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The afterlife of a massacre

April 28, 2011

Aman Sethi/ The Hindu

I just finished a long essay for the cover of the May 2011 issue of Caravan  magazine. In “At the Bloody Crossroads”,  I plot the fate of the village of Tarmetla in the course of a year of ‘counterinsurgency”.

At 5:55 AM ON 6 APRIL 2010, Golf Company of the 62nd battalion of India’s Central Reserve Police Force [CRPF] radioed field headquarters at Chintalnar to report they were receiving small-arms fire in the “Tarmetla sector” and had sustained one injury. Golf Company was conducting a three-day area-domination exercise in the forests of Dantewada…

Operation Khanjar (“Dagger” in Hindi) was Golf’s last manoeuvre before the company was rotated out of Chintalnar to a less sensitive post. They were accompanied by their replacements from Alpha Company, who had just arrived from battalion headquarters in Barsur. The objective was to make their presence known in the district’s scattered hamlets: they were to spend three days sanitising the sector of guerrilla presence and acquainting the men of Alpha Company with the rolling hills and dry riverbeds that surround the CRPF camp at Chintalnar….

At 7:45 am, Golf Company’s deputy commandant, Satyawan Yadav, made a phone call from the vortex of the ambush to say that his company had been completely surrounded—and then the phone went silent.

Read the full story on Caravan’s website. I will be happy to answer questions/comments on Kafila

One Comment leave one →
  1. Revati Laul permalink
    April 28, 2011 2:20 PM

    A wonderfully nuanced piece. Admittiedly, I haven’t read much on Chattisgarh or the Maoists, but what I have I’ve found haven’t answered satisfactorily for me, the question of what ans how state troops and the CRPF are doing, their plight, the question of how the Salva Judum became a law unto itself and whether more polemical pieces like Arundhati’s one that paint the state and its troops as equally evil with the same brush miss asking the question that I’m happy and relieved to see Aman ask – what is the role of the state and are the Maoists truly the vent for people’s anguish as they claim?

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