Arati Majhi, 20 year old resident of Jadingi village, Gajapati was picked up by the Special Operation Group (SOG) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), from her house at 3:00 AM on 13th February 2010. Arati’s cousins, Shyam and Lazar Majhi, were also arrested. Five men from the SOG and CRPF then took her to the jungle, forced her to see pornographic pictures on a mobile phone, then blindfolded and gang-raped her. The police arrest memos state that Arati was arrested at 4PM the same day.
WSS conducted a fact finding of in January 2011 and has since been campaigning for her to be released and action to be taken against the security personnel that raped her.
After spending three years in jail for Maoist related cases, Arati Majhi was acquitted of all charges against her on 17th July 2013. Lack of evidence – the inability of the police to produce seized items in court and contradictions in statements of key witnesses, made it amply clear that the case was predicated on largely fabricated evidence.
However, her struggle is far from over. On 20th August, 2010, Arati’s father Dakasa Majhi petitioned the courts on her behalf for an enquiry into the gang rape. Three years late, Arati still awaits justice. Further, in an atmosphere of extreme repression that has been nurtured by the Odisha government, Arati’s future is uncertain. The prosecution, after her acquittal, acquired sanction in the cases to try her under UAPA.
We must continue the solidarity campaign to stand up with Arati and ensure that justice is delivered.
For a detailed report of the fact finding conducted by WSS, click here.