Crackdown on Activists in Central India Continues

Thanks to your work, Indian indigenous (adivasi) human rights activist Kopa Kunjam was released in early October. Mr. Kunjam had been in jail since December of 2009 for his peaceful activism on behalf of adivasis affected by the conflict between Maoist insurgents and the state government of Chhattisgarh, India.

While we’re thankful for Mr. Kunjam’s release, other non-violent activists continue to be jailed in Chhattisgarh for criticizing the state government, Dr. Binayak Sen being the best known.  The latest arrests include human rights activist Soni Sodi and her nephew, journalist Lingaram Kodopi, outspoken critics of human rights abuses in the region who were arrested on false charges by the Chhattisgarh government.


Amnesty Groups Mobilize for Rights of Indigenous People in India

Kartam Joga

Human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Kartam Joga.

Since 2005, Chhattisgarh has been at war with armed Maoist insurgents while aggressively pursuing massive and environmentally destructive development projects.

Not surprisingly, human rights have been pushed aside as an impediment to fighting terrorism and as a hindrance to development. Again and again, the Chhattisgarh government has jailed human rights, environmental, and indigenous activists on politically-motivated charges including Binayak Sen, Kartam Joga, Kopa Kunjam, Ramesh Agrawal, Harihar Patel, and most recently Lingaram Kodopi .

It has created and supported armed ant-Maoist militias that the Indian Supreme Court has since ruled unconstitutional. Thousands of locals caught in the crossfire or suspected of being Maoist sympathizers have been killed, tens of thousands have been forced from their homes. Rapes and extrajudicial killings are carried out with impunity.