//Tribal killings: Anti-naxal move may be hit

Tribal killings: Anti-naxal move may be hit

[ Thursday, March 02, 2006 01:53:20 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ],

HYDERABAD: The killing of 26 tribals belonging to the ‘Salva Judum’ (an anti-naxalite movement) by naxalites in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday is likely to have an impact on the state-sponsored counter naxalite movements in Andhra Pradesh and also elsewhere in the country.

Though members of Salva Judum and Maoist-sponsored tribal militia called Janatana Sarkar are fighting it out openly in tribal areas of Chhattisgarh, Tuesday’s incident is said to be the first major strike by the Maoists to silence the anti-naxalite campaign subtly promoted by local government agencies.

Analysts say that the open support extended by the Chhattisgarh government to Salva Judum, compared to the clandestine one offered by AP police to the so-called vigilante groups in the state, enabled the former outfit to take ground in the neighbouring state.

Also, the support provided by Mahendra Karma, Dantewada MLA and the leader of opposition in Chhattisgarh, to Salva Judum enabled the outfit to secure a semi-official recognition. Government officials of Dantewada, Bhiarangarh, Gedam, Bijapur and Bastar areas have participated in rallies and dharnas organised by Salva Judum.

 Though police in AP tried to silence civil rights activists by using members of self-styled ‘Kobras’, lack of support from the government eventually forced the outfits to close shop.

A section of civil rights activists argue that the Chhattisgarh government was trying to pit tribals against each other and the Maoists were also falling into the trap. "In at least 10 districts, the naxalites used to run a parallel government.

But by supporting the ‘Gutti Koyas’, a primitive tribe, in the what is being termed as inter-tribal war, the Maoists have antagonised the affluent tribal groups, who over the years acquired lands, and moved up in the social ladder.

Eventually, the conflict is serving the government’s interest and through Salva Judum, government agencies are able to secure a foothold in those 10 districts," explained an activist who visited the area recently.

 Though Tuesday’s blast may silence the members of Salva Judum for a while, analysts say the issue is unlikely to be settled in near future as almost all victims are tribals.