The Buck Stops at Your Door Mr. Chidambaram by Gladson Dungdung

The Buck Stops at Your Door Mr. Chidambaram

July 10, 2012
Gladson Dungdung

The Adivasis live and die with the Nature. They believe in the super
natural God, therefore; they worship the Nature in every occasion. The
Adivasis’ economy is totally based on the Agriculture and Forest,
which also depends merely on rainfall. Therefore, the villagers get
together and pray to their Super Natural God before and after the
harvesting. The Adivasi communities also have their own democracy,
which is totally based on ‘consent’, which they practice in every
village in every occasion. On 28 June, 2012, the Adivasis of
Kottaguda, Sarkeguda and Rajpenta village in Bijapur district of
Chhattisgarh had gathered at Kottaguda village to plan for the
performance of the traditional festival “Beej Pandum (seed Festival)
so that they would celebrate the festival and start sowing the seeds
on their lands as the Monsoon has reached to the region.

Unfortunately, 17 of them were attending this kind of meeting for the
last time in their life. The Cobra battalion of the CRPF and the
Chhattisgarh police, who were deployed in the region in the name of
elimination of the Maoists, surrounded the villagers and fired on them
without giving any signal to the villagers. Consequently, 16 of them
got bullets in their chests, heads and other parts of the body, and
died in the spot and 1 was brutally killed in the next morning. The
Security Forces claimed of killing 18 dreaded Maoists and celebrated
it as one of the grand successes in anti-Naxal Operations. Similarly,
P. Chidambaram, the Union Home Minister had also claimed that the
Security Forces had shot top Naxal leaders in Chhattisgarh, and when
the encounter was questioned he attempted to cover up it.

However, when the breaking news of encounter appeared in the
television screens and the print media, the story seems to be totally
untrue. The question immediately came into one’s mind was, how could
18 top Maoists have a meeting in a village, which is situated merely
at a distance of 3 km from the CRPF camp? The truth of Bijapur
encounter was finally revealed. A brave Journalist Aman Sethi, who has
been tirelessly reporting on the state sponsored crime against the
Adivasis of Chhattisgarh; this time also exposed the lies of the top
cops, the Chhattisgarh government and Home Minister P. Chidambaram.
According to his report, the security forces fired at a peaceful
gathering of villagers, killing 20 of them, including five children
aged 12-15, and sexually assaulted at least four girls during the
encounter. The conclusion of the story was no Maoists were present in
the village that day. The villagers had gathered to discuss the
upcoming seed festival, when the security forces fired on them, which
led to death of 20 villagers including 5 children.

The report of a three member Fact-Finding team comprising of Mr. J P
Rao, Mr. Kopa Kunjam and Dr. Nandini Sundar, who visited Kottaguda,
Sarkeguda and Lingagiri villages on 3rd and 4th July 2012 revealed the
further shocking facts. According to the report, these villages were
attack by the Salwa Judum Militia in 2005. They had killed 2 people
and almost all the houses in all three villages were burnt.
Consequently, the villagers had migrated to Andhra Pradesh and
returned to their villages only in 2009. They were again attacked by
the Security Forces this time, which led to death of 17 villagers
including 7 minors. Apart from that, 9 have been injured, and at least
5 women have been beaten, assaulted and molested.

When the truth was unearthed, the Union Home Minister and Architect of
the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ P. Chidambaram said ‘deeply sorry’ for
killing of innocent civilians. The pertinent question here would be,
is saying merely ‘sorry’ enough for brutal killing of 17 innocent
Adivasis? Secondly, why are the political parties keeping quit in this
matter especially the opposition party the BJP? Would they have
behaved in the similar manner if 17 innocent non-Adivasis would have
been killed in the cold-blooded murder? Will the BJP keep quit if the
similar incident takes place in the Congress rule state? Who is
responsible for massacre of innocent Adivasis? Is it not P.
Chidambaram, who has been deploying the Security Forces in the
Adivasis regions since, 2009 in the name of eliminating the Maoists?

The CRPF DG Vijay Kumar shamelessly justified the criminal acts of the
Security Forces saying that it was impossible for the forces to know
who they were firing at that night. He further says that the entire
area is a “very hazy world”, in which it is impossible to identify who
is a Naxal and who is not. The can be raised are why did the Security
Forces fire on the villagers if they didn’t know whom they were firing
on? Who had given them order to fire on the innocent villagers? And
can the Security Forces fire on anybody merely on the basis of
suspicion? The SDM Kuruvanshi, who has been appointed to investigate,
questions the villagers that why they were meeting at night? He also
doesn’t want to visit villagers but has summoned the villagers to his
office, which clearly indicates that the state is determined not only
to deny justice to the Adivasis but also continue the state sponsored
crime against them.

The Teheka’s editor Shoma Chaudhary raised a most important question
is her column ‘editor cut’ that Why is life in Bastar so cheap? A
simple answer to this question is, since the Indian state seems to
believe that all the Adivasis living in the forest regions across the
country are Maoists/Naxals, who are biggest threat to the ‘investment
climate’. The India’s Economist Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is
always worried about the investment climate rather than its
constitutional duty to protect the rights of its citizens. In fact,
the Indian State is determined to grab the resources of the Adivasi
regions at any cost, which will pave the way to India becoming the
super power. Therefore, the Security Forces have been deployed in the
forests to kill the Adivasis, who oppose to surrender their land,
forest, water and other natural resources to the Indian state in the
name of growth and development.

However, when we raise the question on fake encounter, the counter
question comes back to us is why we keep quite when the Maoists kill
the Security Forces? The answer for this question can be found in
another question i.e. why does the Indian State send the security
forces to the forest, where it didn’t reach in last 60 years? Is it
for the protection of the villagers or to facilitate the mineral loot?
If the Indian state sends the Security Forces to provide security to
the people, then why do the security forces kill the innocent
villagers, torture them and rape the women instead of protecting them?
For whose security, the Security Forces are deployed in the Forests?
Is it not true that the Security Forces are deployed in the forest to
protect the corporate interest rather than protecting the people?

Whatever may be the intellectual arguments, but the fact is that the
hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in anti-Naxal
operations across the country since 2009 but no major investigation
was done till the date. Therefore; the Corporate Home Minister P.
Chidambaram must leave his office, precisly because he is responsible
for the brutal killing of all the innocent villagers including 17
innocent Adivasis of Kottaguda, Sarkeguda and Rajpenta villages of
Chhattisgarh. The questions should be asked to Mr. P. Chidambaram that
is it enough to say sorry after taking away the precious lives of 17
innocent people? Will he go for the CBI probe in all the cases of fake
encounters took place in anti-Naxal operations across the country? And
will he punish the top cops for killing the innocent civilians or let
them enjoy the impunity? Remember, the buck stops at your door Mr.

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist. He can be reached at