Thursday, December 21, 2006

Do not recruit boys and girls for Salwa Judum, says NCW

Special Correspondent

Send home naxal violence-hit villagers in government camps

# Enforced displacement plays havoc with their life
# Give training to women, children

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has asked the Chhattisgarh Government to send naxal-affected villagers in Dantewada and Bastar districts back home and provide them security.

In their report, NCW members Malini Bhattacharya and Manju Snehlata Hembram, who earlier this month visited the government camps, have said most of the villagers are caught between naxalite violence and the government-sponsored Salwa Judum or peace campaign. This enforced displacement is playing havoc with their normal way of living and affects women and children in particular.

Getting people involved in Salwa Judum would render them vulnerable to naxalite reprisal should they ever go back to their villages.Basic amenities and training in alternative livelihood should be provided for those unable to move out of the camps right now. The training should help women and youth become self-sufficient. They should not be pressured to join Salwa Judum.

"Set up panel"

The NCW says a fact-finding report from an all-India women's committee, sent by the Committee against Violence on Women, contains a whole list of atrocities perpetrated on women. "We recommend that the Government set up an independent commission to investigate these cases."

Disturbed at the recruitment of young boys and girls as special police officers (SPOs) to counter naxalite violence, the report has sought an end to this practice. "Their studies are being disrupted and they are not getting any training that would help them in the future.

"When they are discharged in the coming days, what are they going to do," as their jobs are not permanent? Having served as SPOs, they cannot go back to their villages, as they will be targeted by naxalites. "We also have no doubt that this kind of life exposes young girls to the danger of exploitation of all kinds," say the NCW members.

Another recommendation is payment of compensation to and rehabilitation of all women and children who have lost their kin or homes in violence involving either naxalites or Salwa Judum. For violence against tribals, action must be taken under the Prevention of Atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act.

Legal assistance

The 41 girl undertrials in the Jagdalpur jail in naxalite cases should have proper access to legal aid. Their complaints against Salwa Judum and the Central Reserve Police Force should be properly investigated.


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