Posts Tagged ‘adivasi’

A Big thank you from SONI SORI on thousands of post cards she has received , and she says-

Whenever I am Heartbroken I take out each post Card and read it. They give me strength and empower me to Fight


Please continue to send her postcards,

at the following address


NEW DELHI, April 12, 2013

Divya Trivedi, The Hindu


Jagdalpur Jail Superintendent says that a psychiatrist asked her questions about “anger”

The Chhattisgarh government has initiated an enquiry into the mental health of Adivasi teacher Soni Sori lodged in the Jagdalpur jail to ascertain whether she should be sent to the mental asylum in Agra, according to women’s rights groups.

A legal team visiting Ms. Sori on March 15 after she failed to appear for a hearing the previous day, was informed by the jail superintendent that a psychiatrist from the Maharani Hospital in Jagdalpur had visited Soni.

In the conversation with the psychiatrist in the presence of the Superintendent, Ms. Soni was asked questions related to “anger” and advised not to complain all the time. Otherwise there was a good chance that she would be sent to Agra, according to a women’s rights activist.

“This is a devious attempt to declare her mentally unsound and create doubts about the veracity of her complaints of sexual torture in police custody and subsequent harassment in jail,” said the rights groups. Strongly condemning this act of the government, which comes on the back of a stray comment by Shamina Shafiq, member of the National Commission for Women (NCW), made to the press right after meeting Ms. Sori at the Raipur Central Jail on December 4 last year, the rights groups are demanding that the NCW make its report public.

Annie Raja from the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW), who, along with the NCW team had visited young girls branded as Maoists at the Raipur jail and spent two hours with Ms. Soni, condemned the non-serious attitude of NCW.

“Shamina should tell us on what basis she thought Soni needs psychological help. In fact, it was Shamina who asked Soni if she had any demands and gave her a paper to write them down.”

In a handwritten letter of Ms. Soni to the NCW team, she had made seven demands. Some of them were: “We should be taken to the court whenever we are summoned. We should be provided food when we go to court. Because of Naxal cases, we are not given timely medical treatment…. I need help for my children. In the fight between the Naxals and the government I have lost everything. While the Naxals were harassing my father, I have been branded a Naxal sympathiser even though I am innocent. I have a lot to say but my fight is going on in the court and hence I cannot speak any more. Only I should not be tortured as now I do not have the strength to bear torture. Whenever I have written or spoken the truth I have been punished. This should not happen in the future.”

Ms. Raja asked how could somebody writing so lucidly be called mentally unsound?

“In case of sexual torture, victims undergo trauma and need counselling but that is in no way similar to being called unsound and being locked up in the Agra mental asylum,” said Sudha Sundararaman of the All India Democratic Women’s Association.

Among other rights abuses being faced by Ms. Soni and women prisoners lodged in Jagdalpur, the Adivasi teacher informed the legal team that on February 4, on the way to Dantewada, the drunken police escort tried to molest her and another female prisoner.

  • Annie Raja: Soni had elucidated her demands clearly in a letter, how can she be mentally unsound?
  • Soni had informed a legal team that on the way to Dantewada a drunk police escort made a molestation bid

Posted March 8, 2013 by Shiney Varghese

Soni Sori is an Adivasi school teacher who was arrested, tortured and sexually assaulted by Chhattisgarh state police in 2011.

As the world was getting ready to usher in the New Year, most Indians were mourning the death of one of their young women, gang-raped on the night of December 16 on a bus that she boarded along with her companion. This is not the first time a woman was raped while travelling, nor was it the first time ayoung middle-class woman was gang-raped. Yet it galvanized the young and the old, women and men of India in a manner that had not happened before. There were many gatherings across the country to protest and mourn; there was an outpouring of grief and anger online too.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, I am most acutely aware of the grim reality faced by most women in this world: gender-based violence. It manifests itself differently in different cultures, but is omnipresent all the same.

Gendered violence is intrinsically linked to women’s livelihoods as well, such as women’s roles in agriculture and food systems: as farmers, agricultural laborers, food processors, and finally as the main persons responsible for providing and preparing food for homes.

Sheelu, a feminist activist with Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective, realized early on that sexual violence was an everyday reality for the women that the collective worked with, whether they were engaged in a household related activity (collecting water or firewood) or an economic activity (collecting fodder, employed in a agri-processing factory). Campaigns against gender-based violence quickly became one of the central focuses of the women’s collective. These campaigns, in turn, created the conditions for the collective’s members to begin other work to empower women within the community and the region to address resource rights to improve their livelihoods. They became much stronger political actors able to more effectively claim their rights to food and land, something they could not have done without first addressing the violence that held them back at every turn.

Violence against women occurs in a multiple contexts: in the family, in the field, at the workplace, during caste, religious and communal conflicts, as well as by police and state officials. Sexual violence is used to control women (within the household or within the community), or the class/community she belongs to (e.g., in conflicts over land, inter-caste or communal violence or state-sponsored violence) in the event of a conflict. In contexts where women have no access to economic assets, they often have no recourse but to tolerate domestic violence.

Moreover, if the woman belongs to a community that is already in the margins of society, such acts of violence are often carried out with impunity, as is in the case of indigenous women in Canada, Native American women in the United States or Dalit women in India. According to Violence Against Dalit Women, the plight of Dalit (SC) women “seems much more alarming when one looks at the data pertaining to serious crimes such as rape and murder.” Simply put, women’s bodies often become the battleground for a number of different kinds of fights: cultural, communal, ethnic, racial, social, economic and domestic, and these fights can take place anywhere, public or private.

In the case of developing countries that are undergoing rapid urbanization and industrialization, the state can perpetuate or be complicit in human rights violations, as can be seen from the attempts to silence vocal women such as Soni Sori and several other less well known women in India. Similarly, when communities faced with displacement or destruction of livelihoods choose to exert their right to homeland and livelihoods, companies in search of metals and minerals may even resort to violence to silence them. Survivors of the gang rape of the eleven Q’eqchi’ women of Guatemala are suing the Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals Inc. and its subsidiary HMI Nickel for its role in the violence against women protesting its operations.

But the winds are changing: Thousands of ordinary women around the world joined organizers of one billion rising marking a day of action to protest against violence against women and girls last month. As if in recognition of the changing mood of millions of people, when the 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-57) meets at the United Nations in New York this week (March 4–15), its focus is on violence against women and the priority theme is the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. A multitude of events are held this International Women’s Day to protest violence against women, seek justice and celebrate the distance we have traveled over the last century.

New Jersey, March 13, 2013 -Against a background of everincreasing

reports of rape and other violence on women in India, several individuals including the NJ chapter members from Association For India Development ,

People For Loksatta , India Against Chapter, Telangana Development Forum gathered on Friday,

March 8th, in Oak Tree Road, New Jersey to stand in solidarity with victims and survivors of

gender violence in India. Given the growing outrage in India as a result of the recent rape case in

Delhi, the protestors wanted to raise awareness and express anger against the alarming

incidence of violence. This event marked special mention of Soni Sori, an adivasi school teacher

currently held in the Central Jail in Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, India. Similar protests have also

been organized in other cities including Boston, London and several cities in India on the

ocassion of the International Women’s Day on March 8th. Soni Sori has been the symbol of

global protests in the past due to the custodial rape and torture she had to face from the jail


Sori was arrested in New Delhi on October 4, 2011 and accused of being a Maoist supporter.

Despite her appeals to cowaurts in New Delhi, she was handed over to the Chhattisgarh police

and taken to the state where she was beaten, sexually assaulted and given electric shocks by

the police. Sori documented her torture in letters she wrote to her lawyer, and which have since

been widely publicized.

A petition in support of Soni Sori was read out by Suresh Ediga, the organizer of the event. The

petition was then signed by all the participants and a copy of the same would be handed over to

the Indian Embassy in New York in the coming days. They then took out a silent march in an

effort to create more awareness about Soni Sori and her fight for justice. Each one of the

participants recorded a 10 second video in support of Soni Sori, as part of the One Billion rising

for Soni Sori. It is noteworthy to mention that Sori has been acquitted in four out of the eight

cases in which she was charged.

Participants also took part in an impromptu discussion and discussed among the other things

why Soni Sori should matter, why tribal issues in remote villages of Chattisgarh should matter

and how citizens can play an active role in bringing transparency and accountability in

governance? Organizers assured that this is just one in a many series of actions to speak

against the injustice and violence that women face on a daily basis.

Pica Avilable  here-

Letter to the Supreme Court Judge and the lawyer

Sir Judge

Upon your order, I was treated in Kolkata, which saved my life. Then why have I been sent back among the same people? I am not safe here. I’m having to battle many problems. If your court believes the charges against me, punish me. But don’t leave me among these people. Each day and each night is extremely difficult. I have great pain internally and I await your judgement.  The Chhattisgarh government did not delay in bringing me to the Court. The Court in Delhi very swiftly handed me over to them. Then why this delay in your Court?

Was the abuse on me not enough? Why did you give me a new lease of life then? You should have left me to die. I live, thanks to your order, which I’ll never forget. I don’t understand why the Delhi Court doesn’t hear my cries. If they had understood my helplessness, I wouldn’t have been in this state. Despite all that, I was handed over the Chhattisgarh police. At that point, in my heart I was saying “Please don’t send me with them; what they will do with their sister/daughter, you have no idea. “ But the esteemed Court had more faith in the police than in their daughter and because of that, I have lost everything today. The Court still doesn’t understand. Anyway, today one daughter has been abused. Tomorrow it will be another.

This is a plea from a helpless daughter. Please do something otherwise they will just become stronger in the coming days. They said to me that it is the Court that has permitted us to keep you in our custody. Now which Court do I appeal in? This means, Sir Judge, that your Court handed me over to them. They can do anything. I am this country’s first daughter who they brought here with the permission of the Court and then heartlessly abused mentally and physically. Why this injustice to me? Giving electric shocks, stripping me naked, shoving stones inside me – is this going to solve the Naxal problem?

Sir Judge, my body is in great pain. If, in case, I die before you are able to pass judgment, then the Chattisgarh government and police are to be held responsible. Ever since SP Ankit Garg and other police officers did what they did to me, my body is in bad shape. I have three children. After me, there is no one to look after them. My husband has been in jail for the last year and a half in a false case. The Naxals have looted my father’s house. My children need support. My three children are going through great difficulty. They live like orphans. This is a mother’s plea for her children, Sir Judge. Sir Judge, the police is committing the crime and I am being punished.

If they had made the warrant a year and a half ago, why did they not arrest me? I went to the police station and CRP camp many times. I used to meet the police officers and the cops used come home many times. Whenever there was an administrative meeting of the Collector , or any other officer in Dantewada, I was always present.  Why wasn’t I arrested then? In the Essar case also, the police made a plan to take money from them and asked me to pretend to be a Naxalite. When I refused, they said we have an arrest warrant in your name. If you do this for us, we won’t arrest you. Think about it. Sir Judge, I did not do it.

I appeal to you,

Soni Sori(Sodi)