Time line of the Attacks on Human Rights Defenders in Chhattisgarh

23.2.2016

2 uniformed policemen from Papra thana visit Bela’s house and click photos of her, Jean and the interior of the house. This is followed by a visit from two people in civilian clothes carrying Chhattisgarh Police ID.

Protests in Bangalore and Mumbai

22.2.2016 JagLAG’s ex-landlord is called into the Bodhghat thana again – this time because there is a complaint by some Dipankar Sahu against “three women who are anti-social elements” who are staying in his house.

Protests in Delhi and Bhopal. Delhi protesters are detained by the police for several hours.

NHRC hears WSS complaint and decides to send a 3-member team to Bastar. (The team to be constituted and the dates of the visit finalised this week.)
Delhi CM Mr. Kejriwal visits Soni in the hospital
21.2.2016 IG, SP cast doubts on Soni’s story, saying that she is exaggerating the story. She is discharged from the Jagdalpur hospital and taken to Delhi, where doctors confirm that she has facial burns due to an unknown substance.

Protests and demonstrations in Raipur and Hyderabad against the attack on Soni Sori, JagLAG lawyers and Malini

20.2.2016 Bela’s landlords are called into the police station for questioning, and given a form for tenant registration. Shalini meets with the Collector of Dantewada also to inform him of what is happening and seek a place to stay there, since many of our clients are in jail there, and require us to represent them.

Shalini , Isha, Bela hold a press conference, informing the press about what has been happening in the past few days.

Police visit Malini’s house again, asking for more information

Soni visits JagLAG to wish good luck, and while she is there, she receives information about impending assault. Authorities are informed, but there is no response.

JagLAG receives threat that one of their associates is bound to be arrested that night. Isha, Shalini and others at JagLAG (journalists, interns, etc.) leave Jagdalpur at night.

Soni goes back on a motorcycle after wishing them good bye and is attacked at night. Her driver is stopped and three masked men rub some corrosive agent all over her face.

19.2.2016 Ex Union Minister Arvind Netam speaks to SDGP, DM Awasthi and to Chief Secretary of Chhattisgarh, Vivek Dhand on our behalf. 

Police visit Bela’s village 4 times. They question her landlord at his workplace, and also question his family, sarpanch and other villagers. They photograph Bela, her house and surroundings.

Pressure mounts on our (JagLAG’s) landlord, with more phone calls etc.

Bastar District Bar Association holds another Aam Sabha, this time targeting those local lawyers who have stood by us in our cases. They pass a resolution saying that any local lawyer who co-signs a memo of appearance with us will be thrown out of the Bar Association, and anyone who has signed them thus far has to withdraw them immediately within 10 days or they will be thrown out of the Bar Association.

At a press conference in Raipur, IG Kalluri says that there is threat of a physical attack against us, because the lawyers are angry with us. Denies that the police has anything to do with our eviction.

18.2.2016 Prachi (Malini’s domestic worker) is again taken in for questioning at 8:30 in the morning, kept there the whole day and dropped back home by the police at 7.30 pm, after eleven hours of detention at the thana. Malini’s landlord is called in from Raipur to report at the thana. He is made to serve an eviction notice on Malini and her family.

Our (JagLAG’s) landlord is called in again for questioning – and told to make us vacate the premises within 1-2 days. He is also questioned about the landlords of Bela Bhatia – where does she stay etc.

Malini and family decide to leave Jagdalpur immediately, fearing imminent arrest by police.

Samajik Ekta Manch holds a rally and passes JagLAG house shouting chants against us.

Shalini, Isha and Bela meet with the Collector Amit Kataria, and Commissioner Dilip Wasnikar and inform them of the events. Special DGP (anti Naxal operations) DM Awasthi also informed of the happenings. CM Raman Singh also informed.

Our landlord’s car is finally released late at night.

17.2.2016 Prachi, Malini’s domestic worker, is called into the police station to take her statement and kept for three hours in the afternoon. At night, around 9 pm, she is called for questioning again. Malini calls up the SP and Collector to protest, and Prachi is let go around midnight. Shalini and Isha’s landlord is called into the traffic police station, around 10:30 pm, and kept there till 01:30 am. The car which he drives for a livelihood is impounded by the traffic police, and he is pressured into asking us to vacate the premises within 3 days.

The police call Malini’s landlord late at night, threaten him and ask him to come to the police station the next morning.

13.2.2016 Malini’s landlord in Raipur receives a notice from Jagdalpur police requiring him to come to Jagdalpur for an inquiry.
12.2.2016

Samajik Ekta Manch submit an application to the Collector seeking arrest of people against the SEM within 3 days.

Isha and Malini meet with the collector informing him about the meeting with the SP and IG, and also submit a letter of concern regarding the intimidation of witnesses.

11.2.2016

Samajik Ekta Manch organize a dharna seeking arrest of all those who have tried to file FIR against them.

Police arrive in Malini’s neighbourhood and threaten women witnesses.

In the evening, IG SRP Kalluri and SP Dash come to Malini’s house and give assurances to Malini, Bela, Shalini and Isha, that such incidences will not happen again. Specifically mention that as lawyers and other professionals, we should continue to do our work in Bastar without any fear.

10.2.2016

Malini’s statement taken by police. Police also record statement of other witnesses, esp women who corroborate Malini’s narrative.

Newspapers and local TV channels carry many more allegations and comments against JagLAG, by Anand Mohan Mishra, ex Bar Association president (Bastar District Bar Association is a member of SEM).

9.2.2016

FIR is finally registered, but against unknown people. SEM holds a press conference denying Malini’s complaint, and declaring that their next target is Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group

8.2.2016

Malini, Isha, Shalini try to register FIR at Dharmapura Chowki, Kotwali Thana and finally at the SP’s office, but FIR is refused. Meet with the CSP Deepmala Kashyap, Deputy Commissioner Kaushal Kodopi, the Additional Collector Mr. Nayak, and finally the Collector Amit Kataria in response to the attack.

7.2.2016

Samajik Ekta Manch holds a demonstration outside Malini’s house. Stone throwing at her house later on in the night. Malini tries calling SP of Bastar, RN Dash, but he disconnects her phone.

4.2.2016

Leaflets are thrown into the house of Soni Sori at Geedam, issuing a death threat and warning her to not return to Bijapur.

(later in Jan 2016)

Police visit Malini’s house again, asking for more information

29.01.2016

Naxali Peedit Sangharsh Samiti organises a rally in the parade ground in Bijapur. They shout slogans against Soni Sori, Bela Bhatia and Arundhati Roy calling them Maoist supporters. They burn effigies and warn Soni and Bela not to return to Bijapur. Later, they surround the collectorate and demanded that Bela and Soni be brought out. The collector has to come out and tell them that they are not there.

20.01.2016

Naxali Peedit Sangharsh Samiti organise a demonstration in front of the visiting NCW (National Commission of Women) team in Bijapur. One of their slogans is against ‘Naxali Samarthaks’ and names Bela Bhatia.

11.01.2016

Malini visits the police station and provides them with all the requisite information

10.01.2016

Samajik Ekta Manch people arrive at Malini’s house in the evening, followed by a very late night visit by a large group of police, ostensibly for some routine checking. Malini refuses to let the police enter, saying she will provide them with the necessary information next day

6.11.2015

Chhattisgarh State Bar Council passes an interim order allowing us to practice in Bastar District Courts

End-October 2015

Bela informed by landlady to vacate house in two weeks (the contract was valid until December). The house is still empty contrary to the statement that the landlady made at the time that somebody would move in. In retrospect, the landlady may have acted under police pressure.

20.10.2015

We file an appeal before the State Bar Council of Chhattisgarh, challenging the resolution

8.10.2015

Shalini stopped by judges in Bastar District Courts from appearance in court due to this resolution

3.10.2015

Bastar District Bar Association passes a resolution prohibiting “outside lawyers” from practicing in Bastar courts. Contents of the application not made clear to us.

8.09.2015

Isha and Shalini submit a written reply to the police notice

7.09.2015

Police serve a notice to Shalini and Isha to come to the Police Station in connection with the anonymous complaint

5.09.2015

Shalini and Isha, along with Sudha Bharadwaj, meet with the SP Bastar to complain of harassment by police.

Aug- Sept 2015

Police receive anonymous complaint that we (Shalini, Isha, Guneet Parijata) are fraudulent lawyers. We never receive a copy of this complaint, but the police diligently conduct an investigation into it, questioning all the lawyers in the Bar about us.

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