In the Naxal-infested district of Chhattisgarh, there has been a sudden upsurge in the number of Maoists surrendering after the senior most IPS officer SRP Kallurri took charge as IG of Bastar region.
In 2012 the total number of Naxals who surrender in Bastar was 18, and in 2013 the figure escalated up to 22. In the current year of 2014 up to August end, the number of surrendered Naxals has suddenly increased and crossed the mark of 115.
Chhattisgarh police is working in Bastar with Central Para Miliatary forces such as CRPF, BSF, ITBP and have made a considerable number of Naxal arrests. Two days ago police claimed that 10 Naxals were arrested and on Sunday, the dreadful Naxalite Kamlochan Kashyap alias Kosa was arrested from the jungles of Dantewada Distirct in a joint operation carried out by CRPF and District Police. The District Police claims Kosa was involved in Naxal activities for the past ten years. He was also a member of `Dandakaranya Adiwasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangh' of Maoists, and president of its Tikanpal unit. Few days ago a woman Naxalite, carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh on her head, was arrested from the industrial area of Raipur.
Last week Bastar Police claimed they arrested 2 Naxals, Sukhdev Naag and Manjhiram Kashyap, residents of Tongpal in Sukma district, who were among the ultras who gunned down senior Congress leaders, including Mahendra Karma.
The sudden increase in arrests and surrenders, has raised questions over Chhattisgarh police actions and put the whole activity under scanner.
Former MLA and CPI leader Manish Kunjam said, the men who were arrested are innocent tribal villagers and his party cadre members. Naag is elected Janpad Sadasya and another is an elected member of village panchayat. Both these tribals are elected panchayat representatives and active member of CPI.
Manish alleged that the day SRP Kalluri resumed his office as IG Bastar he started arranging meetings with the village panchayat heads and representatives who were coerced into attending these meeting. In each meeting the IG circulated a list of tribal youth and men. He then said that the village representatives must help them in arresting the innocent tribals or they will be implicated in false cases under Chhattisgarh Jan Suraksha Adhiniyam. He also instructed the village heads to help Chhattisgarh police with arresting CPI members. In short Chhattisgarh police is arresting CPI members by branding them as Maoists guerrillas.
Manish alleged that he is in SRP Kalluri's list and may be eliminated after getting branded as active think tank member of CPI Maoists. The CPI leader also alleged that SRP Kalluri was given the position only to sanitized Rawghat project so that iron ore and other precious minerals can be easily excavated and exported by eliminating tribals from their lands. He said, his party vowed to fight against this discrimination and conspiracy of loot.
On this issue, Congress President Bhupesh Baghel also alleged that instead of arresting the master minds of Jiram valley, Chhattisgarh Police and IG Bastar SRP Kalluri has been hatching a conspiracy against the innocent tribals of Bastar and has been branding them as Maoists. Bghel said, conspiracy against the innocent tribals should be stopped. The State Congress President said, Bastar people rejected BJP government in assembly elections and now Chhattisgarh government is taking revenge.
Activist and journalist Kamal Shukla of Kanker, known in media for raising tribal atrocity related issues said that according to recent news story, Collector Kanker Mangai D, in a report sent to National Human Rights commission accepted, that several villagers were branded as Maoisits and arrested by security forces. These arrested villagers, who are still languishing in jail, however, had nothing to do with the Naxal activities.
IG Bastar SRP Kalluri rejected all the charges and allegations leveled against him. He said, as far as identity of Manish Kunjam is concerned, he was earlier linked with the Naxal leaders and is still in touch with them. As far as arrests in Jiram valley are concerned, Nag and Manjhiram were arrested after a search was conducted by a police team and now the case has been handed over to the NIA.
On the arrests and surrenders, Kalluri clarified his stand and said that firstly, the arrests were made based on concrete information, secondly, the strength of the trained forces is being continuously increased and thirdly, they have increased the number of patrols.
"Now, the surrender scheme forwarded by Chhattisgarh Government is refined and attractive. This has put the Chhattisgarh Police in a better position," he said and added that he came to Bastar to wipe out Naxalism and provide peace and security to the people and will surely achieve his goal. Kalluri also said, "If you work, you have to face the criticism".