Rights Activists Are Denied Access To Bastar Region

On the Intimidation and Turning Back of Democratic Rights Activists Who Seek to Investigate the Ground Situation in Bastar.

Aerial Bombing in Bastar Chhattisgarh

The Indian state continues to ensure an information blackout regarding the encounter killing of Adivasi peasants in Bastar. Civil and Democratic Rights Organisations from different states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Karnataka tried to investigate the escalation of the war against people in Bastar, and the death of almost 120 individuals this year. A team of Coordination of Democratic Rights Organizations (CDRO) led by Sri Ram (PDF Karnataka), Manu and Kaleshwari (CPDR – TN), Babu Singha Roy (APDR – WB), Chiluka Chandra Shekar (APCLC), Narayana Rao, Kumaraswamy, Sathyakama Jabali (CLC) was joined by members of Solidarity Forum for Adivasi Rights Struggles (SFARS) to investigate this escalation and the encounter killings of Adivasi peasants. The joint Fact-finding team of CDRO and SFARS comprising 50 members split into multiple teams to cover up a wide range of fake encounters. One team led by Chiluka Chandashekhar, Secretary, AP Civil Liberties committee intended to go to the villages of Bastar from Bhadrachalam on 30th May, when it was stopped at Kunta village by Paramilitary  forces. They were forced to return back to Bhadrachalam. Then upon their return, the first team merged with another team and made a 42 member team consisting of members from APCLC, CLC and CDRO, led by Chilluka Chandrashekhar, N Narayan Rao, Madana Kumarasamy, and Jabali. They started from Bhadrachalam on the eve of 30th May and traveled via Eturnagaram towards Bijapur. By 11 pm, this team was stopped at Terlaguda, 40 kilometers away from Bhoopalapatnam of Bijapur district and were asked to go back, citing security reasons. When the team insisted on being allowed to go to Bijapur to take rest after a 26 hour long journey, they were not allowed. This leads to a sit-in protest by the activist. The activists were then threatened by the camp commandant of “untoward actions” which forced the activists to turn back. A large group of policemen followed and continuously harassed them, taking their photos and videos. Another Team of SFARS was also intercepted at Chintoor, Andhra Pradesh around 2 PM on 31st May. They were also forced to go back to Bhadrachalam by the large posse of uniformed and plain-clothed personnel. It is important to point out that in areas such as these, even democratic rights organizations cannot be sure of their safety, which are under constant threat of state repression. In Dec 2016, a fact-finding team of Telangana Democratic Front was arrested and sent to jail under Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA), only to be released after 6 months on High Court bail order. 

The Indian state is not allowing any journalists or activists to enter Bastar and bring forth the truth about what’s going on there. Simultaneously, the number of people being killed in Bastar, in the name of Anti-Maoist operation, keeps on increasing. In just six months, the police forces have killed almost 120 people, including almost 7 minors and a child as young as 6 months old. A question arises, if the security forces are indeed making remarkable successes in genuine encounters against Maoists and they are not at all fake encounters, as they deny strongly after every allegation, why is the state afraid of Fact-finding teams reaching the ground-zero. If the state’s so-called development initiatives advanced by security forces are not happening by shredding to pieces, any pretense of rule of law and are not covered in innocent blood, then why is the state afraid of the truth coming out. These are the pertinent questions that the larger civil society and media needs to ask. 


FACAM condemns this intimidation of democratic rights activists who seek to visit Bastar and understand the reality of relentless killing of adivasi peasants in the name of Anti-Maoist operations. We assert that it is the right and the duty of every citizen of the country to know about the attempt of the state-corporate nexus to loot the resources of the Adivasis peasants by unleashing on them, a genocidal war to push them off their land

FORUM AGAINST CORPORATIZATION AND MILITARIZATION

(FACAM)

Constituents: All India Revolutionary Students Organization (AIRSO), All India Students Association (AISA), All India Revolutionary Women’s Organization (AIRWO), Ambedkar Student Association- DU (ASA-DU), Bhim Army Student Federation (BASF), Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organization (BASO), Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch (bsCEM), Collective, Common Teachers Forum (CTF), Democratic Students Union (DSU), Fraternity Movement, Nazariya Magazine, Progressive Lawyers Association (PLA), Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS), Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), Vishwavidyalaya Chhatra Federation (VCF)

Learn more at facam.org

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