Posts Tagged ‘maoism’

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

authorities.

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-https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152675593270192.1073741827.859825191&type=1&l=167eff96d5

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TNN | Mar 9, 2013, 02.50 AM IST

 

RAIPUR: Standing tall on International Women’s Dayyouths were seen actively participating for the women cause in the state capital.

Over 45 law students of Hidayatullah National Law University, holding banners of Soni Sori, conducted a flash mob of 10 minutes at a city mall here.

On March 8, over one billion people across the world raised voice on Facebook for justice for Soni Sori, a tribal school teacher in Chhattisgarh, who was arrested in 2011 suspecting her to be Maoist.

She had alleged torture and sexual assault by the state police while serving imprisonment. “The convener Guneet Kaur, a student, initiated the step and gathered few students together to fight for justice for Soni Sori.

Slowly we came together in large numbers,” said Paridhi Tulsyan, a law student who participated in the event.

In another event, Balikotsav was conducted by a youth’s group called Aashayen during which more than 1,000 girl students were bestowed with school bags and stationary items. These girls belonged to ‘Bal Shramik’ schools meant for educating children who were in to child labour.

Girls from about 50 schools who participated in the event came out with broad smiles on their faces holding bags and gifts. “They had undergone free health check-ups and were provided free medicines if required. A dance competition was organized was also organized,” said Yash Tuteja, who heads the group.

There are 89 youths who run this group and work for society doing charitable activities, helping educate girl child and working for needy children. Many such events marked the day.

 

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DNA, March 8, 2013

Soni Sori, a young adivasi teacher from Chhattisgarh, has been in police custody since October 2011. She was arrested in Delhi on October 4, 2011 and charged with being a conduit between the Essar Group and Maoists. She was taken to the Dantewada police station, where she was allegedly raped and tortured with stones inserted into her vagina and rectum.

Suppressing the voice
Sori has been outspoken while questioning human rights violations by police and security forces in Chhattisgarh. “The Chhattisgarh government wants adivasis to stop organising, agitating or protesting abuse of human rights,” Himanshu Kumar, member of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said.
“Once labelled Maoists, terrorists or something equally convenient the system finds it easy to go after them,” says Kamayani  Bali Mahabal

Roll of shame

Dantewada SP Ankit Garg who Soni Sori has named as responsible for the sexual torture was presented the President’s gallantry award this Republic Day. He says the allegations made against him are all false. “Her Maoist mentors in Delhi and Mumbai are making her say all this… They are using her to gain mileage.”

Fight for her


Protest against sexual crimes has been on the rise, but Soni Sori’s story does not find any place inmedia and  public discussion on legislation against sexual violence. “This is what we’ll address with the ‘One Billion Rising For Soni Sori’ today,” says  human rights activist Kamayani  Bali Mahabal.

 

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Soni Sori Mukti Morcha organized a gathering followed by a rally along with poster demonstration at Kolkata Book fair on 9th February 2013. The morcha started its gathering in front of Little Magazine Pavilion around 3.30pm. Representatives from Durbar Mahila samanwaya Committee, Bandi Mukti Committee, Durbar Disha Mahila Griha Sramik Samanwaya Committee and Binodini Sramik Union and Amra Padatik  gathered raising posters in their hand demanding unconditional release for Soni Sori.

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They marched through different sections of book fair with slogans demanding seizure of the gallantry award from SP Ankit Garg who was the mastermind of the horrible sexual torture against Soni Sori. Many participants of the book fair showed their interest regarding Soni and present state of affairs . The rally was ended in a mass gathering in front of Little Magazine pavilion whre Choton Das from Bandi Mukti Committee and others described the obnoxious episode  of custodial sexual exploitation on Soni. Many participants after listening the incident expressed their mental trauma and shock. Swapna Gayen from Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee described it as a national shame. She also illustrated that while

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the nation showed their discontent against a rape in Delhi– the Soni’s sexual harassment and trauma remains unaddressed till date . Parbati Halder representing Amra Padatik told that custodial rape should be dealt with stringent punitive actions.

“The issue was unbelievable”commented a few college students who attended the event and promised to pay their support in all forthcoming programme of Soni Sori Mukti Morcha.

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Posted: January 19, 2013 in ankit garg, chhattisgarh, SONI SORI, Supreme Court, torture, Uncategorized, Women rights Tags: , , , , , , ,

 

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The National Commission on Women (NCW) is mandated to ‘investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws’, ‘ and ‘take suo moto notice of matters relating to deprivation of women’s rights’. Soni Sori turned to them for support. As early as 10th October, 2011, several women’s groups and activists too, called upon the NCW to take action in Soni’s case.

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The National Commission on Women (NCW) is mandated to ‘investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws’, ‘ and ‘take suo moto notice of matters relating to deprivation of women’s rights’. Soni Sori turned to them for support. As early as 10th October, 2011, several women’s groups and activists too, called upon the NCW to take action in Soni’s case. Many visits and appeals later, it became clear that their pleas were falling upon deaf ears. On the 10th of October, 2012, around a hundred women and student activists stormed the NCW office on Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhayay Marg, protesting against its year-long inaction. Video of the protest by women’s groups and activists as they storm the NCW office, demanding action – http://youtu.be/ahCqI3kBNcoOn the 4th of October 2011, Soni Sori a 36-year old adivasi school warden from Dantewada, Chhattisgarh was arrested on false charges of being a Maoist supporter and taken into custody by the Chhattisgarh police, by whom she was brutally tortured and sexually assaulted. Over the past year, her right to life and dignity has been repeatedly violated by jail and police authorities. She has been consistently humiliated and denied medical attention. Today, despite the efforts of various individuals, activists and women’s groups, Soni has received no justice. No action has been taken against the Chhattisgarh police. Instead, Ankit Garg, the SP of Dantewada under whose behest Soni Sori was subjected to sexual violence and torture, was awarded the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry. Soni, however, continues her brave fight against injustice. In an open letter to social workers, activists, the women’s commission and the citizens of India, Soni Sori poignantly asks ‘…by giving me current, 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?’ Wondering whose support she could seek out in her fight for justice she asks ‘Whom should I have called? It was the courts, themselves, who handed me over to the police’Given that the National Commission on Women (NCW) is mandated to ‘investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws’, ‘ and ‘take suo moto notice of matters relating to deprivation of women’s rights’, one would assume that Soni could turn to them for support, as she rightly has. As early as 10th October, 2011, several women’s groups and activists too, called upon the NCW to take action in Soni’s case. Many visits and appeals later, it became clear that their pleas were falling upon deaf ears. On the 27th of September 2012, representatives of some women’s organisations once again approached the NCW regarding Soni Sori’s case. Despite the fact that the NCW had ordered an inquiry with the Chhattisgarh Police, Hemlata Kheria, Member-in-Charge of Chhattisgarh, was not even aware of Sori’s case. It took two hours for her file to be dug out. The file contained a reply of the Chhattisgarh police dated 17th February, 2012. The NCW had neither taken cognizance of this reply, nor forwarded it to the complainants.protestors outisde the NCW office A fortnight later, on the 10th of October, 2012, around a hundred women and student activists stormed the NCW office on Delhi’s Deen Dayal Upadhayay Marg, protesting against its year-long inaction. Meeting with the protestors, NCW member secretary Charu Walikhanna informed the group that Soni Sori’s case had been closed by the NCW on the 4th of October, 2012, saying that “since this matter is sub judice in the Supreme Court, it will not be proper for us to intervene.” Their closure report stated that ‘at our end, nothing seems more to be done.’ Once again, the NCW had not bothered to convey its decision to the complainants. Had a simple ‘report’ from the accused in the case – the Chhattisgarh Police – sufficed to convince the NCW of their innocence? Could it have served as grounds enough for the apex national level organization instituted to protect and promote the interests of women, to close down a case of reported torture and sexual violence by a woman prisoner? We are compelled then to ask whether the NCW is effectively addressing the issues for which it had been created and upholding the rights of those whose interests it is supposed to protect. The NCW, established in 1992 under the provisions of the 1990 National Commission for Women Act, was set up to monitor, scrutinize and influence state policies – a body that was located inside the government and yet independent of it – giving it in the dual responsibility of being a watchdog body that constantly scrutinizes and checks anti-people policies of the state and also one that positively helps to develop capacities within the government to address the issues of the marginalized from the rights and justice perspective. The creation of the NCW was the result of the pressure of a vibrant women’s movement which began in the 1970s that gave visibility to women’s issues and changed the state’s perspectives on women’s roles and participation. Given its history and intent, one would assume that the NCW should be expected to play a pro-active role in the struggles of women, and do so by influencing state policies and institutions. But to what extent is any of this being done? To what extent is the NCW accomplishing what it set out to do? Is it exercising its power to ‘call for special studies or investigations into specific problems or situations arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women’? To ‘take up the cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities’? To what extent is it able to bring in changes in the culture and practices of bureaucratic structures of the state? In the case of Soni Sori, none of this was done. Despite being empowered to conduct independent fact-findings, to visit jails and remand homes, to submit their reports in court, to summon witnesses and examine them, and to hold public hearings, the NCW did not utilize any of these extensive powers to look into the serious complaints of Soni Sori who has been imprisoned and tortured. It made no attempt to contact her when she was hospitalized in Delhi for over a month, or help women’s groups reach her in jail. But this isn’t the first time that the NCW has failed to execute its sworn duty. It has repeatedly and frequently denied reports of sexual violence by security forces in several parts of the country, instead of seeking to investigate and end the impunity granted in such crimes. It refused to get involved in the Shopian case where Nilofer and Aasiya Jan were sexually assaulted and killed; it remained a mute spectator to the whisking away of Sodi Shambho, the crucial witness to Gompad massacre, by the Chhattisgarh police; it has yet to take action on a 15-month old petition for an investigation into the human rights violation of Irom Sharmila, who is being illegally detained by the Government. When the women of Koodankulam were brutally assaulted by the police for fighting for their rights, the NCW looked the other way. In Khairlanji, as a Dalit mother and daughter were stripped naked, dragged from their hut and hacked to death by the dominant castes of their village, the silence of the NCW resounded through the nations ears.Achievements of the NCW: a news clipping from the NCW website showing Chairperson Mamta Sharma at the launch of an album of devotional songs for Lord Ganesha The conduct of the Commission over the years has obscured the systemic injustices inflicted on women, trivialized the violations, and reduced the dignity of the institution itself. It isn’t simply on account of inaction that the NCW has failed us. Several controversial positions have reflected the Commission’s lack of understanding of women’s issues. Advising victims of sexual assault to dress “carefully” to avoid sexual violence and calling upon women to graciously accept the term ‘sexy’, members of the commission have repeatedly revealed their anti-women prejudices and patriarchal outlook. Probing the appointment of the Chairperson and members of the Commission puts some of these remarks in context. Rather than being chosen by virtue of their involvement in the women’s movement and their championship of women’s rights, the appointment of the Chairperson and members of the NCW has been largely influenced by political considerations. Over the years, several have been nominees of the government in power with no history of working on women’s issues. As a result, they have not only lacked the experience and necessary expertise for the job, but also the perspectives needed for processes of social change.
The political nature of the appointments has affected the autonomous functioning of the Commission and has compromised their ability to act against those in power. After a prolonged discussion on October 10th, 2012, once the protesting activists pointed out the provisions of the NCW Act which empowers the Commission to intervene and/or assist in any pending case, members of the Commission finally relented and agreed to reopen Soni Sori’s case. However, our experience of dealing with the NCW, together with the experience of countless women over the years, has compelled us to ask some fundamental questions of the Commissions members and its mode of functioning. At a time when we are faced with an unprecedented number of incidents of State repression and sexual violence against women, the need for an autonomous and effective statutory body that protects the interests of women is stronger than ever before. It is most distressing that at a time like this, the National Commission on Women has become inert, ineffective and incompetent. The WSS, together with other organizations and voices of resistance, refuses to let the NCW lightly explain away its inactivity and shrug its duties. We demand accountability and action. The protest on October 10, 2012 resulted in the formulation of the following demands: • Immediate resignation of the present Chairperson and other Members • Re-constitution of the Commission in an open and transparent manner •
Immediate enquiry into the custodial torture of Soni Sori • Initiation of investigations into conditions of women prisoners in Chhattisgarh • Performance audit of the NCW by an independent panelThe action was part of the JUSTICE FOR SONI SORI CAMPAIGN and was attended by members and activists of All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), All India Students Association (AISA), Delhi Forum, Delhi Solidarity Group, National Alliance of People’s Movement, People’s Democratic Front of India (PDFI), People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), Right to Water Campaign, SAHELI, and Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS).

 

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When: One Billion Rising on March 8th 2013.
Who: People of all gender with head, heart and a strong spine
Where: Here. There. Anywhere. Wherever we have such people.

What: Organise your own ‘One Billion Rising’ action in your city, school, university, work place. Organise it any form you like. Or check the list of events on this page and join the one you can. Don’t worry If you are unable to make it to the streets, there are several online actions: petitions, letters to Indian government. But whatever you decide to do leave a message here so that others can join.

JOIN US ON  FACEBOOK HERE

https://www.facebook.com/OneBillionRisingforsonisori

CHHATTISGARH, Jan 04, 2013
New Delhi: As the outrage over the brutal gangrape and subsequent death of the 23-year-old medical student has galvanised a nation with questionable gender parity, it is difficult to place the story of Soni Sori, the young tribal teacher from Chhattisgarh, in the ongoing introspection and legislation against sexual violence. If there is a growing national consensus against sexual violence, there is also the same consensus among most of the urban agitators at India Gate and other cities to rid the nation of the Naxal problem. And when the police and security forces, assigned the task of eliminating the Maoists from India’s forests and hinterlands, adopt sexual violence as one of their tools, the discourse over rape and gender justice is muddled.

Sori, in police custody since October 2011 at the Raipur Central Jail, was arrested on charges of being a courier between Maoists and the Essar group. In custody, Sori was not only allegedly raped at the Dantewada police station, but tortured too with stones inserted into her private parts. Her health since the assault has been deteriorating and activists fear she may lose her life before her plea for bail is addressed by the courts. In her many letters, Soni has been complaining of bad health and being denied sustenance. “Giving electric shocks, stripping me naked, shoving stones inside me – is this going to solve the Naxal problem,” she once asked in a letter to the Supreme Court.

Activists insist Sori was jailed for questioning human rights violations by police and security forces in the state. “Chhattisgarh has an unwritten set of rules about how an adivasi should behave. You don’t organise, you don’t agitate, you don’t protest against human rights violations, you don’t protest against the state, and you certainly don’t protest against industrial houses that are in Bastar to usher in the industrial revolution,” Himanshu Kumar, member of the Chhattisgarh chapter of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), said. Sori has also been termed as a prisoner of conscience by the Amnesty International in 2012.

Kavita Krishnan, Secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, slammed the recent National Commission for Women member Shamina Shafiq’s visit to Soni Sori in a Raipur jail. The NCW member, after the meeting, said Sori is doing fine and that she only needs psychological counselling. Calling the statement ‘outrageous’, Krishnan demanded the immediate release of Sori since ‘she continues to be in the captivity of her rapists’. The crucial hearing of her case in the Supreme Court, scheduled for Thursday, was deferred until Tuesday without citing any reason.

Meanwhile, a section of the anti-rape protesters in Delhi has included Sori’s story in India’s fight against sexual violence. On Wednesday, members of the All India Students’ Association (AISA), along with several intellectuals and political leaders including Aam Aadmi Party’s Prashant Bhushan and social activist Swami Agnivesh, staged a silent march, demanding Sori’s release. “She has been repeatedly subjected to the most barbaric and repulsive sexual abuse in police custody – two separate medical reports has shown evidence of stones being shoved into her private parts. And yet, despite repeated protests, no action has been taken till now,” a statement issued by AISA said.

The Delhi protesters also demanded punishment for Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg who allegedly ordered the sexual torture of Sori. Garg was awarded the president’s medal in 2012 for professional excellence. In the continuing tragedy of Chhattisgarh, one of the worst hit by Maoist insurgency, Sori, despite the sexual violence and torture, remains just one amongst its many dramatis personae.