June 7, 2021: National Alliance of People’s Movement demands an immediate end to the Chhattisgarh government’s efforts to restrict movement of civil society groups investigating the killing of four Adivasis by security forces in Silger village, Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.

A 10 member investigation team of the Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan (CBA) travelling to Silger has been stopped near Nelsnar police station in Bangapar, Bijapur district. The investigation team comprises of prominent citizens and activists including Anubhav Shori, Vijender Tiwari, Sagarika Pandey, Rashi Agarwal, Sanjay Parte, Alok Shukla, Geet Deheriya, Bela Bhatia, Sudesh Tikam and Indu Netam. Security forces are blocking the road and preventing them from proceeding on foot even to nearby Bijapur city. The entire Silger block has also been declared as a containment zone for seven days.

These measures are an open violation of democratic rights for freedom of movement and expression. They are clearly an attempt to prevent a fair and open investigation into the indiscriminate firing by security forces on 16th May, on the peaceful adivasi protesters in Silger. Bastar has seen a series of large-scale peaceful protests by adivasis against proposed CRPF camps, which they feel would further militarize the region. The firing resulted in the killing of four Adivasis and injured 18 others. Instead of ordering a full and fair investigation into the firing and taking action against the responsible security forces, the government is making all efforts to restrict civil society efforts to investigate the incident.

NAPM strongly condemns such attempts by the government and security forces to stifle the voices of the residents of Silger village and civil society. We demand immediate withdrawal of the arbitrary restrictions on the movement of the CBA investigation team. They should be allowed to proceed to Silger without hindrance and listen to the affected villagers testimonies of the 16th May incident.

We also demand a judicial investigation into the incident and prosecution of security officers who were involved in and ordered the firing. Exemplary compensation must be paid to all the families of the deceased and injured. A full moratorium on construction of additional CRPF camps in the region must be ensured and a phased-plan for de-militarization as well as active dialogue between state – adivasis and civil society, must be taken up.

NAPM India