15 January, 2021

The Handmaidens Of Justice

Three fierce lawyers take on the case of oppressed adivasis in Chattisgarh

Devsharan Tiwari
The Handmaidens Of Justice

Down By The Law

  • The local people have also seen ­exploitation in the form of land grab for a police academy
  • It is alleged that land for the Jungle Warfare College was acquired by similar intimidation


They are referred to as the didis from Delhi, but only one of them is from the national capital, the other two are from Indore. Lawyers all, Shalini Ghera, Nikita and Isha Khandelwal have emerged as beacons of hope for the 2,000 locals held in four prisons in Bastar.

It wasn’t an easy decision for them to move to Bastar. From well-off middle-class families, they were assisting lawyers Pra­shant Bhushan and Colin Gonsalves in Delhi till 2013. Bastar for them was the back of beyond, and barely a fortnight bef­ore they actually shifted, Maoists had ambushed a convoy of Congress leaders in Darbha valley, killing 29 people. While one of them was married and in her 40s, the other two were in their 20s and fam­ily members could not see why they...



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