As the whole country is preparing to start the celebration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, more than 150 adivasis and their wellwishers are also preparing for a 200 kilometre foot march for 10 days, taking the same route, which the Maoists took in 1980, to request peace and end to the conflict between the Maoists and Security forces.
According to Government of India records in last 20 years, more than 12,000 people have been killed because of the ongoing conflict between Maoist guerrillas and security forces in Central India. Out of which 2700 security personnel have lost their lives and 9300 innocent adivasis, villagers and citizens were killed in the crossfire.
Few months ago social activists, adivasi and tribal leaders started a peace process in Central India to stop this violence. After a number of meetings and sessions with local adivasis and social workers it was resolved that a group of Adivasis with their friends will symbolically walk the same path the Maoists took in 1980 to enter the Dandakaranya forest.
The head of Sarva Adivasi Samaj, DPS Netram said, “Adivasis and tribals are killed by both the Maoists and the security forces. Every day they live with fear either caught and tortured by Police or Maoists. It is therefore our initiative through this march is to make youths aware about the importance of education and stop them from joining the Maoists”. Sarva Adivasi Samaj is a group of 40 tribal groups of Chattishgarh and are one of the organiser of this padayatra.
Dandakaranya forest is spread across 6 Central Indian states and is the main area of operation of the Maoist movement. 2nd October 2018 is also the start of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Therefore 1st October, the peace ambassadors will assemble at Shabari Gandhi Ashram situated on the bank of river Shabari at Chatti village in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh and on the next day the peace march will start from there.
Speaking to News Sense, Shubhranshu Choudhary, founder of CGNet Swara and one of the organiser of the foot march said, “the idea behind the footmarch covering 186 kilometers in 12 days is to request everyone to give peace a chance. By means of Gandhiji’s Satyagraha. Here the march is led by the Tribals and Adivasis of this area, who are worst affected because of the ongoing conflict between the Maoists and Security forces”.
The march will be led by a group of Tribals and Adivasis from Andhra, Telangana and Chattisgarh. Marchers will walk for 15 to 20 kilometers everyday to reach Jagdalpur in Bastar district of Chattisgarh on 13th October, along the way the they will meet the villagers and develop a dialogue over the issue and request them to join the padyatra. On reaching Jagdalpur a public meeting will be held to discuss the peace process.
Those who wish to join and support the march can reach out to 8602008333/8602008444 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.