Villagers in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh who were shifted into camps in mid 2005 apparently to be protected against Maoist attacks continue to live in sub-human conditions, without employment and on a single meal every day, a study conducted by a human rights NGO has found. The number of villagers, literally refugees in their own land, is more than 43,000 at present.
The NGO, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), said on Wednesday though the actual number of people killed in the Maoist conflict may have gone down in 2006, but because of the Chhattisgarh government's Salwa Judum (SJ) campaign, the situation has worsened in the state.
In its report, 'Naxal Conflict in 2006', which was released on Wednesday, ACHR has said that SJ not only accentuated the Naxalite conflict, it has also pushed the resolution of the conflict to the verge of impossible.
"The Centre, knowingly or unknowingly, has been made a fool (because of its support to the campaign). The SJ campaign, which has been extended to six blocks in the Dantewada district cannot resolve the conflict which is spread over 170 districts in 13 states across the country," ACHR director, Suresh Chakma.
Chakma said the SJ camps were similar to the ones that the Centre had set up in the 1960s and 1970s to house supporters of the Mizo National Front.
Chakma and his team extensively toured Bastar region in 2006, meeting the affected and collecting data about the conflict.
The report also found that Maoists now have access to sophisticated weapons and are squarely responsible for blocking development in the region. Maoists have also been involved in many cases of human rights violations and have ordered the killing of people in illegal jan adalats or public trials.
Chakma said that it is time that the Centre moved away from the "law and order" view of the conflict and initiate major development programmes. He demanded that a ministry on the lines of the one that looks after the development of the northeastern states should be formed.
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