Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Reports from Marraiguda Salwa Judum Camp

JP Rao

I had an opportunity to visit Marraiguda Salwa Judum camp on the 25thFebruary 2008,exactly one year after I visited the camp earlier when it was setup. When the camp was set up in February 2007 there were around 3000 persons in the camp. Today there are around 250 families living in the camp. More then half of the people left the camp and migrated to the villages across the border. I was informed that the Chhattisgharh Government has decided to suspend supply of free rations (Rice, Dal, oil, potatoes and onions etc) to the inmates of Salwa Judum camps in both Dantewra and Bijapur districts and boards have been put up in Konta, Vinjaram and other camps stating that people will be provided rice at Rs.3 per kg and free rations would be suspended. The supply of free rations had become erratic in Konta, Vinjaram, Errabore and Marraiguda camps since the beginning of December 2007. Reports trickling in from Bijapur state that people are deserting the camps as the supply of rations have become erratic there also. When I asked the police personal 'how many people will stay in the camp if the Government asks them to return to their villages' they said 100% of people will go back to their villages. The Salwa Judum leaders present there were shock to hear this answer from the police. In the informal chat they also told us that because of the atrocities committed by the Salwa Judum peoples support to the Maoists has increased.

The Salwa Judum leader of Marraiguda camp in a tribal of Gollapalli village works as a village assistant whose salary is Rs.1000 per month. However, he owns a Bolero Jeep, which he bought after the camp was setup last year and visits Bhadrachalm daily along with his dozen cronies. I was also informed that most of the Salwa Judum leaders of all these camps in Konta division have bought properties in Jagdalpur and other towns besides purchasing gold and jewelry worth laks of rupees. This alone is proof of rampant corruption that is prevailing in Salwa Judum camps. The camp dwellers informed us that these Salwa Judum activists sleep in different houses daily out of fear. The Salwa Judum activists in Konta sleep in the police station out of fear of being killed by the people. If the government suspends free supply of rations to the camp inmates Salwa Judum will die its natural death and its activists would become sitting ducks for the Maoists and the people who suffered at their hands. I was also informed that some time back before the Naga police was withdrawn the Naga police killed every one present in a village in Bejji forest as retaliation to the killing of 12 policemen.

1 comment:

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