In Chhattisgarh’s Bastar division, nine tribals, all members of the Moolwaasi bachaao manch were stopped while traveling to Raipur. Four of the nine have since tested positive for Covid-19, government officials said.
According to Bastar IG P Sundarraj, nine members of a local tribal outfit, responsible for various protests across the Bastar division, were brought for recording their statement after they were found to violate the section 144 of CRPC evoked due to increasing Covid-19 cases.
“They haven’t been arrested nor kept in detention. Considering the spike in COVID cases since first week of January 2022, the protestors have been asked to disperse the assembly as section 144 CrPC has been evoked. Out of them four have tested Covid-19 positive and the others have been kept at a quarantine center,” Sundarraj said.
According to sources, the nine people were stopped late at night near Kondagaon on Wednesday while they were traveling to Raipur from Sukma in a public bus. “The members of the manch were asked to reach Raipur by January 21 when allegedly they were to meet the governor,” another member of the manch said. However according to sources in the Governor’s office, she is out of station till January 24.
Members of the manch and family members of the nine who are currently quarantined in Sukma have alleged that police illegally detained the nine. “Why was no one else from the bus stopped? The government is trying to curtail the protests by putting our people behind the bars,” one of the members of the manch said.
Moolwaasi bachaao manch, an outfit of local tribal youth, had stood firm in Silger in a months long protest against the security camps. In May, three people had died when police opened fire on a protesting crowd, after which the protests had swelled up in size.
According to district officials, the nine people were stopped for investigation as they were ignoring all the safety protocols and going ahead with their activities which is highly detrimental to public health and lives of thousands of innocent villagers.