ibnlive » India

Oct 19, 2011 at 06:31pm IST

Is Soni Sori a Maoist or a teacher?

Dantewada: What is the identity of Soni Sori, who has been for allegedly being a Maoist leader? In an exclusive report, CNN-IBN travels to the conflict zone in Dantewada to track the family of Soni Sori. The report tries to find out the Soni Sori's real identity. Is Soni Sori a Maoist, conduit for Maoists or a teacher?

Living in a conflict zone brings no reward at all and the price that one has to pay for refusing to abandon one's land is enormous. No one knows this better than the Soris of Bada Bedma village in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh who have landed themselves on the wrong side of both the Maoists and the police.

The head of the family has been attacked by the Maoists for refusing to side with them while his daughter has been arrested by the police for being a Maoist conduit.

Mudra Ram Sori, 65, is back home in Bada Bedma village after 4 months at the district hospital. In June, Maoists attacked his house, shot him in the leg and left him to die. A three-time sarpanch and brother of a former MLA, Mudra Sori was attacked because he refused to attend Maoist meetings and asked other villagers to keep away as well.

And yet, his daughter Soni Sori is accused of being a Maoist and was arrested in Delhi. The police allege she was to receive extortion money from an Essar contractor BK Lala and deliver it to Maoist commanders.

But Mudra Ram Sori rejects the charges.

Mudra Rama Sori says, "If she was a Maoist sympathiser, why did the Maoists attack me? Why did they shoot at me? Why did they loot my house, took every possible thing from us? If my daughter was their sympathiser they should not have attacked me and my family."

The Chhattisgarh government has announced a compensation of Rs 80,000 to Mudra Ram Sori for damage caused to his property by Maoists. The tragedy is that he is a Maoist victim on the one hand and an alleged Maoist sympathiser on the other as his daughter has been arrested for being a conduit between the rebels and Essar.

For now, the police are sticking to their charges against Soni Sori.

Ankit Garg, SP, Dantewada, said, "When Lala was delivering money, we arrested him. Soni Sori managed to escape."

But sources say that there is not much credible evidence against Soni Sori.

Soni Sori's home in Palnar village, deep inside the Dantewada jungles stands abandoned. Her husband Anil is also in jail in connection with a Maoist attack on Congressman Avdhesh Gautam. Police say his vehicle was used in the attack. No lawyer is prepared to defend Anil.

The Supreme Court wants an independent medical examination of Soni Sori for the injuries she allegedly suffered while she was in Chhattisgarh Police custody earlier this month.

The apex court bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir reserved the order after the Chhattisgarh government offered to get Soni Sori examined at Nagpur whereas her counsel Colin Gonsalves sought a medical check-up at Kolkata.

The state government's offer to get Sori examined at Nagpur came after the apex court asked it to choose any city out of Nagpur, Bangalore and Kolkata.

After her arrest in Delhi, Sori was brought to Chhattisgarh on transit remand.

Police on October 11 shifted Soni Sori to Raipur-based Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Government Medical College and Hospital from Jagdalpur, headquarters of the Bastar region, where doctors suggested advanced treatment for her injuries on the head and lower back.

Just meters away from Soni Sori's house is Lingaram Kadopi's residence.

Lingaram Kadopi sister-in-law refused to talk, not wanting more police trouble. Lingaram had chosen to study journalism instead of accepting a government offer to become a Special Police Officer. Lingaram too is now in jail, arrested along with Essar contractor Lala for being an alleged conduit between the Maoist and Essar.

Are they players in the Maoist conflict or victims of it?