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08 January, 2012

Soni Sori on hunger-strike in hospital

Soni Sori, the tribal teacher arrested on charges of being a Maoist conduit, is on hunger strike to protest against harassment by Chhattisgarh police and being treated like a criminal.

The 36-year-old teacher in a government school in Dantewada, an area affected by Maoist insurgency, is in a Raipur hospital with head and back injuries suffered while in custody.

She was arrested in Delhi and taken to Chhattisgarh on transit remand. (Picture alongside,taken shortly after her arrest, shows her being escorted by police).

Sori began hunger strike on Tuesday, according to an IANS report from Raipur.

Soni Sori has said police kept her chained violating her rights. "They (police) are treating me like a hardcore criminal. They put a chain on my legs... I oppose such moves by police," Sori told mediapersons at the hospital.

She was shifted to the Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Government Medical College and Hospital on Tuesday night after doctors who examined her at Jagdalpur, headquarters of the Bastar region, said she needed advanced treatment.

"Why are they treating me like a criminal? What did I do, why did they put a 'janjir' (chain) on my legs," she was heard asking in footage aired by local TV channels.

Sori, who allegedly received money on behalf of Maoists from the Essar Group as "protection money", sustained injuries while in police custody in Dantewada on Monday.

Human right activists termed her injury a case of "custodial violence" and sought an independent probe to expose police atrocities. Chhattisgarh police denied the accusations and said she slipped and fell in the bathroom while in custody.

Last week Sori had requested the Delhi High Court not to allow the Chhattisgarh police to take her back to the state as she faced a threat to her life.

An online petition seeking justice for Soni Sori can be accessed here:

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