Bastar based social-activist and academic Bela Bhatia has said that she was not willing to leave Chhattisgarh and discontinue her work. Bhatia has been receiving death threats and, on Monday, around 30 men had barged into her house asking her to leave.
Bhatia has said that she was threatened by the men who had asked her to vacate the house and leave immediately, failing which they would set the house ablaze. The incident occurred in Pandripani village under Parpa police station limits. The men then forced her and her landlord to sign a statement saying that she would vacate the house within 24 hours.
"There is security that has been provided to me. But I will not leave Bastar and discontinue my work," Bhatia told the Indian Express.
The Chhattisgarh police had said in a statement that 15 police personnel, including four women, led by sub-inspector Kripal Singh Gautam have been deputed for Bhatia's security.
Meanwhile, a group called the Bastar Adivasi Suraksha Manch has allegedly objected to Bhatia naming her dog, Somari.
Bhatia told the Indian Express, "I have lived in Parpa for so long and nobody has ever objected to this name. It is also curious that this came after the senior police officers who came on Monday night asked me about the name several times."
Bhatia was among a group of people who had accompanied a National Human Rights Commission team to the villages of Bijapur two days ago to record statements of rape and sexual assault survivors who have filed FIRs against police personnel.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi tweeted in support of Bhatia, saying:
Violence has never silenced the truth. I stand with Bela Bhatia & all those fighting for justice for the tribals of Chhattisgarh— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) January 24, 2017
The NHRC had sent a notice to the Chattisgarh state government over reports of rape, sexual and physical assault of 16 women by the state police personnel in Bastar division in October 2015 and January 2016, observing that the government is "vicariously liable" for it.
(With inputs from PTI)
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