No succour for the victims of the armed opposition groups in India
At present, 19 out of 28 States of India face internal armed conflicts which are characterised by gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws both by the security forces and the armed opposition groups. For decades,
While precise statistics are not available, monitoring of the secondary sources of information by Asian Centre for Human Rights indicates that abuses by the armed opposition groups have increased in comparison to the violations by the security forces in the last few years.
The armed opposition groups have been responsible for violations of the right to life, torture, mass murder, taking of hostages, acts of terrorism, rape, pillage etc. Innocent civilians have been killed in
a. Violence by the armed opposition groups in 2006
The massacres at Doda and Udampur of Jammu and Kashmir on
i. Massacres at Doda and Udampur
On the night of
According to survivors, three members of the armed opposition groups came to Zeithwana village at around 10 pm and asked the Hindu villagers to gather at the house of village headman
In the meantime, in Manglote village, which is less than two kilometers from Zeithwana, another group of armed opposition groups herded villagers into the house of one Gilu Devi (55) and fired indiscriminately, killing many on the spot.
In both the incidents, some of the victims escaped death by pretending to be dead although they were hit by bullets. The survivors were airlifted to
ii. Manikonta massacre
At about 11 am on 24 April 2006, a group of 200 armed Naxalite cadres kidnapped 52 Adivasi/indigenous villagers, including 20 women from Manikonta village market under Errabore police station in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh. The Adivasis have been living at Dornapal relief camps run under the counter-insurgency Salwa Judum programme. They had gone to Manikonta village market to collect rice and other ration items.
The representatives of Asian Centre for Human Rights met some of those released by the Naxalites. Those who were interviewed by ACHR alleged that they were taken to the forest where the Naxalites brutally beat up all of them, including the women folk for supporting the
While 37 hostages were released, the Naxalites hacked to death 15 persons who were found to be physically strong and able bodied. According to released hostages, all the 15 deceased were tortured to death by chopping them at their back, head and fatally at the neck. It was alleged that the Naxalites also gauged out the eyes of the deceased before killing them.
iii. Darbhaguda Massacre of 28 February 2006
According to the accounts of eyewitnesses and survivors, who were undergoing treatment at the area hospital in Bhadrachalam district of Andhra Pradesh and interviewed by ACHR researchers, in the morning of 28 February 2006, four trucks carrying between 60-70 Salwa Judum activists in each truck were returning to the Errabore relief camp from a Salwa Judum meeting at Dornapal relief camps. At about 11.30 am, the four trucks were crossing the Darbaguda village when there was a very big explosion and the 2nd (in order of their advancing forward) of the four trucks was blown to pieces killing 8 of the occupants on the spot and injuring many others, some of them critically.
Some 150-200 Naxalites came out of the forests from both sides of the road and clubbed or stabbed to death 17 of the injured. This was corroborated by the family members of the deceased and survivors. A total of 27 persons were killed and 32 persons were injured.
A total of 27 persons were killed and 32 persons were injured.
An injured survivor, who is undergoing treatment (name withheld because of the fear of retaliation by the Naxalites) at Bhadrachalam Hospital in Andhra Pradesh told Asian Centre for Human Rights, “We (between 60-70 persons) were on the 2nd of the four trucks and were crossing Dharbaguda village, when we were dampen by a big explosion and being thrown up with the truck. We were writhing in pain and screaming for help, then Sangham (Naxalites) members armed with guns, choppers and spears attacked us and killed some of us.”
Many of the victims of violence by the armed opposition groups such as the ones in Doda and Udampur are children whose both parents have been killed. Many do not have any support structure. Interim relief cannot take care the future of the families of which children, because of the tragedies, have become head of the families. The State has a responsibility to look after the needs of the victims of abuses by the armed opposition groups especially when they are directly exposed to the conflict by the government as in Chhattisgarh.
Unfortunately, the policies of the government of India on confronting violence by the armed opposition groups have been confined to recruiting or deploying more security forces, providing interim medical assistance to the lucky ones, and scoring browny points against the neighbours or the armed groups.