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Protests against CRPF camps in Silger continue

NewsProtests against CRPF camps in Silger continue

New Delhi: The ongoing protest against the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camps has not subsided since the demands of the protesters are not yet fulfilled. The new establishment of CRPF camps in Silger, Sukma, has the objective of reducing Maoist activities in the deeper terrains of Sukma. However, the protesters do not object to the establishment of schools or hospitals, but the setting up of camps on their “private cultivated land” is unacceptable. However, sources claim that these cultivated lands belong to the government.
This year, on 20 January, some protesters were traveling to Raipur to meet the Governor in order to settle the problem of establishment of CRPF camps. However, when the police received the information, they stopped the bus in Kondagaon and ordered the protesters to get off the bus. Meanwhile, two of them tested positive for Covid after being taken into custody and were ordered to be self-isolated. They were eventually allowed to leave.
“This year, on 20 January, around 2 am, some protesters (8 to 9) were taken into custody after the bus reached Kandagaon. These protesters had gone to meet the Governor in Raipur. However, they were taken into custody and, after getting the COVID positive result, were asked to follow Covid protocols and self-isolate. But no proper measures of self-isolation were taken, which indicated that we were not allowed to meet the governor,” a protester told The Sunday Guardian.
However, when The Sunday Guardian spoke to P. Sunder Raj, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Bastar, he said, “The camps are established to stop the Maoist activities. When these protesters were to visit Raipur, section 144 was imposed due to Covid. Also, as claimed by these protesters, the information that they would meet the Governor was false because the Governor was not present. So, there was no point in going to Raipur. The Governor was in Madhya Pradesh and while we took their Covid tests as per the protocol, two people were found Covid positive. So we kept them in self-isolation and others were asked to go.”
The new CRPF camps in Silger, South Chhattisgarh, are constructed with the latest security installations that cover 10,000 km. The protests intensified on 17 May last year, when the officials openly fired on the protesters, killing four people. The camp, which is located on the Basaguda-Jagarguna route, was erected on 12 May. It has been claimed that on 17 May, people hurled stones at security personnel at the camp, prompting police to open fire on them. As a result, three guys have been identified as Maoists and have been slain. All these unfortunate circumstances led to the blocking of the camp by felled trees, and the protest venue shifted to 2 km away from the campsite toward Tarrem, another significant Maoist inflicted region.
A protester told this paper, “Until the families of the victims (as they said) receive justice and compensation, we won’t stop our protests. We were not consulted before the camps were established on our lands. We are fighting for our rights to our lands and freedom.” Many villagers (protesters) have claimed that Kisan Andolan inspired them to continue their prolonged protest. The intensification of the ongoing protests has also helped the Maoists as they can carry on their activities in the deeper regions of the affected areas.
Meanwhile, other protesters told this paper, “Those who were killed were not Naxals, but protesters, so we are demanding compensation for their families. Though their bodies have been recovered, the compensation has not been provided to them; so we are demanding our rights.
These protesters were Naxals who had come to the protest in plain clothes.

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