4 Killed in Police Firing in Chhattisgarh's Silger, Thousands Oppose Security Camp

Reported by

Deepika Joshi

Legal Data by

Anmol Gupta, Mukta Joshi

Edited by

Moushumi Sharma

Updated by

Published on

March 24, 2022

March 24, 2022

Updated on

March 24, 2022

Location of Conflict

Silger

Sukma

This is a Left Wing Extremism Affected District

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Defence and Security Establishments

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

580

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

6

ha

Starting Year

2021

State

Chhattisgarh

Sector

Infrastructure

On May 12, 2021, the residents of Silger village in Sukma district learnt about a new security camp that was allegedly secretly set up near their village overnight the previous day. The residents gathered at the Tarrem police station to oppose the security camp, where the police lathicharged them. By the next day, news of the camp spread far and wide and at least 5,000 people from about 40 adjoining villages came together to oppose the camp.

The villagers fear that the establishment of a police camp in the area will lead to harassment, killings and rapes by security forces and will restrict their movement. Besides, they use the land to graze cattle and also to collect minor forest produce for their livelihood. According to them, any development activity on the land needs to be undertaken in consultation with them as per the Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.

"The land where the camp is built is my ancestral property, and we have been farming on this land, but because of the camp, we have lost our livelihood, and my family is now on the verge of starvation," Korsa Soma, a resident of Silger, told LCW.

Instead of a security camp, the protesters have instead demanded basic infrastructure in their villages. “Do we need a police camp? We need a road, a school, an anganwadi, a hospital and a hand pump,” said Sodi Dula, one of the protesters.

From May 12 to June 16, the village residents gathered together every morning to protest peacefully and to try and have a dialogue with the authorities. But the CRPF and the District Reserve Guard Forces resorted to lathicharge, forcing them to retreat from the protest site. Many were seriously injured.

The protests turned violent on May 17 when security forces resorted to lathicharge and teargas on peaceful protesters. The angry villagers clashed with the police, who opened indiscriminate fire. Three persons, including a minor, died on the spot, and a pregnant woman succumbed to bullet wounds later. Many others were seriously injured. While the protesters claimed that the security forces opened fire to bring an end to their protest, the latter alleged that Naxal cadres, in the garb of protesting villagers, were among those who attacked the Silger camp with stones and gun shots, forcing the police to retaliate.

According to a fact-finding report of the People's Union for Civil Liberties, on June 7, 2021, the villagers learnt that those who were seriously injured in the police firing in May and were hospitalised were being kept at the hospital under police orders despite the doctors advising to discharge them. Around the same time, the police allegedly picked up seven persons from Paralgatta village. On July 18, 2021, the Moolniwasi Bachao Manch held a press conference in Jagdalpur reiterating that the protests will not stop till the state meets all their demands.

Despite the violence and deaths of their own, the people continue to protest at the camp site, taking turns. They demand the retreat of security forces from their area and justice for the dead.  

On January 19, 2022, youth activists who were on their way to meet the state governor, were reportedly dragged out of a bus, their documents were confiscated and they were forcibly sent to a quarantine centre. While the police claim they were detained for violating Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, imposed in the region due to COVID-19, activists alleged it was an attempt to weaken their protest.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand to get back acquired land

Demand for legal recognition of land rights

Demand to retain/protect access to common land/resources

Refusal to give up land for the project

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Justice for four protesters killed in police firing, demand for a school and hospital

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Common and Private

Type of Common Land

Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

Type of investment:

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

No

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Legislations/Policies Involved

Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
Section 4(i) [Gram Sabha or Panchayat to be consulted before land acquisition for development projects in Scheduled Areas]
Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013
Section 4 [Appropriate government to consult with Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat prior to land acquisition and then prepare Social Impact Assessment study]; Section 16 [Prior consultation to be done with Gram Sabha/Gram Panchayat in Scheduled Areas as per PESA Act]
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

Yes

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

The affected community objected to the land acquisition under Section 4(i) of the PESA.

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Have not agreed to demands.

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Forced evictions/dispossession of land

Non-implmentation/violation of PESA

Lack of legal protection over land rights

Violation of free prior informed consent

Non-consultation with stakeholders

Legal Status:

Out of Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

No

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Killing

Lathicharge/teargas/pellets

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Yes

Reported Details of the Violation:

On the fifth day of protests, the police opened teargas and fire on unarmed protesters, killing three persons on the spot, including a minor; a pregnant woman succumbed to bullet wounds later. Many others were seriously injured. On January 19, 2022, youth activists who were on their way to meet the state governor were reportedly dragged out of a bus, their documents were confiscated and they were forcibly sent to a quarantine centre.

Date of Violation

May 16, 2021

Location of Violation

Silger Camp Protest Site

Nature of Protest

Protests/marches

Campaigns (grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Chhattisgarh Police, Sukma district administration, Bijapur district administratio, Ministry of Home Affairs

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

Moolniwasi Bachao Manch, Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan, People's Union for Civil Liberties

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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Documented By

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Reviewed By

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Updated By

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Edited By

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