Soni Sori Receives Death Threat From Bastar Police

Adivasi activist Soni Sori received an official death threat from Bastar police on 4th February:

“Soni Sori, should you dare to step into Bijapur, we will kill you, we will strip you down and burn you. Soni Sori, you are a Naxalite tout, a whore. Down with Naxalism. Soni Sori, you are a Maoist. Down with Maoism.”

Photo: Himanshu Kumar
Photo: Himanshu Kumar

An adivasi teacher from Bastar, Soni Sori is the collective voice of the adivasi women from Bastar who were raped and whose homes were burnt down by CRPF , snatching their  land to be sold to companies. Soni Sori had protested against this act of gross injustice. Outraged by her act, the police did not spare her family. They brought up false charges against her husband and had him arrested. On being proven innocent by the Court, the police beat him up as a result of which he lapsed into coma and expired. Next, the police targeted Soni Sori’s nephew, Linga Kodopi, a journalist by profession. They brought him to custody by filing two false charges against him. Before arresting him they thrust a rod smeared with oil and chilli powder through his anus which caused the rectum to burst. After nearly two and a half years, the Supreme Court declared him innocent in the case. The SC further acquitted him on the second case.

The police had filed seven false allegations against Soni Sori. She was arrested from Delhi and taken to Chattisgarh. In the Dantewada police station, Superintendent Ankit Garg tortured her with electric shocks and thrust pebbles into her vagina. However the Supreme Court exonerated her from six of the seven false cases. On the seventh case the SC released her on bail.

Once she came out of jail she started bringing tribal folks together to organise a voice of protest against the torture they had faced for years. Inspector General Kalluri of Bastar tried to suppress the growing voice of protest. He summoned her to state that Raman Singh has asked her to accept a sum of 25 lakh on the ground that she withdraws her stand against the government. Soni Sori did not accept the bribe. She clearly stated that her husband is dead and her body has become useless, invaded by disease, and nothing will make her stop working for the cause of her people.

Indignant at her point blank refusal, the Inspector General instigated the businessmen from Gidam who along with the native members of the BJP party organised a protest march to suppress her movement. Following this incident, the BSF raped 40 adivasi women and demanded from them the proof of their marriage by squeezing their breasts. This hideous act did not hinder Soni Sori to continue her work. She met the victims and organised a press conference with them. Soon the National Commission of Women sent a team to meet Soni Sori and the women.

The police instigated the businessmen of Gidam by branding her as a Naxalite to get her out of Bastar. Along with local BJP leaders, the businessmen from Bastar organised a march against her and threw stones at her house. The police also employed Salwa Judum lumpens to organise a rally that supported Soni Sori’s expulsion from Bastar. The police reiterated their threat in a written format which she received at her doorstep. It stated that if Soni Sori dares to step into Bijapur, they will kill her, they will strip her down and burn her. They also branded her “a Naxalite, a whore and a Maoist.”

By Himanshu Kumar, Sanghamitra Deb, and Swastisha Mukherjee .
Edited by Manisha 

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