Tribal school teacher-turned-politician, Soni Sori, recounted the heinous atrocities she herself faced in Bastar while talking about the way women are sexually exploited there. She was speaking at an international conclave on sexual trafficking in Delhi recently.

She said, “The forces that are deployed in Bastar to protect the citizens of the area are the only ones women in Bastar need protection from.”

She recalled her own ordeal in 2011 when she was arrested by the Chhattisgarh Police on charges of acting as a conduit for Maoists. Narrating the horrific acts of the state police, she said, “I still feel the pain thinking about how the police held me by my legs and hands and kept stuffing my vagina with stones. I filed an appeal against the travesty in Supreme Court and to remove the stones from my body and convict SP Ankit Garg. The judgment is still pending in the courts. On top of that, Garg was also awarded by the Indian government.”

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Sori joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014 and told SheThePeople.TV that she joined politics because she was afraid that her state government would kill her. “My supporters told me that if I join a party, then I will be given security and also I will be able to continue my activism without any hindrance,” said Sori.

She added that she felt she could go back to her native place to live only after joining AAP.

“I just wanted to have a sense of freedom in doing the work that I am doing and AAP gave me that freedom. Arvind Kejriwal never criticised me for anything that I do and he trusts me and my activism,” she told SheThePeople.TV.

Sori condemns police-led violence in her area and fights for the rights of those mired in the conflict between Maoist insurgents and the government.

Sori articulated that the voices of women from the state do not reach the rest of the country and said if more such voices gained attention, then discussions would take place, which is a pre-requisite for any solution. “Only once the cases start to come out in the open, the voices of women are heard in other states that can there be any solution to the violence.”