A food fair on the banks of the Indus River in the Indian city of Chhattisgarh has attracted a huge crowd of visitors and shoppers.
Rights group Indian Council of Civil Liberties (ICCL) has described the event as an “attack on the rights of indigenous people”.
In a statement, ICCL said the festival has “violated the rights and fundamental freedoms of hundreds of people including women, children and the elderly”.
“In fact, the festival’s promoters have not registered with the Indian Police, have not been transparent about the festival site and the police have failed to intervene when people have suffered grievous injury and death,” it said.
“The organisers of the festival are trying to evade police interference by claiming to be a peaceful, non-violent, non commercial festival and have tried to exploit the festival to sell food, drink and merchandise, but the organisers of this festival are exploiting their public position by perpetuating violence and creating chaos.”
Food fair organisers said they are “happy” about the response to the protest, but they have been hit by “the onslaught of hate” on social media.
“We want to give them a fair chance to make their presentation, but at the same time we want them to understand that we have not come to protest against them, but for them to have a fair hearing,” said Ankit Bhat, an organizer of the annual festival.
The organisers have also asked organisers of other festivals in the area to come and address the protesters, saying they are not “inviting” them to participate in the festival.
“This is a peaceful and non-commercial festival and we are not inviting anyone to participate,” Bhat said.
“We are only asking people to be respectful and respectful of the organisers, and to respect the rights to free speech and free expression.”
According to Indian government figures, more than 30,000 people have been killed and another 10,000 injured in protests and clashes between Indian security forces and people protesting against the construction of a dam on the Ganga in Gujarat.
Indian authorities have repeatedly defended the construction.
In a blog post, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I strongly condemn the violence against the people of India’s south.”
“Violence must be countered with violence,” Modi wrote.
“The people of our country have the right to protest peacefully, but we will not allow this to become an excuse for violence against innocent people and innocent people’s rights.”
Indian authorities arrested more than 70 people in connection with the protests and violence that erupted on Sunday.