The Chhattisgarh Police have registered an FIR against AAP leader Soni Sori and activist Bela Bhatia, and 150-200 unnamed villagers for allegedly holding a protest illegally and shouting slogans against the administration and the police in Dantewada during the Model Code of Conduct on September 16.
The FIR, registered under IPC Section 188, which relates to disobeying instruction issued by a public servant, names Sori, Bhatia, two local leaders, and 150-200 other villagers. According to the FIR, the group surrounded the Kirandul police station and raised slogans in violation of the Model Code of Conduct and the consequent CrPC Section 144, which were in place as the bypolls for the Dantewada Assembly constituency are slated for September 23.
Dantewada SP Abhishek Pallava said, “The complaint has been registered for violating the Model Code of Conduct, and is a routine case.”
The villagers in question had arrived outside Kirandul police station on September 16, alleging that two suspected Maoists killed in a police encounter on September 13 were in fact innocent and victims of a fake encounter. They also demanded that one Ajay Telam, who was detained on September 13, be released or produced before court.
Senior police officials have dismissed all allegations of a fake encounter.
Bhatia said, “Instead of filing an FIR based on our police complaint (dated 16.09.2019 by Bhatia, Sori, Hidme Markam, and Pande Kunjami) against the fake encounter of Podiya Sori and Lacchu Mandavi… by filing an FIR against us, the police has chosen to be vindictive. We have been wrongly accused of instigating and mobilising the few hundred people who had come of their own volition… This is just another example of misuse of the provisions of law and muzzling dissent…”