Villagers in Chhattisgarh district protest over mining nod, arrest of 6 tribals
Thousands of farmers have been staging a sit-in in Chhattisgarh’s Naryanpur district over mining permission given to a company and against the arrest of six tribals last week. They blocked a road, which connects Narayanpur district headquarters to Abujmaad forest, on Friday.
Tribal leaders of the Bastar region have supported the protest and demanded an immediate release of the six alleged Maoists.
Tribal leader Arvind Netam, who met the protestors, said the area comes under a reserve forest and hence permission should not have been granted. “Thousands of trees will be cut if the mining starts… the permission should be taken back,” said Netam.
Netam alleged six innocent tribals have been arrested and they should be released immediately.
Dasharatha Kashyap, a member of a tribal organisation, said the mining lease was granted without consulting the local village council. He added it is a serious issue. “The tribals are protesting to save their water, forest, and land. The government will have to accept their demands… otherwise, [the protest] will continue,” said Kashyap.
Narayanpur district collector Abhijit Singh said he has not received any demand in writing yet.
“We have provided food and drinking water to the protestors and they have been allowed to meet the six arrested tribals. A team of administrators will meet them today [Saturday],” he said.
Police superintendent Mohit Garg said the protest site is remote and blamed Maoists for forcing about 2,000 tribals to protest. “The villagers have been forced to join from as far as the Maharashtra border, Bijapur, Sukma, Dantewara.” He said the six arrested tribals were actively involved in planting IEDs. “…Maoists have lost their crucial supply line and safe haven and that is why they are agitated and forcing people to protest.”
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