Tribal activist and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Soni Sori was attacked by some unknown assailants in Dantewada district of South Chhattisgarh on Saturday evening. According to her nephew Lingaram Kodopi, the attack took place when she was returning from Bastanar town of Dantewada to her residence in Geedam town.
"Two persons forcibly threw something on her face. It looks like an acid. Her eyes and face are burning. We took her to a hospital in Geedam, but they asked us to take her to Maharani hospital in Jagdalpur. We are taking her to Jagdalpur now," Mr.Kodopi told Media. No police officer in Bastar was available for comment on the incident at the time of writing this report. According to some reports in local media, which quoted Geedam police inspector Vinod Tiwari, it was not acid but "burnt grease lubricant."
The attack on the tribal activist, who has emerged as a face of Tribal's democratic protest in Bastar, came two days after a legal aid group of woman lawyers and a freelance journalist were forcibly evicted from their residences allegedly at the behest of Bastar police boss SRP Kalluri. Mr.Kalluri had on Friday defended the action saying that the lawyers had been "snatching the employment of locals" resulting in an "atmosphere of tension" in Bastar. On Friday, some civic officials in Dantewada had informed her that her house in Geedam town was on an "encroached land" and could be demolished.
Ms.Sori had been consistently and single-handedly raising the issues of atrocities on Bastar tribal by security forces in the name of tackling Maoist insurgency. She came to Raipur on February 16 to lodge a police complaint against Mr.Kalluri, however, her complaint was not registered. "I went to Dantewada police with a complaint against Mr.Kalluri earlier but they refused to take my complaint by saying that Mr.Kalluri is a tribal so no case of atrocity can be made out against him," She told this reporter in Raipur on February 16.
She has been consistently maintaining that Mr.Kalluri had been "instigating people" against her. According to some local sources, the attack, even if it turns out to be not an acid attack, was carried out in order to scare Soni Sori, one of the last voices against police brutality in Bastar.