Tag Archives: Soni Sori

WSS Statement on the Assault on Adivasi Schoolgirls By CRPF Cadre During Imposed Raksha Bandhan Function

ASSAULT ON ADIVASI SCHOOLGIRLS BY CRPF AT IMPOSED RAKSHA BANDHAN FUNCTION

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression strongly condemns the molestation of school girls in the name of “Raksha Bandhan” by CRPF men and the deplorable act of the Collector and Superintendent in trying to suppress the matter.

On Monday, 31 July 2017, many officers and about 100 CRPF men went to a girlsschool in Palnar in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh to observe the festival of Rakhi by getting the girls to tie rakhis to the male members of the CRPF armed forces. It was clearly a PR exercise to show the CRPF men as the protectorsof the tribal girls studying in the school. Once there, 5 to 6 CRPF men used the opportunity to follow 3 young school girls while they were in line to use the bathroom. Three of these men entered the toilet when a girl ws already inside and stayed there for about 15 minutes. All this while, the men who were outside sexually assaulted the girls who were just outside the bathroom, squeezing their breasts and threatening them.

In the evening, the girls complained to the warden, Draupadi Sinha, who took the matter to the district Collector and the Superintendent of Police. However, instead of taking cognizance of the matter, both of them threatened the girls and tried to silence them. Later the warden and a police woman stood guard outside the school gates and stopped any Human Rights activist from entering the school to talk to the girls. It is only when the girls came back home from the hostel during break that Soni Sori, human rights activist, was able to meet the girls and talk to them. When Soni Sori went to the school to investigate the incident which has been further brought to light by the social activist, Himanshu Kumar in a facebook post, she was threatened and told to turn back.

This is another reminder of the horrific ordeals that the tribal women and girls are subjected to at the hands of the CRPF, para-military and the police in Chhattisgarh at the behest of the State. WSS in the past two years has, through various fact finding reports from the ground, highlighted cases of the mass rapes and sexual assault s of women under the pretext of fighting Maoist insurgents. The ex-IG of Bastar, Mr SRP Kalluri, oversaw indescribable acts against the tribal villagers as has been amply documented and reported by WSS. Mr Kalluri has refused to appear before the National Human Rights Commission despite a summons being issued. He had been invited instead to hoist a flag in Jawaharlal Nehru University on the occasion of the Indian Independence Day on August 15, and only political pressure on his repeatedly gracing education institutions instead of fulfilling his obligation to attend the NHRC summons seems to have led to a cancellation of the event.

Patriarchal customs like Raksha Bandhan evoke men as protectors of women while ignoring the patriarchal roots of violence against women. Despite the attempts to legitimize it by calling it a “celebration” of sibling bond, this only serves the interest of a patriarchal state in proscribing womens freedom and their legitimate demand for equal rights. In this case, the fake exercise of making the tribal girls tie rakhi to CRPF men to project them as the protector of their virtueand broadcasting it through state-controlled media served only as an opportunity for the repetition of the historic pattern of army men sexually assaulting adivasi women. These empty gestures are masterminded by the state to improve the image of CRPF and para-military in the region who are under severe criticism for their human rights violations and especially sexual violence in Chhattisgarh.

While it is a larger feminist struggle to fight against patriarchal customs like Raksha Bandhan which sees women as weak and designates brothers/men as their protector, the use of such regressive customs as a public relations opportunity by the state to justify the brutality wrought by CRPF, para-military, and the police on the tribal women reminds us once again of the depravity of the state that would stoop to such unimaginable levels.

WSS is glad that a case has been booked under Section 354 IPC and POCSO Act cand hope that after a speedy investigation the culprits will be appropriately punished as per criminal law. We repeat that criminal punishment for cases of sexual violence by the armed forces can not be substituted by internal army investigation and punishment.

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Soni Sori addresses students at JNU, Delhi

Soni Sori, the adivasi leader from Chhattisgarh addresses students from JNU connecting their struggle with the struggle of the adivasis in Chhattisgarh. Elaborating of the challenges that the adivasis face, Soni emphasis the need for freedom of her people to be in their forests, lands, fields and homes. Under the garb of fighting naxalism the state has been systematically killing adivasis who have populated the land for generations so it can have their jal, jungle zameen. Anyone who raises a question about the unconstitutional way in which the forces and police are carrying out their operations is targeted. She also explains the fake encounter of Mardam which was the reason for her being attacked

 

Delhi Candle Light Vigil to Mark Kashmiri Women’s Day of Resistance

About 300 people – WSS activists, women activists from the National Union of Forest Working People, students from the march for Rohith Vemula – gathered at Jantar Mantar in Delhi on the evening of 23 February for a candlelight vigil  to mark Kashmiri Women’s Resistance Day. This is the anniversary of the gang rapes  of 25 women in Kunan Poshpora village of Kashmir, by soldiers of the Fourth Raj Rifles. The vigil was an expression of solidarity with the thousands of women in Kashmir, Manipur, Chhattisgarh and other parts of the country who are being subjected to sexual violence by the army and security forces.  Protesters sang songs of struggle and resistance, and reaffirmed their commitment to standing with women in exposing and opposing state violence.

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Press Statement by Concerned Individuals and Organisations from the Civil Society of West Bengal

Statement of recent attacks against lawyers in Chhatisgarh, Jagdalpur working for under trial prisoners, Adivasi activist Soni Sori, Journalist Malini Subramaniam, public intellectuals such as Bela Bhatia among others.

We, the members of civil society in West Bengal stand in firm solidarity with the Jagadalpur Legal Aid Group, Malini Subhramaniam, Bela Bhatia, Soni Sori, Sudha Bhardwaj and all other groups and individuals who were working for human rights and upholding the Constitution and Rule of Law in Bastar. Their activities should be seen in the context of an increasingly oppressive state. These conscientious persons have played a critical role to bear witness to the plight of the indigenous peoples in the region. Continue reading

Kolkata Press Conference Against Attacks on Soni Sori, Jaglag and others

Kolkata, 24 February 2016
Concerned individuals and Organisations from the Civil Society of West Bengal organised a Press Conference at Press Club in Kolkata on 24th February 2016.
Maroona Murmur (History Prof., Jadavpur University), Tapas Chakraborty [Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR)], Choton Das (Bandi Mukti Committee) and Anuradha Talwar [Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)] spoke on the occasion and were accompanied by Debapriya Mukherjee [Advocate, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), West Bengal] and Atindriya Chakraborty [Advocate, Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC)].

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Latest update on Soni Sori

25 February 2016

Soni is improving. The swelling has reduced and she is able to speak without too much discomfort.

22 February 2016

Delhi CM Mr. Kejriwal visited Soni in the hospital

 

Apollo Hospital Medical Bulletin —

*Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi *

*Medical Bulletin*
22 February 2016, 7:53pm

*22nd Feb 2016*: The patient came to the hospital yesterday at night with chemical burns on her face and was immediately admitted in the ICU. A team of senior consultant specialists has been assigned to care for all her clinical needs. We are hopeful that she will recover within the next few weeks and are carefully monitoring the situation on an hourly basis. She has been evaluated by the ophthalmologist and her eye on bed side examination appears to be normal, though she has orbital and conjunctival oedema. Her condition is stable at the moment with no threat to her life.

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Time line of the Attacks on Human Rights Defenders in Chhattisgarh

23.2.2016

2 uniformed policemen from Papra thana visit Bela’s house and click photos of her, Jean and the interior of the house. This is followed by a visit from two people in civilian clothes carrying Chhattisgarh Police ID.

Protests in Bangalore and Mumbai

22.2.2016 JagLAG’s ex-landlord is called into the Bodhghat thana again – this time because there is a complaint by some Dipankar Sahu against “three women who are anti-social elements” who are staying in his house.

Protests in Delhi and Bhopal. Delhi protesters are detained by the police for several hours.

NHRC hears WSS complaint and decides to send a 3-member team to Bastar. (The team to be constituted and the dates of the visit finalised this week.)
Delhi CM Mr. Kejriwal visits Soni in the hospital
21.2.2016 IG, SP cast doubts on Soni’s story, saying that she is exaggerating the story. She is discharged from the Jagdalpur hospital and taken to Delhi, where doctors confirm that she has facial burns due to an unknown substance.

Protests and demonstrations in Raipur and Hyderabad against the attack on Soni Sori, JagLAG lawyers and Malini

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