Bastar IG backs anti-Maoist front launched by Karma son

 Maoists set ablaze a vehicle at GT Road during their Jharkhand bandh, in Amas on Monday. (PTI Photo)

The Bastar IGP on Monday declared his support for anti-Maoist front Vikas Sangharsh Samiti, which has been formed by Chhavindra Karma, son of slain Congress leader Mahendra Karma.

Speaking at Karma’s second death anniversary in his native village of Faraspal in Dantewada, S R P Kalluri, Bastar IGP, said on Monday that he supported the front and lashed out at those who have compared it with Salwa Judum.

A decade ago in 2005, Mahendra Karma had led the Salwa Judum against Maoists. Judum, which was initially claimed to be a peaceful protest march of tribals against Maoists, had soon turned violent and led to killings of many civilians, policemen and rebels.

Chhavindra formed the Vikas Sangharsh Samiti days before Prime Minister Narendra Modivisited Dantewada earlier this month. Repeating his father’s words, he said he would lead a peaceful march in villages and urge tribals to accept the government’s development programmes and reject Maoists.

Kalluri defended Salwa Judum, which was declared illegal by the Supreme Court in July 2011. Asked about the role of police in Chhavindra’s Samiti, he said: “The national media has misrepresented the Vikas Sangharsh Samiti and wrongly compared it with Salwa Judum so that someone gets a chance to go to the court against it.”

He added: “Maoists sympathisers” often say that the years of historical neglect had triggered the violence by Maoists.

“Vikas Sangharsh Samiti is an effort in this direction. We are not talking about violence, but trying to bring development to Bastar,” Kalluri said.

Chhavindra, on his part, noted his family had suffered a lot due to the violence. “Just today, Maoists killed two of my relatives,” he said, insisting he does not want violence, but a peaceful solution. Besides Kalluri and Chhavindra, former Salwa Judum leaders Chaitram Attami and Sukhdev Tati were present at Faraspal Monday.

The state Congress has already distanced itself from the Samiti and asked Chhavindra to withdraw his venture.



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