Delhi, 22 February 2016
There were around 70 people at the protest from WSS, Delhi Support Group, NAPM, human rights groups, women’s organsations, students, teachers, media people and lawyers and members of the Insaf network.
Even as we gathered on the pavement outside Chhattisgarh Bhavan, which was heavily barricaded, the police (CRPF and Delhi Police) began pushing and herding us into a small section of the lane beside the building, using the barricades to cage us in on three sides. A police bus was brought in and parked so as to block off the mouth of the lane. Police and IB people were taking videos and photos.
After about an hour, a team of seven people went to hand over our memorandum to the state government representative. As soon as the team (Kalpana, Indira, Uma Chakravarthy and Kalyani from WSS, Kavita Srivastava from PUCL and WSS, Adv Prashant Bhushan and Dr Sunilam from Insaf) went inside the building, police attacked the protesters and dragged them into the bus that was blocking their exit from the “cage” where they were trapped. Several people who resisted were kicked and punched to subdue them. The protestors refused to be cowed down and kept shouting slogans and holding the banner demanding justice for Soni Sori outside the bus as they were driven away. They were taken to Parliament House Police Station where they were detailed without charge and released after several hours.
When the delegation emerged after handing over the memorandum and speaking to the Resident Commissioner on the phone (since she was in Raipur), they were also attacked. The police grabbed Kavita and Kalyani, dragged them to a jeep and tried to forcibly push them in, which they resisted. The police finally backed off after a heated altercation with the officer in command, who was unable to give us any reason for their actions.