Lingaram Kodopi

Who is Linga Kodopi ?

Linga Kodopi is a tribal from dantewada who was arrested and released, and then he studied journalism to go back and report about various atrocities on tribals in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh, but sadly it did not happen as he was re arrested in 2011.

In Sept 2009, Dantewada police had detained Lingaram for 40 days, pressuring him to become a Special Police Officer (precisely the sort of appointment against which the Supreme Court issued severe strictures in its Judgement of 5th July 2011). He was released only after a habeas corpus petition was filed in the Bilaspur High Court. Since then, Lingaram and his family have been repeatedly and systematically harassed.

At the Independent People’s Tribunal held in Delhi in April 2010, Lingaram spoke about how the Gram Panchayats were mute to the cause of the tribals, and questioned the enormous amount of money spent on the ‘welfare plans’ for the tribals and the lack of any progress. Lingaram also translated for several young tribal women who said they were victims of police atrocities. On 13 July 2010 Lingaram held a press conference at Delhi with Advocate Prashant Bhushan and Swami Agnivesh and publicly stated how he was tortured and was now being victimised by the Chhattisgarh police.

Lingaram was arrested again on September 9 , 2011 from his village of Sameli in Dantewada, for allegedly facilitating Essar Steel’s payment of protection money to the Maoists.He was arrested along with BK Lala, a contractor. As for Essar Steel paying the Maoists, this is no new phenomena. Contractors and companies have paid the Maoists in almost all the districts where they have a ‘liberated zone’. You don’t cut a single beedi leaf or mine a single rock of ore without paying the Maoists.

Lingaram would’ve been one of the rarest breeds of journalists in a district of Muria and Koya adivasis: he would be one who knew Gondi, who spoke the language of the people in the furthest hills, with the quietest whispers. Of particular significance in this context is Lingaram’s visit to the Chintalnar area of the Dantewada district as a journalist, documenting the impact of attacks by COBRA and the Koya Commandoes, SPOs and the Salwa Judum on the villages, Morpalli, Tadmetla and Timmapuram in March.

Soni Sori, Lingaram’s aunt,  has  been also arrested  and tortured by by the police. Soni Sori is a respected superintendent of a residential school for adivasi children run as part of the tribal development programme in Chhattisgarh. She is also known for her work delivering food to the children of the three villages attacked by the security forces.

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Lingaram Kodopi. and demand Soni Sori  In the total absence of any credible evidence, the allegations against him should be withdrawn immediately. The police must stop intimidating Lingaram Kodopi. The police must also stop the harassment of Soni Sori and release oth immediately

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June 2023
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