Dantewada police fires in air to disperse tribals protesting against security camp

The SP said that Potaali camp is strategically very important to tackle Maoism in the district and was therefore set up.
A total of 400 jawans of the district reserve guard (DRG) and special task forces (STF) are deployed in the camp and another 150 were placed as reinforcements in Aranpur camp, which is 10 km from Potaali camp.(HT FILE PHOTO.)
A total of 400 jawans of the district reserve guard (DRG) and special task forces (STF) are deployed in the camp and another 150 were placed as reinforcements in Aranpur camp, which is 10 km from Potaali camp.(HT FILE PHOTO.)
Updated on Nov 12, 2019 11:17 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Raipur | By

During the protest of tribals against the establishment of Chhattisgarh police camp in Potaali village, Dantewada police fired in the air to disburse the tribals on Tuesday. The police said that no one was injured in the firing incident and they seized bows and arrows, sharp-edged weapons and axes from the tribals.

Human rights activists, however, claimed that the police used lathis in the peaceful protest.

“The camps allegedly for the “security” of the people have become a compulsion that the people are supposed to swallow. Should the local villagers not have any say in the matter? If villagers of Bastar do not want a “security” camp what should they do? Hasn’t the time now come to make a move towards demilitarization?” Bela Bhatia, a human rights activist working in Bastar said.

The Superintendent of Police (SP) and district collector were at the spot, which is about 80 km from the Dantewada district headquarters when the incident took place.

“The camp was established on Monday in the core Maoist area. The villagers were against the camp claiming that police atrocities would increase but we wanted to provide security to them. To avoid any atrocity, we have deployed woman commandos and senior officers in the camp. On Tuesday, the collector and I went to visit the camp but when we were returning they started moving towards the camp with bows and arrows and axes. The police pushed them back by firing in the air and also by tear-gas shells to disburse the tribals,” said SP Dantewada, Abhishek Pallava, adding that that no one was injured in the incident.

The SP said that Potaali camp is strategically very important to tackle Maoism in the district and was therefore set up.

“A total of 400 jawans of the district reserve guard (DRG) and special task forces (STF) are deployed in the camp and another 150 were placed as reinforcements in Aranpur camp, which is 10 km from Potaali camp. The Patoli camp area is of senior Maoist leaders of Danetwada and the opening of the camp has rattled the senior leaders,” said SP Dantewada.

“Bastar today is one of the most militarized zones in the country. A security camp in remote villages is a symbol of this militarization and related domination. Today’s assembly is the third attempt at resistance of the proposed camp at Potaali village in Dantewada. In the videos that have now become viral, a contingent of around 500 armed security personnel can be seen wielding their lathis, running after the thousand or so people as they pushed them back,” Bhatia said, adding that a few personnel can be seen handling their guns as though getting ready to fire.

“Indeed, twelve rounds of firing in the air were reported. The scene was such that the situation could easily have gone out of hand,” Bhatia said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    State Correspondent for Chhattisgarh. Reports Maoism, Politics, Mining and important developments from the state. Covered all sorts of extremism in Central India. Reported from Madhya Pradesh for eight years.

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Sunday, January 23, 2022