Not the gun, not the bullets
Not the police, not the abuse
Not the prison, not the tortures
Not the warnings, not the attacks
Not the allegations, not the lies
Not the wounds, not the burns
Not the rebels, not the sarkar
Not the arrest warrants, not the injustice
Not the oblivion, not the awards to the attackers
Not the media blackouts, not the people’s indifference
#SoniSori, not deterred, not scared, not discouraged
(Credits: Suresh Ediga)
Who is Soni Sori?
In 2011, Soni Sori an Adivasi school teacher from Bastar, Chattisgarh was arrested on multiple charges including being a Maoist conduit. In custody, she was severely tortured and sexually assaulted. None of this came to light until several Human Rights groups like National Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International launched a campaign for her unconditional release and clamored for inquiry into her torture. She was released from jail on bail in 2014 after which the brave woman contested Lok Sabha elections under AAP ticket. Please listen to her interview with NRISamay during this period here.
In the last few months, Bastar and adjoining areas have seen dramatic upheavals. Members of Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group (JAGLAG) were evicted. Several key journalists have been forced to leave the state. Soni Sori herself was attacked with chemicals that had her hospitalized and her skin has remained blistered. The Bastar administration claimed in informal channels that the attack was staged. Early March, her sister and brother-in-law were picked up without warrant and detained for more than a day. They were framed for the attack on her. Her nephew has also claimed intimidation. Neighbours and friends are also being picked up at random for questioning. There is fear stalking the land.
Elsewhere, there have been several reports of brutal rape and violence against Adivasis. Please read the Hoot story on this issue here. The current Bastar IG Kalluri himself has been charged with rape in custody of Ledha Bai. Please read that article here.
Today in Bastar, Adivasis are being labelled as naxalites and picked up randomly. Soni Sori in the video interview (here) says that Adivasis are being labelled as naxalites and their land is being taken. To note Chattisgarh is rich in minerals and forest area.
What can we do
In midst of all this violence and web of lies, Soni Sori herself believes that education will cure Maoism. She is not afraid of violence to herself or to her children. She will not leave Bastar and live in the relative safety of Delhi. She faces the upheaval alone in one of the most violent parts of the country.
She needs our voice. She needs our support.
To support Soni Sori and the people of Bastar, we have launched the #OneMillionPostCard 4 #SoniSori Campaign and help send a post card in solidarity of Soni Sori’s fight. This is not just about Soni Sori alone, it’s also about the tribals in Bastar.
Three Simple Steps to join the campaign
1) Please give your name and place – a post card will be sent on your behalfhttps://docs.google.com/…/1fENXtJOOhUh0hXp52yqxL30o6wN…/edit
2) you can send the post card yourself
3) Once sent, please share and help spread the word – we need a million people to come together
May Peace Come to Bastar! May Soni Sori and her Family be Safe!