Catching them young

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

MAHADEO SENImmediately after being voted back to power, Chhattisgarh’s chief minister Raman Singh extolled the virtues of Salwa Judum. The counterinsurgency civil militia campaign has now found a mention in school textbooks in the state. The class 10 social science book published by the state government has a new chapter: Necessity of Social Security From Problem of Naxalism, which hails the Salwa Judum as a solution to the decadesold Maoist violence in the state. The book says the Salwa Judum movement, launched in 2005, is a “peace march”. It goes on to say that the Naxal presence in Bastar can primarily be attributed to the slow pace of development, the language problem and the forest terrain that prevents security forces from carrying out aerial attack and facilitates the military and guerilla training of the Naxal recruits. Chhattisgarh’s education minister Brijmohan Agrawal said the chapter “will create awareness of how Maoists are acting as enemies to development of the state”. He described Salwa Judum as a self-inspired movement to flush out Maoists. “The younger generation must know how Bastar tribes are fighting against insurgents,” he said. Civil rights groups have criticized the new chapter. So have the Congress party and the Communist Party of India.

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