The killing of 19 adivasis in an ‘anti-Maoist operation’ by CRPF commandos on June 28 in the Bijapur district of the Indian state of Chattisgarh has evoked condemnation from civil society groups, student unions and political activists in India. While many of the locals of that district and politicians of Chaatisgarh, including from the Congress party, have alleged that many or all of those killed are not Maoists, the CRPF which was leading this operation has ‘defended’ itself claiming that Maoists have been using villagers as human shields. India, which had abetted Colombo’s genocidal war on the Eezham Tamils, is now lifting the ‘human shields’ argument that Sri Lanka and the powers that supported it used against the LTTE and applying it to quell armed struggles in its heartland, observers in Chennai told TamilNet.
Ever since May 2009, the ‘Sri Lanka solution’ had been suggested by many Indian security officials to deal with the Maoist fighters in its heartlands, especially in Chattisgarh.
Chattisgarh state, which is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is considered to be one of the strongholds of the CPI(Maoist) which aims at bringing about a New Democratic Revolution in India.
The Maoists, whose cadre base largely comprises of poor peasants and adivasis, are also opposing the destruction of the traditional homeland of the adivasis and the violation of their natural resources by big corporations.
The Indian state launched a major counterinsurgency offensive involving both the state’s security forces and paramilitaries, named by the Indian media as ‘Operation Green Hunt’, in late 2009.
Chattisgarh is also notorious for the state’s patronage of ‘Salwa Judum’, a paramilitary group which recruits adivasis and pits them against those adivasis alleged of being with the Maoists.
Regarding this particular incident, while the Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram has said that it was unfortunate if any innocent civilians have been killed, civil society groups remain sceptical. The People’s Union for Democratic Rights, a well known Indian civil rights group, has noted that some of the villagers were killed after the Indian forces had acquired physical control over the village, also citing the killing of five children and the sexual assault on four teenage girls.
The culture of impunity that Sri Lanka enjoys in the region after committing a genocidal war and the International Community’s failure to address the structural injustice that the Eezham Tamils face in their occupied homeland, has encouraged countries like India to try and test the ‘Sri Lankan model’ to movements in their territory, observers from Chennai further said.