RAIPUR: Around 30 armed men barged into activist Bela Bhatia’s house in Chhattisgarh’s Parpa on Monday, accused her of being a Maoist sympathiser and asked her to leave Bastar in 24 hours. The threat appeared to be a reaction to Bhatia accompanying an NHRC team to tribal villages where alleged incidents of rape and other excesses by security forces took place in December 2015.
The NHRC, in its interim report, had found that 16 women were raped and sexually assaulted by the security forces. The commission had sought a report from the Chhattisgarh government and directed it to register cases against the perpetrators under the provisions of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. According to civil rights activists, the protesters came on motorcycles and SUVs and told Bhatia’s landlord and his son to get the house vacated, failing which his house would be set ablaze. They also threatened to kill her pet dog. They said Bhatia agreed to leave and sought a few days’ time, but they refused and asked her to leave Bastar in 24 hours.
After Bhatia managed to alert the police, a contingent has been deployed in the village. Bastar superintendent of police R N Dash told reporters in Jagdalpur that a group of villagers had gathered at the activist’s house and accused her of being a Maoist sympathiser. He said the villagers were also annoyed at Bhatia describing herself as Bela “Somaru” as they felt her use of the word “Somaru” was an insult to tribal communities. Dash said police had been deployed at the village and the situation was under control.
The biatch is from NHRC, nothing more needs to be said.
Drag her out by her hair and throw her in the gutters, the whole rape story seems concocted like the fake Murthal rape case.
Late in the evening, the state police issued a press release saying the activist was being provided adequate protection. When the incident took place, a member of the now disbanded Samajik Ekta Manch, an anti-Maoist vigilante group, sent out WhatsApp messages stating that locals had gathered at activist Bela Bhatia’s house and had refused to move until she left the village. On March 26, 2016 a group of around 100 men and women came to the village where Bhatia rents a house. In her absence, the group questioned Bhatia’s landlady and neighbours about her and asked the landlady why she had rented out the place to a “Naxalite”.
They told her to order Bhatia to vacate the house. The crowd then marched through the village shouting slogans and distributing pamphlets calling Bhatia a “Maoist sympathiser” and a foreign agent, and criticising her partner Jean Dreze, an economist. It was alleged that local vigilante group Samajik Ekta Manch was behind the March 2016 protest at her house. Members of the group had allegedly used the same tactic — pressuring the landlords to evict legal aid group lawyers Shalini Gera and Isha Khandelwal and journalist Malini Subramaniam for highlighting human rights violations. Civil rights activists have been alleging that local vigilante groups, with the backing of the police, target human rights and social activists in the region.