We publish this statement from CASR we have received.



On June 3rd, the democratic rights activist Sunita Potem, who raises the issues of Adivasi rights in Bastar, was arrested from Raipur. She was arrested by a team led by DSP Garima Dadar. Sunita was pulled out of her room at 8:30 in the morning by the team. She had traveled from her village Korcholi to Raipur to write an exam and was living in a women’s only collective residence. Her colleagues were locked in the room and the landlady was threatened by the police. She was taken away in an unregistered police vehicle. The DSP returned back in an hour, and the arrest warrant was presented in front of her colleagues and a PUCL activist who had come there to support Sunita. A copy of the warrant was not presented to the people present there, the police also did not prepare nor arrest a memo with the signature of her family, friend or colleagues. There was a violation of procedure that the police was supposed to follow and this arrest is in clear violation of the judgment of the honorable supreme court in the DK Basu case. The arrest is also in violation of section 41(B) of CrPC. This is not the first time that Sunita faced such an issue. She was followed by police jeeps and the police in Bastar also tried to abduct her.

Sunita Potem has been working in Bastar against the violation of democratic and constitutional rights of the Adivasi people. Sunita Potem had filed a case against the extra judicial killing of six Adivasi in Bijapur district (Sunita Potem & Others Vs State of Chhattisgarh and Others WP(PIL) 82/2016). She is also an activist in PUCL and a member of WSS. Sunita has also been working against the violation of the PESA act in Bastar. The state had cut trees and did development in the forests of the Adivasis without taking permission from Gram Sabha. Similarly, she was part of the Moolvasi Bachao Manch, which spearheaded multiple protests in Bastar against the opening of military camps and mines without the consent of the Adivasis.

This is not an isolated incident in Bastar. Voices that have been talking about the violation of Adivasi rights have been put down with brute force. Soni Sori, a democratic rights activist working in Bastar was arrested and then tortured in prison by the police and paramilitary. Similarly Hidme Markam, another activist was also arrested in Bastar for talking about the issues of the Adivasi community. In the past few months, the leadership of the Adivasi led anti-camp movement against militarisation was arrested by the police in Bastar. Sarju Tekam, who was very vocal against the militarisation in Bastar, and the violation of the democratic rights activist, was picked up by the NIA. His family had stated that the police even planted evidence in his house to prove Maoist links that did not exist. Leaders of the Orcha Jan Andolan like Ranu Podyam, and Shankar Kashyap were also arrested by the police force. Rajmam Netam, another Adivasi activist associated with the anti-camp movement was also arrested by the police. The leadership of the anti-camp movement is being targeted by the state to ensure an end to the anti-camp movement, and therefore curb the right of the Adivasis of Bastar to dissent.

The arrest is a violation of the basic democratic rights of each citizen which is affirmed by the constitution. The people of the country have a right to dissent, and a democracy which does not allow dissent will collapse, for, dissent is the safety valve of democracy. CASR demands  immediately release of Sunita Potem and stop waging war Against Adivasi.

Campaign Against State Repression

(AIRSO,AISA, AISF, APCR,BASF, BSM, Bhim Army, bsCEM, CEM, CRPP, CTF, , DISSC, DSU, DTF, Forum Against Repression Telangana, Fraternity ,IAPL, Innocence Network, Karnataka Janashakti, LAA,Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan, Mazdoor Patrika, , NAPM, , Nishant Natya Manch, Nowruz, NTUI, People’s Watch, Rihai Manch, Samajwadi Janparishad,Smajwadi lok manch, Bahujan Samjavadi Mnach, SFI, United Against Hate, United Peace Alliance, WSS,Y4S)

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