Chhattisgarh police books Bela Bhatia, Soni Sori
The Chhattisgarh police on Friday booked tribal rights activist Bela Bhatia and tribal leader Soni Sori for ‘protesting against the alleged fake encounter’ that took place on September 13.
A case was registered under section 188 of IPC (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) against Bhatia, Sori and others on September 16, police said on Friday.
“Bela Bhatia and Soni Sori instigated tribals from far-flung villages to protest and gherao police station Kirandul, in spite of section 144 CrPC in place because of by-poll. The protest caused an obstruction in working of the police station, so FIR has been registered,” said SP Dantewada, Abhishek Pallava.
It is worth mentioning that two alleged Maoists, Lachu Mandavi and one Podiya Sori were killed in the encounter on the intervening night of September 13 and 14. Police claimed that both the Maoists were commanders of Malangir area committee of CPI (Maoist).
On September 16, about 150 villagers along with Bela and Soni protested claiming that the encounter was fake and the killed were innocent villagers, not Maoists.
Meanwhile, Bela Bhatia alleged that Dantewada police is muzzling dissent . “On the evening of September 16 we submitted a complaint against the fake encounters of Podiya Sori and Lachchu Mandavi and disappearance of Ajay Telam in Kirandul police station. Instead of filing an FIR based on our complaint the Kirandul police lodged an FIR against us that very evening!” said Bela Bhatia talking to Hindustan Times.
Bhatia further said, “The police have chosen to be vindictive. We have been wrongly accused of instigating and mobilizing the few hundred people who had come on their own volition to Kirandul police station to protest against the fake encounters and to secure the release of Ajay Telam from illegal police custody.”
This is just another example of misuse of the provisions of law and muzzling dissent. The government must remember that by taking short cuts in the shape of fake encounters and quelling nonviolent dissent it is aggravating the problem not solving it, Bhatia added.
Reacting on the allegation on police, SP said that Ajay Telam has given a statement under on September 16, where he has clarified the facts.
“On Friday Bhima has also surrendered who was forced to give false statements under pressure of social activist” added SP.