The Coordination of Democratic Right Organisations and its member organisations condemn the arrest of Linga Kodopi by the Dantewada Police, from his grandfather’s village, on the 9th of September, 2011.
In a statement, CDRO described this act by the police was shocking and vindictive as Linga had been challenging the Chhattisgarh police through his work of resettling Salwa Judum displaced persons and also documenting and exposing atrocities committed by the SPOs, police and the paramilitary on the poor Tribals through their various operations including the Operation Green Hunt.
Linga, an activist of Vanvasi Chetna Ashram and a student of journalism from an institute in Delhi, had been facing police persecution since August 26, 2009 when they picked him up from the his village Sameli and detained and tortured for 40 days forcing him to become an SPO. He was released when his family approached the Chhattisgarh High Court in Bilaspur and filed a habeas corpus petition. In an order dated October 6 2009, the High Court directed that Lingaram be allowed to return to his family. Linga left Chhattisgarh for Delhi sometime in January, 2010 but the Chhattisgarh police had been after him.
In July, 2010 the SSP of Chhattisgarh, Dantewada district, S.R.P Kalluri, claimed that Linga was the prime suspect behind the July 6, 2010 attack on the house of Congress worker and civil contractor Avdesh Singh Gautam. According to a press release circulated by the Chhattisgarh police, “this attack was masterminded by Lingaram Kodopi, a resident of Sameli village.” The SSP had also made bizzare charges that he had received training in terrorist acts in Delhi and Gujarat. Linga had addressed a press conference and appealed against his continuous persecution. He had also avoided going back to his home.
The recent arrest of Linga is under another bizzare story of him being a Maoist courier who had to receive Rs. 15 lakh Rupees from a contractor. According to the police they picked him from the Palnar weekly bazaar when they actually picked him up from his grandfather’s house
The CDRO demands the release of Linga and the dropping of all charges in this matter. We also demand that the Chattisgarh state Government book the Police officers involved in this false case filed against Linga which has resulted in his illegal arrest and prosecute them. Meanwhile we have lodged a complaint with the NHRC for restoration of civil liberties of Linga and dropping of charges filed against him.