Soni Sori’s lonely battle in Chhattisgarh for adivasis' rights doesn’t have many takers. In the video above she invites people to visit Bastar and talk about the adivasi struggle to give strength to the movement.
Sori, who was in Mumbai recently, spoke of how adivasis are being labelled Naxals and killed just so the government can get access to their land. The Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas or PESA Act protects Adivasi rights over their land – so, she alleges, the way out of that problem is to just kill them.
“I used to think the government was fighting to kill Naxals. But now I think it’s wrong because the officials themselves tell me, ‘The adivasi will have to die at any cost!’ because they don’t have any identity, they have to die like insects.”
“They told me to end my fight and I said you stop killing adivasis and I’ll stop fighting to which they said, ‘But they have to be killed because the government wants that land’.”
"If we talk about the adivasi rights, they label us Naxals and antinational, though that doesn’t bother me at all," she says.
Sori has recovered in some measure from the “acid-like” substance attack on her face in February. She says that while the extent of the torture has now reduced because of the attention her case received, it is still ongoing. Women’s nipples are chopped off, they are electrocuted and raped, young girls' lives are destroyed and innocent adivasis killed.
The video above is from a Youtube channel called Dear Prime Minister, run by recent graduates of TISS, Mumbai.