Statement in support of relief and rehabilitation efforts by civil society groups in Chhatisgarh, India
We, an international coalition of over 54 Human Rights, Community, Student, Development and Peace & Justice organizations strongly support the right of displaced Adivasis (indigenous peoples) to return safely to their homes and lives in the state of Chhattisgarh, and are alarmed by the recent surge in violence in Bijapur and Dantewada districts of Chhattisgarh which is threatening to cause a major setback to the ongoing rehabilitation.
Since the promulgation of the Salwa Judum (a militia armed by the state of Chhattisgarh) in 2005, violence from both the Salwa Judum and Maoist Rebels has escalated, and hundreds of thousands of Adivasis have fled their homes in Dantewada and Bijapur districts out of fear for their lives. Over the last 12 months, we were encouraged to see that with the support of civil society groups such as Action AID, Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA) and Agriculture and Social Development Society (ASDS), some families have gradually begun to return to their villages and are resuming agriculture and other forms of livelihood. However, recent threats, arson and murder in the vicinity of the rehabilitated villages has spurred further displacement, and deterred those who were planning to return to their homes. We sympathize sincerely with the families of the victims of such violence.
Given the widespread displacement of Adivasis from their land as a result of this violence, we as informed citizens, pledge to support efforts that aim to rebuild confidence amongst Adivasis, and help them return to their lands and resume their lives with a sense of dignity.
We appeal to the government of Chhattisgarh to facilitate the process of rehabilitation of displaced communities as per the Directives of the Supreme Court, as well as the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, by doing the following:
Make immediate arrangements for food, water, seeds, and implements to enable ploughing so that the villagers may sow in this critical period of the farming season Provide rations and employment through NREGA (National Rural Empolyment Guarantee Act) which will make food and daily wages available to the villagers until their crops come to harvest Provide compensation with which to rebuild and sustain their livelihoods.
We appeal to the government of Chhattisgarh to take firm steps to end the vicious cycle of violence in the region through de-militarization, clearing security forces off schools and hospitals, and withdrawal of the Salwa Judum. We also appeal to all parties - the Maoist Rebels, the Government and the Salwa Judum - to refrain from any activity that adversely affects the return and stay of the rehabilitated Adivasis in the villages of Chhattisgarh.
List of Endorsing Organizations
Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, MIT Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, San Francisco Amnesty International, USA ANSWER Asian Law Alliance Association for India�s Development Association of South Asian Political Activists, Berkeley Birmingham Anti-SEZ Campaign, UK Boston Coalition for Justice in Bhopal Boston Mobilization Cambridge Free Binayak Sen Group Campaign against Forced Displacement, UK Campaign to Stop Funding Hate CMC Vellore Alumni Association-U.K. Branch DEEP - Defenders of the Environment and Ecology of Panjab, UK Dharma Megha, East Lansing, Michigan Friends of South Asia Gadar Heritage Foundation, Fremont Hillingdon Asian Women's Communication Service, UK India Foundation, East Lansing, Michigan ICJB- International Coalition for Justice in Bhopal Indian Muslim Council, USA Indian Progressive Study Group-L.A. India Relief and Education Fund, Fremont Indian Workers Association (GB) International Accountability Project International League of People's Struggles, UK International Service Society, Okemos, Michigan International South Asia Forum: INSAF, NYC Massachusetts Global Action Matahari: Eye of the Day National Lawyers' Guild Our Developing World Peace and Human Rights Trust: UK Peninsula Peace & Justice Center Peoples Health Movement, USA SAMAR San Jose Peace & Justice Center Sanhati SANSAD (South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy) Canada SAPAC: South Asian Progressive Action Collective, Chicago SACC- Scotland Against Criminalising Communities Seva International, Okemos, Michigan Sikh American Heritage Organization South Asian Alliance, UK South Asia Solidarity Group, UK South Asia Solidarity Initiative SAPA, Harvard (formerly SASS) Students for Bhopal The 1857 Committee, U.K. Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment, Okemos, Michigan Vedanta Society of East Lansing, Michigan Western States Legal Foundation WILPF-San Jose
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