Activist Bela Bhatia was on Wednesday allegedly asked to vacate her house in Pandripani village in Bastar district by the villagers who held a protest outside it accusing her of being a ‘Maoist sympathiser’, police said.
Bhatia claimed that she was allegedly threatened by a group of men who asked her to vacate immediately, failing which they will set the house ablaze.
The incident occurred in Pandripani village under Parpa police station limits.
“After getting the information of demonstration by local villagers in front of Bhatia’s house in Pandripani village under Parpa police station limits, a police team was rushed to the spot,” Bastar SP RN Dash told PTI.
He said the villagers left the spot after police pacified them.
“Enough security has been provided to Bhatia to prevent any untoward incident,” Dash added.
In a complaint to police, villagers alleged Bhatia had named herself as “Somari Naag or Bela Somari” (to use tribal identity) which they feel is an insult to tribal masses, the SP said.
Besides, the villagers have also complained that Bhatia encourages their children to support Maoists and tries to mislead them by saying that ultras are fighting for the country and not the police, he said.
Bhatia, who has been working in the region for several years, claimed that her house was gheraoed by a group of unidentified people this morning, who asked her to vacate her rented accommodation.
“A group of 30 or so men came on motorbikes and a SUV and threatened their way inside the house. They said I would have to vacate this place immediately or they will set the house ablaze. I went inside the house and called the collector who then sent the police,” Bhatia told media persons.
She said the mob was agitated even after the police reached the spot.
“I have assured them to vacate the house by tomorrow. I will leave this house only since my landlord had been pressurised, but I will not leave Bastar. I have requested the collector to provide a safe place for me,” Bhatia added.
Meanwhile, the Chhattisgarh police said in a statement that 15 police personnel, including four women, led by sub-inspector Kripal Singh Gautam have been deputed for Bhatia’s security.
Notably, Bhatia was among a group of people who had accompanied a National Human Rights Commission team to villages of Bijapur two days ago to record the statements of alleged rape victims.
Early this month, the NHRC had sent a notice to the state government over alleged rape, sexual and physical assault of 16 women by the state police personnel in Bastar division (in October 2015 and January 2016), observing that the government is “vicariously liable” for it.