Planting Salva Judums in Kashmir villages

                The Indian government sponsored dreaded Salva Judum (purification hunt) was formed in 2005 by a village land lord and Congress MLA, Mahindra karma. Himself a Mukhiya, he called a secret meeting of Mukhiyas (village heads) in June 2005 at a village Kutroo (Dandakaryana, Chhattisgarh) and announced the Salva Judum. Soon its formation it waged a “purification hunt” against tribal community who refused to surrender their forest land to the corporations. Salva Judum, in the words of Indian intellectual and social activist, Arundhati Roy ‘was a ground clearing operation, meant to move people out of their villages into roadside camps where they could be policed ad controlled’.

 The drive against poor hapless villagers has the support of all politicians, big corporate bodies and media. Here parties with divergent ideologies converge. While Indian Prime Minister calls the Maouvists, who have waged armed struggle against this land grabbing, ‘as the single biggest security challenge’, BJP Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh, threatened ‘those who do not move into camps would be considered Maoists’. Of the various funding groups, Tata Steel and Essar Steel were the first financiers of the Salva Judum. Even religious groups and Gandhian started campaign meant to ‘bring tribals back into the Hindu fold’.

 You will be astonished to know that people like Mahindra Karma who converted to Hinduism were conferred the status of Dwij, twice-born Brahmins. One can understand this was a bribe to hold them in their loop, as no other can become Brahmin. Brahmans are born Brahmans. That is Manu’s law. But this ‘counterfeit Hinduism’ (to borrow Arundhati’s phrase) is considered good enough for tribal people to lure them into Hindu fold.            In Kashmir we had Salva Judum in the form of Ikhwan. Kuka Parray substituting for Mahindra Karma. Like ‘Purification Hunt’ the Indian promoted, funded, guided and controlled terror group Ikhwan too carried what it called ‘Operation Clean Up’, to ‘clean’ the soil from the pro-Aazadi people, especially activists of Jamat-e-Islami. Like Salva Judum, it was responsible for extra-judicial murder, rape, extortion, blasting of homes, torture and other heinous crimes.             In Jammu region, Village Defence Committees were created. It was an improvisation on Ikhwan. Villagers, mostly from Hindu Community were armed with weapons to ‘defend themselves from militants’. However, the VDCs unleash terror against Muslims. They replicated the atrocities and crimes of Salva Judum and Ikhwan.            After militant organizations asked Panchs and Sarpanchs to understand the political design of Delhi to defend its military control in Kashmir through institution of Panchayat and resign – already hundreds of them resigned, conveying the message through paid advertisements in vernacular press, – rulers in Delhi and their political henchmen in Srinagar are contemplating turning Panchayats into VDCs. But it is awful to contemplate the implications. This is a dangerous plan and, far from providing ‘security’ to the Panchayat members (time factor is always on the side of militants) the strategy is aimed to divide the Muslim community and re-invent Salva Judums from every Mohalla and hamlet. Far from ‘serving people’, these gun-totting Panchs and Sarpanchs, will be used as tools to fulfill the sinister designs of the Establishment. Like Ikhwan, salva Judum and VDCs, the new brigade of armed villagers will have their hands drenched in the blood of their co-religionists. A civil war we will be plunged in.            It is time the “village representatives”, should sit in for self-introspection and realize what for they are propped up and prodded in. They must remember those who allow themselves to be exploited are the ones who pit themselves against the reason. Destined to repent.