On 23 January 2017 around 30 people went to the house of Indian sociologist and human rights defender Ms. Bela Bhatia in Pandripani village, Bastar district, Chhattisgarh, central India. They accused her of being a “Maoist sympathiser” and threatened to burn the house down if she did not leave immediately.
They threatened to burn it down if she refused to comply. This comes days after Bhatia accompanied an National Human Rights Commission team to Bijapur to record statements of rape and assault victims. The NHRC recently released a report, accusing Bastar Police personnel of raping 16 tribal women in the area.
Bhatia reportedly called the local police for help, but they failed to restrain the men, except for when they tried to enter her house again. Similar intimidation tactics have been used in the past to apply pressure on activists fighting for tribal rights in Bastar. In 2016, lawyers representing the Jagdalpur Legal Aid group were also similarly asked to leave after a few unidentified persons had put pressure on their landlord.