Statement of Bangalore Protest against State violence, In Solidarity with Kashmiri Women’s Day of Resistance

Coalition against State Repression

Protest against State Violence and Repression on Dalits, Adivasis and Minorities
In solidarity with Kashmiri Women’s Day of Resistance

Tuesday, February 23, 5 pm, Mysore Bank Circle, Bangalore

On 23 February 2016, Coalition against State Repression calls for people to join us in a protest against State violence and repression against Dalits, Adivasis and Minorities which the State has been perpetrating in different parts of the country including Chattisgarh in the recent past. This is also in solidarity with the Kashmiri Women’s Day of Resistance which marks the 25th anniversary of the mass sexual assaults of Kashmiri women and torture of Kashmiri men in Kunan Poshpora.

On Feb 23rd, 1991, over 50 women from the village of Kunan Poshpora survived brutal sexual assaults by soldiers of the Fourth Raj Rifles, the most senior rifle regiment of the Indian Army. While men were dragged out of their homes at gunpoint and taken to military camps to be tortured, the women and girls were raped in their own homes. The Kunan Poshpora rape survivors have also filed a petition before the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir seeking an investigation, which so far has shockingly not taken place. This will be the third consecutive year of commemorating the date as Kashmiri Women’s Day of Resistance.

The experiences of people such as Soni Sori and the several adivasi women raped over the last few months in Sukma and Bijapur, Chhattisgarh; and women in the North East who have been targeted by the military for sexual assault, must be seen as a targeted strategy of the state to use rape as a weapon of war. The IG Police of Bastar, SP Kalluri, is himself implicated in the rape of an adivasi woman when he was the SP of Sarguja district. Activists and lawyers, including lawyers working with the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group, who have documented and provided legal representation for several adivasis targeted by the state have also been hounded and forced to leave Jagdalpur, Chattisgrah. On Feb 20th at 11 pm, Soni Sori, local adivasi leader and Aam Aadmi Party coordinator for Bastar Division, was attacked by three men on her way home in Geedam. A burning chemical substance was thrown on her face. She was then shifted to Delhi for treatment where she is still under treatment. In 2013, Soni Sori was brutally raped and assaulted while in police custody by Ankit Garg, SP of Dantewada. He was later given a bravery medal by the State. We must come together to loudly protest against this, to say that these are NOT our heroes. It is the responsibility of every person to protest against acts of war committed by the Indian state on the most marginalised communities in the name of the nation.

In this context, we demand that-

– Re-opening prosecution in all cases of sexual violence against Kashmiri women including but not limited to, Kunan Poshopra
– An independent inquiry into and criminal action to be taken against the perpetrators of the recent attack on Soni Sori as well as the widely reported cases of sexual violence against Adivasi women in Sukma and Bijapur in Chhattisgarh.
– Conduct an independent inquiry into the illegal actions and cases of sexual violence alleged against SP Kalluri and Ankit Garg.
– The State government of Chhattisgarh must take all necessary steps to ensure that lawyers practising in district courts, including lawyers from Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group, are allowed to practise and represent their clients without any interference or harassment.

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