PUCL Condemns the killings of Security personnel in Chhattisgarh

Stop the Bloodshed. Declare Immediate Ceasefire. Sit for Talks to end violence.

New Delhi: 12th March/Press Note:  The People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) condemns the killing of 16 security personnel, including 11 CRPF personnel, 4 policemen and a civilian, in a land mine blast followed by indiscriminate firing by Maoists at Tongpal village in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh on 11.3.2014. PUCL regrets the loss of lives in the latest incident, which is part of a continuing and seemingly endless series of bloody and violent attacks and counter attacks by security forces and Maoists in the state.

PUCL

The unending spiral of violence is what concerns us most for it has led to the killings and maiming of thousands of tribals who have been caught in the cross fire.  We are clear that under no circumstances can violence be justified. But our response cannot stop at mere condemnation.

The PUCL would like to reaffirm its position that the only way out of the present context of vicious violence is for the Government to initiate a process of unconditional ceasefire, which could end hostilities on both sides and create the ground for talks. We appeal to the Maoists also to agree to an unconditional ceasefire and engage in talks.

It is very important that Adivasi groups like the Adivasi Mahasabha, Sarva Samaj and other representative organisations of Adivasis need to be included in the talks to end violence, apart from the two sides, the Maoists and Government.

We would once again like to reiterate that the middle ground in the peace discourse needs to be restored, which also has been a casualty in this war because of the “`with us’ or `against us’” Government policy in the affected area. It is only mediation by a group of concerned and independent citizens which can take the process of peace and justice forward.

The most tragic part of the spirals of violence is that apart from the deaths of scores of security personnel and Maoist cadres in the numerous offensives and counter-offensives, thousands of innocent tribals and villagers have paid a heavy price. They have been subjected to severe human rights violations at the hands of security and police forces, implicated and arrested in false prosecutions and spent years in jails without trial.  Hundreds of tribals have been killed, women raped and houses destroyed due to the violence by Salwa Judum cadres, operating with the support of the state. Despite the Supreme Court’s orders they have not got justice, and the state continues to be in contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court.

We would like to point out that there are sufficient number of studies of the National Planning Commission which have pointed out that the only solution to dealing with the Maoist issue is land distribution, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, acknowledging the rights of the tribals to forest and to stop mindless plundering of the natural resources in the tribal areas which have destroyed the livelihoods and habitats of the tribal people. The best way to restore faith in democracy is by integrating human rights, equity and social justice considerations into all government policies, plans and programmes and abandon militaristic solution.

The PUCL, through this press release appeals to both the security forces as also the Maoist forces to immediately announce an unconditional ceasefire, stop armed engagements and to engage in talks.

Issued by: Dr. V. Suresh, National General Secretary, PUCL, Prof. Prabhakar Sinha, National President, PUCL, Dr. Binayak Sen, National Vice-President and President, PUCL Chhattisgarh and Sudha Bharadwaj, General Secretary, PUCL Chhattisgarh