Eight tribal women from restive Bijapur district of south Chhattisgarh have accused the security forces of “repeated gang-rape and physical torture” between January 11 to 14 and four others have alleged that they were “molested” and their property was “plundered” by the security men. The women belong to Nedra village and surrounding Para (surrounding small village localities) under Basaguda police station limits of Bijapur.
According to advocate Isha Khandelwal, the lawyer of the victims, eight women have testified to the police that they were gang-raped by security men. “There are many women in the village who have been raped by the security forces, out of which 12 came and gave a statement to the police. Out of 12, eight have said that they have been gang-raped.
Some of them have even named the policemen who raped them. The incident took place between January 11 and 14,” Ms.Khandelwal told Media. “The women came to Bijapur district headquarters on January 18 but the police did not register their complaint. The FIR was lodged only last night (on Thursday night) after avoiding it for four days,” she added.
According to some local sources, the police were forced to file an FIR in the case after tribal activist and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Soni Sori addressed a press conference with all the victims on Thursday. “All the victim women told a press conference that they were gang-raped by the security men. Most of these women are married and have kids. Each of them has claimed that they were raped by more than three to four security men,” Soni Sori told this reporter.
When asked about the allegations levelled by the tribal women against his men, Bijapur district Superintendent of Police (SP) Mr.K.L.Dhruw admitted that the police force was present in Nedra area between January 11 and 14. “Some NGOs have raised this issue. But I have not seen the entire matter as I was away from the district headquarters and returned a day ago. But I ordered that an FIR is registered in the case immediately and it has been filed. We will go to this village and inquire into the women's complaints,” said the SP.