Tribal Villagers In Chhattisgarh Continue Month-Long Protest Against India’s Security Forces

India

Given the constant state of conflict between the insurgents and security personnel, the villagers in Bastar have started to become hostile towards the government’s troops. The locals fear that the government’s bid to increase security in the region threatens to suppress tribal people and their voices.

Thousands of tribal villagers in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar town have been protesting for a month against the establishment of a paramilitary camp in Silger region. However, given the worseningCOVID-19 situation, the number of protesters have recently subsided to hundreds.

The sensitive Silger region is located near the border of the two worst Maoist (insurgent)-affected districts of Sukma and Bijapur, about 450 km from state capital Raipur.

On 12 May, security forces set up a camp in Silger village despite strong opposition from the locals. The protests gained momentum on 17 May, when three locals died after security forces allegedly opened fire on them. A pregnant woman later succumbed to her injuries.

The Bastar administration and the police have repeatedly tried to convince the villagers to withdraw the protest, stating the rise in coronavirus infections. “Our fear is with such huge gathering there arises a bigger risk for these villagers likely to turn into super-spreaders in their hamlets amid the pandemic,” Bastar Inspector General P Sunderraj told reporters.

But locals from at least 40 villages claim that none of…

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