Chhattisgarh: Victims of Maoist violence, alleged police excesses call for peace
In a first-of-its-kind meeting, victims of Maoist violence as well as alleged police excesses said that they did not feel any enmity towards each other and wanted peace to return to Bastar – the most impacted region of Chhattisgarh.
The meeting called 'Chaikle Maandi', which in Gondi language means meeting for peace and prosperity, was held on Tuesday at the conclusion of an 11-day 'Dandi March 2.0' – a foot march for peace under the New Peace Process.
In all, 10 victims of Maoist violence and alleged police excesses participated in the meeting, convener of New Peace Process Shubhranshu Choudhary said.
The victims said even after the hardships faced by them, they do not have any negative feeling towards anyone and would like a peaceful resolution to the problem so that all can live in peace, a note by organisers of the meeting said.
Dayaluram Negi from Ghumar village in Tanker district of Chhattisgarh said that though he spent 33 months in jail allegedly despite being innocent, he has forgiven the police. Punai Dugga said she has spent more than 10 years in Maoist movement and police have not helped her after her forced surrender as promised but she wants the violence to end.
Prakash Singh, retired IPS officer and first head of Naxal desk set up in 1967, delivered the first Prof Surendra Parihar memorial lecture after the 'Chaikle Maandi'. He said that government should understand that they cannot finish the Maoist movement by force and at the same time Maoists should realise that what they are aiming for is unachievable.
Earlier, the 10 victims also participated in the 11-day 'Dandi March 2.0', which started from Maoist den Abujhmad in Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh on March 12. Another 150 persons, including individuals and representatives of various civil society organisations, also participated in the march.
Soon after commencement of the march, the zonal committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) had issued a statement terming the initiative as 'a hoax and government conspiracy'. However, the Maoists had made an offer of conditional peace talks if the armed forces were withdrawn, Maoists leader in jails were released unconditionally and ban on the organisations were revoked.
Responding to these demands, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had said that the Maoists cannot impose any conditions for peace talks. Rather, they should leave the path of violence and armed struggle before any peace talk can be initiated, the CM had said.
On Tuesday, however, as the foot march concluded, five personnel of District Reserve Guards (DRG) were killed when Maoists allegedly triggered an IED (improvised explosive device) blast in Kadenar locality in Narayanpur district. At least a dozen others were injured as the bus ferrying them overturned after the blast.