Tribals' protest against security camp in Chhattisgarh enters 17th day, efforts by police go in vain

Express News Service
RAIPUR: Human rights activists have asked the Bhupesh Bhagel government to respond to the pressing issues of tribal villagers inhabiting the conflict zone of Bastar in south Chhattisgarh and resolve their problems democratically, which they have cited as missing.

They blamed the government for putting lives of the local population at risk amid Covid-19 pandemic by “allowing the provocative decisions to be taken against the tribals and forcing them to fight for their rights and issues”.

“There should not be pressure mounted on the Adivasi community against their wishes and in a democracy the issues fought by the local villagers should be addressed democratically.

We were told by the locals that the land where the security camp at Silger (in strife-torn Sukma) is built was taken covertly and without the due consent from the owners (villagers) or the Gram Sabha”, said Bela Bhatia, human rights activist, after meeting with the Chief Minister in Raipur.  

She was accompanied by other social activists to raise the concerns of the tribal villagers with the CM. Later they also met Governor Anusuiya Uike.

During their interactions, the activists highlighted the burning issues on alleged “fake encounters reported, the controversial roles of the earlier special police officers (SPOs) now been performed by the district reserve guards (DRG- comprising of local tribal youths and surrendered Maoists) and the tribals’ complaints not readily accepted by the police in Bastar”.

The rights group stated that the administration role has been usurped by the police and security forces in the insurgency-hit areas as they narrated to the government the reasons behind the Silger agitation going on for so long.

The tribals’ protest against CRPF security camp at Silger entered its 28th day on Wednesday, even as all efforts by the administration and the police to pacify them go in vain.

The jungle warfare experts have been advocating that ‘winning the heart and mind of tribals in the visual war zone of Chhattisgarh is paramount’.

“The people remain at the centre of gravity when it comes to combating the Maoists and focusing on development”, affirmed Brigadier (retired) B K Ponwar, the guerrilla warfare expert.

The chief minister reiterated that the state government is ready to meet the development-related needs of the people in Bastar.