Release of AIPF Fact Finding Report on Bastar in Delhi

A convention was held on 2 August in Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi where the All India People’s Forum (AIPF) fact finding report on Bastar, titled- ‘Bastar: Where the constitution stands suspended’ was released.

The convention was moderated by activist Leena Dabiru, and cultural activists of Sangwari began the convention with a song. Com. Kavita Krishnan, one of the members of the team started by condemning a tweet by Kiran Bedi who had referred to certain tribal communities as criminal and added how the views held by an ex IG of prisons seemed to be shared by the entire State that was determined to criminalise and repress tribes. Human rights activist N.D. Pancholi from PUCL elaborated on how the use of police since colonial times had been to enforce the whim of the rulers. He also critically examined the role of courts in failing to defend the Constitution citing an incident where the courts responded to a PIL filed by an activist, not by examining the plea but by questioning the locus standi of appellant himself.

Noted Human Rights activist John Dayal said that Chhattisgarh had become a laboratory of the sangh and white paper was needed to examine who are at the target of this state sponsored violence. He elaborated on the RSS –police nexus adding that this collusion between the ‘khaki half pants and khaki full pants’ was only strengthening. Journalist and writer Anand Swaroop Verma highlighted the attack on journalists who were trying to report from Bastar and shared how several journalists had been confined in custody for years by terming them as Maoists or Maoist sympathisers. Activist Himanshu Kumar, who has spent nearly two decades in the region, shared heart wrenching details of violence that the Indian state was inflicting on its own people. He also called the audience to join in the Padyatra beginning from 9 August in Bastar. The convention ended with observing one minute silence as a mark of respect to Mahasweta Devi who had been the voice of oppressed, especially tribals, in several of her writings.

 

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