. “He does not have support of the tribals and I don’t think he is capable of reviving the movement,” said an officer. Sattar Ali, once a trusted aide of Chavindra’s father, also remained unconvinced.