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Demand for action against officials responsible for custodial torture

Shri Raman Singh
Chief Minister, Chhattisgarh
Room No. 303, Mantralaya, D.K.S. Bhavan,
Raipur (C.G.) 492001
Fax # 0771 2221306, 2331001

Date: 28 November 2011

Subject: Justice needs to be served to soni sori: demand for action
against officials responsible for custodial torture and deception in
court.

Sir,

We have already written to you in protest against the custodial
torture of Soni Sori of Dantewara district (letter attached). Further,
at a meeting with your Principal Secretary, N. Baijendra Kumar in
Delhi on 14th October 2011, he assured us that she was ‘safe in jail’
and that ‘her wounds were not serious.’ He also said that the Health
Secretary had confirmed the ‘fact’ and so there was no need for concern
about her safety.

However, as all the facts reveal, this was far from the truth.

  • The video that emerged showing Soni writhing in pain in the
    Dantewada District Hospital on 11 October was indeed, was evidence of
    custodial torture. On 15th October, the District Hospital, Dantewada
    medical report confirmed that she had contusion in her head and spine
    and that black marks were visible on her finger tips – further
    confirming this fact.
  • In her recent letter to the Supreme Court, Soni Sori clearly
    states that she had been pulled out of her cell at the Jagdalpur
    Police Station at ‘midnight of 8th/9th October on the orders of SP
    Ankit Garg, stripped and given electric shocks’. She woke up the next
    morning with acute pain all over her body, head and spine. That she
    could not even get down from the vehicle and walk to the court and be
    presented in front of the Magistrate is further proof of the extreme
    pain that she was undergoing because of the injuries inflicted upon
    her the previous night.

At this point itself we had ample reason to fear that Soni had also
been subjected to sexual abuse and torture. This apprehension has also
been proven true with the revelations of the medical report of the NRS
Medical College Hospital in Kolkata which has stated clearly that two
stones had been inserted in her vagina and one in her rectum, and that
she has annular tears in her spine. Such conduct by police officials
is absolutely outrageous and cannot go unpunished!

It is shocking that she has been subjected to all this after she was
taken from the Saket Court in Delhi on assurances that there would be
no physical or mental torture, and that all investigations would be
conducted as per the law.

In the strongest words, we demand that the state government of Chattisgarh:

  1. Immediately initiate punitive action against all concerned
    officials who authorised her to be flown to Raipur from Delhi and
    created the circumstances where she could be tortured in police
    custody before being produced in the Dantewada District Court.
  2. Initiate punitive action against SP Ankit Garg and all other
    police officials involved in her custodial torture, as well as medical
    officials who falsified her medical records claiming she was fine.
  3. Stop contesting Soni’s demand to face trial outside
    Chhattisgarh because clearly she is absolutely unsafe in the state!

If the Government of Chattisgarh fails totake proper action to
safeguard the legal rights and dignity of an undertrial, it is clear
that it has no moral authority to continue in office.

* Attached: Our letter dated 13 October 2011

Signed by the following organisations/networks and individuals:-

ORGANISATIONS/NETWORKS

1. Vani, Sadhna, Kalpana, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre, Delhi

2. Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression

3. MP Mahila Manch

4. Delhi Forum, Delhi

5. Madhavi Krishnawamy, Jan Sangharsh Morcha, MP

6. Programme for Social Action, Delhi

7. Delhi Solidarity Group

8. Rituparna Borah, Nirantar, Delhi

9. Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA

10. Shabnam Hashmi, Anhad

11. Indira Pancholi, Mahila Jan Adhikar Samiti, Rajasthan

12. Humane Trust, Koraput

13. Siddarth Vatysayan, AAG India, Delhi

14. Rakhi Sehgal, NTUI, Delhi

15. Ammu Abraham, Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai

16. Meena Seshu, SANGRAM/VAMP, Sangli

17. Madhu Mehra, Partners in Law for Development

18. Mary E John, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, Delhi

19. Action India, Delhi

20. Saumya Uma, Women’s Research and Action Group, Mumbai

21. Nandita Shah, Akshara, Mumbai

22. Rachana Atri, India Social Institute, Delhi

23. Pyoli Swatija, Vidyarthi Yuvjan Sabha

24. Chayanika, Lesbian and Bisexuals in Action

25. Nidhi Agarwal, Him Dhara, Palampur, HP

26. Manisha Sethi, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association

27. Anurag Modi, Shramik Adivasi Sangathan

28. Shamim Modi, Samajwadi Jan Parishad

29. Sylvie Palit, Narmada Bachao Andolan

30. Anuradha Talwar, Shramajivi Mahila Samity (West Bengal)

31. Dipika Nath, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Rights Programme,
Human Rights Watch

32. Vimochana, Begaluru

INDIVIDUALS

1. Prof. Uma Chakravarti

2. Prof. Nandini Sundar

3. Vasant Kannabiran, Hyderabad

4. Mamta Dash

5. Maya Rao

6. Geetha Nambisan

7. Anomita Goswami

8. Sahana Basavapatna

9. Kamayani Bali Mahibal

10. Kiran Shaheen

11. Purnima

12. Shalini Gera, student

13. Harshita Yalamarty, Student, JNU

14. Bela Bhatia

15. Rajshri Dasgupta, Kolkata

16. Leena Ganesh

17. Nalini Visvanathan

18. Sharamya Nayak, Koraput

19. Pushpa Achanta, Bangalore

20. Rashmi Singh

21. Anandi S, Chennai

22. Dunu Roy

23. Ponni Arasu

24. Srila Roy

25. Bishakha Dutta

26. Anna George

27. Pramada Menon

28. Dilip Simeon

29. Veena Gowda

30. Ranjana Padhi

31. Kalpana Kannabiran

32. Laxmi Murthy

33. Uma Chandru

34. Sandhya Srinivasan

35. Veena Shatrugna

36. Shobha SV

37. Mukul Mangalik, Associate Professor, Ramjas College, University of Delhi

38. Shahana Bhattacharya, Associate Professor, Kirorimal College,
University of Delhi

39. Teena Gill

40. Subhalakshmi Nandi

41. Shilpa Phadke

42. Anusha Hariharan

43. Neelima Aryan

44. Shipra Nigam

45. Ann Ninan, Journalist, Delhi

46. Prof Sadhna Saxena, Delhi University

47. Vijay Dhasama

48. Kriti Budhiraja

49. Lakshmi Premkumar, Researcher, Delhi

50. Aryakrishnan Ramakrishnan, Thiruvananthapuram

51. Sudha Bharadwaj

52. Purwa Bharadwaj, Delhi

53. Kalyani Menon-Sen, Gurgaon

54. Rajesh Srinivas

55. Janaki Abraham