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
“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