Cleansing The Maoists?

By Gladson Dungdung
5 April, 2010

In the spring season; trees, plants and herbs turn into greenery with new lovely leaves. It looks like a resurrection of the forest after the autumn. It is one of the most beautiful seasons for birds, animals and insects, and of course, for the Adivasis, which is the beginning of their marriage with the nature. The Adivasis begin to collect flowers, fruits and other forest produces for sustaining their community, which is completely based on the natural resources with the unique features of community living, caring-sharing, equality for all, justice and the need based economic system. The most interesting thing is, it is the spring season when the Adivasis offer their thanks to their super natural God, celebrate together and begin their new journey with the nature.

According to the Santal tradition, the first flower of the season is offered to the super natural God then only the community members are allowed to collect any kind of new forest produces. They jointly offer the first flower to their God in ‘Baha Parap’ (the festival of flower). Similarly, the Oraon celebrate ‘Khadi’ also known as ‘Sarhul’. The thanks giving tradition is found among all the Adivasi groups. Unfortunately, it was out of imagination for many of them this time. The India’s Home Minister P Chidambaram’s gunmen (security forces) involved in the so-called ‘operation green hunt’ did not allow them to celebrate their auspicious festivals (Baha and Sarhul) in those villages, where the operation is being carried out. They were prevented from offering their thanks to the super natural God, they were stopped dancing together and they were also forbidden from having the community feast. What kind of operation is it?

Can one imagine what would have happened if the security forces would not have allowed the Hindus to celebrate the Ramnaumi, prevented the Muslims from organizing a procession in the Muharam and stopped the Christians to conduct the Easter Mass? Perhaps, there would have been some kind of communal riot, communal tension or at least the issue would have been made the national one. But no one knows about how the Adivasis were denied to practice their old age tradition and culture by the security forces as the so-called fourth realm (Media) of the democracy does not bother to report us about it. The Adivasis were deprived of their cultural rights in their own country in the name of cleansing the Maoists, which state sees as the biggest threat to the investment climate in the country.

The story does not end here. The villagers’ freedom is seized; they are questioned, inquired and prevented from access to necessary commodities. They are being watched everywhere by the security forces. Those Adivasis living in the top of the hill (the Indian state loves to call them as ‘primitive’ and maintains the status-quo) are mostly affected in the process. They have stopped collecting the forest produces, the only livelihood resources left for them in the forests. They are not going out of their houses in fear of the security forces and some of them have even migrated to the secured places. This kind of painful stories can be heard across the state, where the operations are going on since March 10.

In the changing circumstances, the security forces have captured some of the rural markets after capturing schools, water sources and forests. For instance, the villagers of Rania block in Khunti district, where the Arcellor Mittal has proposed a 12 MT steel Plant, are not allowed to buy things according to their will. The security forces are preventing them from buying more eatables assuming that the extra food would be given to the Maoists. The operation green hunt has badly hit the rural markets in Jharkhand. The forest based communities have stopped the collection of forest produces. As a result, the only few people can be seen in the rural markets. Indeed, it is very clear that the villagers have nothing to sell and buy in the markets therefore; there is a rapid fall in villagers’ turnout to the rural markets, which directly means the severe attack on the rural economy, when the villagers are already in an economic crisis due to the price rise of the necessary commodities.

Consequently, there is a huge livelihood crisis in those areas where the operation green hunt is being carried out. The crisis will rapidly grow as the forest based communities are losing the prime economic season as they are not being allowed to collect the forest produces (Mahua flower, Chiranji and Tendu leaf), which sustain them at least for the six months. The interesting question is why the security forces are creating livelihood crisis in the so-called red corridor instead of going for an assault against the Maoists as it is told to us by the state?

One should go to the state of Chhatisgarh to understand the core objective of it. The Adivasis of 644 villages have migrated to other places and now the corporate sharks - Tata, Jindan and Bhushan steel are attempting to establish their projects in those villages. Since, Jharkhand is known as a glorious state of Adivasi resistance, where even the Britishers lost the game therefore the Indian state is very much cautious about it and using the strategy of creating fear, insecurity and uncertainly instead of bombing those areas so that the Adivasis would leave their villages and migrate to the other states similar to what has been happening in Chhatisgarh. The Indian state envisages for creating the similar situation in Jharkhand so that there would be no one left to oppose the proposed mega steel plants, power projects and mining industries in the so-called red corridor.

Though the Adivasis are the original settler of the land but the globalization has entirely changed the meaning of ‘Adivasi’. Now, the word ‘Adivasi’ is being used as a synonym of ‘Naxalite’ and ‘Maoist’. Therefore, any one who opposes the so-called development project, collects firewood in the forest and roams with the traditional weapon is suspected as Maoist or at least their supporter or sympathizer. There was a similar situation created for the Muslims, when each and every Muslim wearing the traditional dress was assumed as a terrorist. Amidst, there is also an attempt made by the state and the media for manufacturing the consent that the every mass resistance against displacement is Maoists supported, which directly means the Adivasis can not fight for themselves. Of course, it is ridiculous because there is a glorious history of the Adivasis’ resistance against the injustice in Jharkhand.

The questions arise in one’s mind is, does the constitution of India allow the state to deny the rights of its own people in the name of the national security? Who has empowered the security forces to continue their inhuman practices with the people? Will the security forces do the same thing with the corporate sharks? Why does the state not take any action against those corporate sharks, which have violated the laws of the land, denied rights to the people and indulged in the criminal activities? And how long should we tolerate it?

However, the only aim of the so-called operation green hunt is to convert the so-called ‘red corridor’ into the ‘corporate corridor’. The Indian state’s hue and cry on Maoism or Naxalism is just a strategy to make sure the backdoor entry of the corporate houses in the mineral corridor. Though we are not yet told about how many Maoists are killed in the operation green hunt but the CEO of the Operation Green Hunt, P Chidambaram is confident enough of cleaning the Maoists by 2013. Therefore, I’m sure, when the corporate sharks could be able to enter into the mineral corridor, the issue of Maoism or Naxalism would be marginalized that day itself from the agenda of the state. Isn’t it? However, the question yet to be answered is how long the Adivasis have to pay the price for the national interest, the national security and the national development?

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand. He can be reached at

Is It The Operation Maoist Hunt?

By Gladson Dungdung
21 March, 2010

After a long preparation, debate and politics, finally the Indian government launched the ‘Operation Green Hunt’ (OGH) in Jharkhand on March 10 with the objective of cleansing the Maoists from the state. Though P. Chidambaram the CEO of the OGH declines it calling the Operation Green Hunt but his officers are using the term shamelessly. Nearly 10,000 security forces consisting of CRPF, Cobra, Jaguar, STP and other groups have been deployed in the forests, choppers are roaming over the forests, schools are converted into military camps, forests are sealed and the combing operations are being carried out in the forests with the support of local Adivasi youth who are named as the Special Police Officers (SPO) duplicated from the Salwa Judum theory of Chhatisgarh.

Since, there was huge media hype on the operation green hunt therefore the Maoists fled from the vicinity much before arrival of the security forces in the region. As a result, the security forces are targeting to the innocent villagers. The operation has created uncertainty, brought threat to life and seized the freedom of the villagers mostly the Adivasis in different parts of the state. The Adivasis who live in or around the forests and depend on it for their survival, are not allowed to enter or roam in the forests, the water sources are captured, the villagers are unnecessarily harassed, children are denied their right to education and women are also misbehaved by the security forces. However, the billion dollar question is, is it really the operation for hunting the Maoists?
The concept of operation green hunt is itself a questionable term. Theoretically, it is supposed to be the ‘Operation Red Hunt’ rather than ‘Green Hunt’ as the Maoists neither look green nor depend on forests for their survival but it is the Adivasis who completely depend on Agro-forest (greeneries). The government has been telling us for the several years that the Palamu region of Jharkhand is the most Maoists infested area. Presently, Simdega district comes under the same category but it is strange that the anti-Naxal operation was firstly launched in the Kolhan region. Needless to say that the Jharkhand government has signed most of the MoUs with the corporate houses for establishing the mining industries, the power projects and the steel plants in this region. It is obvious that the anti-Naxal operations are being carried out in those districts (East Singhbhum, West Singbhum, Khunti, Gumla, Bokaro, Giridih, Chatra, Latehar, Ramgarh and Hazaribagh) where either the villagers are opposing the proposed development projects or the government foresees as the investment corridor.

Ironically, the government of India has launched another operation on March 17th in Chotanagpur region of Jharkhand where the anti-Naxal operations are being carried out, which can be called the “Operation Mineral Hunt”. According to the latest report, the choppers are being engaged for conducting an aerial survey to find out the existence of minerals in the region. Both the operations are being carried out simultaneously in the region by the government of India. Secondly, just after a week of flagging off the operation green hunt, the world’s second largest steel company POSCO has announced for shifting its 12 MT proposed steel project from Orissa to Jharkhand, where it will invest Rs. 54 thousand crore in a joint adventure with the SAIL in Bokaro. The POSCO will have 60 percent share and would get the Chiria Mines (2000 MT reserved) easily for which the Arcellor Mittal Company was also bargaining hard.

Similarly, the Chief Ministers of the so-called red corridor are attending the series of meetings with P. Chidambarm on the issues of the operation green hunt on one hand and they are also attending the similar kind of meetings with the corporate houses for investment on the other. Of course, there is an investment competition going on among the chief ministers of several states as the present era of development is measured on the basis of the investment. Now the decline of hunger, illiteracy and malnutrition do not matter for the state. Therefore, one has every reason to believe that the so-called operation green hunt or anti-Naxal operation is to get the Adivasis and other local settlers lands clear for the Corporate Houses rather than cleansing the Maoists from the region.

Of course, the state is essentially batting for the corporate houses in the name of the Maoists and instead of creating peace the government is creating insecurity in the region. Therefore, the Adivasis are in the state of uncertainty precisely because the way they have been treated in the country despite being the indigenous people, who always live with peace and paid the heavy price for the development of the nation. However, the Adivasis are not against of the development but they would never like the foundation of development lay down over their graves. In the present circumstances, the Adivasis are being targeted from each and every corner. They are the victims of either kinds of violence (Maoists or State).

After kidnapping of Dhalmugarh BDO Prasant Kumar Layak, the Maoists had demanded for release of innocent villagers from the Jail. In response to their demand, the Zonal Inspector General of Police, Regi Dungdung publicly announced that the police have inflicted false cases against the innocent villagers and Jasmi Mardi and Bahadur Mardi of Gurabandh village of Ghatshila were found innocent after reviewing their cases therefore they were released. Ironically, the police had portrayed them as the Maoists, thrown them behind the bars and charged them under the sections 302, 120b, 349 of IPC, 27 of Arms Act and 17 CLA Act. But now the same police found them innocent. The question is how can an innocent person be charged under such sever criminal acts? The chief Minister of Jharkhand has also publicly accepted that there are many innocent people put in jail after branding them as the Maoists. The question is that is it the role of state towards its own people?

Ironically, the country faced series of massive terrorists’ attacks including Parliament, Akshardham, Hyderabad, Ahmadebad and 26/11 however our corporate Home Minister has different view about the Jehadi terrorists now. In his latest discovery he has found that the ‘Maoists are more dangerous than the Jehadi terrorists for the country’ therefore the UPA government envisages to eliminate the Maoists before completion of its present term. Of course, one can understand it easily. The Jehadi terrorists have nothing to do with the minerals but the Maoists, who are very much associated with it. Since, the national and multi-national companies are eying on it but not able to establish their projects in the so-called red corridor due to the people’s protests and the Maoists never hesitate to take its credit. That’s the main reason why the India government is always ready to go for unconditional talk with the Pakistan whereas it wishes to eliminate the Maoists rather than going for a peace talk with them. It merely proposes for a pre-condition peace talk with the Maoists to mislead the people of India.

Perhaps, the history suggests that the Adivasis dominated areas were never the matter of concern for the Indian state but after the liberalization these areas were identified as the heaven for investment and propagated as the mineral corridor. Meanwhile, the Indian state attempted to convert these areas into the corporate corridor by allowing the corporate sharks to enter into the mineral corridor. In 2005, Indian government brought a legislation for establishment of the corporate corridor, which is called the ‘Special Economic Zone’ (SEZ) but it failed in implementation of the Act due to the mass people’s protest. Finally, these areas were coined as the ‘Red Corridor’ so that the state can used the power of gun to convert these areas into the corporate corridor as the licensed killings are very much welcomed, appreciated and even rewarded in our democratic setup.

In fact, the issue of Naxalism is four decades old, which emerged in 70s but the Indian state was not much concerned about it. However, when the villagers attacked to West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and then the union steel and mines minister Ram Vilas Paswan while they were returning from the inauguration of the Jindal’s Project at Salboni in West Midnapore district of West Bengal in November 2008, the issue of Naxalism was brought into the centre stage of the public debates. Finally, the joint operation was called off in the name of cleansing the Maoists from the country propagating it as the biggest security threat to the nation.

Indeed, the operation green hunt is a license to kill the Adivasis who oppose the unjust development process, protest against the state suppression and determined to protect their ancestral heritages. It is to transform the Adivasis lands into the corporate corridor, where these corporate sharks will swallow the minerals and produce money for the country and the India will become the super power with the blood of the Adivasis and other local settlers. All three economists of India Montek Sigh Ahluwalia, Manmohan Singh and P. Chidambaram are working toward the vision 2020 and they would do anything for it.

Obviously, the India state sees the Maoists as a severe threat to the investment climate rather than the security threat to the nation. Therefore, our ruling elites want to suppress, shoot and bury the dissent voice. They are more worried about the corporate houses than the communities, they are more concerned about the GDP growth than feeding the country’s hungry people and they are more worried about the investment climate than the impact of the climate change. Therefore, those who are still confused about the India’s operation green hunt must be clear, at least now, it is not the operation to cleansing the Maoists but it is to hunt the minerals for the corporate sharks therefore it is the ‘operation mineral hunt’ my friends.

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand. He can be reached at

Is Operation Green Hunt the Solution?

By Solomon Kiro

17 March, 2010

Troops have entered the forests. And with this has set in a hot debate—Is ‘Operation Greenhunt’ the solution for the Naxal problem which has infected large areas of well over eight important states of the country—Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharastra and West Bengal.

These states are ‘important’, for they house well over 80 per cent of the mineral resources like iron, coal, bauxite, manganese among others, of India. The future industrial and economic growth of the country depends much upon the ‘peace’ in this region. Naxalism in this region thus, is looked upon as an impediment of future growth of the country.

After several rounds of talks of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram with the Chief Ministers of Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal that were held either in Delhi or in Kolkata in the months of January-February recently, the anti-naxal operations have taken off. The troops can now be seen in the forests of Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Entry of para-military forces into the forests has resulted in a debate among intellectuals, some of whom have now found a new subject to think upon—the tribal population. In several metro cities including Delhi, several intellectuals are proclaiming themselves as ‘experts’ on ‘Naxal’ issues and ‘tribal’ issues. Since majority of the areas affected by Naxalism coincidentally falls in tribal areas, some intellectuals have mistakenly conjoined Naxal issues with tribal issues, which actually is a misnomer. In television channels too, often some people go close to put forward the two things as one, when they say that Operation Greenhunt will hunt down the tribals. Thus, in a way they are identifying tribals as Naxals, which by all yards stick is a false propaganda which has its origin in ignorance. The sooner such kinds of a line stops, the better it is for the tribal people.

It is true that a good chunk of the Naxalites may be tribals, as the Naxalites find it easy to cheat the gullible tribal people into their fold. As the tribal people have been suppressed, oppressed and denied their share in the modern developments, red brigade’s minor effort is enough to pull this group into their fold. However, only a small portion of the tribal youths are actually with them, majority of them still believing in the goodness of democracy.

The Indian society must know that it is the tribal society which has borne the maximum brunt of Naxalism. Worse happenings due to Naxalism still await the population that has always been at the receiving end. If the Naxalites kill the innocents in order to spread their fear among the people or send out a message to the government, it is the poor tribal villagers who get killed. If the Naxalites kill the police—often the constables, it is mostly the tribals policemen as they are in large number in the lower strata of the police—at least in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Further, the idyllic life of the tribal people in the villages, their rich culture and values have received a massive set back due to Naxalism. Earlier, they celebrated various festivals with each other in joy—sharing life together. They used to dance and sing at night in the akhras (dancing ground) situated in the middle of the village. But not more. Naxalism has eroded all these cultural values. It has broken the tribal villages into groups, leading to bloody fights among each other at times.

In all this, the opinion of the tribal people on the Operation Greenhunt is scarcely cared for. But, this is very important because the operations are or will be carried out mostly in areas which are mainly populated by the tribal people. It is this group who will see it from close and will be a ‘factor’ in the process. It is true that some intellectuals have spoken for them or some journalists have written on their behalf on the Operation Greenhunt. But tribals themselves are yet to speak. True, they have elected representatives in the assembly as well as in the Parliament. But even these representatives consciously avoid burning their fingers speaking about Naxalism.

Factors like levy collection on government works, from contractors or from private companies; have alienated the Naxalites from the people. This cult of the present day so-called Naxalites has reduced them into a bunch no better than thieves and extortionists. The recent practice of abduction of government officials in West Bengal and Jharkhand order to create pressure on the government(s) has also put them far away from their forefathers—the original revolutionists from Naxalbari of West Bengal.

Therefore, the usual line of thinking often displayed by some intellectuals that tribals are Naxal sympathizers is grossly wrong. Feeling the pulse of the tribal people on the issue of Naxalism would reveal that they would like peace in their regions. They would not like killing—either by the Naxalites or by the security forces any more.

The long oppression, suppression and exploitation of the tribal people have played as the cause for some tribal villagers joining the rank and file of the Naxalites. In several villages, the tribal people may appear to be with the Naxalites as the police may find them non-cooperative. But, it is the fear of the Naxalites that makes them so. On the other hand, the population finds itself a sandwich between the police and the Naxalites—a phenomenon which may find its zenith during the operation.
Operation Greenhunt has generated two groups among the intellectuals who are closely observing the same and like to talk what they think. However, the group of intellectuals who are opposing the operation seems louder.
Like the intellectuals, the anti-naxal operation has also resulted two groups in the tribal society—a group supporting the operation, especially the one which is just tired of the killing spree of Naxalites. However, the group which is supporting the operation appears bigger in size. All they want is end of the Naxal menace and real development. This group is an optimistic one and opines that democracy will deliver. If the government fails to live the expectation of this group in the coming days, the region is headed for an eventual doom.
But, even this group of tribal people has one fear—is this operation actually aimed at solving the Naxal problem or a ‘hunt’ for their lands which are mineral rich and upon which have the greedy eye of multinational companies?

The Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram should therefore tell the tribal people that this operation is not motivated for any other purpose except cleaning the greens (forests) of the Naxalites. This operation will only free the region of Naxal problem. And this operation will not in any way evacuate the villagers from their villages.

The fear of the tribal people about this Operation Greenhunt has been compounded by the recent example of consequences of Salwa Judum in Chhattisgarh. Thousands of tribals have been evacuated from their ancestors’ villages and lands and put in camps. They have been reduced to the status of refugees in their own land. And the government reportedly, as some intellectuals opposing the Operation Greenhunt argue, is planning to hand over the vacated lands to the multinational companies so that they can set up their shops there. If this happens, India is set for a bigger problem which would be worse than the present Naxal problem.

Is use of force against Naxalites is not the only solution? While many would not like to talk about an alternative, some would opine that ‘dialogue’ is an alternative. But, are the Naxalites actually interested to end Naxalism. Now, some Naxal leaders have shown interest in dialogue. But the genuineness in such a change is doubtful.

Use of force in ending Naxalism is being thought as an alternative. But, the real issue is to what extent and how. And, to what end.

Amidst all these debates, Operation Greenhunt—a code name of anti-naxalite operation given by the media rather than the government, has begun. The real care that should be given by the government is that no innocent villager is killed in the operation. This apart, the government should immediately ensure that the forgotten culture and community life is brought back in the villages simultaneously. Further, in no way it should vacate the villagers from their villages. This will be self-defeating action for the government. For, the government, through this act, will prove the Naxalites’ stand—that the government wants to take away tribals’ land for mining and industries– right. This would be deadly. Naxalites may die in the operation. But, Naxalism will get a new life.

(The author is associated with Indigenous News and Feature Agency—INFA, Ranchi, Jharkhand)

Hunting Adivasis in Mineral Corridor

By Gladson Dungdung
7 February, 2010

“Naxalites are our stray brothers and sisters therefore we will address the issues of Naxalism through dialogues”. These are the holy words of Jharkhand Chief Minister Sibu Soren, who repeatedly told us even after swearing in as the guard of the state for 3rd time. However, the unbearable pressure from the central government and the corporate houses made him completely helpless. Consequently, he took u turn and attended a special meeting with our ‘Corporate Home Minister’ P. Chidambaram in Delhi on January 27th on the issue of so-called ‘Operation Green Hunt’. After his return from Delhi, he started dancing in different tune, saying, operation green hunt will be started if the Maoists do not abjure violence.

Soon after he shown the green signal to the security forces for operation green hunt, the police and security forces started rehearsal in different parts of the state. The first brutal rehearsal was done in Garhwa. The CRPF brutally assaulted to the primitive tribes (the Indian state is proud of being able to keep some indigenous people in the primitive stage) who were protesting in front of the collector’s office in Garhwa. Their only crime was they demanded for 200 days employment in MGNREGA, direct appointment in the government jobs and implementation of the forest rights Act 2006 (which prime objective is to right the historic wrong that’s what our government told us).
The brutality began when the Adivasis entered into the collector’s office premises on February 2; the CRPF closed the gate and beat them up mercilessly for 20 minutes. Consequently, 50 Adivasis including women were severely injured and admitted to the hospital. As usual, the Chief Minister Sibu Soren ordered for an inquiry to bury the public anger. Ironically, the police filed a case against 13 Adivasi sufferers alleging them for attacking to the security forces (who were with the guns) and no case was registered against those security forces for beating to the Adivasis mercilessly. However, there is a public outrage on the issue therefore a small gun man might be punished for the inhuman acts of the security forces, and the officers will enjoy impunity as they have been doing for years in our democratic country. Indeed, it was just an indication of the coming ‘operation green hunt’, where dogs, cats, snakes and scorpions are ready to kill the Adivasis in the forests.
Perhaps, the state has seized the democratic rights of the citizens on the one hand and it did not let the security forces to remain as the human beings on the other. Our democratic government(s) repeatedly tells us that the security forces have been made killer animals like Greyhounds, hunter cats like Jaguar, dangerous snakes like cobras, poisonous creature like scorpions and list goes on. These Greyhounds, Jaguars, Cobras, Scorpions and other forces are left to roam freely in the forests with the license to kill the Adivasis, who have been living in the forests for the years before the existence of the Indian state. These dogs, cats, snakes, scorpions and other forces will attack, bite, sting, teardown and kill whoever they find in the forests. Of course, the most sufferers would be the Adivasis. The only census 2011 will tell us about its impact as decline of the Adivasis population.
An eastern Indian state Chhatisgarh is a living example of how the state has been carrying out a hunting of the Adivasis in the name of cleansing the Maoists, where 3 lakh Adivasis of 644 villages deserted their homes to escape from the police atrocity. 50,000 of them are living in the relief camps, 50,000 fled to Andhra Pradesh and thousands of them migrated to the neighbouring states. 5000 Adivasis women were raped, hundreds of Adivasis were killed in fake encounters and hundreds of them were thrown behind the bars alleging them as Maoist supporters. Ironically, when a SPO (Special Police Officer of Salwa Jurum) catches, attacks or kills an Adivasi, he becomes a hero for the state but when the same person rapes an Adivasi woman he does not remain as the SPO and the blame goes to an Adivasi raping his own woman (with the clear intention for shielding the inhuman acts of the police forces backed by the state).
The operation green hunt in going on in the state of Chhatisgarh and the Adivasis are being hunted everyday but our democratic government does not inform its own people about it, where the right to information is a constitutional right of the citizens. Interestingly, P. Chidambaram is not only a ‘Corporate Home Minister’, who bagged money from ‘Enron Corporation’ and ‘Vedanta’ but now he is also a person who believes in misguiding to the people of the land. When the operation green hunt was launched, he coined it as a media’s creation. “Show me one government official saying this and I will take action" these were his threatening words. Ironically, on December 4, 2009, Dantewada-based DIG anti-Naxal operations SRP Killuri unmasked Chidambaram by telling to the media, “As of today, Operation Green Hunt is underway in districts like Bijapur and Dantewada.” Unfortunately, Chidambaram did not take any action against his officer. Similarly, after attending Chidambaram’s meeting, Sibu Soren and Naveen Patnaik are tirelessly speaking for the operation green hunt but Chidambaram does not ask them to stop their holy talks on OGH.
Unfortunately, the centre and state governments do not even bother to obey the order of the supreme court, which states to re-establish those 3 lakh Adivasis in their (644) villages as they were in the previous days. Of course, these democratic governments are more interested in establishing the corporate houses in these villages rather than protecting the villagers. Now the Tata, Bhushan steel, Jindal and many others corporate sharks are roaming in these villages with the full security provided by the state. A million dollar question is how the corporate houses are peacefully running their plants in those so-called red corridors where the governments claim of not being able to carry out any development activities?
The fact of the matter is the villages in Chhatisgarh were vacated for the corporate houses in the name of cleansing the Maoists and the operation green hunt will be extended to those states soon, where there are high chances of exploiting the natural resources in the name of development. Since, there have been series of protests against displacement in the mineral corridor therefore the governments are attempting to get land clear for the corporate houses through the ‘legislations’, ‘manipulations’ and the ‘legal guns’. The state is hunting the Adivasis in the name of hunting the Maoists. The question is does state have right to kill its own people?
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand. He can be reached at

India’s Inhuman Gunmen

By Gladson Dungdung
11 January 2010

When the people of the entire world were greeting to each other, bursting crackers and enjoying delicious food on the occasion of the new year 2010, the police of Chhatarpur, Town and Sadar police stations of Palamu district, (which is the most Maoist infested area according to the government and the media reports) in Jharkhand, were very much engaged in humiliating, torturing and beating to Rajendra Yadav of Telaria village (Chhatarpur) alleging him as a Naxalite without any proof, which led to his death. He had been illegally detained in the police custody for more than 60 hours. The police justified it saying, “Since the Maoists had planted landmines on the road therefore Rajendra Yadav was not taken to the court.” Interestingly, the police did not recover any landmine from the spot therefore one can see it as an attempt to bury the inhuman acts of the Indian’s inhuman gunmen.

According to Dashrath Yadad, the father of Rajendra Yada, his son was taken under the custody by the police of Chhatarpur police station in the morning on December 30, 2009. On the next day, he went to Chhatarpur police station for inquiring about his son and the police told him that his son was sent to the office of the Superintendent of Police (SP). Thereafter, he immediately rushed to the SP’s office where he did not find his son and returned home with the empty hand. On 1st January, Dashrath Yadav came to know about the detention of his son in Town Police station and subsequently, he reached to the police station at 3’O clock in the afternoon. He was shocked to see Rajendra, who was suffering from terrible pain and not even able to speak clearly. Dashrath Yadav went back to home after painful experience. In the early morning on January 2, the police informed him about the death of his son, which was not unexpected.

The inhuman acts of the police did not end here. The next step of the police was to destroy the evidence of their inhuman acts. The police conducted post-mortem in absence of family members of the deceased. The medical officer of Daltenganj Sadar Hospital, Dr. Ajay Kumar Pathak was either bribed or influenced by the police for preparing a false post-mortem report, which states the cause of death as long illness of Rajendra Yadav rather than torture, beating on ill-treatment in the police stations, which created anger among the people. Since, the villagers were very upset on inhuman acts of the police therefore there was a public outrage against the police. After getting support of the people, the deceased’s family demanded for the re-post-mortem of the dead body, a high level inquiry on the matter and compensation to them.

Consequently, the Jharkhand government accepted couple of their demands. A team of doctors was constituted for conducting the re-post-mortem. The second post-mortem was conducted in Ranchi. The doctors found injuries in inside and outside of the dead body and reasoned the heavy bleeding as the cause of death. Finally, a criminal case was filed against the police of all the three police stations, who were involved in the inhuman treatment of Rajendra Yadav. The government also constituted a team of inquiry consisting of IAS officer A.N. Pandey and IPS officer Murarilal Meena. Ironically, they did not visit to the village of Rajendra Yadav and returned from the office of Chhatarpur SDO. The reason told was ‘security’. Question is why are these officers paid the public money if they are only concerned about their security?

Obviously, Rajendra Yadav is not the only one, who has undergone through such inhuman treatments of the India’s legal gunmen but there are hundreds of people undergo through the same kinds of inhuman treatments all most everyday across the country. There are thousands of painful testimonies of rape after rape, torture after torture and killing after killing by the police and security forces, whose role is to protect us, that’s what our legal texts describe. The fact is our legal gunmen are very much indulged in the inhuman acts of rape, torture, killing, bribery, threatening and the list goes on. In fact, the FIRs are not registered easily, fake encounters are organized for self interest and the impunity is always enjoyed by them. One has to bribe to the police in every check post and the police station. Now, the police stations have become the place of ill-treatment, torture, killing, bribery and manipulation. What kind of the national security is this?

Indeed, the top copes are not different from the small gunmen. We have heard the story of how IG Natrajan repeatedly raped Sushma Baraik an Adivasis women in Ranchi by luring her for a job. We know how the IPS officer Sumit Singh Sani exploited her women colleague and of course we are fully aware about the heartbreaking inhuman acts of former Haryana DGP, SPS Rathore. In fact, everyone is aware about the inhuman acts of the former DIG of Rajasthan Madhukar Tondon, Narendra Modi’s top cope Banjara and there is a long list of our top copes, who are very much indulged in the inhuman acts. Many reports suggest that the women were raped, innocent were tortured and many lost their lives due to inhuman acts of the India’s legal gunmen, which is much more than the people who lost their lives in the Naxal violence. Of course, one should not justify the Naxal violence. However, our text books teach us that the police are to protect us and maintain law and order, which is partly true therefore our children should be also taught about the inhuman acts of the police and security forces so that they would be always prepared to face them.

Needless to say that the women are raped, poor are tortured and many innocent people are killed in the name of the national security. Therefore, the corporate home minister P. Chidambaram must respond us before going for the second phase of the operation green hunt in the state of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhatisgarh that why his gunmen are so inhuman? Can he give us the guarantee of security by these inhuman legal gunmen? Do the training procedures destroy humanity of these gunmen? Why doesn’t he go for a debate in the Indian parliament to find out the procedures to make these inhuman gunmen to human ones? And will he start operation red hunt against his inhuman gunmen to right their wrongs or will he allow them to enjoy the impunity as they have been enjoying for the decades? Perhaps, if we don’t respond these questions now, the humiliation, ill-treatment, torture, rape and killing of thousands of Rajendras by these inhuman gunmen of India will continue in the name of the national security.

Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer from Jharkhand. He can be reached at

Adivasis’ struggle against displacement in Jharkhand

By Gladson Dungdung
19 August, 2009
Jharkhand is known as the abode of Adivasis (the indigenous people, constitutionally they are called as scheduled tribe), the land of struggle and mineral rich state in India. “Jharkhand” literally means ‘the land of forests’ came into existence as 28th state of the Indian union on 15th of November, 2000 after a long mass struggle, which took place in the 20th century for the realization of a beautiful dream of the Adivasi heroes – Tilka Manjhi, Sidhu-Kanhu and Birsa Munda. The dream was to form exploitation free, humane and just Jharkhand, where the Adivasis can practice their ownership rights over the natural resources, enjoy autonomy and rule themselves as earlier they used to. The outsiders perceive Jharkhand as the abode of uncivilized, uneducated and the most backward people i.e. Adivasis therefore the region was mostly neglected in terms of the development but its natural resources were highly exploited. The Adivasis were alienated from their resources, exploited and injustices were done to them in the name of development, civilization and nationalism.

Jharkhand is an important state from the viewpoint of Adivasi population. As per the Census 2001, their total population in the state is 70,87,068 including 35,65,960 male and 35,21,108 female, which consists 26.3% of the total population (26,945,829) of the state though they were more than 50 percent before the independence of India. The growth of the Adivasi population is steadily declining. It was 17.3 per cent in 2001, which is lower by 6 per cent if compared with the growth (23.3 per cent) in 1991. The state has a total of thirty two (32) sub-communities of the Adivasis. Among them Santal, Oraon, Munda, Ho and Kharia are the major Adivasi groups in the state. The major Adivasi populations (91.7 percent) reside in villages and merely 8.3 percent have shifted to the urban areas. The rapid industrialization is one of the major reasons for population declination of the Adivasis.

Jharkhand is witness of unending struggle for mineral resources as the state contains 40 percent of India’s precious minerals like Uranium, Mica, Bauxite, Granite, Gold, Silver, Graphite, Magnetite, Dolomite, Fireclay, Quartz, Fieldspar, Coal, Iron and Copper. Forests and woodlands occupy more than 29% of the state which is amongst the highest in India. But unfortunately, the exploitation and injustice are prevalent in the state. Irony is the political leaders of Adivasis do not realize it even today. They have signed 102 MoUs (memorandum of understanding) for establishing steel factories, power plants and mining industries with the estimated investment of Rs 4,67,240 crore, which require approximately 200,000 acres of land, which directly means the displacement of approximately 1 million people.

The government, the Industrialists and the Media are putting hard efforts to convince the people by propagating the messages that the industrialization is only way to develop the young Jharkhand therefore the villagers must surrender their land for the development projects, which would provide them jobs, infrastructure and boost the economy of the state. But the Adivasis are not convinced with the ideas as 91.7 percent of them still rely on agriculture, forest produces and livestock for their survival. They are resisting against displacement, attacking the company's officials and not allowing them to enter into the villages. Consequently, the government is unable to execute the MoUs at the grassroots.

There has been turmoil against displacement in the state. On 1st of October 2008, the villagers attacked on the Kohinoor steel plant near Jamshedpur, seized 70 trucks and stopped the work. They alleged that after acquiring their agricultural land, the company neither compensated nor gave them jobs as promised and the company is also causing huge environmental affect in agriculture, water sources and public health therefore they would not allow the company to destroy their livelihoods. In another case, the villagers attacked 3 surveyors of Bhushan steel Yusuf Ahmad, Sheetal Kumar and Sahdev Singh when they were conducting land survey near Sarmanda River at Potka of East Singbhum district. The villagers caught them, painted on their faces with cow dung, asked them to eat straw and cow dung, garlanded with shoes and paraded in the villagers on 11 September 08. Somari Hembrom of Roladih village (Potka) justified it by saying, "We had already declared for not giving our precious land to the Bhushan Company but despite of this, these people were measuring our land without informing us therefore they were taught a lesson".

Similarly, the villagers attacked Jupiter Cement factory, beaten the workers and stopped the factory on 11 September 2008 at Kharsawan alleging for violating the land related laws. The Indian CEO, Project head and other officials of the steel giant Arcelor Mittal Company were not allowed to enter into the villages in Torpa- Kamdara region near Ranchi several times. The people of Tontopasi in Saraikela-Kharsawan district are not allowing the Tata Steel to acquire land for its Greenfield Project. In another case, the Adivasis of Dumka district have imposed “Janta Curfew” (public curfew) in Kathikund and Sikaripada blocks with the slogan “We shall give up our lives but not land.” against the proposed power plant of CESC Limited, where police firing took place on 6 of December, 2008 caused the killing of two activists - Lakhiram Tuddu and Saigat Marandi and another 7 activists were severely injured. The people resistances have forced the Tata Steel, Arcellor Mittal Company, Jindal Steel, Esser Steel and CESE Limited to leave the proposed areas.

Interestingly, the corporate houses have not given up their hopes and attempting to enter into the region through the back doors. They are playing many tricks and also luring people with the huge monetary packages for acquiring land. The global steel giant Arcelor Mittal Company is a crucial example to understand how the companies attempt to trick the Adivasis. The Arcelor Mittal Company signed a MoU with the Jharkhand government on October 8, 2005 for setting up a steel plant with the capacity of 12 million tones per annum at an estimated investment of Rs 40,000 crore. The company requires 25,000 acre of land and 20,000 unit water per hour for the steel plant and a township in Torpa-Kamdara region of Khunti and Gumla district. Since, the company needs huge water, a mega Dam will be constructed at Koel-Karo River for ensuring the water supply to the steel plant. According to the plan, the steel plant will be set up by the end of 2009 and the production will begin from 2012. Consequently, there will be a mass displacement of Adivasis as 256 villages would be affected completely by the project.

The people of Jharkhand especially the Adivasis have been undergoing through the adverse affect of the unjust modern development processes for more than a century therefore another mass movement against the Arcelor Mittal Company began in 2005 in the region under the banner of “Adivasi-Moolvasi Astitava Raksha Manch”. The people are resisting against industrialization in the region and not ready to give even one inch of their remaining lands. They have declared that “they need grains not iron for feeding their stomach”. Consequently, the Mittal Company was unable to enter into the region. Therefore it began playing tricks with the people. Eight months after the MoU was signed, Laxmi Mittal the owner of the company visited India in July 2006 to explore more investment prospects, but he was quite upset with the progress of the project in Jharkhand and warned the state government that mega project could be shifted to the neighbouring Orissa if the project continued at a snail's pace. But by then, Arjun Munda then the Chief Minister of Jharkhand had already made history signing MoUs with 43 companies. He could very well afford to tell Mittal he was free to choose between the two states.

This is when the idea of flaunting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) struck Mittal. Soon, Arcellor-Mittal Foundation was launched in 2007 with the objective of investing in social programmes, and promoting Arcelor-Mittal's commitment to society and sustainable development, focusing in particular on the communities where it operates. It is also said that the Foundation will seek to develop partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to drive the programme forward. But the hidden agenda of the foundation seems to be to use the local NGOs to find a foothold in the project areas. It was obvious from the start the foundation was going to pour large funds to enhance its public relations.

The Arcelor-Mittal's activities gathered momentum with the appointment of Sanak Mishra as the CEO of the Indian project. The announcement of CSR programmes started, which was in the form of election campaigns. The first move was to launch an ITI (Industrial Training Institute) in Khunti, slated to open from 2009. 50 percent of the total candidates were selected by the state government and the rest by the company. Half of the seats were reserved for Adivasi students and 50 scholarships were to be awarded on merit to deserving local students of the region. The ITI was projected as a catalyst of change for the Adivasi community. Meanwhile, the Mittal was told about the Adivasis' love for hockey. Soon, the company was sponsoring hockey tournament for girls and boys of Khunti and Gumla districts. The training for boys and girls started with the support of the district and the state hockey federations. The next step was to lure NGOs with huge funds. Finally, the company declared $300 million CSR programme, which would be spent for Rehabilitation & Resettlement package for the state. But it also didn’t work.

The company made a new holy business strategy to join hands with the church based social services institutions as the region is highly dominated by the Christians Adivasis. Earlier, the vice president of the Arcelor Mittal Company, Remi Boyer, who has more faith in the holy business for overcoming on the mass movement, had said that the church is ready to co-operate the company in land acquisition. Consequently, the Arcelor Mittal Company and Don Bosco Society made a secret agreement for holy business, under which the company would bear the cost of ITI training for Adivasi youth of the proposed project area and the Don Bosco Society would provide training in its ITI centre based at Kokar, Ranchi. But when it came into the notice of a forum of Adivasi called “Jharkhand Indigenous People’s Forum”, it intervened on the matter immediately.

The forum wrote letters to the Superior of the Don Bosco Society and the Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo asking them to make their stance clear on the issue of supporting Arcelor Mittal Company. The forum members also asked the Church leaders whether they are committed to the cause of Adivasis or they have joined hands with corporate for economic gain through the holy business. They also threatened for mass resistance including rally, protest and locking up the ITI Centre of Don Bosco. The forum released its plan and strategy of mass resistance through the media, which created an upheaval in the church arenas. Consequently, the Church leaders and the Superior of Don Bosco were in a huge pressure. Finally, the Don Bosco Society made it clear that it operates in Jharkhand only for the upliftment of Adivasis, Dalits and poor therefore it will not tie up with any corporate house, which takes away the rights of the Adivasis. The tricks of the Arcelor Mittal Company failed.
The Adivasis’ struggle against displacement has spread across the state. “Loha Nahi Anaj Chahiye” (We want grains not iron), “Jal, Jungle aur Jamin Hamara Hai” (Land, forest and water belong to us) and “Jan denge, Jamin Nahi Denge” (We will surrender our lives but not land) are a few overwhelming slogans being raised from villages to the state capital. A series of mass meetings, Road blocks and Rallies are being organized in these areas, where thousands of Adivasis and local people participate, shout slogans and echo their voices. The message they want to convey to the government, the industrialists and the middle class is that ‘they won't give up agriculture land for the development projects.
There are some prominent organizations of the Adivasis like Bisthapan Virodhi Ekta Manch, Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch, Creaj Jan Mukti Andolan, Jharkhand Mines Area Coordination Committee and Jharkhand Indigenous People’s Forum, who play crucial role in the displacement movement in Jharkhand, have cautioned the state government against increasing intrusions of representatives from several industries in villages, registering false cases against anti-displacement activists and threatening the villagers. "Our message is loud and clear that we do not want to give our land for industries", says K.C. Mardi the convener of Bisthapan Virodhi Ekta Manch. "Such attempts should be stopped immediately because the conspiracy to snatch our land would cause social unrest in the villages" he adds.
Dayamani Barla the convener of Adivasi Moolvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, the organization fighting against the Arcelor Mittal at Torpa-Kamdara says, "We will not allow the Arcelor Mittal Company to enter into the villages because one can not be rehabilitated if once displaced. The lands, which we cultivate belong to our ancestors therefore we will not leave it". According to the General Secretary of Crej Jan Mukti Andolan, Jerom Jerold Kujur, the development of agriculture is a need of the hour. He says, “It is more important to boost up agriculture than setting up industries in Jharkhand, as agriculture production in Jharkhand is marginal”. “If the government provides irrigation and other facilities to the local farmers, they could reap three crops in a year” he adds. The corporate houses are in anxiety, worried and uncertain about their future in Jharkhand therefore they are putting pressure on the government for taking action against the displacement activists. As a result, 3 criminal cases were registered against 1025 anti-displacement activists under the sections 307, 147, 148, 149, 323, 341, 342, 427, 506 of IPC and 9 of them were arrested but some of them were released after a huge people's protest. But the leader of Jharkhand Ulgulan Manch, Munni Hansada was kept in Jail for six months.

The fundamental question is why Adivasis do not want to give their land for the development projects, which can provide them jobs? The instant answer can be found in the history of pains and sufferings of the displaced people, which suggests that after the independence, 17,10,787 people were displaced while acquiring 24,15,698 acres of their lands for setting up the Power Plants, Irrigation Projects, Mining Companies, Steel Industries and other development projects in Jharkhand. In every project approximately 80 to 90 percent Adivasis and local people were displaced but merely 25 percent of them were halfway rehabilitated and no one has any idea about the rest 75 percent displaced people. The benefits of these development projects were highly enjoyed by the Landlords, Project Officers, Engineers, Contractors, Bureaucrats, Politicians and outsiders, and those who sacrificed everything for the sake of the "development" are struggling for their survival.
Secondly, the people were betrayed in the name of rehabilitation, compensation and jobs. The promises were not fulfilled and the jobs were given to the outsiders. In the present era, the technologies are mostly used in the companies therefore job opportunities and job security have declined the corporate. For example, when the Tata steel was producing 1 Mt steel, the work force was 70,000 in 1995. The growth of the Tata steel went up to 7 Mt in 2008 but the workforce declined to 20,000. Similarly, in the Heavy Engineering Corporation, Ranchi there were 23,000 employees at the beginning but it declined to 3000 in 2009.
The Job insecurity can be learnt from the Mittal company, which is said to provide 1 lakh, jobs to the people. Presently, the company operates in 60 countries and it has plants in 20 countries but the company has been suffering from the economic crisis since 2008. The demand of company’s steel went down to10 percent. Consequently, the company cut the production in Canada by 45 percent and axed 9,000 employees. It also cut the job of 1000 employees in lowest cost plant in Poland and shut one out of its two blast furnaces in west Belgium. The company had total workforces of 3,26,000 which was cut down to 3,15,867 as a result 10,133 people lost their jobs. The present status shows that the company is totally failure in protection of its employees’ rights therefore 2000 employees had attacked the company’s headquarter at Lubzumburge. In these circumstances, how can people believe on the propaganda of providing job to the affected people?
Thirdly, In fact the Adivasis had the ownership rights to the natural resources and they judiciously used these resources for their survival. But soon after the East India Company entered into the territory, the Britishers realized the enormous commercial potential of India’s natural resources and systematically went about acquiring control over it. In 1793 the “Permanent Settlement Act” was passed, which affected the socio-economic and cultural life of the Adivasis, and their lands slipped into the hands of the Zamindars (landlords). In 1855, the government declared the forests as the government property and the individuals have not right and claim over it. In 1865 the first Forest Act came into force, an avalanche of regulations followed this act. Wherever a loophole was detected in the existing laws a new law would be passed. After the independence, when Indians took over the driving sit they also followed the Britishers’ foot steps. The rights over natural resources of the Adivasi were snatched away through the various legislations. The government of India accepts through the Forest Rights Act 2006 that the historical injustice was done on the Adivasi community.
Fourthly, there are numerous laws made for protection of the Adivasis’ rights but these laws were never enacted honestly. The Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act 1908 and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act 1949 prohibit the sale and transfer of Adivasi land to non-Adivasi but the land were illegally snatched away from them. In 1969, the Bihar Scheduled Areas Regulation Act was enforced for prevention and legalization of illegal land transfer and of Adivasis. A special Area Regulation Court was established and the Deputy Commissioner was given special right regarding the sell and transfer of Adivasis land. When the special court started function, a huge number of cases were registered. According to the government’s report, 60,464 cases regarding 85,777.22 acres of illegal transfer of land were registered till 2001-2002. Out of these 34,608 cases of 46,797.36 acres of land were considered for hearing and rest 25,856 cases related to 38,979.86 acres of land were dismissed.
But after the hearing merely 21,445 cases regarding 29,829.7 acres of lands were given possession to the original holders and rest remains with the non-Adivasis. Further more 2608 cases of illegal land transfer were registered in 2003-2004, 2657 cases in 2004-2005, 3230 cases in 2005-2006, 3789 cases in 2006-2007 and 5382 cases in 2007-2008, which clearly indicates that the cases of illegal land alienation is increasing rapidly. According to the Annual Report 2004-2005 of the Ministry of Rural Development of the Government of India, Jharkhand topped the list of Adivasi land alienation in India with 86,291 cases involving 10,48,93 acres of land. Similarly, the constitutional rights, provisions for the sixth scheduled Areas and the Extension of Panchayat Act 1996 were never been implemented with the true spirit in the state. The ruling elites always misused these laws for their benefits.
Fifthly, the government of India was unable to bring a law for the rehabilitation of the affected people even after the 62 years of independence but legislation for the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) was passed immediately. Similarly, when the Jharkhand state was created the first chief minister, Babula Marandi brought the Industrial Policy but at the same time, the same government was unable to make a rehabilitation policy. This is why the intention of the state was always questioned and the people are resisting against displacement everywhere. The people were displaced from one place to another in the name of development but they were not rehabilitated. Hence they feel that they were betrayed in the welfare state in the name of "development” and “national interest”. Therefore now Adivasis believe that they can protect their land only through the mass struggle.
Finally, one should understand that the displacement is not just shifting people from one place to another but it is destruction of their livelihood resources, culture and identity which they develop by nourishing for the ages. The life cycle of the Adivasis is based on the natural resources therefore their co-existence with the nature can not be questioned. Hence, it is need of the hour to rethink on the present development model. The unjust development process can not be carried on as the Adivasis also have similar rights to life with dignity, freedom and equality guaranteed by the constitution of India. The Adivasis have lost their faith in the state machinery, constitutional authorities and judiciary therefore they have firmly decided not to allow laying down the foundation of corporate development model over their graves.
Gladson Dungdung is a Human Rights Activist and Writer based at Ranchi, Jharkhand. He can be reached at or