The Left parties and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties on Wednesday condemned Tuesday’s killing of 15 security personnel and a civilian in a Naxal attack in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.

The CPI(M)’s Polit Bureau said the brazen ambush in a region that had seen repeated Maoist attacks highlighted the inadequacies of the security strategy to deal with the Maoist violence.

“It is imperative that the Central and State governments together work out an effective strategy to counter the Maoist groups.”

The Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of India said: “It is surprising that the BJP government in the State, despite repeated alerts issued by intelligence agencies, failed to take any preventive measure to avert the calamity. The CPI urges upon the Union and State governments to take concrete measurers to foil such attacks in future.”

The PUCL expressed regret at the loss of lives. “The unending spiral of violence is what concerns us the most, for it has led to the killings and maiming of thousands of tribals who have been caught in the crossfire. We are clear that under no circumstances can violence be justified,” PUCL national general secretary V. Suresh said.

“But our response cannot stop at mere condemnation. The PUCL would like to reaffirm its position that the only way out is for the government to initiate a process of unconditional ceasefire, which could end hostilities and prepare the ground for talks. We appeal to the Maoists to agree to an unconditional ceasefire and engage in talks. It is very important that Adivasi groups, such as Adivasi Mahasabha and Sarva Samaj, need to be included in the talks,” he said.

“Only mediation by a group of independent citizens can take the process of peace and justice forward. The most tragic part of the spiral of violence is that apart from the deaths of scores of security personnel and Maoists in the numerous offensives and counter-offensives, thousands of innocent tribals and villagers have paid a heavy price,” he added.

Dr. Suresh said tribals and villagers suffered severe human rights violations by security and police forces, were implicated and arrested in false cases and spent years in jails without trial.

“Hundreds of tribals have been killed, women raped and houses destroyed owing to the violence by Salwa Judum cadre, who operated with the State’s support. 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.”

“The best way to restore faith in democracy is by integrating human rights, equity and social justice into all government policies, plans and programmes, and abandoning a militaristic solution,” he said.

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