Dantewada villages 'under siege'
Sunday, June 17, 2007
The government of Chattisgarh has isolated a cluster of villages across Indravati river in Dantewada because its residents refused to join the anti-naxal militia - the Salwa Judam. Roughly 15,000 villagers are cut off and even salt or medicine is not allowed in. The roads are blocked and special permission is required to enter the villages.
Many have fled the seige and those who remain said: ''We walk across the forest for two days to get even salt,'' a villager said. ''The government does not allow even salt or medical facilities,'' social worker Himanshu confirmed. Salwa Judam offers the villagers one choice - join us or be branded a Maoist. Those who refused to fall in line lost access to everything. There's fear in the air that Salwa Judam rules the roads and the Maoists run the forests.
Farmers do not till their lands and Salwa Judam patrols burn their crops, villagers said. Village after village houses lay empty. Also fishing in the Indrawati river is risky because if spotted by the 'special police officers' of the Salwa Judam it could pose a risk to life.
In case one manages to escape the Salwa Judam the Maoists snatch away whatever little they have. But Home Minister Ramvichar Neetam claims that he did not receive any complaints from anyone and his government claims the villagers are Naxal sympathisers.
posted by Resistance 6/17/2007 11:24:00 PM,