Raipur: Social and civil rights groups have expressed serious concern over increasing incidents of violence against tribal Christians in Bastar in Chhattisgarh and urged the central Indian state government to conduct an impartial investigation and to take preventive measures to protect peace and harmony in the tribal region.

Social activist Medha Patkar, who led the fact-finding team and visited the Bastar villages where tribal Christians were attacked and their property destroyed in the recent past, told reporters in Raipur, the state capital, October 29 that the incidents of violence had taken place in Kondagaon, Sukma, Bastar and Dantewada district targeting the minority community.

Members of National Alliance of Peoples Movement (NAPM) and Peoples Union for Civil Liberties and other organizations such as Chhattisgarh Citizens for Joint Action Committee (CCJAC) visited 13 villages of the tribal region and met those affected by the violence.

Pointing out that the affected families were facing lot of hardships, Patkar said many of them were unable to go back to their villages or do cultivation because of fear. She said the police and revenue department have taken some delayed action after incident of violence at a village in Kondagaon district but much more needs to be done do deal with such situations.

A joint statement issued by members of the fact finding team, comprising Medha Patkar, Amitabh Mishra, Vimal Bhai, Akhil Choudhary and Vikram Singhal, said FIRs with proper sections have to be registered in all such cases well within 24 hours after the incidents.

It said peace is yet to be restored in Kakadbeda, Tiliabega and Singhanpur villages in Kondagaon district where people are being even denied drinking water by anti-social elements and action must be taken against all those who have been named in the complaints.

The fact finding team urged Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to request the governor to exercise the powers under fifth schedule of the constitution. Besides, they also requested the chief minister to come up with a clear statement against such incidents in the tribal areas.

The fact finding team said they would prepare a detailed report about the findings on the basis of their discussion with 30 families of 13 villages where such violence took place.

Source: TOI