PRESS RELEASE- Fact Finding Report ‘ Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ on Unlawful Police Activities in North Bastar


CHHATTISGARH LOK SWATANTRYA SANGATHAN

(PEOPLES UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES, CHHATTISGARH)

___________________________________________________________________________

                                                                                                                                                                Date 20th May 2013

To: The Editor/ Chief Reporter

PRESS RELEASE: FOR FAVOUR OF PUBLICATION

A team consisting of eminent activists and lawyers went for a fact finding mission organized by PUCL-Chhattisgarh to the Edanar and Malmeta Villages of the Edanar Panchayat, Kanker District and the Anjrel Village of Khadkagaon Panchayat, Narayanpur District of North Bastar, on 18th and 19th April 2013.  The purpose of the mission was to investigate and document the unlawful police activities that were exposed by Edanar villagers during a statewide camp by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) conducted on 12th April, 2013 in Raipur.   The representation by Edanar village focuses mainly on a police rampage that happened in Edanar and Malmeta Villages in which six villagers were assaulted, two families were robbed, and one innocent man was arrested, and remains in jail till date, after being accused of aiding Naxalites.

However, the 23rd January incident is only a small part of a longer history of militarization and unlawful police activities in this region.  In the Edanar Panchayat (P.S. Tadoki), security forces consisting of CRPF and BSF, accompanied by local police and Special Police Officers (SPOs), conduct combing operations twice a month in which homes are looted and villagers are assaulted, threatened, labeled as “Naxalites”, arrested, charged with very serious offences and some of them even killed. In the Khadkagaon Panchayat (P.S. Narayanpur), villagers are routinely terrorized and even evicted from their homes by local SPOs, despite the Supreme Court order declaring SPOs unconstitutional.

The team documented over 20 such incidents of unlawful activities in both panchayats.  The report also examines the legal issues associated with and the overall context in which these violent attacks have occurred.  It gives special importance to the broader impact of the ongoing militarization of the region including the six BSF camps which are already stationed in Kanker, and the pending construction of 22 paramilitary barracks by the Bhilai Steel Plant to protect the functioning of its Raoghat iron ore mine.

The team releases the attached report,  Guilty Until Proven Innocent :  A Fact Finding Report on Unlawful Police Activities in Two Panchayats of North Bastar, Chhattisgarh with the hope that the media would highlight the situation of the people living in these areas, understand the larger political and economic context of the ongoing violence, and strike a well-educated public discourse around the issue.   We strongly urge correspondents to visit the area and write firsthand accounts of the issues faced by the local villagers.

Team members include: Shishir Dikshit (Lawyer, Janhit Legal Center), Lakhan Singh (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh), Somdutt Upadhayay (Lawyer, Bilaspur Social Forum), Tathagata Sengupta (People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Chhattisgarh), Samantha Agarwal (Sanhati), Pinki Verma (Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha-Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti), and Keshav Sori (Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan). The following report has been jointly prepared by the members of the fact finding team.

For further information contact: Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj (9926603877)

Sincerely,

Sudha Bharadwaj

General Secretary, PUCL-Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh to outsource diagnostic services in government hospitals #WTFnews #healthcare


Author(s): Kundan Pandey, down to earth
Date: Jan 18, 2013

Activists say these centres will end up serving outside patients at the cost of hospital patients

The Chhattisgarh government has decided to outsource diagnostic services at its public health facilities. It has issued a request for proposal (RFP) in this regard. According to the RFP, the government would outsource radiology and lab services in 379 facilities, including district hospitals, community health and primary health centres. The state is planning to enter into an agreement with private parties for 10 years with provision for annual renewal.

In the PPP project, the government will provide space and electric meter to the partner firm or individual who will be free to cater to “external customers”. The rates will be those approved for National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), the accredited centre in Delhi under the Central Government of Health Scheme (CGHS). Monitoring will be done by third party. After setting performance level mutually, the government will reward high performers with five per cent bonus; low performers will be penalised.

Activists are critical of the move. Sulakshana Nandi of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan in Chhattisgarh says the government has not done its homework properly before taking such a big decision. “Tamil Nadu offers an example in contrast where, without any outsourcing, even the public health centres have been able to provide well functioning diagnostic services. In states where outsourcing of diagnostic services has been tried out, it has been a failure. The recent Common Review Mission, which analyses working of the National Rural Health Mission, clearly states that Bihar model was a complete failure,” she says.

Referring to the RFP, she says that concession of serving external patients could disturb the entire mechanism and the patients for whom the system is meant will become secondary. Pointing to the monitoring aspect, she says there would always remain a doubt whether the private (third) party is doing fair monitoring.

 

#Chhattisgarh- Tribal Girls’ Rape: Two Education Dept Officials Held #Vaw


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RAIPUR | Jan 14,2013,
Two officials of Chattisgarh education department were today arrested in connection with the rape of minor inmates of a government-run residential school for tribal girls at Jhaliyamari village in Kanker district.

With today’s arrests, the total number of those held in this connection so far has reached eight, including two teachers.

“Block Education Officer (BEO) S S Navarji and Additional Block Education Officer (ABEO) Jitendra Kumar Nayak were booked for inaction against the rape accused when the incident came to light in November last year,” Superintendent of Police Rahul Bhagat told PTI.

“Deputy Sarpanch of Jhaliyamari village Sukalu Ram Netam had informed Navarji about the alleged sexual assault on inmates in the residential school following which the officer directed Nayak to probe the matter,” Bhagat said.

“After the investigation, rape on minor inmates was confirmed but no action was taken against the accused and even they (BEO and ABEO) did not inform the police,” he said.

Both will be produced in a local court of Kanker today, the SP said.

The incident of sexual assault on minor inmates of the government-run residential school for tribal girls in Jhaliyamari village of Kanker district was reported to police on January 6, following which two people including contract teacher – Mannu Ram Gota (24) – and school watchman – Deenaram – were arrested.

Later Superintendent of the residential school Babita Markam, Deputy Sarpanch of the village Sukalu Ram Netam and a villager Lachhu Ram were held for abetment.

The incident sparked outrage across the state and in view of this, the state government has directed to conduct inspection of all residential schools and hostels.

The main Opposition Congress has claimed that more such incidents can come to light after the inspection.

 

#Chhattisgarh- Many Monkies on our Back… #Vaw


By- Jamuna Inamdar
The final number of districts that make up the Indian state of Chattisgarh, located approximately in the center of India, is 27 as of today.  (*A district (Zilā) is an administrative division of an Indian state or territory.)  Here is a map that depicts all 27 districts.

Many existing districts were further divided and as many as 9 new districts were added last year.  And even today, Chattisgarh is being divided into newer districts.  Very soon, the above map will have to be updated.

I only hope we finally know how many districts there are! Or because of the constant change and addition everyone will lose track of how many districts there were and how many there are currently and how they look on the map.

I also happen to now be more well versed (even though still abysmally inadequate) with facts about Chattisgarh state where I started working 9 months ago than about the state of Maharashtra where I was born and lived for 3 decades.

While I thought Chattisgarh might be the state with the highest number of districts at 27.  Turns out it is Uttar Pradesh with a whooping 70 districts. Uttar Pradesh is the 5th largest state in India but I believe it is the most populated.  The largest state in our country, Rajasthan, has 33 districts.

In October 2011, I read in Outlook India the text of a lecture by Jairam Ramesh, called the Sardar Patel Memorial Lecture.  Some excerpts from it regarding why the division of some states (Chattisgarh and the likes especially) into smaller districts might be the need of the hour:

The Union Government has identified 60 districts in seven states that are affected by left-wing extremism. Of these, 15 are in Orissa, 14 in Jharkhand, 10 in Chattisgarh, 8 in Madhya Pradesh, 7 in Bihar, 2 each in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and 1 each in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. 18 more districts are being considered for inclusion.

When you look at these 60 districts on a map of India , five characteristics stand out. I should, however, mention straightaway that the 7 districts of Bihar are an exception to these generalisations. Bihar has its own dynamics embedded in caste and land-related structures.
  • First, an overwhelming majority of these districts have substantial population of tribal communities.
  • Second, an overwhelming majority of these districts have significant area under good quality forest cover.
  • Third, a large number of these districts are rich in minerals like coal, bauxite and iron ore.
  • Fourth, in a number of states, these districts are remote from the seat of power and have large administrative units.
  • Fifth, a large number of districts are located in tri-junction areas of different states.
On the size of administrative units, recently on a visit to Chattisgarh I discovered that the size of some blocks (like Conta in Dantewada district and Orchha in Narayanpur district and Orgi in Surguja district) was equivalent to the size of some districts in some other states and indeed equivalent to the size of some other states themselves.(the highlights and italics are mine) Given poor connectivity and infrastructure to begin with, this is a huge handicap to contend with by administrators. Rationalisation of administrative units is entirely within the domain and powers of state governments. The Chattisgarh government has very recently decided to create five more districts in the Naxal-affected regions of the state and this is a good step.

While the above has been discussed in the context of curbing the Naxal struggle, I am thinking about it in the context of the recent rapes in a tribal school.

Since three days now, Kanker district of Chattisgarh is in the news.   In one of the Ashram schools in Kanker, meant for tribal girls, the teacher and watchman of the school were arrested for repeatedly raping the minor girls.  One of the girls has died as a result of a sexually transmitted disease that went untreated.

Kanker was essentially part of Bastar district in south Chattisgarh. In 1998 it got an identity of its own.  It is now a district on its own with its own district collectorate, child welfare committee, district institute of education and training (DIET) and the usual government set up that every district needs and has.

If Kanker has been separated as a district from Bastar (and is even called North Bastar) in a bid to make it more manageable, has that helped the state to manage it any better or does it still appear unwieldy to administrators?

In a district with (figures obtained from http://kanker.gov.in/) 7 tehsils or blocks and 1004 villages, how difficult is it for government officials especially appointed for the purpose to ensure that heinous and grave crimes such as repeated rapes of tribal girls in school hostels do not go unnoticed? Can this problem be attributed to insufficient government officials, too many schools in too many villages? Clearly not!

I have personally encountered and still work with district level education officials who have not seen the schools that fall under their jurisdiction – the blocks.  They have not made visits to the schools in these blocks.  Some schools have never seen a government official who is “in-charge” of hearing and offering a solution to their problems.  Are the villages and blocks that far flung that a district level official never reaches them?

Another challenge that exists is the division within government education officials – of those who look into administrative matters and those who look into academic  matters.  Whose concern becomes this case of sexual assault and rape?  Ideally everybody’s.. but..!

When asked why officials do not make visits to their assigned blocks and schools – the answer is often the resentment that they have to do so on their account using their own finances!

Had the district level officials, block level officials made regular visits to the school they were assigned to, elicited cooperation and accountability from the head teachers of schools, would repeated rapes of minor girls have gone unnoticed?

I understand it is not that simple or merely to do with administrative divisions – as block level officials have turned a blind eye to this atrocity even after becoming aware of it.  Making visits and keeping oneself abreast of what is happening is not sufficient from actually stopping something from happening.  There are many other dynamics at play – dynamics of dominant caste and oppressed tribes. As pointed out by a colleague, a very important point to be considered here will also be to find out if the rapist teacher and watchman belonged to the same tribal community or were they non-tribal?

What is also disturbing is the appeal of the villagers for help falling on deaf ears. What do people do when their plea for help falls on the ears of people who instead of protecting them are partners in crime?  Aren’t these situations when people have decided to then take the law into their own hands, reacting equally brutally and violently?  And does that not take us further away from being a civilized society?

And dividing states and districts and blocks for administrative efficacy is not even the answer for the basic apathy and narrow-mindedness and helplessness and inhuman side of human beings.

I hope this incident will shake the district and block level officials into connecting with the people, the villages and truly becoming the protectors of peoples’ rights.  I hope they know that they cannot turn a blind eye to something gruesome happening in their very blocks, in the very schools they are responsible for, under their very noses.  I hope they are able to overcome caste and class barriers and offer protection and support to human beings who are made vulnerable and forced into helplessness.

I hope in the administrative sense, we learn to make the players of this system more accountable and design the system to succeed and not to fail!

  source -http://jamunainamdar.blogspot.in/

#Chhattisgarh BJP MP Ramesh Bais justifies rape of women #WTFnews #Vaw


 

 

DC Online | 

 

Raipur: A BJP MP on Thursday said the rape of grown-up girls and women might be understandable but if someone does this to an infant, he should be hanged.

He said rape of minor is a heinous crime and those who commits such crime should be hanged.

“The rape of grown-up girls and women might be understandable but if someone does this to an infant, it is a heinous crime and the offenders should be hanged (barabari ya bade logo ke sath balatkar samajh me ata hai, lekin nabalig bachhiyo ke sath is tarah ka jaghanya apradh karma. Inko to fasi par latka dena chahiye)”, MP Ramesh Bais told reporters referring to the rape case involving minor inmates of a government-run residential school in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh.

Asked about the MP’s remarks, the state’s main opposition Congress said assault on women, whether she is a child or a grown-up, is a heinous crime.

Congress spokesman Shailesh Nitin Trivedi said “assault on anyone is a heinous crime. The statement (of Bais) is objectionable and we condemn this”.

Bais said the incident like the one in Kanker happened in several places but they were not reported.

“Just terminating the employees will not bring back the honour of the victims. The accused in the case should be given stringent punishment”, Bais said.

“The incident of Delhi gang rape has rocked everyone to think over such crimes. The incident of Chhattisgarh is a matter of shame,” the MP said.

The MP also suspected the involvement of senior officials and claimed that for the past several months the girls were being sexually assaulted and the concerned officials were unaware of it.

The incident of sexual assault on minor inmates of the government-run residential school for tribal girls in Jhaliyamari village of Kanker district came to light last
Sunday.

So far six people, including two teachers, have been arrested in connection with the crime.

According to police, the medical examination has confirmed rape on nine inmates out of 40 who are living in a hostel.

 

 

#India, #Chhattisgarh- Kanker and its sordid tale of rapes and abuse #Vaw


In Kanker primary school-going girls were repeatedly raped by a teacher and a watchman at a hostel under the administration’s nose

January 9, 2013

The hostel in Kanker, Chhattisgarh. Tehelka photo

While the country was erupting in widespread protests and condemnation over the Delhi gangrape, innocent tribal girls in a primary school of a village in Chhattisgarh were spending their nights in pain and terror. Nobody knew whose turn it was that night. The little girls complained about the oppression meted out to them by their teacher and watchman to the superintendent of the hostel, along with informing the Gram Panchayat and the Block Education Officer (BEO), but their pleas fell on deaf ears. An inquiry was made only when the complaint reached the collector. According to the medical reports, 12 girls have been found to be raped. There remain chances of the numbers of those exploited going up, as the crime has been happening for years.

Two hundred kilometers away from the capital, Raipur, Jhaliyamari is a small village in Narharpur block of Kanker district. Here, next to the school is a house that serves as a hostel for tribal girls studying in primary schools. There are 43 girls residing here aged between 6 and 13. Both the school and the hostel is run by the tribal department and all the girls are from the five adjoining villages of Jhaliyamari. An investigation by Tehelka found that gangrapes of innocent girls have been taking place in this hostel for years. Despite the administration’s knowledge of it, the crimes were kept under wraps, allowing the exploitation of girls to continue.

Alarmail Mangai D, collector of Kanker, acknowledges having received a phone call complaining about the abuse of young girls. Responding to the complaint, Alarmail constituted a team of woman officials to inquire into the reports. The girls confided in the officials when they visited. Following this, teacher Mannulal Goti and watchman Dinanath Nagesh were arrested on 5 January. The next day all 11 girls were taken to Kanker for their medical check up. D.I.G Ramnivas says that a special team has been constituted to inquire into the matter. Police officer Neelam Kujur, from the women’s cell of Narharpur police station, tells Tehelka that in their statement, the girls have said that they have been raped.

There are three rooms in the hostel but none have a door latch. Collector Mangai says that it was mandatory for the superintendent of the hostel to stay back at night, but Babita Markan, the hostel superintendent, used to go home. The watchman, Nagesh, was posted at the hostel and the teacher, Goti, used to come over to sleep. First they would drink heavily on the veranda and then enter any room. After turning off the lights, they would undress the girls, often indulging in gangrape. Some girls had to undergo this trauma repeatedly. The girls also said that when they had initially come to the hostel their seniors warned them about the accused. The police are trying to ascertain the duration for which this has been happening. Reports say that the other girls of the hostel will also be examined. P.R.K Singh, station in-charge, Narharpur Police Station, says that the girls are so young that they don’t even know the meaning of sex.

It is alleged that the Panchayat and BEO did not take any action despite the complaints. Upsarpanch of the village tells Tehelka that such complaints about the hostel have come in the past as well. The girls had initially complained to the wife of the watchman. Then the hostel superintendent was informed. Even after that no action was taken against the accused. Last year, the Panchayat was informed about the misdeeds of Goti and Nagesh. In August, the Gram Panchayat was called, both the accused were fined Rs 5000 and the whole matter was brushed under the carpet. While Nagesh paid the fine and continued to sleep in the hostel, Goti, who didn’t pay, stopped visiting the hostel. Eventually, the case reached the BEO, S S Navarji, who even after conducting a probe, and finding the allegations to be true, took no action against the perpetrators. Nirmal Kange, a local, informs that after the inquiry, the BEO gave the accused the panchnama, but did not take any action. Tortured and threatened by their teacher, the abused girls kept mum and didn’t tell their parents about it.

A room in the hostel, Kanker. Tehelka photo.

When Tehelka looked for the families of victims in nearby villages, one 7-year-old victim’s mother said that her daughter, who was studying in Class II, was too young to know anything about sex or abuse. Her helpless father said that he had sent his daughter to the hostel when guruji (teacher) came to get her admitted. He had no idea about what had happened to his daughter. He now says that even if they die of hunger, he would not send his daughter back to the hostel. In the same village, another victim’s mother told this reporter that on Saturday some people had come and taken her husband away. She had heard that something had happened to her daughter but had no idea what it was.

In a press conference held in Kanker district headquarters on Tuesday 8 January, former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi said that one of the inmates, who passed away in August 2012, was also a victim of sexual abuse. The parents of the 10-year-old girl, who were also present at the press conference, said that their daughter had refused to go back to the hostel after she visited her home in Devgaon. When she was admitted to a hospital following an illness, she was found to have been pregnant. The girl passed away on 8 August in the hospital. The claim, however, was refuted in a statement issued by the government on Wednesday. “During the investigation, it has been found that the 10-year-old girl was not sexually assaulted and died of cardio-respiratory arrest and multi-organ failure,” the statement said.

The incident has acquired a political tone now. Demonstrations are taking place in several places against this barbaric crime. On Wednesday 9 January, a one-day state-wide bandh called by the Congress to protest against the Kanker rapes was a complete success across Chhattisgarh. In Raipur, educational institutions, business establishments and commercial centres downed shutters and petrol pumps remained closed for the day, while government offices, medical shops and emergency services remained unaffected. Vehicular movement virtually came to a halt in many parts of the city as passenger buses and auto-rickshaws remained off the roads. In the meantime, state home minister Nanki Ran Kanwar has kicked up a controversy after he told a news channel that the stars of the women in this country are not favourable and therein lies the explanation to the widespread abuse faced by them.

Following reports, the accused have now been sent to jail. The employment of the hostel’s superintendent, watchman and the cook have all been terminated by the Collector. Assistant Commissioner Tribal Department S K Vahne and BEO Navarji have been suspended. The hostel in Jhliyamari has been closed down and the girls have been shifted to undisclosed hostels. Orders have been given to inquire into all the hostels of the district.

 

Chhattisgarh home minister blames ‘stars’ for crime against women #WTFnews #Vaw


PTI | Jan 8, 2013, 01.38 PM IST

RAIPUR: Facing flak for the Kanker rape case, Chhattisgarh home minister Nanki Ram Kanwar has landed himself in a spot by saying that crimes against women were happening as their stars were in adverse positions, a remark termed as childish and vulgar by the state Congress.

“We have no answer to this rising spate of crimes against women. Star are not in position,” Kanwar told reporters in Raipur.

Harm can come on a person if the stars are in adverse positions…We have no answer to this, only an astrologer can predict,” the state home minister said.

Kanwar’s remarks on Monday came after opposition Congress in Chhattisgarh demanded dismissal of the BJP government over the issue of the alleged rape on minor inmates of a government-run residential school for tribal girls in Kanker district, which came to light following a complaint on Saturday.

Asked about the home minister’s remarks, chief minister Raman Singh today quipped, “Now, what do I say on this.”

State Congress chief Nand Kumar Patel called Kanwar’s comments as childish and vulgar.

A delegation of Congress leaders, led by Patel, had on Monday met Chhattisgarh governor Shekhar Dutt and demanded dismissal of the state government, saying it has failed to ensure safety of the girls living in residential schools.

In a memorandum to the governor, the party said that everybody was shocked by the incident of rape of inmates of Tribal Girls Pre-matric Hostel in Narharpur area of Kanker.

Two persons, including a teacher, have been arrested for allegedly raping minor inmates of the government-run residential school, according to police.

Accused Mannu Ram Gota, 24, a contractual teacher, was arrested on Sunday night from a forest area of Narharpur, Superintendent of Police Rahul Bhagat said, adding that school watchman Deenaram had also been taken into custody in the case for sexually abusing the girls for several months.

Medical examination has confirmed rape of nine out of the 40 students, who are residing at the hostel located in Narharpur police station limits, he said. Medical tests were still underway.

The Chhattisgarh government has ordered a high-level probe into the incident and Director General of Police Ramniwas has deputed IPS officer Neetu Kamal to investigate it. Stringent action will be taken against those who will be found guilty after the probe, the DGP said.

Meanwhile, services of both the accused along with hostel warden Babita Markam have been terminated by the district collector.

 

#Chhattisgarh: Tribal girls allegedly raped in a school hostel #Vaw


rape

 Raipur , Jan 6,2012: In the latest addition to horrific rape stories,  about 12 tribal girls were allegedly raped over many months  in a school hostel in Narharpur, Chattisgarh.

While a hostel watchman has been arrested, a school teacher who was also allegedly involved in the crime has been absconding.

The watchman of a government-run residential school for tribal girls in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district has been arrested for alleged sexual assault of the minor inmates, police said today.

Deenaram (23), the watchman of Tribal Girls Pre-matric Hostel located in Narharpur police station limits, was arrested following a complaint by Women and Child Development Officer yesterday, Superintendent of Police Rahul Bhagat told PTI.

Mannu Ram Gota (24), a teacher, who is also accused of sexual assault, was absconding.

After the news came out, Congress workers staged demonstration and blocked traffic at Kanker town, demanding action against the culprits.

A high-level probe has been initiated by the state government into the case.