What Is Happening In DK?
Targeting Soni Sori
Asecret gang attacked
with acid like chemical substance on the leader of Aam Admi Party [AAP], Soni Sori—on 20th February in Bastar district in Chattisgarh state. She was travelling from Jagadalpur town to Gudam with her party colleagues on a motor cycle. The 'secret gang' stopped the motor cycle at Bastnar Ghat, rained abusive words, physically assaulted, threatened and at last threw acid like chemical substance on her face and escaped.
The secret gang members are none other than members of Illegal gang run by IG, Bastar Range Police, surrendered renegades and hooligans of erstwhile Salwa Judum are part of this vigilante group.
What is the crime of Soni Sori? Why did they attack her?
The IG of Bastar range is leading the ongoing massacre under the Operation Green Hunt, the name of the massive military operation run jointly by the Central and State governments. Under the I G's leadership, the police, para-military forces and commando rabbles are ransacking the villages; destroying and looting the peasantry houses; conducting firings on Adivasi people at will; and perpetrating atrocities on women folk—have become order of the day in seven districts of this region. From the last July, the destruction by the police, police atrocities on women, killings have increased exponentially. In the month of October in 2015, in Bijapur district—Pedda Gelur, Badigin, Pegada Palli, Gundam etc. villages became targets and twelve villagers were severely beaten and four women among them became their target for lust. In the month of November 2015 the police attacked four women guerrillas, caught them injured, committed atrocities on them and were killed.
Between 11th and 14fh January last in this district, Nendra Gottum villages were raided. Thirteen women were severely beaten and six women were abused. In the same month, on 17th, Palem village of Surna district, Panjam Sariti, and Pojjam—the village women—were tortured, gang raped. They clad the women with guerrilla outfits and killed them propagating that women Maoists were killed in encounter. In January month alone, 400 people attacked Kuda village. 30 women were subjected to violence, many of them were stripped and five women were abused. These type of attacks are going on in the whole of Dandakaranya.
Soni Sori and Bela Bhatia along with other women organisations investigated the incidents in Gellur, Nendra Gottum, Kuna. On the basis of findings, they tried to register cases on the culprit policemen responsible for atrocities on the village women. I G ordered not to register any of these cases.
So, on 20th January, Soni Sori took a protest march against the atrocities on women from Basagudem of Sukma to Jagadalpur. Police denied permission. Police hurled choisest abuses.
The secret gang left a poster at Soni Sori's house. See what they wrote:
'Maoists are in your house. If you enter Bijapur district, we will strip you and burn you alive'.
On February 5th, Soni Sori told the media in a press conference that this is the handiwork of police alone. She said she would not be deterred by these hooliganism and would continue to fight the police atrocities, by legal means. After this, Soni Sori was attacked with acid like chemical substance on 20th February.
By labelling adivasis as Maoists and slapping false cases on them so that they languish in jails for decades, has become common in Dandakaranya. So, some women lawyers of Jagadalpur Legal Aid Committee and journalists like Malini Subrahmanyam were forced to leave Jagadalpur as they were threatened by the police and the government authorities always give sermons from the mount to anyone who resorts to lawless methods. When Soni Sori and Jagadalpur Legal Aid Committee are not doing anything illegal at all, why police are threatening them and forcing them to leave Bastar? They are just demanding the rights that are provided in the Constitution only—why threats and attacks on them?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, day in and out, speaks of 'Beti Bachao, beti padao'. Are Soni Sori, Malini Subrahmanyam, Bela Bhatia, the women lawyers of Jag-Leg not India's daughters? Why he is not concerned to protect them? He will never do that. Simple reason: Modi himself gave unlimited powers to the Chattisgarh Police. IG is faithfully implementing the 'Mission 2016'—the Sinister Plan to root out the revolutionary movement in Chattisgarh. Therefore, laws and constitution have been neatly denied under the police raj in Dandakaranya. Soni Sori, Bela Bhatia, Mailini are questioning this police raj. All women's organisations, social activists, civil rights organisations, should come forward to stand in support of people like Soni Sori, Malini etc. who stoop up courageously against all odds.
[Jogi leads the Krantikar Adivasi Mahila Sanghatan, Bastar, Chattisgarh. This article was first published in Telugu daily, Andhra Jyoti on 21st April 2016]
Vol. 48, No. 50, Jun 19 - 25, 2016