The state should start peace talks and the Maoists must respond
We are deeply saddened at the indiscriminate killing of 18 adivasis in Kott-aguda Panchayat of Bijapur district as part of the security force’s combing operations.
Even if they were attending a Maoist meeting, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) should not have opened fire so carelessly knowing that villagers were present, and sexual assault is certainly not part of any ‘encounter’. Avoiding loss of civilian lives should be the highest priority for both sides. Instead of heeding the Supreme Court’s directions, the Chhattisgarh and central governments have consciously chosen to step up paramilitary operations, retain SPOs under the new name of Armed Auxiliary Force, and have continued to violate human rights on a large scale.
Even the CBI inquiry into the attack on Tadmetla and two other villages, which the court had directed should be completed within six weeks of the July 5, 2011, order, has been stalled by the state government, with the SPOs’ attacking the CBI itself. We reiterate the urgent need for the government to call off its combing operation and initiate peace talks, and for the Maoists to respond. We also reiterate the need for a judicial inquiry into this and all previous killings of adivasis from 2005.
Ramachandra Guha, EAS Sarma, Nandini Sundar, via email