RAIPUR: On World Tribal Day, protesting against police atrocities and suppression of tribals in Bastar, activist and Aam Aadmi Party leader Soni Sori started leading the seven-day long 180 kilometre ‘August Tiranga Yatra’ foot march along with groups of activists, political parties and social organization from Maoist hotbed Dantewada to Gompad village in Sukma on Tuesday.

This would be first time that a national flag would be unfurled at Gompad village in one of the worst Maoist affected districts of Sukma, where a tribal woman-Madkam Hidme was allegedly sexually assaulted and killed in a fake encounter last month.

While the judicial probe was ordered by Bilaspur high court, the foot march has been taken out by several organizations under the banner of ‘Bastar Bachao Sangharsh Samiti’.

After the celebrations of World Tribal Day at Dantewada, Soni Sori started the march with others towards Gompad at around 6 in the evening. The group is scheduled to reach Gompad on August 15 where it would unfurl national flag on the occasion of Independence Day.

It was also reported in the media that the participants coming from other states for the march couldn’t avail accommodation at hotels and police had allegedly restricted their stay to play foul in their march.

However, Soni Sori said that the seven-day march on a rocky terrain is a protest against the system that’s indulged in exploiting tribals and their land under the pretext of fake surrender and encounters, forest rights Act, tribal rights, development and infrastructure, while the reality remains same and tribal continue to suffer and get sandwiched between Maoists and security forces. “It would be a protest for tribal rights over jal, jungle, jameen. Moreover, the protestors from other states would also get the see the reality of villages which the government portrays differently.”

Meanwhile, a newly formed anti-Maoist vigilante group in Bastar ‘Agni’ which had earlier under the banner of Vikas Sangharsh Samiti and Samajik Ekta Manch, acted against Sori, journalists and other activists, had also extended their support for the march. If they participated in the march is yet to be confirmed.