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20 Jun 1985

In Bastar, as in other parts of the country, slowly the forest dwellers are getting awakened and organised. They are raising their voice against the increasing encroachments on their lands and rights by the forest department, against the harassment by forest officials and guards, and are demanding a fair share in deve¬lopment. The deployment of a Special Armed Force (SAF) batta¬lion in the district and the killing of a political activist in an alleged 'encounter' gains significance in context of this situation. Members of People's Union for Civil Liberties (M.P.), Committee for the Protection of Democratic Rights (Nagpur) and People's Union for Democratic Rights (Delhi) went on a Joint Fact Finding Team to investigate the actual facts behind the alleged 'encounter' of Ganapati and the reasons for the deployment of SAF in the district in the context of the backwardness of the people of the region.The Team spoke to villagers both tribal and non-tribal, administrators, police officials and also met a cross section of people-journalists, lawyers, political workers and students. The following is the report of the Team :

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