The following letter to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) brings to attaention reports of the rape of a school-going minor girl in Arki, Khunti district, Jharkhand, by an SPO (Special Police Officer), several other policemen, and CRPF men, through 2012 up to mid-2013. It urges the Commission to undertake a larger fact finding on the safety of school-going children, especially young girls, in Khunti District highlighting the vulnerability of children in these conflict areas. Several instances of violation of child rights in several parts of Jharkhand as part of anti-naxal operations have occured. In December 2010, in a case brought to its attention by WSS, where three minor girls in the same district were arrested for being ‘dangerous Naxals’ and treated as adults and sent to police custody, NCPCR’s intervention had led to their release in early January 2011.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR),
23rd July 2013
Sub: Rape of minor in Ranchi, Jharkhand
We write on behalf of a national network of women’s and democratic rights organizations working on issues of sexual violence against women.
We seek an appointment with concerned members of the Commission to apprise you of the grave violations of child rights in Jharkhand.
We wish to bring to your attention reports of the rape of a school-going minor girl in Arki, Khunti district, Jharkhand, by an SPO (Special Police Officer), several other policemen, and CRPF men, through 2012 up to mid-2013.
We are enclosing the complaint made by a local human rights activist to the National Human Rights Commission, which has the details of the incidents. It has been brought to our attention that the local police is preventing activists of women’s organizations from meeting the girl or her family. There are also reports that the police is attempting to muddy the case by saying that the girl has been pressurized by human rights activists to make such statements and allegations, and that such incidents have not taken place.
If the incidents are indeed true, of which there is high likelihood, then it is a very serious violation of the rights of a child, and a very shameful blot on our democratic fiber. What makes the case more serious is the fact that she is now reported to be in the custody of the very people against whom she has filed charges of rape and assault. The use of intimidation by the police on the girls to make such statements cannot be ruled out.
We are also appending a news report by Ms Aloka on the extremely vulnerable situation of young girls who come from remote villages to Khunti to study. As per this report such minor girls are being severely exploited by the security forces and SPOs (special police officers in naxal districts, not regular police) to become informers for them. According to this news report once the police get their information they inform the villagers as to who gave them the information, making the girls sitting ducks for affected villagers too.
We feel that this is an issue that comes well within the purview of protection of child rights. We, therefore, urge you to immediately look into this matter, conduct a fact finding on the specific case of Ms Shanti Munda, and take prompt measures to ensure her safety and prevent any further harm to the girl and her family.
We also urge you to undertake a larger fact finding on the safety of school-going children, especially young girls, in Khunti District. We wish to remind you that in December 2010 we had brought to the attention of NCPCR the arrest of three minor girls in this very district as `dangerous naxals’, who were treated as adults and sent to police custody. Following the quick intervention of NCPCR the girls were all released in early January 2011. At that time we had listed out several other instances of violation of child rights in several parts of Jharkhand as part of anti-naxal operations. We are attaching these letters once again, to highlight the vulnerability of children in these conflict areas.
We sincerely hope you will take immediate steps and do the needful to prevent such exploitation and violation of rights of young girls and boys.
We are listing below the contacts of human rights activists in Ranchi who may be contacted.
Indira C, Nandini Rao, Rinchin
(On behalf of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression)