An Open Letter to
The Honourable Chief Justice,
Andhra Pradesh High Court
4 December, 2020
We, as a group working towards achieving a safer and more just society for women, are writing this open letter to you in great dismay at some recent developments in Andhra Pradesh state.
As you are aware, the alleged gang-rape case of 11 adivasi women of the Kondh tribe by 13 men of AP Special Police personnel during a raid conducted in Vakapalli, has had a long legal history since August 2007, first in High Court of Andhra Pradesh and then in Supreme Court, and now in the SC/ST Special Court where it is in the final stages of hearing. After a decade-long chequered legal battle, the Supreme Court in 2017 ordered that the case be heard by an SC/ST Special Court. Whether the High Court or Supreme Court, the judiciary stood by the victims all these years and has helped to institute a special court for hearing the case.
Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) condemn the recent spate of genocidal violence unleashed by the Indian State on the adivasis of Central India in the form of ‘encounter’ killings in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra and Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. The alleged ‘encounter’, a term used in the subcontinent to describe the extra-judicial killing of citizens by the armed forces and police, in Gadchiroli district took place in the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border in the Rela-Kasnasur forest in the intervening night of 22nd-23rd April 2018. With more bodies being fished out of the Indravati River, the death toll of this alleged encounter has reached 39, nineteen of whom were women, all of whom killed by the Commando-60 (C-60) Squad of the Maharashtra Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). This was quickly followed by another encounter in the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh on the 27th of April 2018 where eight more were killed in an operation led by the notorious Greyhound force of the Telangana Anti-Naxal Unit along with Chhattisgarh Police and the CRPF. This alleged encounter took place near the Ipenta village in Bijapur district with six women among those declared dead. These extra-judicial killings have resulted in the death of 47 persons, several of whom are unidentified, and with fears of more persons, including minors, missing from the districts of Gadchiroli and Bijapur. Reports coming out of area reveal heartbreaking accounts of how villagers including children gathered for a marriage function were rounded up and killed without provocation by the security forces. Continue reading
Posted in Statements
Tagged Andhra Pradesh, Bastar, bijapur, Chhattisgarh, Gadchiroli, impunity, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, security forces, sexual violence, state repression