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India: Recognize Adivasi’s fleeing to Andhra Pradesh as Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and provide them rehabilitation

by Solidarity Committee for Internally Displaced Tribals, Andhra Pradesh, 28 November 2009

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Press Note: Solidarity Committee for Internally Displaced Tribals, Andhra Pradesh

25th November, 2009

The Chattisgarh Government and the Central governments have started War in the name of Green Hunt. They are fully aware that when the operation starts thousands of tribals will flee their homes. The earlier experience of attacks by Sulwa Judum has taught this lesson. In spite of this knowledge the Government of India or the state governments have not taken any steps to set up a rehabilitation programme and allocate adequate funds, or food security for the same.

Solidarity Committee for Internally displaced tribals spent 23rd and 24th November, 2009 in Khammam district in the Mulkalapally, Kukunoor and Cherla Mandals visiting the displaced families. The Committee has collected following information from them.

Murders and Burning villages (in Chattisgarh)

Under the protection of Para Military forces the Special Police officers (SPOs) and Salwa Judum members have restarted attacking the villages. For Example, in Gachanpad Village, Konta Tahsil. five men were rounded up brought to the centre of the village and killed by bayonets and bullets. Their names are: 1 Madave Adamiah, 2 Madakam Soolaiah, 3 Madavi joga, 4 Kovasi Gangiah, 5 Madakam Mui. Except for one, the others were old men who could not run . Madakam Mui was disabled and could barely walk. The son of Madave Adamiah and sister of Gangiah shared their horrors with the Committee. The forces burnt 19 homes in the village.

Earlier, Maraigudem village was burnt to the ground by Sulwa Judum. The villagers who had run away returned after a while and had started living in small huts nearby. In this round of attacks the huts were burnt down again.

Next Pujari Kankeru village was attacked and two women and one man was killed. Houses were burnt down.

Terrorizing the tribals

It is clear that by targeting some villages, killing and burning down homes, people are being evicted. People reported that some villages were targeted for the first time while others were attacked a second time. The Para military are encircling villages and the SPOs and Sulwa Judum entering the villages and carrying out the attacks.

Destroying property and disappearing livestock

Last year the region faced drought and people lost their crops. This year once again there was limited production. When the harvest was ready the government started Operation Green Hunt. People left their standing crops and either ran away to the forest or crossed over to Andhra Pradesh. All the people reported that the forces stole their chicken, goats and pigs which were killed and consumed by them. When women dared to protest they were severely beaten up.

The situation in Andhra Pradesh

The people who are fleeing in groups are apprehended by the Andhra police, taken to the Police camp and threatened to go back. They are calling whole families including babies to be photographed as suspected Maoists. In Charla mandal one such settlement (of thirteen families) under a tamarind tree was threatened and forced to leave. The Committee met four youth of these families who are struggling to eke out a living in spite of these difficulties.

Hunger and Cold

The fleeing families are burning with hunger and freezing in the cold. Since they have come with only the clothes on their back they do not have any vessels to cook in or blankets. The Committee met ten families who came to Kukunoor Mandal, Kivaka Panchayat. The Committee observed that they did not have any sheets to spread on the ground to sleep on. They did not have any cover either. Nine children are living with the families and are looking malnourished. Since breast feeding mothers also do not have any food, the babies are underweight.

The families requested Committee members for plastic sheets, utensils to cook, blankets and food grains as immediate rations.

Appeal to the Governments.

  • The government of India and the Concerned State governments must take responsibility to create a safe environment so that the displaced families can return to their homes and lead their normal lives.
  • Attacks on Adivasi villages should be stopped immediately
  • Arrest and punish the guilty immediately and uphold constitutional rights and the Rule of Law.
  • The fleeing families should be recognized as internally displaced People (IDP). The government of India must develop a rehabilitation package and allocate funds to the state governments.

To ensure survival of the families, the Government of Andhra Pradesh must take following steps:

  • For immediate relief : each family to be given 100 Kgs of rice, 10 kgs dal, kerosene, one set of cooking vessels, polythene sheets for cover and blankets.
  • Issue NREGS job cards with 200 days of employment per year since they have lost all their productive assets
  • Temporary ration cards for a year to be renewed on the basis of then conditions. Double rations should be provided since the families have lost access to their productive resources including land.
  • Pensions to be provided to people with disabilities and the elderly on a temporary basis.
  • Set up bridge schools to uphold the Right to Education and provide mini anganwadi centre’s in habitations.
  • Set up Medical camps to treat diseases and recognize malnutrition. Set up feeding center’s for malnourished children.
  • Implement the recommendations of National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights as above pertaining to children.
  • Immediately give directions to stop forest official and police harassment of IDPs since they are citizens of this country and have a right to live where they choose and travel according to their need and will.

Appeal to Civil Society

Civil society responded with great generosity during the recent floods. We appeal that they respond equally to this emerging crises of the innocent adivasis and support their survival.

Prof M Kodand Ram

B Ramakrishnam Raju

G Rajasekhar

Dr V Rukmini Rao

V Gandhi Babu

P S Ajay kumar

(Contact Numbers G RajaSekhar, 9440235978, A Krishna 9959098737)