WSS Statement on Recent Blasts in Sukma
WSS condemns the IED blast in Sukma on 11.3.2017 in which 12 CRPF personnel lost their lives and several others, including members of a road-construction crew, were injured. We express our condolences to the families of the deceased.
We are concerned that this incident will further fuel the cycle of pointless violence in which the entire Adivasi community is made to pay the price for the violent acts of others. Our experience shows that such attacks are followed by violent reprisals against the community in surrounding villages, through random arrests, forced “surrenders” and illegal detentions. Such responses, and the rhetoric of “revenge for the blood of martyrs” that is used to justify them, only deepens the alienation and exclusion of Adivasi villagers.
We hope that the state government will continue with efforts to restore the rule of law and regain public confidence, signaled by the shake-up in the police and administration in Bastar. But this is only a first step – the situation on the ground continues largely unchanged. We have a long way to go in combating the mindset that labels all Adivasis and human rights defenders and journalists questioning state violence as “Maoist supporters”, thereby legitimizing the harassment and violation to which they are subjected.
We reiterate our stand that militarization is not the answer to the present situation. The lives of combatants on both sides, and uncounted adivasi villagers continue to be lost in this war. Nothing can justify the bloodshed and loss of human lives and the destruction of the land and forests where this war is being fought.
WSS (Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression) is a non funded, nationwide network of women from diverse political and social movements comprising of women’s organizations, mass organizations, civil liberty organizations, student and youth organizations, mass movements and individuals. For more information, please see wssnet.org
This book is a comprehensive compilation of the incidents of sexual violence in South Chhattisgarh, drawing on independent investigations or joint fact findings by WSS.
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Title – Bearing Witness
Language – English
No. of pages – 128
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Sexual Violence and Police Impunity in Gadchiroli District
Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)
The impunity with which police forces have been operating in south Gadchiroli has become a matter of grave concern. The mountain of Surjagad which has been leased to Lloyd’s Chemicals for mining will destroy the mountain which has religious and cultural significance to the highly marginalised Madia Gonds residing in the area. who have opposed the lease. Police repression on the tribals has been intensifying, with random picking up, illegal detention and inhuman beatings of tribals, Things really however, took an extremely murky turn on January 20th, 2017 when two tribal women of Gonwara Village of Bande Block of Chhattisgarh were picked up by C-60, Maharashtra police personnel near Todgatta village while they were on their way to Gadchiroli district. Continue reading
Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
2 February 2017
WSS applauds the “NHRC Effect”
Government of Chattisgarh takes action to restore rule of law in Bastar
IG Kalluri asked to proceed on long leave
WSS welcomes the actions taken by the Government of Chhattisgarh to restore its credibility and regain the confidence of the citizens of Bastar. In a series of decisive administrative actions yesterday, the state government announced the appointment of Sri P Sundararaj, IPS as DIG of the newlycreated Dantewada Range. Bastar IG Sri SRP Kalluri has been asked to proceed on long leave.
These actions follow on the heels of the appearance of senior state government officials before the National Human Rights Commission on 30 January 2017. The NHRC had summoned these officials to answer for the apathy of the state government in responding to the egregious violations of human rights and vendetta against human rights defenders perpetrated by the police and police sponsored vigilante groups encouraged and supported by the police under Sri Kalluri. Continue reading
Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression condemns the recent attack against Bela Bhatia, a researcher and activist, based in Bastar, Chhattisgarh. On the 23rd of January, 2017, a group of 30-odd men attacked Bela near her house. They barged into her house violently, and threatened to burn the building down if she did not leave immediately. The mob also attacked the owners of the building as well as their children, threatening them with dire consequences if Bela was not evicted immediately. Despite Bela’s assurances that she would leave, the mob continued to be belligerent, in the presence of the police, and even when the Sarpanch arrived.
In the meantime, concerned friends of Bela, who were informed by her of the attack and threat to her life, called SRP Kalluri, who is the Inspector General of Police, Bastar District, to enquire about her well-being. One person spoke to SRP Kalluri and asked him about Bela, and he lied to her that she had succumbed to her injuries in the hospital.
WSS and Citizens for Peace and Justice in Chhattisgarh had organized a press meet in Delhi on 12th January 2017 to highlight the emergency-like situation in Chhattisgarh and the brazen attacks on human rights defenders demanding accountability from the state and police department.
Prof Nandini Sundar, Advocate Shalini Gera, researcher and journalist Vineet Tewari, WSS member Rinchin and human rights lawyer Adv Vrinda Grover and Advocate Savithri (member of the Telengana Democratic Forum and wife of Advocate Balla Ravindranath, one of the seven members of a factfinding team on their way to Bastar who were picked up on Christmas Day by the Chhattisgarh police) spoke on the occasion.
Read the press release here
Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
7 January 2017
NHRC indicts Chhattisgarh police for sexual violence against Adivasi women in Bastar
Interim order validates WSS complaints
WSS welcomes the decisive intervention of the National Human Rights Commission in cases of sexual violence against Adivasi women by police and security forces engaged in anti-Maoist operations in Chhattisgarh. Validating our assertion that sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war in Bastar, the Commission has held the State government “vicariously liable” for gross violations of human rights.
Taking cognizance of press reports based on WSS fact-findings and successive complaints submitted by us, the NHRC conducted its own field investigation in March 2016, meeting and recording the statements of 16 women. In its strongly-worded note issued today, the Commission has prima facie validated their FIRs of rape, sexual assault and physical violence. Statements are awaited from 20 more women who have also filed FIRs of sexual violence ranging from mass rapes to sexual assault of minor girls and pregnant women. Continue reading