Updated: March 29, 2016 6:51:23 am
Two days after a group of people demonstrated outside her home, calling her “Naxali dalaal” (agent of Naxals) and reportedly asked her to leave Bastar, social scientist Bela Bhatia on Monday said she will continue working in the insurgency-hit area.
Bhatia lives in Parpa village, on the outskirts of Jagdalpur. The group which apparently threatened her claims to represent Mahila Ekta Manch, an offshoot of Samajik Ekta Manch, which reportedly has close ties with police,
The incident comes soon after the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group and Malini Subramaniam, a journalist with the website Scroll.in, were forced to leave Bastar after being harassed and threatened.
The group left pamphlets which asked Bhatia and her “videshi pati” (foreign husband) —renowned development economist Jean Dreze — to stop “collaborating with Naxalites” and attempting to “break the country” into pieces.
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Dreze told The Indian Express that the state was “relying on military action, demanding loyalty to this approach, and suppressing all dissent”. He said, “The situation in Bastar can only be resolved by allowing the growth of democratic space…. The worst aspect of what is happening today is not that democratic protest is being suppressed, but that authorities see nothing wrong with this. Their model is Punjab and Surguja, where ruthless police action allegedly achieved ‘results’. Bastar is in danger of becoming a police state.”
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