India: Appeal from Women of Dandakaranya against the State’s Military Offensive

Militant adivasi women in Lalgarh, West Bengal

An appeal by KAMS to fraternal mass organizations, progressive democratic women, intellectuals, students and all democrats

Dear friends,

Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangathan [Revolutionary Adivasi Women’s Organization] is working in the Dandakaranya comprising seven districts of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh with a population of about 40 lakhs. Women comprise about 19 lakhs 88 thousands among them. It is working in an area where various tribes like Madia, Muria, Dorla, Rajgond, Halba, Bathara and many nationalities are residing. The women here work for about 16 hours everyday in the fields, homes, as labourers, gatherers of forest produce etc. Though they labor day and night, they are being exploited and are denied all rights.

Feudal patriarchy is exploiting women’s labour and is suppressing all their rights. It has relegated women to a secondary position in the society. The feudal, comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie ruling classes of our country, with the backing of the imperialists are directly responsible for the continuation of exploitation and oppression of women as they are the ones who are strongly entrenching patriarchy in our society. The revolutionary movement entered into DK in 1980 in such a social background.

KAMS is working since three decades in DK with the aim of liberating women. It mobilized and led women in the struggles against forest officers, paper mill managements, tendu leaf contractors and the exploitation, sexual harassment, atrocities and violence of traders from plains. It gave a helping hand to young women who stood against the tribal patriarchy oppressing them. It gave a call to theadivasi women to rise under the leadership of KAMS and fight for women’s liberation. It gave solid support to the fraternal organization, the DAKMS. It mobilized women to resist the police who came to attack their villages and chased them away.

KAMS gives full support to the DK revolutionary movement which is carried on with the following aims – ‘Land to the tiller’, ‘Forest to the adivasis’, ‘State Power to the oppressed people’, ‘Women’s Liberation’. We work shoulder to shoulder with our fraternal mass organizations in the armed struggle and political propaganda against the exploitative government and its army. We participate in the election boycott actively with the aim of establishing people’s power as an alternative to the parliamentary politics in which we have lost confidence. The ruling classes who could not tolerate this are perpetuating brutal violence on the adivasi women.

KAMS supports all the struggles of the oppressed people against the exploitative ruling classes, not just in DK but also in India and abroad. We support nationality liberation struggles. We expressed solidarity to the movement which erupted when Manorama was killed in Manipur. We exposed the social fascist communists who had murdered Tapasi Malik in Singur. We hailed the militant participation of women in the people’s struggles of Nandigram and Lalgarh. We hailed the Kashmir women who raised their voices for Azad Kashmir. We gave the call to support the fighting people of Andhra Pradesh. It gathered public opinion in support of the demand to release Com. Budhni Munda (Sheila Didi), the president of ‘Nari Mukthi Sangathan’ by conducting a signature campaign.

Unofficial ban is continuing in Maharashtra on KAMS from 1991. The government tried to hamper the activities of KAMS from 1991 to 1993 by using TADA against it. POTA was brought in 2002. From then on, unofficial is continuing under MCOCA in Maharashtra. Before the formation of Chhattisgarh, the Madhya Pradesh government has been observing Anti-terrorist day from May 1992 and has been continuing unofficial ban on all revolutionary mass organizations since then. The Central government had banned the revolutionary mass organizations KAMS and DAKMS and Bal Sangams (Children’s organization) on April 19, 2005 under the Central government’s Unlawful Activities Preventive Act.

Within a month of assuming office the Central government had banned the CPI (Maoist) on June 20, 2009 under the Unlawful Activities Preventive Act (UAPA), a new fascist Act. A revolutionary women’s organization which believes in the politics propagated by that party was also not spared from the ban. That ban is continuing on our organization too.

The state unleashed terror on us from 1990. Thousands of adivasi women were incarcerated under TADA between 1990 and 1995. Chaithe Pallo was an ordinary adivasi woman who is undergoing life sentence from 2004 October. She was booked under TADA in 1991. Adivasi women who had never left their villages had to go to Rajnandgaon, Nagpur, Chandrapur etc. for hearings of TADA cases. Women underwent untold sufferings in the Jagdalpur, Dantewada, Amaravathi, Chandrapur and Nagpur jails. Missings of KAMS activists had started by 1993. There is still no trace of Tara, Pramila, Sukbatti and Jayawanta who had gone missing still.

The Feudal representatives like Kalma Masalu (Mahendra Karma) who could not tolerate the KAMS which had challenged their tribal feudal authority and patriarchy, tried to crush it under their feet in the name of Jan Jagran. Women had resisted and withstood the two Jan Jagran campaigns of 1990 and 1997. From June 2005, Jan Jagran changed its face. In the name of ‘Salwa Judum’ it is hounding and killing us like a man-eater. It turned us into homeless people in Dantewada, Bastar and Bijapur. Home, field, hut, paths, trees, shrubs – no place was safe for us. The Judum goons pounced on us like hungry wolves and bled us literally. The Naga, Mizo and CRPF forces cut our bodies into pieces. The fact that one or more women were raped in almost all the families shows the scale of the sexual violence perpetrated on us. Our bodies were cut, our breasts were cut, our private parts were pierced with sharp weapons and the wombs of pregnant women were cut open with bayonets. As if this was not enough now the state is readying itself for a massive offensive against us.

Many intellectuals and democrats had stood by us in defeating the fascist Salwa Judum offensive of the exploitative ruling classes. The ‘Committee against Violence on Women’ along with other women formed an All India Women’s team and toured in Dantewada district and gave paper statements condemning the fascist violence on us. The members of National Commission for Women condemned the sexual atrocities and violence on the women in Rahath Sibirs. Any little support from anybody who stood by us in these difficult times gave us a lot of confidence.

People say suppression always leads to resistance. If we do not defeat Salwa Judum, there is no protection for us. If we do not fight we can never defend the rights we have won in these 25 years of struggle. We learnt to fight while being in the battle field.

From the time of elections to Chhattisgarh assembly in 2008 November till the completion of Lok Sabha elections in May 2009, more than 500 companies of para-military forces were deployed in DK. Presently elections to Maharashtra assembly are taking place. The Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Home Minister Jayant Patil are asking the Centre to send eight battalions of army to the state. They are giving statements that they would form Adivasi Battalions and Koya Battalions. Already forces like C-60 and STF are present in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh respectively. The Grey hounds from neighboring state of AP are already raiding our villages and hounding us. The Grey hounds are the cruel force of AP who had killed hundreds of revolutionaries and people, especially hundreds of women too. They are not just confining themselves to AP, but are also entering the neighbouring Odisha and Chhattisgarh states and perpetuating killings and gang rapes. They were in the forefront in suppressing the women’s movement in AP by killing women activists and women leaders. This notorious force which had gang raped adivasi women in Vakapalli is now coming to DK to suppress the women’s movement here too. The deployment of COBRA battalions built with the sole aim of wiping out the revolutionary movement has started. In the borders of Dantewada and AP, two battalions have been deployed. The trio of Sonia-Manmohan-Chidambaram is the main leader behind this offensive.

The central and state governments are issuing statements that they would start the offensive after Diwali. With the sole aim of wiping out the revolutionary movement the police and para military forces are perpetuating all kinds of atrocities on us. They are resorting to bloody massacres with the evil design of wiping out the very existence of our Koya community in order to loot the natural resources which are abundant in our areas.

We request all democratic women, mass organizations and people to stand by us in all manners you can by condemning this unjustified, inhuman, undemocratic and cruel offensive which the exploitative ruling classes are planning to launch against us.

In solidarity,

Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangathan (KAMS)


October, 2009

One thought on “India: Appeal from Women of Dandakaranya against the State’s Military Offensive

  1. Pingback: Appeal from Women of Dandakaranya against the State’s Military Offensive « Indian Vanguard

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