Thousands of tribals of Bastar division, frustrated by alleged oppression, injustice and atrocities carried by state machinery and security forces, started their foot march on Thursday from Rajarao Pathar, district Balod to Raipur.
Earlier they planned to do gherao of Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly. As the assembly proceedings concluded three days before the scheduled date, the protestors changed the plan and now marched to do gherao of Chhattisgarh’s Chief Minister’s house in Raipur.
Local journalist Ankur Tiwari said, the tribals have planned to first reach the capital city Raipur on vehicles as the police intervened, now they cover the 90 kilometres by foot. All the demonstrators were already instructed to come with their own ration and food so that they can fight the government for a longer period.
Meanwhile, after having a small skirmish with local police at the toll plaza, the huge procession again resumed their journey on foot.
The rally was joined by the indigenous people from the entire Bastar division (Dantewada, Bijapur, Kanker, Narayanpur, Sukma) and other tribal-dominated areas of the state.
Deputy Speaker of Chhattisgarh Assembly Manoj Mandavi who met the agitated demonstrators and tried to pacify them but remained unsuccessful in his attempts interacted with the media at the spot and said he was unaware that the demonstrators wanted to reach out to the Chhattisgarh Assembly.
Tribals alleged the government changed but the cases of violence and atrocities against them never died down.
Chhattisgarh Sarva Adivasi Samaj vice president Surju Tekam said, "We are continuously neglected by the administration and now fed up with bearing atrocities, false promises, encounters, and encroachment of tribal rights. This compelled us to gather here and put a united face in support of our demands."
"We were promised that findings of the judicial commission report on Edesmeta, Sarkeguda and other fake encounters will be discussed in the state assembly, culprit officers will be prosecuted, compensation will be given to the victims, PESA will be implemented in fifth schedule areas, nothing happened," Tekam complained.
Bastar is burning because we were cheated by our own leaders, and the government complained Manku Netam.
Therefore we have decided to raise our own voice against all the atrocities, and injustice said tribal community leader Hemlal Markam.
Moreover, a day ago, hundreds of tribals forcibly entered the Sukma collector office premises alleging that he neglected them, instead of listening to the woes of suffering tribals and behaved like an autocratic ruler.
Tribals demanded immediate removal of the district collector Sukma IAS Vineet Nandanwar.