Guest Post by Bastar Solidarity Network Delhi Chapter
The democratic forces, organizations and the thinking minds of IIMC took part in a spirited protest today against the invitation extended to notorious ex-IG Kalluri by the IIMC administration to take part in a seminar. To start with, since last two days, there were several attempts on the part of the organizers to confuse/conceal Kalluri’s invitation. Immediately after the declaration of the protest, Kalluri’s name was dropped from the poster. There were also threats of counter-mobilisation by the BJP goons. But undeterred, as we reached the gates of IIMC at 11am, the site echoed with slogans of “Killer Kalluri Go Back”!
There was however no sign of him till 3pm and then suddenly we were told that he has “appeared” on the stage. It was informed by several residents of IIMC that he had been lodged much earlier inside IIMC campus by the organizers so as to avoid the protestors. We continued our protest outside. Now the question is why is Mr. Kalluri so scared of even placards, slogans and questions from students? What makes him scared to face protests? Why couldn’t the so called “Bastar tiger” muster enough courage to even face largely a group of students?
That’s because our questions are far more heavier than his smug arrogance. It’s because we have the power to tear apart the halo and show the real horror that he has unleashed in Bastar while he was an IG there. The protesters today made it clear that it is simply unacceptable to invite an ex-IG who is the architect of a Satya Judgment type vigilante gang; one who has presided over numerous instances of fake encounters, gang-rapes, torture and fake arrests of the adivasis; and one who has been sent on “long leave” after an investigation by the NHRC due to gross human right violations. He has also in fact presided over the threats, attacks and hounding of all those voices that have dared to expose his bloody tenure. This includes Soni Sori, Lingaram Kodopi, Bela Bhatia, Nandini Sundar and so on. He even went to the extent of telling a journalist, Kamal Shukla, “Either leave journalism, or leave Bastar.” The protestors today condemned the IIMC administration for inviting such a character to lecture on “journalism”. We condemned the design of the IIMC administration to produce stenographers instead of journalists, ones who will jot ask question, who will not look for the truth, but will parrot the likes of Kalluri. The protestors raised their voice against not just the individual or an institution, but also demanded an end to the war on people being waged by the state-corporate nexus to facilitate the loot of resources at the cost of thousands of adivasi lives and livelihood. Kalluri has just been one of its hit-men. We thereby reiterated our demand of ending Operation Green Hunt and pledged to stand by the struggle of the adivasis for their jal-jangal-jameen.
Some have put forth the question as to why did we protest Kalluri’s invitation to IIMC. They asked, aren’t we who talk about free speech not being hypocritical here? Well, Kalluri throttled free speech every day in Bastar, he arrested activists and journalists, he sent goons to intimidate anyone speaking out. The express agenda being to make the ongoing brutal war against adivasis a war without witness. In such a context to protest against Kalluri, in fact, becomes an act of defending free speech, and not the other way around. Ultimately, the fight for free speech is fundamentally a fight against power.
From Bastar Solidarity Network – Delhi Chapter, we congratulate and salute all those who stood their ground today and raised their fists, their placards and their slogans against the killer Kalluri, against Operation Green Hunt, against the puppet IIMC administration and the powers that be.