After the killing of 18 civilians in Korseguda, Bijapur, the SP there reportedly told a journalist, “It is difficult to differentiate between Naxals and villagers. They all have voter ID cards and ration cards. On regular days, they take part in farming activities and, at other times, they help the Naxals. In effect, they are also Naxals.” The CRPF, the Chhattisgarh chief minister and senior ministers at the Centre also went on to talk of “human shields” and tried to obfuscate the killing of unarmed children attending a meeting in their own village by bringing in the Maoist recruitment of child soldiers. This, of course, needs to be condemned but there is a more pressing issue that needs to be discussed here.
For what is shocking in the Korseguda case is not only the massacre itself but the cover-up that followed—the refusal to observe the basic laws of war despite evidence that many of those killed were minors, all of them unarmed. Judicial inquiries ordered by the Chhattisgarh government are designed as eyewashes—the few that have been ordered so far, in response to public protests, have been pending for years. As for revising the standard operating procedures for the CRPF and police, the fruits are already before us. In response to the killing of a constable in Orchha on August 1, the police ransacked all the shops in the village.