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Regadgatta villagers lose year's harvest due to Salwa Judum attack

December 7, 2008 Regadgatta, District Dantewara, Chhattisgarh.

Himanshu Kumar of Vanvasi Chetana Ashram (VCA) has communicated that the villagers of Regadgatta faced atrocities yet again from the Salwa Judum.  Their harvested grains which were to feed them for the entire year to come, were burnt to ashes as members of the Salwa Judum carried out threats that they had reportedly issued earlier.  This Report  | VCA work supported by AID

Himanshuji's letter, translated by Aparna Limaye and Amit Ghosh:            

In spite of government claims that the Salwa Judum is a non-voilent entity , they have yet again shown their violent nature by burning down the crops of the villagers in Regadgatta.
As villagers described the situation to Himanshu Kumar, coordinator of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, on Dec. 07 2008 a group of people from the Bhejji Camp came to Regadgatta and set on fire about 15 piles of freshly harvested grains.  Before the villagers could act they lost their hard earned crop for the entire year. All night they wept about what they will feed their families for the rest of the year.
During this season, volunteers of VCA have heard from villagers in multiple places that the Salwa Judum has threatened to burn down all the harvests of villagers who chose to stay back to cultivate the land instead of joining the Judum. The Salwa Judum is alleged to have said that these villagers will be punished for not joining the Judum.  Regadgatta is a stark example of this open bullying.
We request the government to intervene in these matters of inhumanity. 

Himanshu Kumar
Vanvasi Chetana Ashram (VCA)
KanwalNagar, Dantewara

 

Members of Vanvasi Chetana Ashram (VCA) have appealed to the District Collector and Home Minister to punish the offendors, take note of the prior atrocities of Salwa Judum in the area, and disband Salwa Judum.  In addition, they have appealed for full compensation and rehabilitation of those who have been displaced and who have lost their crops and demanded that the state safeguard people's right to live in peace in their own villages.   Here is the text of the VCA press release, translated by Aparna Limaye.

 

We are all the citizens of Bastar and volunteer to help the communities here, who are victims  and survivors of the atrocities of the Naxalites and Salwa Judum.  The Salwa Judum has inflicted wide-spread atrocities on the local tribal communities/villagers which include destruction or property and crops, torturing and killing villagers for not joining the Judum and raping women. This has happened with the consent of the state government and involves security forces and SPO along with the Judum. Numerous innocent people have been held in custody under fallacious charges.  

We (volunteers at VCA and people of Bastar) have been constantly raising our voices and rallying against such heinous acts of crime. However, the government has supported such activities under false propaganda. Recently, the NHRC in its report has studied the ground realities. Based on this report and the Supreme Court ruling, the state government of Chattisgarh has issued orders to the Collectors of the Bijapur and Dantewara districts to rehabilitate every family of every village affected by the Salwa Judum and the special security forces /SPO and to compensate all victims for losses incurred due to destruction by these atrocities.  

However there has been no initiation of any such process to rehabilitate or compensate the victims. On the contrary, some of our volunteers of VCA have been restricted from visiting and helping the victims in the interior rural areas of the district by the police commissioner of Bijapur. We have been threatened against providing any help or interacting with the victims. This is a blatant defiance of the ruling of the Supreme Court of India and a clear hindrance to the path of progress/rehabilitation as mandated by the court.  

We earnestly appeal to the administrations and Collectors of the two districts to follow the ruling of the court and orders by the state government to rehabilitate the survivors of the Judum atrocities and to compensate them for all property loses due to the Judum activities. We also request that the schools and ashrams be vacated immediately and should no longer house the special security forces. We, the volunteers of VCA are ready for any assistance that may be required for the effective implementation of rehabilitating the survivors.

 
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