Adivasis of Bastar demand justice for the slaughter of their children by security forces

TCN News

On 7th February 2019 in Tadiballa village of  Bhairamgarh Tehsil, Bijapur district of Chattisgarh the police fired indiscriminately and killed 10 persons.

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This appeared in the news as an encounter in which 10 Naxalites were killed by the security forces and the state government and the Home Minister hailed this as a victory.

But the people from many villages of Bastar gathered at Bhairamgarh on 5th March 2019 to protest these killings because they want to tell the world the truth and expose the lies of the Government and demand justice. contacted one activist and also an Adivasi Lingaram Kodopi, who explained the incident that took place on 7th February. He affirmed the facts mentioned in their press release that no encounter took place that day instead the security forced fired indiscriminately at the crowd who had gathered to participate in the village sports. And as a result of the firings, even children died. The security personnel did not stop there they tortured the dead bodies and even raped 2 girls. One of the girls, who was 12 years was raped and her nose and privates mutilated. Further, the security forces also burned the materials they found at the site like vessels, clothes etc.

Lingaram also said, “ The forced behave atrociously every time they visit the village. We don’t know whom to ask for help under these circumstances. This time we all gathered in large numbers because they killed our children.”

Lingaram further said, “ Even I have not been spared. Nor other activists. I have faced the atrocities of the police and have been jailed for 3 years under false allegations. Every now and then I get death threats. But we have not given up. We will keep fighting for our rights.”

Every single day the Adivasi men are rounded up, taken to a police station, beaten up or detained for days and sometimes even arrested by being labelled as Naxalites. The women are not spared either, they are sexually assaulted. The livestock, the food grains, cash are also seized.  Their complaints are not entertained. This happens in many villages across the region.

Lingaram says that the reason the security forces behave in this manner is to instil fear in our hearts so that out of fear for our lives we will leave the forests. They want to occupy our forests, our lands and our resources. But we have nowhere to go. So we will just keep on fighting”.

The demands of the Adivasis at the protest today are:

  • FIR be filed against the police officials for murder, rape and sexual abuse under the POCSO Act (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act);
  • Set up a commission of inquiry headed by a retired judge ;
  • The family members of the deceased are given copies of FIR and post mortem reports
  • The enquiry should be conducted as per the guidelines of the National Human Rights commission wherein the victimised Adivasis can give their testimonies fearlessly.

After the protest they submitted their memorandum or demands to the high officials and to the MLA of their region.

Lingaram Kopodi told, “ Apart from the MLA of Bijapur, Vikram Shah Mandavi, nobody has given us a word of assurance. The MLA has promised that he will inquire into the matter and ensure that the guilty are punished”.

He also said, “ We want the world to know the truth. And friends of the media are our only hope.”