To cite some recent cases in the state of Odisha,
two tribals and a Dalit of Jugasaipatna village in Kalahandi district were shot
dead by SOG personnel in November 2015; a couple from Pangalapadar village in
Kotagarh block who went to a hillock for mobile signal to make phone calls to
their sons working in Kerala, were shot dead by SOG personnel in July 2015.
In the past, while five people were killed in an
anti-Maoist operation in the Bhaliaguda forest, in November 2012, five people
including a three-year-old girl were killed in a Maoist engineered landmine
blast in November 2010.
Such incidents have led to increasing fear for
Maoists and hatred against the state armed forces among people living in places
Reacting over the recent incident where he lost
his father and the two-year-old son, Samsun Digal asks – “Who are these armed
forces? Why are they here in my village and our forest? Are they for our safety
or to kill us?”
“They must be kept away from my village and forest
because instead of freeing us from Maoist fear they are rather more
terrorising,” he adds.
Anger in the civil society is also growing. Social
activists like Sharanya Nayak, who works in the conflict prone areas, condemn
the killing saying that the incident is the latest one in the series of murders
of common people especially tribals in the name of anti Maoist operation.
“All justice loving people should condemn this
barbaric act,” she called for.
“The police must realise that it is being fed from
the tax money paid by the people it kills,” says N A Shah Ansari, a Konark based
development activist and community radio broadcaster.
Some imminent questions iterated by Ansari are –
How can the government and its police officials justify such breach of civil
rights in a democratic state? How can the police keep on killing civilians of
the state seizing the fundamental rights given by the constitution of India?
Keeping in view the increasing hatred
among people against armed forces and growing dissent in the civil society,
experts and human right defenders suggest that such incidents should be taken by
the government as reminders to rethink over its strategy for combating Maoist
insurgency. Otherwise, overcoming the threat from left-wing extremism may remain
an unrealised ambition of the State and its government.