Posts Tagged ‘supreme court’

Ashutosh Bhardwaj : NewdelhiThu Dec 26 2013

Maoist exile
Soni Sori with nephew Lingaram Kodapi in Delhi. IE

Away from their forested home in Dantewada, two alleged Maoists are living in exile in a crowded lane in Delhi. Barred from entering their “motherland” Chhattisgarh, tribal teacher  and her nephew Lingaram Kodapi, both accused in the Essar-Maoists payoffs case, spend their days meeting activists, students and readingMarx among other things.

“If you say Lal Salaam or use the word Marx in , you will be termed aNaxal and arrested immediately. In Delhi many people say Lal Salaam,” says Sori, 37.

“I am surprised that Marx is taught in colleges here. Arrest all these students,” adds Kodapi, 25.

In Chhattisgarh, Marx is considered to constitute Maoist literature — sufficient evidence for arrest under the stringent Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act.

After spending over two years in , the duo were released after being granted interim  by the Supreme Court last month. But they were prohibited from entering Chhattisgarh.

“My tragedy is not the jail term. I could have lived with that. Tribals in my region (Bastar) are usually put in jail for no reason. The bigger tragedy is that I lost my motherland. Puri duniya men badnaam ho gayi main (I have been dishonoured in the whole world),” says Sori.

Her two daughters and a son live with her brother in Dantewada. “I cannot go back to my children. Their childhood has been destroyed,” she adds. After being released on bail, Sori was given little time to even meet her children, as she and Kodapi had to leave Chhattisgarh within 24 hours. They now live in the office of their lawyer,Colin Gonsalves. Always accompanied by a guard, they have to report to the nearest police station every week.

“Policemen in Delhi don’t know our case, they taunt us saying that we are notorious Naxals. They say `tumhen chhorna nahi chahiye tha. Supreme Court ne tum par meharbani kar di (you should not have been released. The Supreme Court did you a favour),” says Kodapi.

“It’s not bail. We are still living in a jail,” adds Sori.

These days, Kodapi is watching Steven Soderbergh’s Che, a gift from a British friend. He reads English books and quotes Nelson Mandela.

“The government of India has not done justice to tribals. We never asked for anything. We only want liberation, not reservations. My Constitution gives me the right to equality,” he says.

The duo have been acquitted in all other cases except the Essar-Maoists payoff case. Sori was in jail when her mother died last year. Her husband and co-accused Anil Futane reportedly succumbed to injuries he sustained in jail days after he was acquitted in August this year.

“They granted bail to the Essar general manager and B K Lala (Essar’s contractor), but denied it to us. If the high court had given me bail, I could have gone back to live in my village, but now I have been evicted, without a home,” says Sori.

Essar is alleged to have paid “protection money” to Maoists, and Sori and Kodapi are alleged to have acted as conduits.

Kodapi blames both the security forces and the Maoists. He says while the former wanted him to become a special police officer (SPO), the Maoists also wanted him to join their ranks. He refused both offers, he says.

“Maoists force tribal youths to join them. Several years ago, Badru (a Maoist commander) called me and asked me to fight against the police. I refused. Now, Badru is the police’s man,” he says.

He says the trial has steeled his resolve and “faith in the Constitution and non-violence”. “They have pitted me against myself. When they arrested me, I asked them to kill me, or else I will defeat them. Even if you keep me in jail for 20 years, I will come out and defeat you,” he says.

Read more here-–jail-says-soni-sori–exiled–in-delhi/1211809/




MOHAMMAD ALI, Jan 3,2013, The Hindu

“Has been subjected to barbaric sexual abuse in police custody

Locating the alleged sexual torture of the young tribal teacher Soni Sori in police custody at Raipur Central Jail in the context of the ongoing debate and agitation against violence against women, several activists and intellectuals held a silent protest march from Jantar Mantar to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Ahead of her case which is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court on Thursday, they demanded her immediate release and punishment to the Dantewada Superintendent of Police.

Chhattisgarh-based human rights activist Himanshu Kumar, who has been in touch with Soni Sori through letters, argued that Ms. Sori’s human rights were being grossly violated as she was being repeatedly subjected to the most barbaric and repulsive sexual abuse for more than a year now in police custody in Raipur Central Jail. “At least two separate medical reports have shown evidence of stones being shoved into her private parts. Yet, despite repeated protests, no action had been taken till now,” he said.

Former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union Sucheta De alleged that despite Ms. Sori’s repeated requests for safety and protection from the “torture” of Chhattisgarh Police, she has not been transferred out of the State. “She has been in jail for more than a year on spurious, trumped up charges. Finally, her case will be heard on Thursday at the Supreme Court and we demand justice for her.”

Mahtab Alam from the Coalition for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders specifically highlighted that the SP who was accused of torturing Ms. Sori was awarded by the Government. “It is a matter of great shame and horror that far from being punished, he was awarded with the presidential police medal on January 26 last year.”

The speakers also highlighted that in reaction to the outrage across the country against the gang-rape, politicians have demanded fast-track courts to deal with rape cases. They have been ignoring the protesters demands of fast-tracking the over one lakh pending rape cases.

The silent protest march, which saw the participation among others by activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, activist Swami Agnivesh and academician Uma Chakravarty, started from Jantar Mantar which has been seeing ongoing protest against cases of violence against women and gang-rape of the 23-year-old medical student. The march was stopped a few metres away from the Supreme Court.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameswar asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) director to render her all medical assistance and submit a report to it before July 10. The bench passed the order after senior counsel Colin Gonsalves cited the latest report submitted by an advocate Sudha Bharadwaj, who has stated that Sori was suffering from multiple health complications, both in her private parts and general health conditions on account of the foreign particles thrust into her by the Chhattisgarh police.

It must be mentioned that the lawyers have been trying since January to get the Court’s attention to this matter. Soni’s health has, in the meantime been deteriorating.