Thursday, June 16, 2016

Chhattisgarh "rape, fake encounter" of tribal woman: Cops stop AAP team under Soni Sori seeking to visit village

Soni Sori
By Our Representative
Soni Sori, Chhattisgarh adivasi woman leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), has begun an indefinite fast outside Sukma collectorate because she and her team have been prevented from visiting a village where a young woman was killed in an encounter that villagers say is fake.
Sori has been quoted as saying by a site run by well-known human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, sabrangindia.in, that that she and her team “would sleep out there and not leave the spot until the team is allowed to go in.” The woman, Madkam Hidme, claims the site, was raped before being gunned down in the fake encounter.
On June 13, the Sukma police announced a “successful” encounter in which a woman Maoist guerrilla was killed in an encounter close to village Gompad, Konta tehsil, Sukma district, the report says. The encounter was carried out a team of the Special Task Force of the Chhattisgarh police. She was identified as belonging to They say she was a member of "Kistaram area platoon No 8."
The police version led to villagers to call up Sori and her lawyers, refuting the 'official' version. The villages insisted that Hidme was “not a Naxalite, but a villager, picked up from her home, gang raped by the police and then killed”, with the body “callously returned to the villagers.” 
On hearing this, a fact-finding team on behalf of the AAP, led by Sori, tried to visit the village to investigate the allegations on June 15. The team was stopped and harassed at four different camps on the way, finally they were stopped at four different spots and finally denied permission at the Injeram Camp, just 10 km short of the village.
Sori and others thereafter returned back to Sukma in the evening to meet the collector and SP. As no one was available at the office, ASP, Sukma Santosh Singh, met the team and told them that they “cannot be allowed inside without personnel from the security forces”. The team then asked officials to send some personnel with them, but the ASP said no one was available.
In protest, Sori and others decided to camp/do a dharna at the collectorate itself until they are allowed to go in. According to one Himanshu Kumar from Gompad village, Hidme was thrashing paddy outside her hut when she was picked up by the police and “bad things were done to her before she was shot in cold blood.”
Commenting on the photograph of the body of Hidme being circulated by the Chhattisgarh police, sabrangindia.in said, one has to “look closely” as to how “the weapon (bharmar) has been placed strategically next to her body.”
Also, the uniform Hidme is wearing is “brand new and crisp”, the cut looks “high fashion if we ignore the cheap fabric. Can the uniform of a Maoist guerrilla who was killed in an encounter be so unblemished?” The site quotes a person who has been in Chhattisgarh Maoist guerrillas haven't ever wore such “a spotless (and crisp) uniform.”

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