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India – Maoists welcome Soni Sori’s march, but without tricolour

In an audio statement released on Monday, the Central Committee [CC] of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) has “appealed” to the tribal activist and Aam Aadmi Party [AAP] leader in south Chattisgarh, Soni Sori, to refrain from hoisting the national flag in the partially rebel controlled areas of south Chattisgarh. On Tuesday, Ms. Sori started a weeklong march from Dantewada in south Chattisgarh to hoist the national flag at Gompad village in the adjacent Sukma district. But following the Maoist “appeal”, it may not be very safe for her to march to Gompad and raise the tricolour on Independence Day. “The police tortured you [and] the officer, Ankit Garg, [who] is responsible for attacks on you, are protected by the same tricolour and [thus] we would request you to refrain from raising it on August 15,” the Maoist audio statement said.
The statement further claimed that it is not only Ms. Sori but all the political outfits, including mainstream parties like the “Communist Party of India [CPI], or even the Congress”, and a host of civil liberties or women’s groups and journalists, that are routinely under attack by the security forces in south Chattisgarh. “As you know, all these groups, who are mainly tribals, are targeted from all sides by a State, which is continuing with a multi-level oppression against the tribals. Is it reasonable for you to raise the flag of that State?” the statement said.

However, the statement, read by the spokesperson of CC, Vikalp Dandak, also underscored that the party welcomes Ms. Sori’s decision to march through Maoist-controlled areas to Gompad, where a villager was raped and killed recently. “We do not oppose the march as it would highlight the atrocities committed by the security personnel, but just oppose the hoisting of the tricolour,” the statement said.

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