Protests against security camp in Chhattisgarh’s Silger area enters 15th day

The villagers also protested against the death of another person who succumbed to injuries she received during the stampede on May 17.

Protests against a security camp in Chhattisgarh’s Silger area entered its fifteenth day on Friday as villagers sought justice for the three tribal men who were killed during a clash with security personnel. The villagers also spoke about another death that was allegedly caused during the stampede on May 17.

According to the protesters Somli Punem (22) from Pusbaka village died on May 23 owing to injuries she suffered on May 17. Her husband, Manish Punem, told journalists that his wife was 3-months pregnant. “We had lost our first child earlier. She was pregnant again, but now both of them are dead. She had fallen down when people were running around and succumbed to her injuries later.”

A memorial was built for the deceased in Silger on Friday, using the gravel and stones available on the spot. “We will not let their deaths go in vain. We will keep protesting until the camp moves,” said one of the protesters.

Tribals from more than 30 villages are protesting against the security camp in Silger, considered to be the doorway to the Maoists’ den in the state. Confluence point of at least three naxal divisions, Silger is a significant spot for the security forces. Located on the Basaguda-Jagarguna road, the camp was inaugurated on May 12.

While the police believe that the protest has been planned and executed by the Maoists, villagers claim a leaderless revolt for their rights.

“It is about our land, our rights and our freedom. We don’t oppose the roads, but we need schools and hospitals. We just oppose the camps that lead to police excess,” Sanjay Markam, who is one of the protesters, said.

The villagers had pelted stones on security personnel at the camp on May 17, after which police opened firing against them. As such, 3 men, who have been labelled as Maoists, were killed.

A magisterial probe has been instituted as per norms, even as district authorities, security personnel and social activists have implored the tribals to return home.

“Several others have come and joined us as we sit here for our deceased. We demand justice for our people. We want action against the security personnel and want the camp to be removed,” Markham added.

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