State repression, War on People

Lawyers fighting police atrocities in Bastar allege they are being forced to leave

Days after Scroll contributor Malini Subramaniam at Bastar in Chattisgarh came under pressure from local groups and the police following to her reportage on police atrocities, Isha Khandewal, the lawyer representing Malini and a member of legal aid group JagLAG, says they are being forced to leave Jagdalpur. JagLAG (Jagdalpur Legal Aid group), a non-profit that has been providing free aid to tribal communities in south Chhattisgarh’s five Naxal-affected districts, chose to legally represent Malini Subramaniam following a physical assault on her property in Bastar on February 8.
In an email release on Thursday, Isha Khandelwal of JagLAG wrote, “Late last night, police visited our landlord – who is a driver by profession, and took him away to the police station. He was kept there till wee hours of this morning, and dropped back in a police vehicle; his car having been impounded. Our badly shaken landlord informed us at 2:00 am this morning that he has no option but to ask us to vacate our house and office within a week.”“Our landlord’s car is still in the police station, as he struggles with another day of bewilderment. At the time of writing, even Malini’s husband, Ashim, is being held inside the police station and not being let out,” she writes further.

All-India Adivasi Mahasabha ‘threatened’ by Bastar police
RAIPUR: Maish Kunjam, former MLA and president of All-India Adivasi Mahasabha, tribal front of Communist Party of India (CPI), has alleged that Bastar police personnel are planning to kill him and his aides in a fake encounter. Kunjam in his recent press release stated it is due to police fear that he has decided to cancel the entire gathering and meetings of All-India Adivasi Mahasabha in Bastar. According to the press release issued by All-India Adivasi Mahasabha, the organization has planned to observe Bhumkal Diwas from February 10 to 18.
They have cancelled the events of February 17 and 18 allegedly because the police force tried to hijack their rally being taken out in Sukma on February 15. “When the All-India Adivasi Mahasabha’s rally reached Sukma bus stand on February 15, a group of police personnel joined the rally with their own loudspeakers in hands. They started shouting anti-Maoist slogans. Even when we asked them to stop, they continued shouting ‘Naxali murdabaad’,”said Maish Kunjam.
He added that All-India Adivasi Mahasabh believe that this is an attempt of police to instigate fights between the tribals and Maoists. “This is similar to the an incident when tribal leaders were killed in Bijapur and Konta by Maoists after which the tribal party was almost finished by Salwa Judum. The police want that to happen in Bastar too so that there will be no organization left here to fight for the ‘Jal—Jungle—Zameen’ (forest-water-land),” said Kunjam adding that the Adviasi Mahasabha will not hold any meeting or rally in Bastar for next few days.



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