Prominent social activist Bela Bhatia has accused a group of local “goons” for allegedly threatening her while they broke into her home in Bastar in Chhattisgarh and asked her to leave the place within 24 hours or face serious “consequences”.
Bhatia said that on Monday morning, around 30 men came to her Bhatia’s home on motorcycles and four wheelers and gave her an ultimatum to leave the tribal belt within 24 hours. They also threatened to burn her house down if she refused to go. They accused Bhatia of being a Maoist supporter.
“Some 30-35 local goons today (Monday) came to my house between 12.30-2.30 am and threatened me leave the place immediately or they would burn my house. They were threatening and shouting slogans against me ‘Bela Bhatia Murdabad, Bela ko bahar nikalo’,” Bhatia told IANS over the phone from Bastar.
According to Bhatia, the same group of goons had also come to her house on the night of January 21 when they were banging the door and shouting slogans against her.
“They have threatened to burn my house if I don’t vacate it and leave the place in the next 24 hours,” said Bhatia.
This comes a couple of days after Bhatia reportedly accompanied a team of the National Human Rights Commission to the tribal villages, including Peddaneloor and Bijapur, to record statements of rape and assault victims. The team was investigating the involvement of security forces into the recent incidents of rape and other harassment during anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh.
The NHRC recently released a report, in which they accused Bastar Police personnel of raping 16 tribal women in the area. This has spread fear within the village and a contingent of the police force has been deployed.
When asked if she had lodged an FIR with the local police, Bhatia told IANS: “After the incident, I have not been able to leave my home. I spoke to Bastar’s Superintendent of Police RN Das. I will file the complain tomorrow morning.”
“Currently, the police has deployed some 10-15 police constables, including women constables, outside my house. The SP will be meeting me soon,” added Bhatia.
Fearing for her life and that of her son, Bhatia is seeking the help of police and has also urged the District Collector to arrange for a temporary accommodation for the time being.
Feature Image Credit: The Indian Express
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