Chhattisgarh government is unable to accept the right to protest and unwilling to hear the people’s voice. Nandini Sunder in The Indian Express:
By going to town as the Chhattisgarh police and media have recently done on my alleged Maoist links, the real questions have been sidelined. As citizens of this country, do we have the right to protest democratically and constitutionally, and as journalists, researchers or human rights activists, are we free to pursue our vocation?
The police arrested one Badri Gawde on January 23, and paraded him before the media four days later, after his family had filed a missing report. Puffy faced, and barely able to keep his eyes open, Gawde “revealed” to the media that I was working on behalf of the Maoists to oppose the mines and railway line that are to come up in the Raoghat area of the state. The activities that my doppelgänger is up to, such as leading the Raoghat Rail Sangharsh Samiti in faraway Chhattisgarh, even as my mundane self takes classes in Delhi, amazes me. If only I had that much energy and time.
Like many young men in conflict areas, Gawde is a man of many parts. Stylishly dressed, and with political ambition, Gawde is active both with the Congress and in local Gond community politics, which involved supporting Vikram Usendi, the Gond BJP candidate in the assembly elections against the Halba Congress candidate. But being political in these parts also means, perforce, keeping up with the Maoists. In November 2013, soon after the assembly elections, I visited Bastar as part of my research on counterinsurgency and democracy. With me was a friend with ancestral roots in Narayanpur-Antagarh. Badri mentioned that he was going to meet a Maoist leader, and asked if we would like to come. Since this was a rare opportunity for us, we went along. More: