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Face-off between Soni Sori, Bastar police



Villagers protest against the killing of Podia Hemla, a villager, who was shot down allegedly by the Maoists near Gidam.

The activist dares IG to prove charge that she is a “Maoist sympathiser”

Tribal activist and Aam Aadmi Party leader Soni Sori has dared Bastar range Inspector General of Police SRP Kalluri to prove his allegations about her alleged Maoist links.

Ms. Sori’s statement came after Mr. Kalluri reportedly called her a “Maoist sympathiser” during a recent meeting of traders in the Dantewada district of Bastar.

“A trader was killed by the Maoists last week near Gidam town of Dantewada. He [Mr. Kalluri] came to Gidam and told an assembly of traders that I am a Maoist sympathiser and also act as support base to the Maoists. He should produce substantial evidence to prove his allegations within a week otherwise next week I will lodge an FIR against him. I will also send a complaint to the Human Rights Commission against him,” Ms. Sori told The Hindu.

The IG’s statement came two days after an alleged encounter in Nihadi village of Dantewada in which the police claimed to have killed a Maoist, Podia Hemla.

However, Ms. Sori termed it a “fake encounter” and claimed that Podia Hemla was an “innocent villager” and that he was shot at point blank by some special police officers turned auxiliary constables of the Bastar police.

When Ms. Sori was in Nihadi village to lead the villagers’ protest against the killing of Podia Hemla, a trader was killed by the Maoists near Gidam.

Angered at Ms. Sori’s repeated agitations against the police, Mr. Kalluri reportedly called for “excommunication” of Ms. Sori, her nephew Ligaram Kodapi and other AAP leaders in Dantewada.

A group of traders even walked towards the tribal activist’s home in Gidam and shouted slogans against her.

“I was not in Gidam when they gathered near my house. My daughters, who were inside the house, were threatened by the protesters. Everyone knows who instigated the crowd against me. I am a widow today because of the Bastar police. But I am not going to stop fighting for the rights of Bastar tribals,” said the AAP leader.

Mr. Kalluri was not available for comment.

However, Dantewada district Superintendent of Police Kamlochan Kashyap said Ms. Sori was indulging in “anti-police propaganda” for political gains.

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