The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post
Sukalyan Talukdar, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
Tribal activist and the Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader Soni Sori was attacked by some unknown assailants in Dantewada district of South Chhattisgarh in the evening of Saturday 20th Feb 2016. The attack took place when she was returning from Bastanar town of Dantewada to her residence.
Soni has emerged as a face of the Tribal Community’s democratic protest in Bastar. She has singlehandedly raised a consistent voice against the issues of atrocities on Bastar tribals by security forces in the name of tackling Maoist insurgency. She is a former school teacher who had already faced arrest earlier in September 2011. Police alleged Soni to be conduit for extortion money being paid by Essar Group to Naxalites/Maoists. She was sexually assaulted and stones were inserted into her private parts.
From October last year, she has brought to fore several cases of molestations, rapes against the local women and two recent instances of fake encounters in the Dantewada area allegedly by the security forces. Early this month, Sori was warned and asked to slow down. However, she didn’t give in to the threats, even as she apprehended the attacks when she was denied security. She had even tried filing a complaint on the Inspector General SRP Kalluri heading the police in Bastar, for allegedly letting his men continue atrocities on the local adivasis there; however, her complaint was not registered. The attack on the tribal activist came two days after a legal aid group of woman lawyers and a freelance journalist were forcibly evicted from their residences allegedly at the behest of Bastar police boss SRP Kalluri. The attackers even moved one step further and threatened Soni’s daughter who stays in a hostel.
The saddest part is some people like Rupa Subramanya who is BJP’s think tank and represents the educated intelligentsia has resorted to twits like “this year’s Oscar for best makeup”. These types of comments are not only offensive and dangerous to the democracy.
But we can see a ray of hope when Soni herself says, she has another reason not to give up after the attack. She says that people of Bastar will, rather be encouraged to continue their fight against the atrocities they are regularly subjected to, when they see Sori fighting undeterred.
She believes that Bastar will soon see a revolution. “People there have suffered for years. Now, they will start fighting back,” Sori says.