न नक्सल, न पुलिस, हम जनता के साथ हैं: सोनी सोरी

In Conversation with Pranjal Rewa

This interview was conducted in New Delhi on March 9, 2016. It is a collaborative effort between Communalism Combat, Newsclick and Hillele TV

The battle of the gun fosters more conflict, never peace: Soni Sori
Bandook ki ladhai se hamesha Ashaanti hogi, Shaanti Kabhi Nahin: Soni Sori

We are neither with the Naxalites who have the guns nor with the Police who also have guns; We are with the People: Soni Sori
Na ham Naxalite ke saath hai, unke paas bandook hai, na ham Police ke Saath hai, unke paas bhi bandook hai, Ham Janta ke saath hai: Soni Sori

We are against the battle of the gun: Soni Sori
Ham Bandook ki Ladhai ke Khilaaf Hai: Soni Sori

The policy of ‘mainstreaming’ of Naxals who surrender is flawed. Once surrendered, the Naxalite must not be again given the gun, but other employment: Soni Sori
Nazalite joh bandook rakhkar surrender hota hai aur uske saath joh mukhyadhaara mein lane ka prayaas hai who hi galat hai. Jab usko mukhyadhaara mein laana hai to use wapas bandook nahin deni chahiye; use aur koi naukri do: Soni Sori

The Chhatisgarh government, however, gives the gun back to the surrendered Naxalite and then gets him to violently oppress the Adivasis; when he does commit encounters or other atrocities, this surrendered, “mainstreamed” Naxalite is then decorated with a Star! The police of Chhatisgarh who are battling Naxal violence day in and day out are not decorated but the surrendered mainstreamed Naxal is! Soni Sori
Magar Chhatisgarh ki sarkar, surrendered Naxalite ko wapas ek baar bandook dekar unhi se janta par atyachaar karati hai; Joh Chhatisgarh ki police din raat Naxalbaari se ladh rahen hai, unlo “star” nahin diya jaata hai magar surrendered Naxalite joh gareeb Adivasi janta ko marta hai use yah sarkar “star” deti hai : Soni Sori

Look at the case of Badru. This Badru was responsible for shotting my father after which he has been handicapped. After Badru the Naxalite has been “mainstreamed”, he is responsible for five to six encounters (extra-judicial killings): Soni Sori
Badru ko dekh lijiye. Yahi Badru ne mere pitaji ko apang banaya jab who Naxal tha. “Mukkhyadhaara” mein aane ke baad unhone paabch-chah encounter kiye; aur usko “star “ mila!  Usse doosri koi naukri dijiye sarkar mein, bandook nahin! Soni Sori

My face and the face of many unknown rights defenders is the face of the struggle for fundamental rights in Bastar: Soni Sori
Bastar mein sangharsh karne waalen bahutse chehre hai aur mera chahra aur woh sab chehre Bastar ke sangharsh ke chehren ki pahchaan hai

My children are brave, they have gifted their mother to the struggle against injustice; but as a mother I worry because my daughter was threatened after I was attacked with a fate worse than mine : Soni Sori
Hamaren bachen bahadur hain, unhonen apni maa ko janta ki ladhai ke liye de diya hai; magar Ma hote hue mujhe phikar to hoti hi hai; mere hamle ke baad, meri beti ko dhamki dee gayee: aapko aapki maa se bhi boora haal kar denge: Soni Sori

When my husband I were both jailed for two and a half years, my children learned to live and cope, but still I worry: Soni Sori
Jab 2-2.5 saal ham dono, hamare pati aur mein dono jail mein the, to bacche akele jeena seekh hi liye the magar mein Ma hoon to phikar to hogi : Soni Sori

We are in the struggle, not to win or loose: Soni Sori
Jeet aur haar ke liye ham nahin ladhte. Hamaara kaam hai ladhna:Soni Sori

Struggles should be for Constitutional rights, legal rights. Not through violent means. When the government created the Salwa Judum, it was responsible for murders and rapes. Our Supreme Court ordered that the Salwa Judum should be divested of guns. Initially this Order of the Supreme Court made a difference. But then, the State, in its Salwa Judum Part II[1] was born and the same Naxals who had surrendered and from whom guns had been seized were given back the gun. Now, under this version of Salwa Judum, killings and rapes continue: Soni Sori
Samvidhan aur kanoon she ladhai ladhni chahiye chahen who koi bhi ladhai ho. Khoon kharaben se nahin. Salwa Judum, ko jab sarkar ne khada kiya tha tab khoon aur balaatkar hote the. Hamaari Supreme Court ka hukm tha ki Salwa Judum ki bandook ko wapas liya jaye. Yah hukm se kuch din bahut pharak padha.  Magar phir, Salwa Judum Part II shorron kiya gaya aur whain log jisse bandook wapas lee gayee thee, wahi arakshakon ko wapas bandook dee gayee. Salwa Judum Part II mein bhi khooon kharaba aur samuhik balatkar ke atyachaar ho rahen hai : Soni Sori

Ours is a struggle to protect the water, the forests, the land. Now, the Central and State governments, at the point of the gun, has targeted Adivasis because they know that the Adivasis will not leave their land. Both the governments want to give away Adivasi land to companies despite the provisions of the Forest Rights Act and the Adivais will fight this. Hence this mass killings of Adivais, the oppression: Soni Sori
Hamaari jal, jangal zamee ki ladhai hai. Aur ab kendriya aur rajya sarkar, police ki bandook ki zariye gareeb Adivasiyon ko nishaan bana rahi hai kyon ki Adivasi apni zameen nahin chodega aur sarkaar yah zameen ko badhi badhi companiyon ke haath de rahi hai. Kendriya kanoon, (Forest Rights ACT) se diye hue adikaar ko wahin sarkaaren cheen rahin hai. Adivasi ko paisa nahin chahiye, uskon zameen chahiye jis zameen se Adivasi ki zindagi judi hui hai: Soni Sori

IG Kalluri of the Bastar Range was brought to Bastar (in 2014) though he is charged of burning down four villages in Dimapur. Since he ahs come the atrocities have increased and the situation has worsened. The past three months have seen the worst escalation of violence against ordinary Adivasis: Soni Sori
IG Kalluri, Bastar Range ko lane ka maksad yahi tha ki Adivasi ka shantipoorvak sangharsh  ko todna. Kalluri ke aane ke baad (2014) halaad bahut hee kharaab hue hai. Gayen teen mahinon mein raftaar aur tezi se halaad bigde hai. Yahi Kalluri par Dimapur zilla ke chaar (4) gaon ko aag laga den eke gambhir aarop hai aur wahin admi ko ab Bastar mein laya jaa raha hai:Soni Sori

Just a few days back (after my attack), much was made off the surrender of 25—300 Naxals in the Sukma district of Chhatisgarh. Soon after these ‘mass’ surrenders, in the same Sukma district, three Jawaans were killed by the Naxals. How come? This government is not against Naxals, it is training its guns on the ordinary Adivasis who are its target: Soni Sori
Kuch dinin pehle sarkar ne Sukma zilla mein 250-300 zillon ke surrender hone ki baat kee. Itne  saaren surrender ke baad wahin Sukma zille mein, Naxalite ke hamle se, 3 jawaan shaheed hue. Yeh sarkar Naxalite ke khilaaf nahin hai, garib Adivasion ko nisshan banayeen hui hai. Naxalite bol kar goli maarna ek bahana hai:Soni Sori

Journalists and lawyers are a specific target and being forced to leave Bastar. Why? Because journalists expose the truth or at least raise questions about what is happening on the ground to the rest of the country and the world and the lawyers –the Jagdalpur Legal Aid group—is using the law and the Constitution to help Adivasis fight for the preservation of their basic fundamental rights: Soni Sori
Patrakar aur vakeelon ko Bastar (Jagdalpur) se kyon niklala jaa raha hai; patrakar jail mein kyon hai? Kyon ki patrakar wahan ki sahin haqueeqat –encounter aur balaatkar ke baren mein –desh ke same late hai —aur vakil, jaise ki Jagdalpur Legal group won kanooni sthar par na-insaafi ke khilaaf ladh rahen hai: Soni Sori

Even we want Naxalism to stop. But how will it stop by the targeting, killing and rape of ordinary innocent Adivasis? These atrocities by the state must first stop” Soni Sori
Ham bhi chahte hai ki Naxalbari ruke, Magar masoom, nirdosh Adivasi ko maar kar, balaatkar kar kar yah Naxalbaari kaise rukegi?  Sabse pahle sarkar ko yah atyachaar ko bandh karna chahiye: Soni Sori

A fortnight before the attack on me, I had tried, unsuccessfully to lodge an FIR against IG Kalluri. Why? Wherever he went he was provoking persons to attack me, to socially boycott me. Is this the job of the police? Soni Sori
Hamlse hone se 15 din pahle se hi mein IG Kalluri ke khilaaf mein First Information Report (FIR) darj karne ki koshish kee thee. Har waqt won mere khilaaf logon ko bhadka rahen the, mera samajik bahishkar ke liye logon ko kah rahen the. Kya yah police ka kaam hai? Soni Sori

Just a few days before the attack, the encounter of Hidam at Mardum took place. We had complained to the policem, furnishing proofs to show that it was a false encounter (extra judicial killing). Father of seven he was picked up and killed and shown to be “captured” from the deep jungles: Soni Sori
Hamlse se kuch hi din pahle hamne Mardum mein Hidam ke encounter ke barren mein police ke khilaaf complaint kari thee. Yah Adivasi admi, saat bacchon ka pita usko raat mein pakad kar , lapata kar ke bandook se encounter kiya. Phit public ke saamne jhooti kahani batayee gayee. Hamne pooren sabot ke saath dikhaya ki police ke case mein sachai nahin hai: Soni Sori

References:

  1. Soni Sori was on the verge of filing an FIR against IG Kalluri when she was attacked https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/why-adivasi-leader-soni-sori-was-attacked-complaint-against-ig-kalluri https://www.sabrangindia.in/sites/default/files/files/Hindi%20letter.pdf
  2. NHRC intervenes as BJP govt. hounds defenders of adivasis’ rights in Bastar https://sabrangindia.in/article/nhrc-intervenes-bjp-govt-hounds-defenders-adivasis-rights-bastar
  3. Where every human rights activist is labelled a Maoist: Chhatisgarh https://sabrangindia.in/article/where-every-human-rights-activist-labell…
  4. Adivasis not Naxalites are the target of the government: Soni Sori https://sabrangindia.in/interview/adivasis-not-naxalites-are-target-government-soni-sori
  5. Has India betrayed its indigenous peoples, the Adivasis?https://sabrangindia.in/article/has-india-betrayed-its-indigenous-people…
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