Amnesty Backs Ban on Anti-Maoist Militias in Indian State

Posted July 7th, 2011 at 1:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Amnesty International is urging authorities in India's Chhattisgarh state to immediately comply with a Supreme Court decision to disband and disarm anti-Maoist militias.

The rights group said Thursday the court's ruling this week banning government-backed civil militias in the eastern state is a landmark step in protecting indigenous and other local communities from ongoing human rights violations.

Activists say some members of the “Salwa Judum” militia have carried out brutal attacks on civilians in Chhattisgarh.

Amnesty says more than 3,000 people, including civilians, Maoist insurgents and members of militias have been killed during the last six years of insurgency in Chhattisgarh. The group says security personnel, militias and the Maoist rebels have all committed serious human rights violations.

Indian leaders have called the Maoist rebels the country's biggest internal security threat.

The insurgents have infiltrated more than 20 Indian states, saying they are fighting for jobs and land for the poor.

Indian officials say close to 1,200 people were killed in Maoist-related violence in 2010.