NHRC team in Chhattisgarh to probe ‘Salwa Judum’

May 18th, 2008 - 7:55 pm ICT by admin  


Raipur, May 18 (IANS) A National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) team is in Chhattisgarh’s southern Bastar region to probe allegations of human rights violations by ‘Salwa Judum’ cadres fighting Maoist guerrillas. The 13-member committee that landed here Saturday went straight to Bastar from where it split into two teams.

The team members visited Maoist violence-hit Bijapur and Dantewada districts where about 50,000 people have been uprooted from their villages and settled in 23 government-run makeshift camps. This has been done in a bid to isolate people from the Maoists.

The team is visiting the state following a Supreme Court order April 15 seeking a NHRC committee to probe alleged human rights violations by Salwa Judum cadres and submit a report within eight weeks.

It held discussions Saturday and Sunday with tribals settled in the camps and with senior government officials posted in Bastar region.

The team will spend a week in the state before returning to New Delhi May 24. Its members will also meet police officers about the feedback they get from Dantewada and Bijpaur camp settlers and from those caught up in the fight between insurgents and the Salwa Judum.

The villagers’ mass exodus began after June 2005 when a civil militia movement called Salwa Judum was started against the Maoist guerrillas. The government has provided arms and monetary support to the movement.

Human rights bodies allege that the state government has been arming poor tribal civilians in the name of suppressing the Maoist movement.

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