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Home > Human Rights > India - Chhattisgarh: Return these girls to us, Mr Raman Singh

India - Chhattisgarh: Return these girls to us, Mr Raman Singh

25 March 2012

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dantewadavani

Their names are Madkam Hungi and Veko Bajare. Hungi is 12 years old, and Bajare 22 years. Village of residence: Nendra, District Sukama (old name district Dantewada). Nendra was one of the several adivasi villages burnt under your Empty the Villages campaign (which you christened ’Salwa Judum’ and under the guise of a peace campaign which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court). Four girls from this village disappeared during this campaign. Kartam Joga, Nandini Sundar, and Ramachandra Guha filed a petition against the Salwa Judum in the Supreme Court. To punish him for his chutzpah, Kartam Joga was brought to the police station, hung upside down, and mercilessly beaten, and he is still in prison under trumped up charges of attacking the house of a Congress leader. Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi have been framed for the same ’crime’, and an attempt was made on Ramachandra Guha’s life in the Bhairamgarh police station. A touched up photo of Nandini Sundar where she is allegedly dressed in Naxalite fatigues was circulated. When she challenged your SPO on this crude attempt at propaganda, he was forced to give a written apology (a copy will be sent to you).

As per a Supreme Court directive, the National Human Rights Commission sent a team to Dantewada in order to investigate atrocities committed by the Salwa Judum. Many adivasis came to give their testimonies to this team, including family members of the above girls. After filing their complaint with NHRC, when they were returning to their village, they were stopped on the way by the Konta station police and a Salwa Judum leader, Soyam Mukka (who is a fugitive from law and I am in possession of the warrant against him). They were all mercilessly beaten, and in the evening they were let go after they were forced to thumbprint the following statement on stamp paper, "We have no complaint against the Salwa Judum." Nandini and I were witness to this beating during which the SP sat there passively and calmly watching this brutality without doing anything. Ajit Jogi called Vishwa Ranjan and asked him to take action. We asked the NHRC team to help these adivasis, but they were singularly unresponsive asserting, "Our work is limited to taking their testimonies, the rest is the responsibility of the police."

As a punishment for daring to raise their voice and for daring to tell the ugly truth about the Salwa Judum, their village Nendra was burnt once again by the police and the Salwa Judum four days later. We took this as a challenge and informed you that we would rehabilitate this village again. We constructed a human shield, and dared you to kill us before you attempt to murder these adivasis. The Salwa Judum and the police were confounded by our courage and did not know how to respond. We started living in this village. Four girls from this village had disappeared, and the villagers claimed that the police and the Salwa Judum had abducted them. We discovered that two of these girls were in the Injaram Salwa Judum camp. One was at the house of Salwa Judum leader Boddu Raja who is a fugitive and at present vice chairman of the Sukama district Panchayat. I am also in possession of a warrant against him. Woman activists from our organization were able to quietly free these girls and return them to their parents.

Where are the other two women, Mr Raman Singh? One of them, Vekko Bajare was abducted along with her old father, by your henchmen. The father was decapitated the next day in the Injaram camp. To spread terror in the village, his corpse was thrown in the middle of the road for everyone to see. But no one knows where the girl is. The girl’s brother came to me, and I suggested that we should write to the SP. But the SP never responded. We also went to the High Court. Not too long after this incident, I was forced to leave Dantewada. The police then accosted the girl’s brother and brought him to the High Court. The brother’s attorney pleaded with the judge that since the police are themselves the accused in this case, they should not be allowed to present the victim before the judge, and to ensure that the victim was not pressured, he should be separated from the police for at least one day, and only then his testimony should be taken. The attorney also reasoned that whatever the victim wished to say he could say through him, since he was representing the victim. The judge retorted that if the attorney insisted on intervening in such matters, his career would be destroyed. It is a wonder to behold and an irony among ironies that a judge who is supposed to uphold the law was issuing such crude threats. The testimony of the girl’s brother was taken immediately and he thumbprinted the following written statement, "Yes, it is true that my sister was abducted, and it is also true that my father was murdered. But I do not know who committed these crimes." The judge immediately dismissed the case against the police. When I asked the girl’s brother over the phone, why he lied to the judge, he replied, in a voice full of despair and helplessness, that his father was already dead, that he was the sole breadwinner for his family, and that if he had told the truth, he would also have been decapitated like his father and his corpse thrown in the middle of the road.

Mr Raman Singh, the other girl was 12 years old, and to locate her, we have been to every prison in Chhattisgarh. We also tried every teenage reform house in the area. A boy had seen her in a children reform house. Along with her brother, we went to every district, but we could not find her. Mr Raman Singh, you must know where these two girls are. Please return them. We admit our defeat. We will never intervene in your lordly affairs. Please have mercy on these adivasis. Please return our daughters, Thakur Sahib.

The first letter translated

Date 29/12/08

To,
- The Police Superintendent,
- South Bastar Dantewada

Subject: Regarding the filing of the First Information Report related to the abduction of my sister

Sir,

The police forces and SPOs from Errabore came and surrounded our house, and abducted my late father Vaiko Dulla, son of Vaiko Chinna, age approximately 55 years, along with my elder sister Vaiko Bajare, age approximately 22 years. Seeing this, we, the other members of the family, fled to the forest in order to save our lives. We returned home after some time. I followed the police to find out where they were taking my father and sister. I found out from acquaintances living in the Salwa Judum camp that they had seen the police bring my father to the camp, and that they had later seen his corpse in the camp.

Please file the First Information Report regarding abduction of my sister, and take appropriate action against the accused.

Applicant,
- Name: Vaiko Sinna
- Father’s name: Dulla
- Village: Darbhaguda, Nendra
- Panchayat: Kottacheru
- Police Station: Errabore
- District: Dantewada

Copies to:

1) Chief Justice, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi

2) Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh, Raipur

(Translation: Sanjeev Mahajan USA)