On 17 May, three protestors from the Gond tribe were killed in police firing in Silger, Bastar. Kawasi Vaga, Ursam Bhima and Uika Pandu, a minor, were protesting against a new camp set up by the CRPF in Silger without the village’s consent. Suspecting more harassment from the CRPF personnel, Adivasis from Silger and neighbouring villages have been protesting against the camp since 14 May. On 22 May, the CRPF also shot dead an unarmed civilian, Midiam Masa, in Tolevarti.
The writer Bela Bhatia and economist Jean Drèze have released a press note highlighting the situation in Silger. The statement is based on a fact-finding initiative of Bastar Adhikar Shala. The statement in reproduced below.
Facts and Fiction of Firing in Silger (Bastar)
Mass protests against the proliferation of CRPF camps have been happening all over Bastar during the last two years, without attracting much media coverage. It is only because of the death of three protestors in police firing on 17 May 2021 that the Silger protest came to light.
Silger is a small adivasi village close to the border between Bijapur and Sukma districts, both Scheduled Five areas. The 66-km road from Bijapur to Silger is pock-marked with CRPF camps. The pacca road ends a few kilometres before Silger, but the government is planning to take it forward to Jagargunda and build more camps on the way.