Public hearing on operation Greenhunt called off
A public hearing on police atrocities in the naxal-hit Dantewada district in Chhattisgarh was called off after hundreds of tribals attacked activist Medha Patkar and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey with rotten eggs and tomatoes on January 6. The tribals¤ mostly supporters of Salwa Judum¤ alleged Patkar and Pandey are supporting naxal sympathizers. Non-profit Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (vca) and several human rights organizations had organized the public hearing. The convenors said efforts to scuttle the hearing had started a week earlier.
The police intimidated key witnesses to atrocities and harassed journalists¤ activists and students who had come to Dantewada to attend the public hearing¤ said Somnath Mukherjee of Association for India’s Development; activists of the non-profit had gone to Dantewada to attend the hearing. Madhuresh Kumar of non-profit National Alliance for People’s Movements said on January 3 the police detained Sodi Sambo¤ a tribal woman who was shot in her leg by the police on October 1 last year in Gompad village. She is one of the key eye witnesses to the shooting in which nine tribal villagers were killed. Sambo was detained while she was on her way to Delhi for treatment¤ and is now being kept in isolation at a Jagdalpur hospital. On January 5¤ the police took away about 30 tribals from across the district to an undisclosed location. They had come to meet Himanshu Kumar of vca who was on a fast opposing operation Greenhunt. They were released later.
In mid-December¤ the non-profits had planned a padyatra and satyagraha to raise awareness regarding the human rights violation during operation Greenhunt¤ but had to call it off following police pressure (See ‘Padyatra called off in Dantewada¤’ January 6¤ www.downtoearth.org.in).
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