“The State has waged a war against its own people in the name of Operation green hunt,” alleged members of the Lalgarh Manch, a body comprising social and human rights activists from West Bengal, here on Wednesday.
A five-member team of Lalgarh Manch as part of a nation-wide campaign against Operation Green Hunt spoke to reporters at a press conference in the city.
“The multi-national companies are out to grab natural resources in the name of development, with the tacit support of the government. What is being called Operation green hunt is actually a tribal hunt since it is aimed at depriving the adivasis of their rights. Home Minister P. Chidambaram must realise that if the situation is allowed to prolong, it will trigger a civil war. The state is trying to use military for an issue that needs a political solution,” said Soumo Mondal, a member of the Lalgarh Manch.
Soumo Mondal, Chandan Biswas, Indranil Nag and Badshah Mandi, all from the United Students' Democratic Front, have enrolled as Lalgarh Manch activists while fifth member Debolina is from a local NGO back home in Kolkata called Matangini Mahila Samithi.
The members said Lalgarh seemed to be another Nandigram in the making, with tribals in revolt against state repression and land grab. “We are here to express solidarity with those who have been victimised by Operation Green Hunt and to strengthen the movement that is spreading rapidly across the country,” they said.
Citing the report submitted to the National Human Rights Commission by members of the People's Committee against Police Atrocities, they said the face of the state terror, the fake encounters, the indiscriminate violation of human rights and the impact on their young children were highlighted in it.
Rape and torture of women to subvert the dignity of the movement, prohibiting information access to journalists, trampling of the cultural rights of tribals and stunting of the development due to flawed state policies were other highlights.
Revolutionary writer Varavara Rao said the police claim that the Maoists were anti-development was not true.
“They are seeking development at the grassroot level through implementation of projects that can generate employment to the poor and needy. But the state was only catering to big industrialists at the cost of the poor,” he said.