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Factsheets

New Fact Sheet on Operation Green Hunt

Fact Sheet on Operation Green Hunt

By Campaign against War on People

The following document is a compilation of information gathered through news reports in the mainstream media, government reports, and reports of independent fact-finding teams. It aims to offer as objective and non-partisan a view of the situation in the affected states, as is possible.

 

The Status of the Current Offensive

  • The offensive will be spread over the next five years.
  • A special forces school, a special forces unit and an army brigade HQ will be set up near Bilaspur. The brigade HQ will participate in anti-Maoist ops in the future. The army is looking for 1,800 acres of land to set up the infrastructure.
  • The IAF is looking for 300 acres for its base
  • Home Ministry is sitting on a plan to redeploy the Rashtriya Rifles [from Kashmir to the Naxal affected areas]. RR and BSF unlike other paramilitary forces, have heavy weaponry like medium-range machine guns, mortars and rocket launchers.
  • For now, 27 battalions of the Border Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police will be moved into Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Maharashtra.
  • The paramilitary forces will be supported by six Mi-17 IAF choppers.
  • The helicopters will have on board the IAF's special force, the GARUDS, to secure the chopper and conduct combat search and rescue operations.
  • The offensive will be in seven phases. Each phase has been marked area-wise as Operating Areas (OAsOA-1) involves moving along a north-south axis from Kanker, Chhattisgarh, and on an east-west axis from Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and span the Abuj Marh forests used by the Maoists as a training centre and logistics base. (All points above from Outlook, 26 Oct 2009)
  • In Maharashtra alone, a Rs 100 crore strategy has been chalked out to intensify operations against ‘Naxals’. (India Today, 2 June 2009)
  • Vanwasi Chetana Ashram, a voluntary organisation based on Gandhian ideas and principles, was demolished in May 2009 by security forces, in the name of fighting Maoists.(http://www.mumbaimirror.com/printarticle.aspx?page=comments&action=add&sectid=3&contentid=200911292009112901570554ea92c77&subsite=)
  • Salwa Judum type squads continue to operate actively against tribal people, with the active connivance of the local administration, in the name of fighting Maoists. (‘Salwa Judum in Narayanpatna: A Fact-Finding Report’, athttp://radicalnotes.com/journal/2009/11/25/a-fact finding-report-on-narayanpatna/)
  • First phase of Operation Green Hunt has already begun in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra (Times of India, 2 Nov 2009)
  • The current offensive may be held in partial abeyance till January 2010, not to facilitate dialogue but because the paramilitary forces will be required on poll duty in the upcoming elections in Jharkhand. (IANS report, 24 Nov 2009, available online at http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/government-itching-to-go-after-maoists says-top-cop_100279490.html)

The Government’s (and big corporate’s) Economic Stakes in this War

• “If left-wing extremism continues to flourish in parts of our country which have tremendous natural resources of minerals, it will affect the climate for investment.” [PM to Parliament, 9 June 2009]

  • “To see some massive neo-con plot in this is laughable,” PMO sources say, but add, “Natural resources must be exploited for the greater good of the nation. We can debate different models of economic development, but the bottomline today is that no one’s able to tap those resources.” (Outlook, 17 March 2008)
  • ‘The power to acquire land for mines, in particular, was largely devolved to the state governments during the NDA regime, through an amendment of the 1957 Mines and Minerals Act. The NDA government also allowed foreign companies to enter this politically charged area of mineral development. These two enactments have given Naxalite leaders all the moral justification they need to mobilise armed resistance. With only a few exceptions, state leaders have used their powers of land acquisition to enrich themselves or fund their parties. It is no coincidence that the Communist Party (Maoist) came into being only two years     after     these     amendments.’     (Outlook,  17  March 2008  ,?http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?236962)
  • Lakshmi Mittal’s Arcelor has planned to put ‘Rs 1,00,000 crore ($24 billion) to be invested in two steel plants and iron ore mines in Jharkhand and Orissa that will produce 24 million tonnes of steel when they come on stream.’ But ‘if the Maoist insurgency in central India continues to develop at its present speed, he may never find the iron ore he needs to operate his plants.’ (Outlook, 17 March 2008)
  • ‘An analysis of investments in Naxal-affected areas by projectstoday.com for Outlook clearly reveals the growing business interests at play. Till September ’09, Rs 6,69,388 crore of investment had been pledged in the troubled areas—14 per cent of the total pledged investments in the country.’ (Outlook, 26 Oct 2009)  http://www.outlookindia.com/content.aspx?issue=5088
  • ‘So what kind of money are we talking about? In their seminal, soon-to-be-published work, Out of This Earth: East India Adivasis and the Aluminum Cartel, Samarendra Das and Felix

Padel say that the financial value of the bauxite deposits of Orissa alone is 2.27 trillion dollars. (More than twice India’s Gross Domestic Product). That was at 2004 prices. At today’s prices it would be about 4 trillion dollars.... That’s just the story of the bauxite in Orissa. Expand the four trillion dollars to include the value of the millions of tonnes of high-quality iron ore in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand and the 28 other precious mineral resources, including uranium, limestone, dolomite, coal, tin, granite, marble, copper, diamond, gold, quartzite, corundum, beryl, alexandrite, silica, fluorite and garnet. Add to that the power plants, the dams, the highways, the steel and cement factories, the aluminium smelters, and all the other infrastructure projects that are part of the hundreds of MoUs (more than 90 in Jharkhand alone) that have been signed. That gives us a rough outline of the scale of the operation and the desperation of the stakeholders.’ (Outlook, 9 November 2009)

  • ‘N Baijendra Kumar, principal secretary to the chief minister, says mining projects have not taken off in Bastar because, “44 per cent of Bastar is forest and most of our mineral resources are beneath that. Environmental issues come with the application of the Forest Act. Also, with tribals we have seen emotional problems when it comes to land.” .... Tribal lands are shared and each parcel has 10 to 50 people dependent on it, according to the tribals. A single job for each piece of land will not help.’ (Report by Krishnamurthy Ramasubbu,Expressbuzz, 25 Oct 2009)
  • PC Chidambaram was non-executive director of Vedanta (one of the biggest mining corporations of the world) till being appointed as Finance Minister in 2004. One of the first clearances he gave for FDI was to Twinstar Holdings, a Mauritius-based company, to buy shares in Sterlite, a part of the Vedanta group – one of the many with MoUs for mining in this area. (Outlook, 9 November 2009)
  • In 1970...1 per cent of the population had 18 per cent of the wealth, in 1996 the same 1 per cent owned 40 per cent of wealth. After 50 years of independence 26 per cent of the total population lives below the poverty line and 50.56 per cent are illiterate, if we take official figure into account. Even today due to various reasons, 98 children out of every 1,000 between the ages of 1-5, die. An official report of the government's mines and mineral department, published in 1996-97, states that India's natural gas will be consumed within 23 years, crude oil within 15 years, coal within 213 years, copper within 64 years, gold within 47 years, iron ore within 135 years, chromites within 52 years, manganese within 36 years and bauxite within 125 years. All this is taking place in the name of national development. (Debaranjan Sarangi, ‘Mining “Development” and MNCs’, EPWCommentary, April 24, 2004)

Table: Agreements Signed between 1997- 2002

CompanyMineralsArea (in sq km)District/StateYear of Approval
BHP Billiton (Australia)copper, lead2,532.14Tonk, Ajmer, Bundi, Bhilwara/Rajasthan1997
BHP Billitoncopper, lead2,637.58Tonk, Sawai, Madhopur and Bundi/Rajasthan1997
BHP Billitoncopper, lead903.84Bhilwara/Rajasthan1997
Phelps Dodgecopper2,472Singhbhumi (east) & Singhbhumi (west)/Bihar1998
AustralianIndian Resources (AIR)gold, copper2, 692.30Sonbhadra/UP1998
AIRgold196.5Lalitpur/UP1999
BHP Billitoncopper568, 389Bhiwani, Mohindergarh/ Haryana1999
Admas Indiadiamond1,966.22Bellary, Chitradurga/ Karnataka2000
ACC Rio Tintodiamond2,480Chitradurga, Tumkur, Bellary,Devanagere/Karnataka2000
Phelps Dodge (US)copper963.585Lalitpur/UP2000
Hutti Gold Minesgold2,240Bagalkot/Karnataka2000
De-Beers (SA)gold300,2,333, 843Kurnool, Anantapur, Prakasham/Andhra Pradesh2000
Phelps Dodgecopper2,770,2,565Cuddapah/Andhra Pradesh2000
NMDC Indiadiamond2,300Anantapur/Andhra Pradesh2000
ACC Rio Tintodiamond1,202.6Raichur, Bellary/Karnataka2001
Phelps Dodges explorationcopper, gold1,869East Singhbhumi/Jharkhand2002
IndophilResources Explorationgold3,453Belgaum, North Kannada, Dharwad, Haveri and Gadag/ Karnataka2001
Anglo-American Explorationcopper, nickel2,487Guntur/Andhra Pradesh2002
DeBeersdiamond2,000Nawarangpur/OrissaApril 19,2002
DeBeersdiamond2,000Nuapada, Bolangir/OrissaApril 19,2002
DeBeersdiamond2,000Kalahandi, Nawarangpur/ OrissaApril 19,
    2002
DeBeersdiamond1,733Kalahandi, Bolangir, Nuapada/OrissaApril 19,2002
Anglo Americanlead, zinc453RajasthanMay 20, 2002
DeBeersdiamond679Andhra PradeshMay 20, 2002
BHPnickel, cobalt, gold2,293Narasinghpur, Hoshangabad, Chhindwara/Madhya PradeshMay 31,2002
ACC Rio Tintodiamond, gold2,450Chhatarpur, Sagar, Dmoh, Tikamgarh/Madhya PradeshJune12,2002
Anglo-Americancopper, nickel2,701Andhra PradeshJune 26, 2002
ACC RTZdiamond3,000Dhamtari, Mahasamund/ ChhattisgarhJuly 30, 2002
DeBeers*diamond9,000Raipur, Mahasamund, Kanker, Jaspur, Durg/ ChhattisgarhJuly 30, 2002
ACC RTZ**diamond, gold5,200Madhya PradeshOctober 24, 2002
ACC RTZ*diamond3,000ChhattisgarhOctober 28, 2002

* in three separate projects, ** in two separate projects

(Debaranjan Sarangi, ‘Mining “Development” and MNCs’, EPW Commentary, April 24, 2004)

The Current Socio-Political Situation

  • ‘Maoist politburo member Koteshwar Rao’s offer of talks provided the government declares a ceasefire and releases all prisoners is not being considered, at least not now. Neither is the offer by People’s Union of Civil Liberties’ Jharkhand head Subroto Bhattacharya to mediate being taken seriously.’
  • ‘Congress general secretary and former chief minister of undivided Madhya Pradesh Digvijay Singh says, “The three reasons why Maoist influence is growing is poor governance, non-implementation of the Tribal Bill and the fact that the tribals don’t have rights to natural resources. They should have rights not just over minor forest produce but also major forest produce and that includes the mineral wealth in these areas”.’ Outlook magazine (26 Oct 2009)
  • ‘During the land survey and settlement operation carried out in the late 1950s and continuing in the 1980s in some areas of Koraput district, hardly one per cent land in actual possession of the tribal communities was recorded in their favour.’ (B.K. Roy Burman, former Chairman, Study Group on Land Holding System of Tribals, Planning Commission, in Mainstream, 17 October 2009. Burman goes on to indicate that this was the case for extensive areas occupied by tribal communities across the country.)
  • ‘Chaired by Debu Bandopadhyay, a former rural development secretary, the Expert Group on “Development Issues to Deal with Causes of Discontent, Unrest and Extremism” [committee appointed by the UPA government] said in its report that after the insurgency in Naxalbari was crushed by force in the late 1960s, it has spread from one police station, one district and one state to 560 police stations, 160 districts and 14 states even though the police budget to counter Naxal activity has increased a thousand times during the decades since then. This is because the basic craving for justice and equity, which spawned far-left extremism in the first place, was never addressed.’ (Outlook, 31 Aug 2009)
  • According to government statistics, ‘39% of what is called forest encroachment in the whole country has taken place in [Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, Orissa and Jharkhand]. Much of it, as said above, is not encroachment but occupation that far pre-dates forest reservation and forest laws.(Report of the “Expert Group on “Development Issues to Deal with Causes of Discontent, Unrest and Extremism”)
  • ‘The expert group also noted that, besides the ideological motivation for violence, it is the craving for equity and justice, denied by a brutish State, that propels Maoist expansion. Its report suggests that if exploitative land relations were a trigger for Naxalbari, the massive displacements caused by mega projects, often with unfair compensation packages, is the trigger for the current phase of Naxal expansion. Some six crore people have been coercively displaced by mega projects since 1951, of whom not more than 20 per cent were properly rehabilitated. The Maoist-dominated areas in central India are coterminous with areas of massive forcible displacement. The expert group has clearly identified equity and justice issues relating to land, forced displacement and evictions, extreme poverty and social oppression, livelihood, malgovernance and police brutality as being behind Maoist expansion. More than development, this is also a question of rights. Ensure that they have it and people will accept these rights with both hands, dropping their arms, despite any ideological prodding.’ (Outlook, 31 Aug 2009,http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?261407)
  • The Union Rural Development Ministry’s 15-member committee on ‘State Agrarian Relations and Unfinished Task of Land Reforms’, headed by minister C.P. Joshi himself, submitted its report in January 2008. It has labelled the government’s own policies in the area as ‘The Biggest Grab of Tribal Lands after Columbus’. It has clearly identified the Salva Judum – the vigilante force promoted by the state ostensibly against Naxal cadre – as ‘backed by traders, contractors and miners waiting for a successful result of their strategy. The first financiers of the Salva Judum were Tata and the Essar....’ It goes on to note that ‘350,000 tribals, half the total population of Dantewada district [were] displaced, their womenfolk raped, their daughters killed, and their youth maimed. Those who could not escape into the jungle were herded together into refugee camps run and managed by the Salva Judum. Others continue to hide in the forest or have migrated to the nearby tribal tracts in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.’
  • Salva Judum was formed barely a few days after the MoUs were signed with the Tatas.
  • The Approach Paper for the 11th Plan: "Our practices regarding rehabilitation of those displaced from their land because of development projects are seriously deficient and are responsible for a growing perception of exclusion and marginalisation. The costs of displacement borne by our tribal population have been unduly high, and compensation has been tardy and inadequate, leading to serious unrest in many tribal regions. Thisdiscontent is likely to grow exponentially if the benefits from enforced land acquisition are seen accruing to private interests, or even to the state, at the cost of those displaced. To prevent even greater conflict...it is necessary to frame a transparent set of policy rules that address compensation, and make the affected persons beneficiaries of the projects, and to give these rules a legal format." (Outlook, 17 March 2008)
  • The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957, (MMRDA) was enacted to exploit mineral wealth. It is highly exploitative and has been used to enrich the state and all th