Two teenaged adivasi girls from Bastar take on the state in their fight against extra-judicial killings. A Public Interest Litigation challenging the spate of encounters in Bijapur was filed last year before the Chhattisgarh High Court in Bilaspur by two young women from Korcholi with extra-ordinary grit and determination –Suneeta Pottam (19 years old).and Munni Pottam (18 years old). A national women’s organization, the WSS (wssnet.org) is the third petitioner in this case. Faced with a dozen affidavits of the villagers whose family members were killed, the High Court of Bilaspur held that the questions of extra judicial executions and government policies which are responsible for these are similar in spirit to the issues raised by the Salwa Judum petition (Nandini Sundar and Ors vs. State of Chhattisgarh), currently being heard by the Supreme Court. Following which, the young Petitioners filed a Transfer Petition in the Supreme Court last year seeking the transfer of their PIL to the Supreme Court. Suneeta and Munni Pottam are in Delhi to attend the hearing of their transfer petition on Wednesday, 10 January 2018.
At the press conference these young women spoke about these cases of encounters along with the details of the very recent physical and sexual assault of the the women of the villages where Suneeta and Munni live. They also spoke about the harrassment and threats that they have been receiving by the Bastar police (as recent as few weeks back) as result of filing this petition, who have threatened them that if they keep raising these issues which show the police in a bad light, they would be arrested for Naxalite offences and thrown into jail. Shaken but not defeated, these young women have come to Delhi to put their continuous harassment on record before the apex court at the coming hearing. Continue reading
Soni Sori, the adivasi leader from Chhattisgarh addresses students from JNU connecting their struggle with the struggle of the adivasis in Chhattisgarh. Elaborating of the challenges that the adivasis face, Soni emphasis the need for freedom of her people to be in their forests, lands, fields and homes. Under the garb of fighting naxalism the state has been systematically killing adivasis who have populated the land for generations so it can have their jal, jungle zameen. Anyone who raises a question about the unconstitutional way in which the forces and police are carrying out their operations is targeted. She also explains the fake encounter of Mardam which was the reason for her being attacked
Encountering Injustice : The Case of Meena Khalko
Synopsis – The film looks into an alleged encounter of a 15 year old adivasi girl, Meena Khalkho who lived in Village Karcha of Balrampur district of North Chhattisharh. She was killed by the police who alleged that she was a naxalite. Moving between the electronic news coverage of the incident and testimonies of her parents and other people from her village, the film investigates the claims of the police. Sexual violence, the attempt to suppress the truth of meena’s murder and the impunity of the culprits gradually comes to light. We also get a glimpse into how difficult and long the struggle for justice is in the conflict zones of the country. This film is part of a series of films called Loktantra Hazir Ho produced by the Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS).
An all-India fact-finding team of women visited Bastar to look at the status of women in conflict areas in October 2015. The following videos are of interviews conducted with women who were direct victims of violence perpetrated by the security forces and police during their patrolling of the villages from October 19/ 20 till October 24, 2015, or those who had witnessed these acts. The testimonies mention physical beating, verbal abuse and threats and molestation and rape along with destruction and looting of property in the affected villages of Chinnagelur, Peddagelur, Gundam and Burgicheru.