Image 1 of 1
DANTEWARA, DANTEWARA DISTRICT, CHHATTISGARH, INDIA, MARCH 12, 2008 :  There are 62 children living at Aastha Gurukul Vidyakya orphanage in Dantewara. All children are tribals, aged 5 to 16, who lost their parents to naxalite related violence.The orphanage was started by the government October 15, 2007. Maoist insurgents , or Naxalites,  have been waging a war against the Indian government for the past 25 years and has been gaining momentum in in the past few years. They fight for the rural poor like the Gond tribals who are afraid to loose their land to mining and development. They are present in some 150 of the 600 districts of India, and Dantewara is one of Chhattisgarh rural Maoist stronghold where they control most of the countryside. The overwhelmed police force is hiring more personel to deal with the Naxalite threat and the Government has armed civil defence anti-naxalite milicias to take on the rebels , emptying villages to cut local support to the rebels. The movement called "Salwa Judum" (campaign for peace)  started in june 2005 when some villages took a stand against the Maoists, but it is now dragging the whole district into the bloody civil war, at the expense of the  local tribal villagers caught in the middle and forced to leave their ancestral homes for the security of refugee camps. The conflict has claimed over 900 lives in 2006 and again in 2007, and some 50 to 60,000 people live in makeshift camps, protected by the Salwa Judum and the police force. But for the tribals who do not want to leave their home and villages, there are no government services available, meaning no health care or education for the children. They live in complete isolation from the rest of India. (Photo by Jean-Marc Giboux/ GettyImages)