Just a couple of days after she helped a team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate complaints of rapes by the security forces near Bijapur (South Chhattisgarh), Bela Bhatia was told by a mob of goons to leave her house in Parpa village outside Jagdalpur or face the consequences.
Already two days ago, goons had come to her house in the middle of the night and told her to leave. There have been earlier threats of this sort also, and her landlord has been under constant pressure to evict her.
This morning (23 January), about 30 goons came to Bela’s house in Parpa and gave her 24 hours to leave. They came in a Bolero-type vehicle (CG173056) and several motorbikes. They were very threatening. They told Bela to leave immediately. They threatened to burn the house, kill her dog, etc., and also threatened the landlady. After some time they barged into the house, in a very threatening manner. Somehow Bela managed to call the local thana. The police came but did not do much to restrain the goons, except when they tried to move again into the house. Bela agreed (in writing) to leave and pleaded for time – a few days. They refused and wanted her to leave immediately. Eventually they agreed to give her 24 hours to leave.
Bela Bhatia has worked for several years in Bastar, a part of Chhattisgarh that is severely affected by Maoist violence. She has alleged threats ever since she helped tribal women allegedly raped by security personnel file police cases in 2015.