Elections to the Assembly of Chhattisgarh in 2018: Soni Sori did not withdraw from politics

Soni Sori, a teacher who has become the visible face of victims of brutal torture in custody in Chhattisgarh, has become a key tribal voice in Dantewada. Although she was defeated in the 2014 ballots at Lok Sabha, Ms. Sori decided to stay out of the polls of the Assembly, but not because peace returned to Bastar.

Before the 2014 elections in Lok Sabha, you joined the party Aam Aadmi. But this time, you stayed away from the polling stations of the Assembly …

I was still not sure about playing politics and fighting the elections. But many have explained that I should join at that time. [2014] it was a security issue. I had the intention to return to the state and the threats were serious. I have therefore taken the AAP offer to challenge so that I can benefit from security.

AAP has not renewed its offer this time?

It made. In fact, they forced me to challenge but I decided not to do it. I've thought of staying generally at home and working with girls here.

Why? Have the problems of the tribal peoples of southern Chhattisgarh been resolved and you do not need to go to the Assembly to bring these issues to the fore?

This question is often asked. But I may need some time to decide.

You met Rahul Gandhi. Did he ask you to join the congress and participate in the contest?

He said that their door is open for me and that I can participate at any time. I met P.L. Punia (congress leader in Chhattisgarh) also and he said the same thing.

In a way, it seems from the outside that Bastar is more peaceful now. Is this a reason why you are not too inclined to challenge?

It is not at all correct to say that the situation is peaceful in Bastar. The tribes are tortured and imprisoned as they have been over the years. You can say (in one go) that 10 to 12 people were killed when S.R.P. Kalluri was the Inspector General of Police in Bastar. He reduced a little – maybe not 10 or 12 but two or three are killed. We can not say that Bastar is peaceful. Even those who participated in the Salwa Judum against the tribal people are suffering … The situation is far from normal. But as far as my participation is concerned … maybe I need a little time.

You support girls who have been tortured and displaced, but you have no financial support. If the state government shows up, are you going to talk to them?

I can talk to anyone who is willing to talk about any question.

Do you want to challenge the election of Lok Sabha?

I did not withdraw from politics and I will decide according to the situation … at that time.