A public opinion poll in the native languages of Chhattisgarh is being held to seek a people's solution to the ongoing Maoist violence in central India.
The 'New Peace Process' (NPP), an initiative headed by Shubranshu Choudhary, peace and human rights activist who has been working with tribals in Chhattisgarh for decades, is conducting a public opinion poll in Gondi, Halbi and Hindi languages over the phone on the Maoist violence.
The poll began on the 74th Independence Day.
In a statement, the NPP said the poll was aimed at finding out how many people in central India believe that the resolution of the violence between Maoists and the police in Chhattisgarh is dialogue and how many believe that the solution is military and the police response to the violence perpetrated by Maoists.
Anyone in Chhattisgarh can give a missed call on a phone number (7477 288 444) and provide their opinion. On giving a missed call, the caller will get a call back from another number and the computer will talk to the caller in Hindi, Gondi, and Halbi languages. Callers can also record their views in detail in the three languages. The phone number will remain open till October 2, this year and the result of this poll will be announced at 'Break the Silence' e-rally of the NPP on Gandhi Jayanti.
The NPP also initiated a selfie competition on the topic of "Bastar Mange: Freedom from violence" on the Independence Day. Participants were encouraged to take their selfies on the subject and upload it on various social media platforms. On October 2, in Break the Silence E-rally of the new peace process, winners will be rewarded for the best selfie slogan.
Convener of the NPP, Shubhranshu Chaudhary told IANS that they are also starting a series of meetings called "Chaikle Maandi". Gondi's word "chaikle maandi" means "meeting for peace and happiness". In these meetings, victims of violence from both sides will be invited and their opinion about possible solutions to end the Maoist violence in Central India, will be sought. Based on their opinions, further programs will be prepared, Chaudhary said.
According to government statistics, in the last 20 years, more than 12,000 people have been killed in Maoist violence, including 2,700 policemen.
"There is a strange silence here about this almost daily violence that needs to be ended soon. We hope that for the first time in the opinion poll in Gondi and Halbi with Hindi on the phone, the tribals living in far-flung villages will also be able to express their views which were not there earlier as they were unable to express themselves well in the mainstream languages.
"People living in the city can express their views on the Internet-based social media, while the villagers in their dialects by phone."
The new peace process had earlier organized the Shanti Pad Yatra from Andhra Pradesh to Bastar in October 2018 at the launch of the year-long 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. In February-March 2019, they took a cycle Yatra from Bastar to Raipur for the rehabilitation of the displaced tribals from Bastar. They are also working to get the right of Abujhmadias under the forest rights..