December 30, 2016
Clearly rattled by the mounting body of evidence of blatant violations of the rule of law and Constitutional rights under the cover of anti-Maoist operations, the Bastar police has launched a no-holds-barred attempt to silence all those who are calling them to account.
Advocate Shalini Gera and her colleagues of JagLAG who were in Jagdalpur in connection with a case of false encounter of a young Adivasi boy (1), were confronted on the night of 27 December by a police team which entered the dharamshala where they were staying and accused them of trying to exchange demonetised notes on behalf of the Maoists. Despite the fact that they were following up on an order by the Chhattisgarh HC for exhumation and a second post-mortem in the case and their accommodation had been arranged by the office of the Divisional Commissioner, Adv Shalini and her colleagues were ordered to come to the police station for interrogation. Attempts were also made to forcibly search their rooms and belongings. When asked to produce a warrant, the SI in charge of the team became even more aggressive and abusive. It took a personal call from the Divisional Commissioner to the SI to force the police to back off.
A day later when she was back at her office in Bilaspur,Adv Shalini received a call on her mobile from the SP Bastar, Shri RN Dash. Shri Dash was calling from a private number which was later identified as belonging to one Farukh Ali, a member of AGNI, a vigilante group that enjoys the patronage of the Bastar police.