20-Year Old Tribal Woman In Odisha Detained By Police At Midnight For Alleged Links To Maoist Groups

On May 1, 20-year old Kuni Sikaka from Niyamgiri was picked up by the police from her in-laws house at midnight when she was asleep in her bedroom with her husband.

Kuni is a tribal woman from Niyamgiri’s Dongaria Kandha tribal community, Rayagada, Odisha. She was arrested by CRPF personnel and confined for 36 hours in Muniguda police station on charges of alleged Maoist links.


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NIYAMGIRI ALERT: ABDUCTION OF DONGRIA TRIBAL WOMEN BY PARAMILITARY AT MID NIGHT.CRPF personnel with the assistance of…

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The police claimed her to be an armed cadre of Bunty group under BCN division of outlawed CPI (Maoist) organisation. They further added that she carries a bounty of Rs 1 lakh announced by the Odisha government.

Daughter of late Dodra Sikaka, Kuni was booked for exchange of fire with police in Dangamati forest in February last year, torching road construction vehicles at Pajjibali village under Muniguda police limits in 2013, and killing Shyama Kadraka of Nirgundi village under Kalyansinghpur police limits in 2016.


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Kuni, and the five other militias who were arrested, allegedly surrendered for their roles in Maoists-linked offenses.


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However, Niyamgiri activists claim that Kuni’s arrest was illegal and she has no links to any Maoist organisation.

“The arrest of Kuni and the five other persons was illegal and an attempt to scare the tribal population of Niyamgiri,” said Lingaraj Azad, an indigenous tribal activist from Odisha, speaking to The Logical Indian.

Last month, the Niyamgiri Suraksha Samiti (NSS) in Odisha which has been vigorously campaigning against bauxite mining by Vedanta group in Niyamgiri hills was linked to Maoists organisations by the Home Ministry.

The allegation was made despite NSS’ efforts in 2013 to hold as many as 12 gram sabhas of Dongaria Kondh and Kutia Kandha spread across Rayagada and Kalahandi districts to oppose any mining activity in the area and safeguard the livelihood of the tribal people.

“Kuni is an active member of NSS, this was the reason she was taken into custody – to instill fear into the mind of those who oppose the government. And this is not limited to her and the five other tribal people who were arrested, as the police makes random arrests of our leaders as well,” said Azad.

Kuni subsequently surrendered, claimed the police.

“How can she surrender to being a Maoist when she isn’t one? We will continue to challenge the arrest because the allegations are completely false,” added Azad. “The reason for such arrests is to allow bauxite mining to Vedanta which is profitable for the government, but disrupts the livelihood of the indigenous population. Such police activities are nothing more than an attempt to establish control over people.”

Kuni was released from custody last night after the police was convinced that she will not continue Maoists activities in the future.

The Logical Indian contacted the Sub Divisional Police Officer, Muniguda, who justified Kuni’s arrest. “She was arrested because she has Naxal links. We only let her go after she surrendered and vowed to never engage in illegal activities in the future,” he said.

This is not an isolated incident when a Niyamgiri tribal was arrested on allegations of Maoists links. “The police arrests innocent citizens when they should try and catch people with actual links to Maoist organisations,” said Azad.

In Chhattisgarh too, a woman official of the state government, Varsha Dongre, made similar allegations of harassment of tribal people. She said that women personnel in police stations have stripped and tortured girls as young as 14 and 16, giving electric shocks on their hands and breasts.

Dongre further said that tribal people are registered under false cases to force them to leave their land.

Indigenous people in our country are subject to immense prejudice, despite being a crucial part of the Indian heritage. The harassment faced by them directly points to a faulty model of governance which allows room for such hatred.


The Logical Indian urges the central and state governments to eradicate such hostility against tribal people across the nation. Steps should be taken to safeguard their livelihood and not strip them off their fundamental rights.

The post 20-Year Old Tribal Woman In Odisha Detained By Police At Midnight For Alleged Links To Maoist Groups appeared first on The Logical Indian.


Source: thelogicalindian.com

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