Human rights activists slam government's anti-Maoist offensive in Jharkhand

     Hundreds of human rights activists gathered staged a demonstration here on Friday against the anti-Maoist operation launched jointly by the State and Central police. Holding 'anti-state' banners, the protestors in one voice condemned the atrocities carried out by the security forces against the people in isolated tribal and rural areas. "I had gone to a village near Latehar district here, where young women were thrashed and molested by the security forces. There is rampant lawlessness in the region, and crime is thriving across the state," said K N Pandit, a labour union leader. In the wake of the mobilisation of paramilitary forces that began under the Operation Green Hunt, the demonstrators opined that Maoist insurgency couldn't be curtailed solely by using force. "We are opposing the violence, atrocities and crime perpetrated by the security forces in the guise of Operation Green Hunt in rural areas. The villagers are unarmed and peaceful by nature. In the face of such serious deprivation, can they be in a position to launch attacks against the state?" said Prabha Lakra, a social activist. Lakra also alleged that the police had virtually blocked the villagers of the region from entering the town to stop them from participating in the demonstration. Operation Green Hunt is part of the government's initiative to counter the Maoist menace by deploying paramilitary forces in the affected zones. Maoist rebels in recent months have stepped up attacks against the joint central paramilitary and state police outfits who have been wanting to flush them out of their jungle bases. The Maoists have been active in rural areas of central and eastern India and often attack railway lines and mining operations to cripple economic activity, such as the transportation of coal to power and steel plants.

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