A prominent leader of Salwa Judum Chinnaram Gota was killed in an attack by Naxals in his native village Farsegarh, around 500 kms from Raipur. According to Bijapur police, the incident took place on Friday 6 December afternoon. Chinnaram was one of the leaders of the Judum who started this movement from Kutaru in June 2005. He was a strong supporter of the Judum even when government pulled out from the movement. In October 2010, TEHELKA had reported how Chinnaram, along with some of the other creators of the Judum, launched the new form of Salwa Judum in Bijapur district’s Kutaru town.
On Friday afternoon, Chinnaram left for his fields in a Scorpio, along with two out of the five security men assigned to guard him, when the Naxals who were waiting in an ambush opened fire. Chinnaram and one of the guards Mangal Kusram died on the spot while other guard Todaka Budhram is seriously injured. The Naxals also abducted Chinnaram’s son Mahesh, 19, when he reached the spot a few minutes after the firing.
Chinnaram’s murder is significant because he was the founder of Salwa Judum, and led the movement before Mahendra Karma and the BJP hijacked it. Though Chinnaram was not a cop, but being a Judum leader, he had been a part of a few gun battles with Maoists. He twice contested Chhattisgarh Assembly elections as independent candidate. In 2010, Chief Minister Dr Raman Singh visited Farsegarh and gave him the title “Farsegarh ka tiger,” after which Chinnaram had joined the BJP.
Since 2005, Chinnaram had been in Naxals’ hit list, he was attacked in 2009 and 2011 as well. In 2010, Chinnaram and other Judum leaders had formed the anti-Naxal ‘Dandakaranya Shanti Sangharsh Samiti.’ When TEHELKA had met Chinnaram in October 2010, he had remarked that 90 percent of the youth in the area should be appointed SPOs (Special Police Officers) because the Naxals fear the SPOs. He also said that “if government backed the Salwa Judum, there would be no trace of the Naxals.”