8 March 2016: Soni Sori, tribal rights activist, yesterday participated in #StandWithJNU protest and expressed solidarity with students and teachers and delivered a small yet powerful speech at Administration Block Stairs against the “atrocious nature of people in power”.
Soni Sori, who was attacked last month by two unknown men, lashed out at Chattisgarh government and voiced out her concerns about how adivaasis and tribals who are fighting for their water, forests and land (jal, jungle, jameen) are being harassed, raped and persecuted. She talked about her scarred face and called it the face of Bastar—the village she comes from which is a hotbed of Naxal urgency. By April 2013, Indian Courts had acquitted her in six of the eight cases filed against her due to lack of evidence.
The 41-year old lady, who was charged with Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act (POTA) amongst others in 2010 for extortion, kidnapping and for acting as a conduit for Maoists spoke about how her struggle derives strength from the battles that the students have been fighting.
“There are so many stories that need to be told”, lamented Anshita, a student, while discussing the continuous assault activists have been facing, which require our immediate attention, which Ms Sori has brought to the forefront through her speech.
The crowd revered her for her speech and her stand against the wide-spread abuse of authority and misconduct by the police forces.
Kumar Prashant is a BA student at CRS and works for The Informer.