Other States

‘Anti-Naxal forces treating tribal regions as war zones’

The Odisha government and central security forces were treating tribal-dominated regions of the State as war zone where all faces appeared to them of rebels, said human rights activists here in the wake of death of six persons in firing of anti-Naxal forces in Kandhamal district.

Since 2015, as many as 12 innocent villagers have been killed reportedly by security forces in Kandhamal, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts.

While six persons were killed in Tumudibandh block of Kandhamal on Friday night, three villagers, who had reportedly gone looking for missing goats in Nissanguda forest in Kalahandi, were gunned down by Special Operation Group personnel in November last year.

On July 26, 2015, a Dalit couple Duba Nayakand his wife Budi Nayak were killed by anti-Naxal forces in Ladima hills in Maoist-affected Kotgarh block of Kandhamal where they had gone in search of network on their mobile phone.

In February 27, one Manda Kadraka (20) was killed by security forces in forest of Niyamgiri hill. Although police said the youth was killed in an encounter, there was no concrete evidence of Manda Kadraka involved in Naxal activities. A youth in Nuapada district succumbed to injuries after he was brutally thrashed by personnel of Special Operation Group in Sunabeda camp in August last year.

“The very approach of combating the Left Wing Extremism appears to be faulty. The way security forces are spraying bullets on innocent villagers, it seems they are fighting a war in an alien land. The government also believes that bullets can solve the Naxal problem in the State,” said Biswapriya Kanungo, a right activist who has approached State Human Rights Commission in a number of cases pertaining to deaths in firing of anti-Naxal forces in the past.

Pramodini Pradhan, Convenor of PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties) Odisha, said: “Earlier the governments had announced to counter Naxalilsm by adopting multi-pronged approach. But the developmental approach envisaged by government has been missing. Ruthless military intervention now seems to be dominant approach.”

At one hand the government informed that Naxal activities had witnessed sharp drop in Odisha over past few years, on the other hand, the State government is seeking deployment of more forces, Ms. Pradhan said.

Activists questioned the combing operation of anti-Naxal operation. “We have never heard LWEs being caught after chase by forces. We are only informed about exchange of fires between security forces and extremists. This raises doubt about authenticity of firing by forces,” said Mr. Kanungo.



The government also believes that bullets can solve the Naxal problem in Odisha, say activists




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