Member of European Parliament raises attacks on adivasis in Chhattisgarh

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Press release
Brussels, May 22

A member of the European Parliament has drawn the attention of the European Union to aerial bombings in Bijapur district of Bastar in Chhattisgarh. A written question condemned the Indian government’s decision to target Adivasis with aerial bombing on April 7, which is reportedly the 4th such aerial attack in the past three years. The attacks are part of the ongoing Operation SAMADHAN-Prahar, a military policy against indigenous people who resist mining and environmental destruction.

MEP Marisa Matias, a Portuguese member in the Left party, noted in the question: “These attacks grossly violate the right to life of indigenous people in India, and contribute to widespread environmental destruction.”

In the question, the MEP inquired how the humanitarian support unit of the European Union, DG ECHO, is supporting victims of aerial bombing in India, and what support the EU is providing to indigenous defenders under persecution in India.

Research has previously highlighted the links between violent retaliation against Adivasis and the extraction of natural resources by multinational corporations. Adivasis live on land that contains precious minerals and critical raw materials. In this context, the European Union’s recent 2021 report on a European strategy for critical raw materials notes a need for addressing abuses of human rights in the supply chains of critical raw materials. Therefore, the European Union is in the process of enacting a law on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability, which will make it obligatory for multinational companies to prove that their operations do not harm human rights.

Earlier, over 85 international organisations and individual campaigners, activists and academics raised alarm bells over the aerial bombing incident, which they described as a “new dimension” of “state terror being inflicted on the Adivasi population of Bastar. The bomb attack was carried out using drones. Immediately following the bombing, the government forces deployed three helicopters to discharge heavy machine gun fire on villagers. On-the-ground reporting documented several injuries as well as large-scale destruction.