Chhattisgarh: Security forces stop rights activists from visiting Maoist-hit areas  

For representational purpose (File photo)

  • Maoists on January 12 alleged that the security personnel had carried out aerial strikes on villages in Sukma and Bijapur districts
  • The activists said they were trying to reach the locations of last month’s alleged aerial attacks as well as the Silger village
  • Inspector General (IG) of police, Bastar range, Sunderaj P said the team was stopped because of threat perception

Over a dozen rights activists who were going to assess the human rights situation in Maoist-infested areas in Bastar region were stopped by security officials citing security reasons.

As many as 16 human rights activists, affiliated with the Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CRDO), were on a fact-finding mission on various instances of alleged human rights violations in Sukma and Bijapur districts.

The activists, however, alleged that they were harassed by the security forces in Sukma. The Bastar police claimed that no one was harassed and the team was stopped because of Maoist threat perception.

The development came after the Maoists alleged that security personnel had carried out aerial strikes on villages in Sukma and Bijapur districts. The Chhattisgarh police refuted the allegation saying that Maoists are trying to mislead the local people since they are losing their hold in the said districts.

The activists said they were trying to reach the locations of last month’s alleged aerial attacks as well as the Silger village where a protest against the formation of a new Central Reserve Police Force) (CRPF) camp on a private land led to police firing and killing of three villagers in May 2021, reported the Hindustan Times.

One of the human rights activist working in the region Bela Bhatia, who was part of the fact-finding team, said, according to the newspaper, “In the 36 km from Sukma to Dornapal we were stopped in all CRPF camps. Each time there were identity checks, insistence on Aadhaar cards, inordinate delays (since we were in a queue of vehicles) and arguments. We were told by the CRPF official in-charge that even though we may have informed the district authorities, it did not matter since CRPF was a central force and did not operate under state authorities.”

She further said on Wednesday night the team reached Dornapal and at the checkpoint there, the police official ruled out the possibility of our going any further due to “concerns”.

“We would be allowed to proceed only after a ROP (Road Opening Party) ascertained that there was no danger. And ROPs, we learnt later, were not allowed after 6pm. Even if we wanted to proceed, we could not because the drivers of our vehicles had also taken fright and were now refusing to accompany us any further,” Bhatia reportedly said.

“Some local adivasis asked us to use the gram panchayat bhawan in their village, Dubbatota, 5 km from Dornapal, on the road to Sukma. But when we arrived there, we found that the Dornapal police station in-charge had reached ahead of us. He informed us that we would not be allowed to go inside Dubbatota village and could not spend the night in the gram panchayat bhawan,”she said.

“We ended up spending the night on the floor of a shed adjacent to the road. The shed and the village were cordoned off by police,” Bela said.

However, inspector general (IG) of police, Bastar range, Sunderaj P said the team was stopped because of threat perception, reported the Hindustan Times.

“We learned about the movement of a group of people from Telangana/Andhra Pradesh region to interior areas of South Bastar region. This group was accompanied by a couple of local persons also. When they reached near the security check posts along Dornapal-Jagargunda road, as per the security protocol they were informed about the threat perception in the naxal affected areas due to IEDs planted by Maoists,” said the IG.


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