Posts Tagged ‘ankit garg’

By Newzfirst Correspondent4/12/13

 

New Delhi – After learning from Soni Sori’s lawyers that she is being subjected to a psychiatric evaluation by the Chhattisgarh government in Central Jail, Jagdalpur, women’s rights groups Thursday termed this as an attempt to declare her mentally unsound, thus creating doubts over her complaints of sexual torture in police custody and subsequent harassment in jail.

“This ‘psychiatric evaluation’ appears to be a sinister ploy by the Chhattisgarh Government to discredit Soni’s serious and genuine complaints against the police and jail authorities for her sexual torture (confirmed by doctors of NRS Hospital, Kolkata) and harassment and denial of human rights of prisoners in Raipur jails (verified by NHRC),” rights groups said in a letter addressed to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Thursday.

Soni Sori, a tribal teacher from Chhattisgarh, was jailed on charges of aiding Maoists in October 2011. Presently, she is kept in the Central Jail of Jagdalpur. Sori was arrested in Delhi on 7 October 2011 and was handed over to Chhattisgarh police the next day.

“On the night of 8.10.2011, from 12 midnight to 2:30 am, SP Ankit Garg called me into a room in the police station, gave me electric shocks (current shock), took my clothes off and severely tortured me”, Sori wrote in a letter addressed to the Supreme Court last year.

On 2 December 2011, the report submitted by NRS Medical Hospital established that two stones were found in her private parts and rectum, clearly corroborating the veracity of Soni Sori’s charge.

“It needs to be recalled that following her custodial torture in October 2011, Soni Sori was denied proper medical examination and treatment in Chhattisgarh. The medical authorities in Raipur, instead of investigating Soni Sori’s injuries due to sexual torture, labelled her a malingerer (a person feigning illness), entirely dismissing her extensive injuries. It was only when Soni Sori was taken to Kolkata under the orders of the Supreme Court that stones thrust into her private parts came to light,” the letter, addressed to Chhattisgarh CM, read.

Teams from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National Commission of Women (NCW) had visited Raipur Central Jail in November and December 2012, following complaints of ill-treatment of Soni Sori and other women prisoners.

Following this visit, the NHRC had confirmed that “Soni Sori has on several occasions been singled out for harsh and humiliating ill-treatment” and has been subjected to “traumatic ordeals and odious practices” while in Central Jail, Raipur.

While the official report of the NCW visit is still pending, the observation of the visiting NCW member Shamina Shafiq that Soni Sori needed “psychological counselling” in order to cope with her traumatic experience of sexual abuse in police custody, was extensively covered in the media. However, Annie Raja of NFIW, who was also part of the NCW team visiting the Raipur jail, had rebutted this observation and clarified that “Soni Sori had been very articulate in her meeting with the NCW, and presented her case sharply and precisely. More than counselling, Soni Sori needs justice.”

This casual remark – made by Shamina Shafiq – was taken out of context and was used as the basis for ordering the jail authorities to administer a psychiatric evaluation of Soni Sori, women’s rights activists alleged.

“In March 2013, Ms. Shafiq expressed her outrage that her sympathetic remark regarding Soni Sori was being turned on its head by your government to Soni Sori’s detriment,” they said in the letter to CM Raman Singh.

“Apart from attacking Soni Sori’s credibility as a reliable witness, such a psychiatric evaluation can also serve as a basis for locking her away in a mental health institution for an indefinite period of time and avoid taking action against the police officials involved in her torture,” they added.

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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

sonisori_postcard

Please continue to send her postcards,

at the following address

sonicard

Date: 11.4.2013

To:

Dr. Raman Singh

Chief Minister

Mantralaya, D.K.S. Bhavan,

Raipur, Chhattisgarh 492001

Subject: Please stop continued harassment of Soni Sori through “psychiatric evaluAtion”

Honourable Chief Minister Raman Singh,

We, the undersigned, are shocked to learn from Soni Sori’s lawyers that she is being

subjected to a psychiatric evaluation by the Chhattisgarh government in Central Jail,

Jagdalpur. 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. We strongly protest this move by the Chhattisgarh government.

As you may remember, teams from both the National Human Rights Commission and the

National Commission of Women had visited Raipur Central Jail in November and

December 2012, following complaints of ill-treatment of Soni Sori and other women

prisoners.

Following this visit, the NHRC has confirmed that “Soni Sori has on several occasions

been singled out for harsh and humiliating ill-treatment” and has been subjected to

“traumatic ordeals and odious practices” while in Central Jail, Raipur. While the official

report of the NCW visit is still pending, the observation of the visiting NCW member, Ms

Shamina Shafiq, that Soni Sori needed “psychological counselling” in order to cope with

her traumatic experience of sexual abuse in police custody, was extensively covered in

the media. However, Ms Annie Raja of NFIW, who was also part of the NCW team

visiting the Raipur jail, had rebutted this observation and clarified that “Soni Sori had

been very articulate in her meeting with the NCW, and presented her case sharply and

precisely. More than counselling, Soni Sori needs justice.”

It appears that your government has taken the casual remark made by Ms Shamina

Shafiq, stripped of all context, and used it as a basis to order the jail authorities to

administer a psychiatric evaluation of Soni Sori. In a meeting with women’s rights

activists in March 2013, Ms. Shafiq expressed her outrage that her sympathetic remark

regarding Soni Sori was being turned on its head by your government to Soni Sori’s

detriment.

It needs to be recalled that following her custodial torture in October 2011, Soni Sori was

denied proper medical examination and treatment in Chhattisgarh. The medical

authorities in Raipur, instead of investigating Soni Sori’s injuries due to sexual torture,

labelled her a malingerer (a person feigning illness), entirely dismissing her extensive

injuries. It was only when Soni Sori was taken to Kolkata under the orders of the

Supreme Court that stones thrust into her private parts came to light. Later on, Soni’s

entreatments for medical attention fell on deaf ears in Raipur jail, as she continued to

suffer from medical complications arising from her sexual torture. It took another order

of the Hon’ble Supreme Court to bring Soni to AIIMS in Delhi, where she was finally

given adequate medical treatment and nursed back to health.

In view of the sheer neglect and ill treatment of Soni Sori on earlier occasions, this

“psychiatric evaluation” based upon a third person’s remarks is not indicative of any

sudden concern for Soni Sori’s welfare and mental health, but of malafide intentions of

the government. We are well aware that your government has still not taken cognizance

of the complaint of sexual torture that Soni made against the then SP of Dantewada,

Ankit Garg, a year and a half ago, and has consistently ignored her complaints of

harassment by jail authorities. The colossal indifference of your government to the

grave issue of her complaints of custodial sexual violence has gone to the extent of

recommending Garg for a President’s Gallantry Award In January 2012. Hence, this

sudden and prompt concern for Soni’s mental well-being seems rather disingenuous and

insincere.

Indeed, this “psychiatric evaluation” appears to be a sinister ploy by the Chhattisgarh

government to discredit Soni’s serious and genuine complaints against the police and jail

authorities for her sexual torture (confirmed by doctors of NRS Hospital, Kolkata) and

harassment and denial of human rights of prisoners in Raipur jails (verified by NHRC).

Apart from attacking Soni Sori’s credibility as a reliable witness, such a psychiatric

evaluation can also serve as a basis for locking her away in a mental health institution for

an indefinite period of time and avoid taking action against the police officials involved

in her torture.

We demand that the Chhattisgarh government immediately quash further proceedings in

this “psychiatric evaluation” and instead take sincere and honest steps to redress Ms.

Soni’s genuine greivances of sexual torture and ill-treatment.

We wish to re-iterate what

 

Ms Annie Raja has already stated – what Soni Sori needs is respect, dignity and

 

justice, and not a psychiatric evaluation for demanding her rights.

 

Sincerely,

All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA)

All India Progressive Women’s Assocation (AIPWA)

Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault

Jagori

National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW)

Saheli

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH

This if for all social workers intellectuals, NGOs, human rights organisations, women’s commission and citizens of India. An abused and helpless tribal woman, is asking you to answer why she is being brutally tortured and she wants to know–

That by giving me electric shocks, by stripping me naked, or by brutally assaulting me and inserting stones in my rectum- will the problem of Naxalism end ? Why so many atrocities on women? I want to know from all my countrypeople.

When I was being stripped, I felt someone should come and save me and it did not happen. In Mahabharata , Draupadi’s honour was saved when she called upon Krishna. Whom should I have called? I was given to them ( police ) by the court . But now ,I can’t ask to save my honour as I have nothing left. Yes, I want to know from all of you that why was I tortured?

Police officer, S. P Ankit Garg after stripping me said, “You are a whore, a bitch, who pleases naxal leaders by selling your body and they come to your house every day and night. We know everything.”, he said adding, “You claim to be a good teacher, but you sell yourself even in Delhi. What’s your status, anyway? You think the big stalwarts will support such an ordinary woman like you?”. Why will a police officer say this? Today history is witness that whenever there is war in a country or any other conflict, women have contributed a lot to the nation. Jhansi Lakshmi Bai fought with the Britishers, did she sell herself ? Indira Gandhi as the prime minister of India , she governed the country, did she sell herself ? Today all the women who are working in their respective areas, are they selling themselves ? All of us are bound with each other in unity and support, then why no one is coming to help me ? I would like to have an answer from you.

Who has made the world? Who gave birth to the powerful, intellectual fighters? If woman would not have been there, was it possible that India would have got freedom? I am a woman, so why did this happen to me, answer me.

My education has been mocked at. I got my education at the Gandhian school, Rukmani Kanya Ashram, Dimripal. I strongly believe in the power of my education. Whether it is a naxal problem or any other, I can face it. Education is my tool for survival and pen is my weapon of choice . Still they have put me in jail as a Naxal supporter. Mahatma Gandhi also had the same tools. If Mahatma Gandhi was alive today, then would he also have been put behind bars as a Naxal supporter? I want to know from all of you.

Why are only villagers and tribals being put in jails as Naxal supporters and cases been fabricated against them? Many other people can be Naxal supporters. Is it because they are illiterate, uneducated, simple people, living in huts in forests, and they have do not have money or is it because they have the capacity to tolerate torture much more? Why? I want to know from you people.

We Adivasis are being abused and tortured in many ways. We are accused of being Naxal supporters. Cases are being fabricated against us, even for 1 or 2 cases people are being kept in prison for 5 or 6 years. Neither there is judgement, nor bail or acquittal. After all, why? Is it because we Adivasi people do not have the calibre to fight the government or that government is not with Adivasi? Or because Adivasis are not sons/ daughters or relatives of big political leaders. Till when will the adivasis be exploited, till when? I am asking all citizens of India. Answer me.

In Jagdalpur and Dantewada prisons, 16 year olds boys and girls were bought and they are now 20-21 years old. But still their cases are not being heard. If their cases will not be heard in coming days or years, then what will be their future? Why so much atrocities upon the adivasis? All social workers, intellectuals, NGOs, citizens, please think.

The Naxals looted my father’s house and shot my father in the leg making him disabled. Why did they do that? They thought my father was a police informer. About 20-25 people from my father’s village Bade-Bidema have been put in jail as Naxal supporters. The Naxalites punished my father for their imprisonment. I want to know from you who is responsible for this? Government or police or my father? Today there is no support or help for my father. Instead, the police administration is trying to implicate his daughter as a criminal. If he was a politician, we would have got help but my father is a ordinary villager and an Adivasi, what will the government do for the Adivasis? Tell me.

Struggling with Torture- a Chhattisgarhi woman,
Soni Sori (Sodi)

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)