Back in May I wrote a post implying that Adivasis were increasingly supporting the Naxalite movement in India. I’d like to amend that post, as a recent report makes it clear that the situation is much more complex:
Since the launch of Salwa Judum, an anti-Naxalite campaign, in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh in June 2005, the Adivasis, who constitute 78.51% of the total population of Dantewada, have become victims of the conflict between the Naxalites and the State government of Chhattisgarh. Though majority of the cadres of the Naxalites are Adivasis, they are not the decision makers. “Commander” Kosa, the secretary for the Naxals in Chhattisgarh hails from Andhra Pradesh. The apology by the Maoists for the killings of innocent Adivasis on 28 February 2006 at Darbhaguda was also issued from Andhra Pradesh . Similarly, the Salwa Judum campaign has been taken over by the State as a full-pledged counter-insurgency programme. The Adivasis are the pawns of both the parties of the conflict. They are also the perpetrators as well as the victims of the undeclared civil war.
Another report on Salwa Judum can be found here, with similar conclusions, although more favorable to the Maoists. As they say: “only the murders by Maoists are recognized, and the Salwa Judum and paramilitary operate with complete impunity.”
There is also a 9 minute documentary on YouTube which does a good job presenting the damage done to the Adivasi population, but which fails to correctly portray Salwa Judum as the state-organized anti-insurgency campaign it clearly is.