Tag Archives: Odisha

WSS Statement On The Tragic Cost Of Delay In Rape Investigations

January 23, 2018

 

The suicide of the minor dalit girl in Kunduli of Koraput district in Odisha  on 22 January is a moment of reckoning for everyone fighting against the heinous crime of violence against women. She had accused four security personnel of gang rape on October 10, 2017. Very typical of incidence of sexual violence where the accused happen to be police, army or security forces, this incident of sexual assault too went through the usual round of inordinate delays and denial of gang rape. The suicide of the young victim who was very keen to pursue her studies but was never able to get out of the raging controversy and heightened media publicity is a bitter reminder of the continued impunity of rapists in uniform, and of the brazen collusion of the state in denying justice to those who, like this young girl, refuse to remain silent.

Getting justice for survivors of sexual assault has always been uphill in this misogynist and patriarchal society. It becomes even tougher when the state machinery itself puts formidable barriers to protect the accused. In this case, the Odisha government and district administration did exactly that.

Let us have a look at the series of events that went against the complaint of the girl.

The Human Rights Cell of the government on November 7 ruled out the possibility of gang rape due to lack of evidence based on the medical report in their possession. After 17 days of the incident she was kept in the district child welfare committee (CWC).
The girl had repeatedly expressed her distress at not being believed to journalists and others who visited her in the hospital. There was no action taken to identify the culprits from her description or the fact that the accused were in uniform. Instead the  police picked up four boys from the same village for interrogation who were beaten up too. The police had also forcefully taken one of them for a lie detection test to an undisclosed location in Bhubaneswar.

 The DGP had listed the matter under the red-flag category and initial statements by the police even blamed the Maoists.

 The demand for withdrawal of security forces by local organizations and the community involved went completely unheeded.

The denial of gang rape by the police and administration in the absence of a thorough enquiry and the long delays accompanied by constant media publicity deepened the distress and anxiety of the family and the community. One can only imagine what it can do to a young girl.

The girl first attempted suicide on November 18, 2017 when she swallowed an overdose of iron tablets and was rushed to SCB Medical College hospital in Cuttack. Her mother made a complaint of forceful detention and she was finally discharged from the hospital on November 27. If there has been no gang rape, there was absolutely no need for the police and administration to confine her to the hospital under heavy security.
The Chief Minister ordered a probe by a district judge on November 8. The judicial commission was constituted on January 6.  The enquiry was under way.
In end December the girl once again went on record saying that she was being bribed by senior police personnel to withdraw her case. That perhaps was her last public statement. Her suicide note is in the hands of the police as media reports suggest.

WSS expresses deep grief at the death of the girl and stands in solidarity with her friends, family and community. It is indeed the cruellest of times and the cruellest of societies where a 16-year old puts an end to the ordeal by using her own scarf to hang herself and end the fiasco of seeking justice. Even as we write this statement we cannot do away with the foremost thought on our minds – who is responsible for this suicide?

 Ø  WSS demands that the Odisha government follows the investigation to the end and punishes the guilty. We also demand stringent punishment be meted to all those responsible for delaying the investigation process.

Ø  WSS demands that the Odisha government withdraws all security forces from the area. Women and girls are never safe in such areas. The deployment of security forces and army by no way implies de facto impunity to rape at will. 

 Ø  WSS appeals to all democratic and progressive forces in Odisha and elsewhere to strengthen the struggle for a society free of sexual violence. Let’s work towards a society where those violated do not have to choose the noose in future but are able to live with dignity and with courage. Sexual violence is not only a women’s issue. The culpability of a patriarchal culture where sexual violence is the everyday norm involves entire society at large.

Ranjana Padhi, Pramodini Pradhan, Sudha Bhardwaj, Kalyani Menon,Shobha Raghavan,Rinchin, Madhuri Krishnaswamy and Manasi Pingle

For Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) is a non funded grassroots effort started in November 2009, to put an end to the violence being perpetrated upon our bodies and societies. We are a 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. We unequivocally condemn state repression and sexual violence on our women and girls by any perpetrator(s).

wssnet.org // againstsexualviolence@gmail.com

 

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Itishree Pradhan

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) deeply mourns the tragic death of Itishree Pradhan, aged 27, who was a Sikhya Sahayak at Tikiri Upper Primary School of Kashipur Block in Raygada district of Odisha. Her succumbing to 90% burn injuries and ultimate death is a direct outcome of her taking up the offence of sexual harassment at the hands of Netrananda Dandasena, the School Sub-Inspector (SI). WSS salutes Itishree Pradhan for her courage and persistence to bring to book the sexual harassment of the SI. Her courage is most inspiring even as she lost her life fighting against this grave injustice of sexual harassment at the workplace that women from all walks of life have to struggle against in this patriarchal society. Continue reading

Fake Encounters in Odisha

cover_fake_encounters_odishaOn November 14, 2012, media reported that five Maoists had been killed and one captured during an encounter between the security forces and the Sabyasachi Panda faction in the Bhaliaguda forest area of Gobindapur panchayat of Gajapati district (bordering Ganjam), which falls in the jurisdiction of Mohana Police Station.

Subsequent media reports carried the press statement of Sabyasachi Panda stating that those killed were innocent villagers, and that none of his party cadre or he had been hurt. On November 18, the families of the deceased also denied that they were linked with the Maoists. From media and other reports, it clearly appears that the state is hushing up these fake encounters.

The Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisations (CDRO) called for a fact-finding and a six-member team consisting of individuals representing civil liberties and democratic rights organisations from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh visited the area on Dec 8 and 9, 2012.

This report contains their observations and findings.

Click here for a copy of the report.

BRUTAL CORPORATE ATTACK ON PEACEFUL PROTESTERS IN ODISHA

As the nation gears up for Republic Day celebrations, to applaud and showcase India as an economic power, we expose the other side of this rise to power – as thousands of steel plant workers are  brutally attacked by corporate goons on the eve of India’s completion of its 62nd year as a Republic. What does this say about the cost of India’s industrial growth?

JOINT STATEMENT

We are extremely shocked and distressed over the barbaric inhuman violence on peaceful protesters especially women by the security guards and hired goons of Jindal steel plant in Angul, Odisha.  There has been series of attacks on unarmed peaceful protesters against forcibly land grab all over Odisha.  On 25th January 2012 when the entire Nation was gearing up for the Republic day celebrations and the Indian ruling classes, the big business and the corporate media was busy trumpeting the arrival of India’s major economical power house, the recurring brutal violence by the corporate goons on mass movements in ODISHA exposes the hollowness of our rulers claim of India being the world largest democracy.

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Sexual Assualt by Orissa Security Personnel

SEXUAL ASSAULT OF AN ADIVASI WOMAN BY ORISSA SECURITY PERSONNEL IN GAJAPATI DISTRICT

A Fact Finding Report by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)

January 2011

An allegation of rape of an adivasi woman by security and police forces was brought to the notice of WSS by local activists who had been approached by the survivor’s father. The incident is said to have taken place on February 12, 2010 in Gajapati district in Orissa, but local activists came to know about it in August. The arrest and rape of this woman has largely gone unreported, providing impetus for the present investigation. Continue reading

Preliminary Observations of a Fact Finding by WSS in Odisha

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), an all-India platform of women’s organizations, constituted a fact-finding team to inquire into the situation of women in the areas of democratic struggles agasint large-scale mining and industrialization projects in Orissa. This team visited three different areas between 7-11 November 2011, namely Jagatisnghpur- Kalinganagar, Kashipur-Niyamgiri and Gajapati. Through this brief note we would like to share our observations, preliminary findings and concerns that emerge from this visit. In these areas, the team talked to the women, to activists, journalists and the local authorities, where needed.

It emerges that in all three areas women and children there are being very seriously affected in several direct and indirect ways.

Continue reading