//Custodial deaths highest in India: Arundhati Roy

Custodial deaths highest in India: Arundhati Roy

Image IANS, New Delhi, Jan 18 – India accounts for the highest number of custodial deaths, writer-activist Arundhati Roy said Thursday, arguing that atrocities against tribals would lead to a violent situation.

Roy warned that the violent manner in which the Indian state was seeking to displace and drive away tribals from their traditional habitat and land would lead to more violent reactions and outbursts. 'It could also result in lumpen violence,' she said.

Roy was releasing a report of a fact-finding team of the Committee Against Violence on Women -, which had visited the Dantewada region of Chhattisgarh following complaints that the Salwa Judum campaign was perpetuating violence, molestation and rape on tribal women.

Salwa Judum is people's militia supported by the state government in its fight against Maoists in the region.

All political parties are driven by their desire to give maximum concessions to private entrepreneurs at the cost of poor tribals and villagers, alleged the Booker prize winter author.

Maoism was being used by various state governments, like that of Orissa, as an excuse to perpetrate violence on the tribals, drive them away from their lands and hand these over to big industrialists, Roy said.

The CAVOW report has prepared a list of nearly 80 tribal women who were raped, molested and some even murdered by Salwa Judum vigilantes or police parties accompanying them.

The tragic aspect of the violence against these women is that tribal special police officers and Naga and Mizo policemen – also tribals – are being used to perpetuate violence on fellow tribal women, said CAVOW convenor Shoma Sen.