By Chandrika, May 22, 2015
The formation of Salwa Judum II was announced (by some local leaders) on the occasion of Narendra Modi’s visit to Dantewada, where he inaugurated a mega steel plant. Salwa Judum was originally conceived by the erstwhile UPA government and was funded by the multinational corporations. Modi government at the centre and BJP government at the state will now be presiding over the new incarnation of Salwa Judum.
The announcement is quite misleading – does it mean that Salwa Judum I was defunct? Perhaps it was disbanded after the death of Mahendra Karmna or was it the Supreme Court judgement which held that SPOs were unconstitutional and demanded their immediate disbanding in 2011? The fact is, Salwa Judum was never disbanded. A significant section had already morphed itself into Koya Commandos to escape the Court’s vigilance, and the rest were regularized as police personnel by the state government. Salwa Judum was always a frontal organization of state terror against peoples’ movement and it will remain the same in its new avatar. Salwa Judum I committed numerous murders, abductions, torture and rape; villages were burnt, villagers were forcibly sent to camps which were nothing less than open prisons. It is estimated that more than six lakh villagers were internally displaced.
Will history repeat itself? It is understandable why the politicians of all hues have remained silent about Salwa Judum. But what about the civil society? Is not formation of Salwa Judum II a contempt to Supreme Court judgement? Are we waiting for the next big massacre to happen? Working people have and will resist the state terror once again. Many tribal villagers have joined Maoists to resist this corporate lead war against the working people. Civil society must stand in solidarity with the peoples’ movement.