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Chhattisgarh : Villager Injured in Police Firing, Police Harasses Activist Soni Sori

By IndiaResists Team

Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh/22 April 15): On 17th April 2015, Bhima Madkam, from Village Madenar, Police station Darbha Chowki Pakhnar and District Bastar suffered three grievous bullet injuries in a police firing. While his condition was very serious the villagers were not sure whether taking him to the Government Hospital for treatment would be helpful. After being convinced by Soni Sori and her lawyers and taking into consideration the deteriorating condition of the patient, the villagers agreed to bring him to the Maharani hospital, Jagdalpur on 21 April 2015. On the same day i.e. 21 April 2015 an application was also submitted to the police stating how Bhima Madkam had been injured in a case of police firing and demanding the police to take action against the erring personnel.

Bhima Madkam

Bhima Madkam, along with his family, was brought to Maharani Hospital late yesterday evening. But as soon as he reached the hospital the entire environment changed. The entire ward was cordoned off by the police and no one including Bhima Madkam’s lawyers were allowed to meet him. This is completely illegal since Bhima Madkam has not been arrested by the police but is a patient seeking medical treatment in which case he should have complete access to people as any other patient.

The cordon of the police continued even the next day (22.4.15). In the morning certain villagers were allowed to meet Bhima but his lawyer was still not allowed access. Moreover, even journalists were debarred from entering the ward where Bhima is admitted. Several restrictions have been placed on the movement of his parents also who are not allowed to leave the ward and only allowed to leave only during meal times.

The police is also harassing Human Rights Defender Soni Sori by stating that they will get her bail cancelled by the Supreme Court on the ground that she is ‘instigating people against the state’ and send her back to jail.

Three people from Village Madenar and one from Village Toenar were picked up by the police on 19.4.15 and were produced before the Magistrate only on 22.4.2015. They moved an application of illegal detention before the CJM who dismissed the application without recording the statements of the accused.

Such incidents are a clear violation of the rule of law and the constitutional mandate. The need of the hour is to allow Bhima Madkam, who is undergoing a medical treatment complete access to people. He should be the one deciding who he wants to meet and not the police. Furthermore, by harassing Human Right Defenders like Soni Sori, who are trying to assist villagers to procure redress from the District administration, the state is further alienating people and threatening the very fabric of democracy.

Meanwhile, PUCL Chhattisgarh has made following demands:

  1. Independent inquiry and action into the injury of Bhima Madkam on 17thApril.
  2. Allow Bhima Madkam, who is undergoing medical treatment, complete access to people.
  3.    The medical treatment of Bhima Madkam and his access to medical papers should not be comprised only to support the accused police personnel.
  4. Stop arresting other villagers of Madenar who may be witnesses in Bhima Madkam’s case.
  5. Human Rights Defender Soni Sori who is continuously trying to help villagers approach the district administration for resolution of their grievances should not be threatened and harassed.

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