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Chhattisgarh News
Tribals threaten to halt Jashpur hydro project after rape of women in Chhattisgarh

RAIPUR: The alleged rape of two women by workers of an under-construction hydro power project six day ago has triggered anger among tribals in Gullu village in Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh. Massive protests swept the village with demands for arrest of the accused. Villagers also want the project manager booked.

Senior tribal leader and former minister Ganesh Ram Bhagat is leading the agitation and has threatened to halt construction of the hydro-power project till accused are nabbed. Earlier, the project was embroiled in controversy after tribals protested against land acquisition.

“Women fear to venture into forests or bathe in the river. Project workers stalk them and even climb atop trees and molest them when they pass by,” a villager said. A resident of Gullu village said, “We have been complaining to police, but to no avail. Project workers Bhaiyalal and Anand chased our women for several days before sexually assaulting them.”

Over 350 people gathered at the site protesting against the project and its workers. Tribals alleged company officials were trying to hush up the matter and influence police as well.

Bhagat said, “It’s the duty of police to arrest the rapists. Police must question project managers to track the whereabouts of the accused. We will intensify our agitation.” Inspector in charge, Gullu village, D Rajwade, said, a case of rape had been lodged and efforts were on to nab the accused.

“Tribals have been residing in forests since ages and now companies are exploiting the greens, disturbing the ambience and threatening the security of tribals. It is disappointing that police didn't pay heed to our complaints,” said Alexandar Khalko.

Gullu small hydro power project is a sister concern of Kamal Sarda group. Talking to TOI, project manager Prakash Mishra said, “The accused were not company employees, but were engaged by contractors. The accused driver and the women were allegedly in a relationship while working at the site.”