Civil rights activist Binayak Sen has charged that the Chhattisgarh government is “exercising structured violence” on poor adivasis to transfer their land to industries. Sen was released from the Raipur jail after two years of imprisonment – without an evidence to prove the charges labeled – on May 26.
“The Chhattisgarh government has become guarantor of the transfer of the state’s mineral and forest resources from the poor to the rich,” he told reporters.
Sen, who was in prison for reportedly teaming with Maoists, said that a company had wanted to acquire land in Chhattisgarh for a steel plant.
“The government, instead of calling a gram sabha to ascertain the views of the land owners about the acquisition, imposed section 144 CrPc and compelled the adivasis to agree at gunpoint to give away their land.”
“Most of the government’s claims of encounter deaths were false,” Sen said, adding that “all people have to get together and de-ligitimise this military option and influence the government so that political engagement takes place. Human rights organisations will have to take a lead on this.”
Sen said that he often faced the query that he was not as disapproving of Maoist violence as he was of police action on them.
“As human rights workers, we condemn all kinds of violence. We have all along condemned violence irrespective of who does it,” he said.
Sen said that the mass support he received was a sign that ordinary people were fed up with the manner in which their resources were being transferred.
He also alleged that there was a threat to his life from the Chhattisgarh government.
“I have some friends in police department, not in Chhattisgarh, but in other states, who have told me that there is a specific threat to my life from the Chhattisgarh government,” he said