Days after she was allegedly threatened by a mob and told to leave Bastar, activist Bela Bhatia on Tuesday said the region is facing crises it had not faced even during the British rule and the period of Salwa Judum, an armed, anti-insurgency militia banned by the Supreme Court in 2011. Speaking at an event organised by the Bastar Solidarity Network and PUDR at Delhi School of Economics, Bhatia said, “The issues Bastar is facing today, it has not faced in its entire history. The crisis that Bastar is witness to is a very deep one. It is a crisis of democracy…”
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In Bastar, she said, the state has taken a stand that it is “not going to tolerate” people trying to “expose the truth about what is happening”.
CPI leader Prashant Kunjam and tribal activist and AAP leader Soni Sori were also present at Tuesday’s event.
“Those losing their lives today are among the poorest people of our country. The present crisis is of such credible proportions that even during the colonial rule they didn’t suffer what they are suffering now,” Bhatia claimed.
Kunjam said, “When we think of Salwa Judum, humara dil dehel jaata hai (we are scared). But at least we could speak about it then. Today we can’t even speak; we are being silenced.”
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