A statement by #BastarSolidarityNetwork (Delhi Chapter):
A district in Chhattisgarh, Dantewada,
A village in Dantewada, Palnar,
In Palnar, there is a school for girls, with hostel.
About five hundred tribal girls study there.
Last Monday the Additional Collector of Dantewada district and many other officers came to the school,
These people had planned to script a programme here,
The programme was to get the girls of this school tie rakhi to the CRPF soldiers.
So, on Monday, 31st July 2017, these officers took around 100 CRPF men inside the girls’ school,
The girls were told to tie rakhi to the CRPF men,
Five hundred girls tied rakhi to the CRPF men,
On the orders of the officers, a video was being made of this programme,
The Government wanted to show that tribal women consider CRPF men as their “defenders”.
This programme was to be shown on Chhattisgarh TV channels on the day of Raksha Bandhan,
This programme of making video in the school continued for a long time,
Some girls in the middle of the programme went to the toilet to urinate,
Five or six CRPF soldiers also quietly followed the girls,
The girls protested against the CRPF soldiers standing outside the toilet,
These CRPF men threatened the girls and said that we have come to search you,
In the name of the search, the CRPF men squeezed the breasts of three girls brutally,
A girl was inside the toilet when three soldiers also entered the toilet,
For fifteen minutes, the three soldiers stayed inside the toilets with that tribal girl,
The other girls standing outside were intimidated to silence by the other CRPF men there,
After this the girls went to their room and the CRPF men joined their crew,
After the programme, all the soldiers and officers left the school. Mission accomplished it was.
At night, the girls told their warden, Draupadi Sinha, about the misdeeds by the CRPF men,
The warden gave this news to the SP and the Collector,
The next day, the Collector and SP reached Palnar,
But the Collector and SP did not visit the girls,
Rather, both the officers called the complaints to the CRPF camp,
The hostel warden took two girls to the CRPF camp,
There the Collector and the SP threatened both of them and instructed them not to tell anyone about this incident,
But the news spread throughout the village of Palnar,
The villagers called Soni Sori for help.
When Soni Sori went to meet the girls in the hostel, she saw a stunning scene,
The warden of the hostel had locked the gates of the school and was sitting there like a watchman,
A woman police constable was also stationed at the gate,
They were guarding the gates to stop any social activist or journalist from going in!
After the school got over and the girls of the village came to their houses, Soni Sori asked them about the incident,
The girls narrated the entire incident.
Himanshu Kumar, a social activist, who informed us about the above, is moving court against such gross sexual offenses and the impunity awarded in return. He says that when
the girls complained about the misbehavior with them, the collector and the superintendent should have taken cognizance of the complaint.
But instead, the collector and the SP tried to suppress the case rather than investigating the matter and chose to threaten the complainants. As per POSCO Act, in matter is sexual offence against a child, such inaction ought to be punishable, said Himanshu.
Meanwhile, we ought to ask ourselves what really ails our society when adivasi girls are forced to tie rakhi on the same hands that rape, torture and molest them with impunity. What really ails our society when one Kalluri who stands accused by NHRC itself for overseeing gang-rapes of several adivasi women, is invited to hoist the flag in an university on 15th August.
There is a war that the state has declared on behalf of the corporates to displace the adivasis, to crush them, to annihilate them so as to reach to the gems under their feet worth trillions of dollars. Far from the farce of the state’s patriarchal “protection”, these girls are in a struggle to protect their jal-jangal-jameen, their dignity, their right to exist
[Bastar Solidarity Network – Delhi Chapter]