First published: May 3, 2009
Boloji / By Shoma Sen
Deep in the forests of Gadchiroli, a tribal area of eastern Maharashtra, live the Gond ‘adivasis’ (tribals), some of the poorest and most neglected people of the state. The region is considered dangerous because large parts of it have come under the sway of Maoist rebels, also known as Naxalites, who have taken up the challenge of organizing the Gonds to fight for a society they claim is based on justice and equality. The ensuing conflict between the rebels and the state has turned the region into a “police state”, where anti-insurgency security forces are constantly on the vigil, storming Maoist hide-outs and eliminating suspects. The word ‘encounter’ – a euphemism for such extra-judicial killings – has become a part of local vocabulary.