Naxals on Friday threatened to “eliminate” slain Mahendra Karma’s two sons — Chhavindra and Deepak — for initiating the move to revive anti-Naxal vigilante force Salwa Judum, founded by their late father in Chhattisgarh’s conflict zone of Bastar. In a press release issued by West Bastar division of outlawed CPI (Maoist), the rebels said, “We will kill Chhavindra Karma and Deepak Karma in ‘jan yudhh’ (people’s war) if they revived Salwa Judum in Bastar”.
Maoist leaflets threatening to kill the junior Karmas were circulated in remote Bastar region, including in areas close to the home of Karma family in the village of Farsapal in south Bastar district of Dantewada, a senior police officer posted in Bastar told this newspaper. Mahendra Karma, the founder of Salwa Judum, was brutally killed along with 26 other Congress leaders of Chhattisgarh in the Naxal ambush on their convoy at Jiram Ghati in Bastar district on May 25, 2013. Chhavindra has announced to launch a “peaceful movement” in the line of Salwa Judum under the banner of “Vikash Sangharsh Samiti” to take on Maoists in Bastar on May 25. Meanwhile, Congress in Chhattisgarh has distanced itself from the decision by Mr Chhavindra Karma, a PCC secretary, to launch Salwa Judum-2, saying the junior Karma has not intimated the party about his move.
In another development, armed red guerrillas set on fire six machineries deployed for construction of railway line at Tudparas in Dantewada district early on Thursday morning in protest against the move to revive Salwa Judum in Bastar.
Move to revive Salwa Judum fizzles out in Bastar
RAIPUR: Amid opposition from political parties, the move to revive a ‘ Salwa Judum’ like peoples movement against Maoists in tribal Bastar region of Chhattisgarh has been fizzled out with organisers now saying that they would now organise a meeting on May 25 to pay homage Naxal attack that killed frontline Congress leaders in May 2013. Slain Congress leader Mahendra Karma’s son Chhavindra Karma and other leaders had announced on May 5 that they would convene a meeting at Faraspal in Dantewada district on May 25—the third anniversary of Bastar massacre—to chalk out strategies to re-launch a peoples’ movement against Maoist rebels. Leaders of erstwhile Salwa Judum had also supported the move.
While Maoists have threatened a bloody backlash against all those trying to revive any movement against them, mainstream political parties did not come out in open to support the proposed campaign fearing violence and bloodshed in the tribal region. Late Mahendra Karma’s son and two former Salwa judum leader Chaitram Atami and Sukhdev Tati had formed a ‘ Vikas sangharsh samiti’ to fight for the development of Bastar. In the process, they sought to project the proposed movement as the second phase of Salwa judum, a controversial movement that led to bloodshed in Bastar between June 2005 and December 2008. Then, Congress leader Mahendra Karma had spearheaded the Salwa Judum campaign. ” We are organising a meeting at Faraspal on May 25 to pay homage to Mahendra Karma and others who were killed in maoist attack in 2013″, said Chhavindra Karma.
The May five announcement to re-launch a Salwa Judum like movement had triggered protests in Bastar. Maoists began organising meetings to mobilze people against the proposed campaign while political parties including local BJP, Congress, Communist party of India (CPI) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) went public against the call to revive such a movement. Slain Congress leader Mahendra Karma’s spouse Devti Karma is a Congress legislator while his sons are also active members of the opposition Congress. After the announcement came, AICC general secretary B K Hariprasad announced that his party has nothing to with ‘Salwa Judum’ campaign and it was not in favour any such campaign.