Aam Aadmi Party leader and activist Soni Sori was attacked by unidentified men in Bastar region of Chhattisgarh on Saturday night. They threw a black substance on her face. She reported an intense burning sensation to her colleagues, which led to initial reports of an acid attack.
Government doctors who examined her later said it was oil paint. "It might have been mixed with chemicals. It has caused a reaction and swelling on her face," said Dr Dhiraj Sahni. "But her condition is stable."
Her family members told journalists she was in excruciating pain.
The attack took place around 10 pm, said AAP's state chief Sanket Thakur. Sori was travelling on a motorcycle with a colleague. Ten kilometres short of Geedam town, where she lives, three men on a motorcycle overtook and stopped them. They threw the oil paint on Sori's face and fled. She was rushed to Jagdalpur, the largest town of the region, 100 kilometres away. On Sunday, she was moved to a hospital in New Delhi.
For nearly two years, Sori has been leading adivasi protests against alleged fake encounters and sexual violence by the security forces in Maoist conflict-affected region. She had travelled to Jagdalpur on Saturday to meet human rights lawyers of the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group who were leaving the town due to police intimidation.
Earlier in the week, Scroll.in contributor Malini Subramaniam had been forced to leave Jagdalpur under similar circumstances. Sori was also reportedly asked to vacate her house by local authorities, who cited some irregularities. Sori had recently received death threats.