Protest against us sponsored by state: Civil rights activists

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 08, 2010 20:00 hrs

Civil rights activists Medha Patkar and Magsaysay award winner Sandeep Pandey alleged that the protest against them in Dantewada was state sponsored.

"The activists of Maa Danteshwari Adivasi Swabhiman Manch were drawn from the Kasuli Salwa Judum relief camp and the protest against us was not voluntary as it was state sponsored," Patkar and Pandey said here today.

On Wednesday, hundreds of activists organised a protest against the civil rights activists led by Patkar and Pandey, who had reached Dantewada to attend the public hearing convened by Vanvasi Chetana Ashram (VCA). The Ashram, run by Himanshu Kumar, had convened the hearing on Thursday to air people's view on the reported atrocities by the security personnel in the red zone. Kumar had invited Union home minister P Chidambaram in the hearing. He, however, did not turn up.

"We came here as Chidambaram was supposed to attend the programme, but he changed it at the last moment," Patkar said, adding that the civil rights activists had come to establish communication with the people as violence was not the solution to end the Naxal menace.

Patkar added that they had come to see other issues like atrocities on women. Violence was not going to end violence and the police action was not going to yield the results to end the Naxal problem, she added.

Alleging that the mob that threw stones and eggs on them were not under police control, Pandey said when they were talking to the district police chief, the protesters kept on throwing eggs. The demonstrators were not common villagers, he added.

The civil rights activists said they had been castigating even the violence unleashed by the Naxalites. "Even if we resort to fast asking the Naxals to abjure violence, it is not going to change their hearts," Pandey said. The only thing the civil rights activists could do was to see the democratic channel to solve the problem, he added.

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