A decade after Mahendra Karma launched Salma Judum, the slain Congress leader’s son Chhavindra is trying to start another movement against Maoists in Chhattisgarh, looking for police and government support and raising fears of a rerun of the violence. Ashutosh Bhardwaj reports from Bastar The coincidence is stark. Exactly a decade ago, on June 4, 2005, the Chhattisgarh government signed an MoU with the Tatas for a mega steel plant in Bastar, with Maoists being the only hurdle.
The following day, Salwa Judum was launched to evict Maoists from the region, a move that went on to define the last decade of the insurgency. Last month in Dantewada, in PM Narendra Modi’s presence, the Raman Singh government signed MoUs for an ultra mega steel plant and a rail line in Bastar. Meanwhile, a front similar to Salwa Judum has been taking shape. The earlier movement was led by the late Mahendra Karma; the new one, called Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, is headed by his son Chhavindra.