Category Archives: Soni Sori

[FB Note] No Respite for Soni Sori by Himanshu Kumar

Source: Facebook Note by Himanshu Kumar

Soni Sori continues to be ill-treated at the hands of Chhattisgarh government, after a brief breather during her treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at New Delhi. She is now back in the Raipur Jail after spending 5 weeks recuperating in AIIMS, and the Chhattisgarh government has made clear its intentions of continuing ill-treatment of her, by denying her food, water and medicines immediately after discharge from AIIMS.
Soni Sori was brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on May 10th at the behest of the Supreme Court which ordered immediate and urgent treatment to be provided to her. Ms. Sori arrived in Delhi visibly weakened due to months of ill-treatment and improper medical treatment by the Chhattisgarh government. She was suffering from the continued impact –of the wounds inflicted on her during the inhuman sexual torture meted out to her in October, 2011 under police custody, which had been allowed to fester untreated in the jail. Consequently, she had grave secondary medical conditions, such as intermittent anal and vaginal bleeding, blisters on skin, difficulty in walking etc. at the time when she was brought to AIIMS

Over the 5 weeks of her treatment in AIIMS, she seemed to have recovered significantly, due to regular and expert medical care provided to her. But immediately after her discharge from AIIMS, Soni Sori has been denied her basic human rights yet again by the Chattisgarh government. Soni Sori’s counsel, Mr. Colin Gonsalves expressed his concern to the Chhattisgarh Government counsel, Mr. Atul Jha about no travel arrangements being made for her return to Chhattisgarh, to which Mr Jha assured Mr Gonsalves that every necessary precaution would be taken including, if need be, return to Raipur by flight (as she had been brought to Delhi). But despite these assurances, Soni Sori was taken to Raipur by train, in a crowded unreserved compartment. In scorching summer heat, Soni Sori was made to stand for most of the 24 hour long train journey from Delhi to Raipur, despite her fragile health condition. With daytime temperatures touching 45 degrees Celsius, she was denied water, kept without food for the whole day and not even given the medicines prescribed to her by the doctors at AIIMS.
It should be recalled that Soni Sori, an adivasi school teacher, had been subjected to brutal physical torture and sexual violence during her custody in the Dantewada police station on the night between 8th and 9th October, 2011. Her torture had been confirmed by an independent medical examination conducted by the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata, during which stones lodged deep in her private parts had been recovered. However, the medication prescribed by the NRS hospital had been discontinued by the jail authorities in Raipur Jail soon after her discharge, and Soni Sori had been denied any regular medical attention since the examination conducted by the NRS Hospital in October 2011. In the absence of regular medical care and attention, Ms. Sori’s condition had steadily worsened, prompting the Supreme Court in June 2012 to order her to be brought to AIIMS in New Delhi for immediate medical treatment.

It was sheer and deliberate negligence on part of the Chhattisgarh Government that led to such deterioration in Soni Sori’s health in the first place, that the Supreme Court had to order immediate medical intervention by AIIMS. The manner in which Soni Sori is being treated after her discharge from AIIMS once again raises serious concerns about the intention of the Chhattisgarh government in ensuring her health and safety. If her medicines are not administered with regularity, Soni will lose the little gains in health that she had made during her stay at AIIMS.
We urge the Chhattisgarh Government to ensure that Soni Sori’s health makes full recovery, and that the recommendations of the medical team at AIIMS regarding physical rest, nutrition and medication are followed diligently. We would like to remind the Government that undertrial prisoners such as Soni Sori are guaranteed basic human rights by the Indian constitution. Soni Sori has already suffered gravely at the hands of Chhattisgarh authorities, first through direct and malicious torture at the hands of the Chhattisgarh police, and then through apathy and negligence of the Chhattisgarh jail authorities. It is time for state violence against her to end.

For more details contact:
Vani Subramanian, Saheli Delhi – 9891128911
Shalini Gera – 9891176443.

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[DailyPioneer] Contractor BK Lala to turn Govt approver

The alleged ‘Essar protection money case’ headed for some revealing turns on Tuesday with the main accused BK Lala, Bastar based contractor who allegedly delivered money to Maoists, willing to turn approver if the Government granted him immunity in the case.

Lala, who is already out on bail, on Tuesday filed an application in the court of Additional District Judge (ADJ), Dantewada, offering to become Government approver. BK Lala and journalist-turned-activist Lingaram Kodopi, a tribal youth, were held on September 10 last year from Palnar village weekly market when Lingaram Kodopi was allegedly receiving `15 lakh from BK Lala. The money was reportedly intended to be delivered to two Maoists Raghu and Vinod belonging to Darbha divisional committee of CPI-ML. Later, Essar general manager DVCS Verma was also arrested on charges of paying protection money to Red insurgents for allowing the company reopen its 267-km long iron ore slurry pipeline running from Kirandul in Dantewada of Chhattisgarh to Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh as the Maoists blew it up at several places.

Read the rest of the article here.

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[Breaking News] Activists Meet with the Home Ministry Re: Soni Sori

Today a group of 5 campaigners and human rights activists met P Chidambaram the Home Minister to talk about the Soni Sori case. They delivered close to 4000 signatures on a petition started on Change.org , a memorandum and a common letter telling the Home Minister to help Soni Sori get prompt and due medical care and treatment and seeking immediate intervention to ensure safety of Soni Sori, subjected to custodial sexual torture by Chhattisgarh police. The meeting took place at the Home ministry at 3:45 pm, on 27th March’ 12.

Details of the meeting:

Where: Home Ministry, New Delhi
Time: 3.45 pm
Date: 27th March’12
Who attended: P Chidambaram, Brinda Karat (Ex-Rajya Sabha MP), Sudha Sundararaman (AIDWA), Kalpana Mehta (Women against Sexual violence and State repression, WSS), Indira Chakraborty (WSS) and Kiran Mamta Shaheen (Writer).

“We discussed issues related to Soni Sori and delivered voices of 4000 people from all over India” said Kalpana Mehta (Member, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression). Brinda Karat, ex Rajya Sabha MP, demanded that Soni Sori be given adequate constitutional safegurads as an under trial prisoner and sought his intervention for prompt and exemplary action against SP Ankit Garg of Dantewada and other officials involved in the custodial and sexual violence inflicted upon Soni Sori on the night of 8/9 October 2011 in Dantewada police station. A letter addressed to the home minister, from the campaigners urged that Soni Sori be given prompt and due medical care and treatment, and moved to a safe place, in consultation with her through her lawyers, where the policemen cannot interfere with the course of justice.

The campaigners expressed their concern about the fact that they were not being allowed to meet Soni Sori.

The Home Minsiter assured the women’s delegation that he will write to Chhattisgarh government raising the issues related to human rights violation.

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[Press Note] Protest against false imprisonment and torture of adivasi teacher Soni Sori in Chattisgarh (Bangalore)

Held at 6 pm, Saturday, 24th March 2012, Town Hall in Bangalore

“Arrest Ankit Garg, Release Soni Sori”

“Attn: Ms. President, Mr. Prime Minister, Chattisgarh state, NHRC, Stop Torture of Soni Sori”

These were among the slogans from nearly 20 Karnataka based human rights organizations to the Government of India in support of Soni Sori, a 35 year old adivasi school teacher who has been incarcerated in Chattisgarh police custody since October 2011 despite medical evidence revealing their brutal custodial torture, electrocution, beating, and sexual assault on her, shoving stones into her private parts. Around 100 persons gathered at 6 pm on 24th March 2012 in front of Town Hall in Bangalore to appeal for the immediate transfer of Soni Sori out of Chhattisgarh police custody and her speedy trial. Expressing solidarity with Soni Sori, the people also demanded the arrest of Ankit Garg, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada under whose supervision Soni Sori was subject to verbal and sexual assault in jail. They join people across the country in condemning the award of the Police Gallantry medal to Garg on Republic Day, 2012.

The protesters angrily burned an effigy of Ankit Garg, shouting slogans shaming him, and held a candlelight vigil for justice for Soni Sori. The brutality of police torture was also depicted by protesters masquerading as police and victims, while protesters held up signs condemning the functioning of the criminal justice system and asking for the freedom of adivasi journalists Lingaram Kodopi of Chhattisgarh and Vittala Malekudiya of Karnataka and many other political prisoners such as Manish Kunjam. Venkatesh of Dalit Bahujan Chaluvali, Manohar of SICHREM, and transgender political activists Charu of LesBiT and Veena of Praja Rajya Vedike spoke about the several ways in which the police system and false charges have been used to routinely detain and torture human rights activists and members of the adivasi, dalit, muslim and transgender communities in Karnataka. Comrade Balan of AITUC, Com. Nagaragere Ramesh of PDF, Com. Vishwa of New Socialist Alternative, Arati of PUCL and Pushpa of WSS stirred the crowd into thinking about whether the government today has prioritized the care and protection of its own citizens, or instead persecuted citizens for the benefit of exploitative private corporations. As the rousing songs of Dalitha Mattu Mahila Chaluvali questioned the freedom we have attained in more than 60 years of independence, members of the crowd signed a banner with messages to the President of India to ensure justice for Soni Sori.

Our Demands

– Immediately transfer Soni Sori out of the custody of Chhattisgarh police and ensure the provision of appropriate health care to Soni Sori without police interference.

– Set up an independent investigation into the conduct of Chhattisgarh law enforcement officials in the custodial sexual assault and torture of Soni Sori, and the immediate suspension of the responsible officers and prosecution under the PoA Act pending this inquiry

– Ensure the speedy completion of trial of Soni Sori, Lingaram Kodopi, Manish Kunjam and countless others so that they do not languish for years in custody when their guilt has not been proven.

– Show public proof of the good health and safety of Lingaram Kodopi and other prisoners in Chhattisgarh police custody.

– Set up a high-level independent investigation team to look at the condition of prisoners, especially women, including in the state ofChhattisgarh, to determine whether other women may have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, and investigate the reality ofprisoners’ access to health care.

– Enact the Prevention of Torture Bill and remove the need for prior state authorization to initiate criminal action against the officialsimplicated in custodial torture. Ratify the Convention on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

– Ensure that the latest central government grants to states to set up police stations in Maoist areas include support for independentmonitoring of detention facilities including station lockups and jails by human rights commissions and civil society groups. Considerrequiring police to videotape interrogations, especially in police stations in Naxalite areas and train police on proper conduct toward women in custody.

– End the use of custodial torture, lengthy custodial holding on false charges, and constant police harassment as tools of repressionagainst the adivasi and other residents of Chhattisgarh.

Participating Organizations/Networks

LesBiT, SICHREM, New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India), People’s Solidarity Concerns, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression: WSS-Karnataka, PUCL-Bangalore, Peoples’ Democratic Forum, Dalitha Mattu Mahila Chaluvali, Concern (IISc), Maraa, Dalit Bahujana Chaluvali, Samanata Mahila Vedike, Vimochana, Sangama, Samara, Pedipics, Alternative Law Forum (ALF)

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[Tehelka] Why is This Woman Still in Jail?

Finally! A mainstream news publication gives us information on Soni Sori’s case and its continuous postponement. Why, indeed, is she still in jail? Why has there not been a court hearing, a trial? Why has there been no justice? Not even a performance of justice?

Six months on, a PIL filed on her behalf is yet to be heard in the Supreme Court. Last October, an independent medical examination ordered by the apex court discovered stones from Sori’s vagina and rectum (Shockingly, Soni Sori has been sexually tortured with stones. Who will answer for this? by Tusha Mittal, 24 December 2011). This report was discussed in the court on 2 December. Shockingly, the court allowed the Chhattisgarh government more than a month to respond. The next hearing was scheduled for 25 January. Sori’s case was listed as item 14. But it never came up.
[…]
Since then, Sori’s case has been listed for hearing thrice a week in the court of Justice Altamas Kabir.

Read the full article here.

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Weekly Protest in Mumbai on Mondays at 5:30pm, GPO side, VT Station Re: Soni Sori

Dear all

Soni Sori case has been listed for 4 times in the cause list of SC but has not come up for hearing, the only days when her case can come up is between tuesdays and friday.Hence, women groups have given a call for a weekly protest, every Monday , till the she is finally released, all of you are welcome to partiicpate in the demo and do mobilise to participate.

The women groups have decided to call for a weekly protest, till Soni Sori is Released.

We wil have a signature campaign, and will read her letters from the Jail .

WE ALL HOPE THIS MONDAY IS LAST DEMO FOR RELEASE OF SONI SORI

Monday —March 19TH
Time – 530pm
Venue – GPO side , VT STATION

Pl fwd all contacts in Mumbai

in solidarity

Kamayani

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Protest Custodial torture of Soni Sori: 24th March, 6 pm Town Hall, Bangalore

Stop Custodial Violence on Women

“Giving me electric shocks, stripping me naked, shoving stones inside me..Was the abuse on me not enough?…This is a plea from a helpless daughter…This is a mother’s plea for her children”,- Soni Sori in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Soni Sori, a 35-year-old Adivasi school teacher in Chhattisgarh, has been languishing in Raipur Jail since October 2011, she has written letters from jail asking the Nation to help her. Soni has been tortured by the Chhattisgarh police – she complained that she was stripped naked and given electric shocks. A recent medical examination ordered by the Supreme Court at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkatta found stones inserted in her vagina and rectum. Medical reports submitted to the court three days after her arrest show she sustained a head injury caused by a “hard and blunt object”, that she had tenderness in her back, and blackened fingers –a classic sign of electrocution.

The torture was under the supervision of Ankit Garg, Superintendent of Police. In a terrible twist of events he was given the President’s Award on Republic Day. Soni lives in Dantewada. a Naxalite stronghold. Last year, Soni fought with the Naxalites when they tried to stop her form hoisting the national flag on Independence Day. Naxalites shot her father in the leg saying he was a police informer. Yet the police first arrested her husband, and now Soni, for being Naxalite supporters! Because she has constantly fought for her people’s rights – for minimum wages. She has taken on powerful companies that want the Adivasis’ land, and the Chhattisgarh government that supports these companies. She has taken on the police for their illegal activities. Her nephew Lingaram Kodopi who has been arrested on the same charges is a trained journalist who has reported on the abysmal human rights record of the Chhattisgarh government from the ground. Now, fed up of being in jail, far from her three young children, Sori has gone on hunger strike. In a letter to her lawyer she writes: “We Adivasis are only fated to suffer atrocities and die. We Adivasis are a business for the government.’’

Due process has been violated in the case of Soni Sori repeatedly. When these injuries prevented Soni from being produced before a magistrate, an order converting her police custody into extended judicial custody was still signed by Additional District Judge Yogita Wasik without her presence – which is completely illegal. She was outside the court in a vehicle and never left it. She was chained to the bed while undergoing treatment for her injuries in a Raipur hospital, explicitly against Supreme Court orders. She was also incarcerated in police lockup for 24 hours against Supreme Court orders when taken to Kolkata for a medical re-examination. Soni has now testified on video that she has been threatened by the police to not reveal her custodial torture for fear that they will arrest her brother, the sole caretaker of her children.
The undersigned groups from Karnataka State strongly condemn the custodial sexual assault and torture of Soni Sori, an Adivasi school teacher from the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

Our demands
*Immediately transfer Soni Sori out of the custody of Chhattisgarh police and ensure the provision of appropriate health care to Soni Sori without police interference.
*Set up an independent investigation into the conduct of Chhattisgarh law enforcement officials in the custodial sexual assault and torture of Soni Sori, and the immediate suspension of the responsible officers and prosecution under the PoA Act pending this inquiry
*Ensure the speedy completion of trial of Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi so that they do not languish for years in custody when their guilt has not been proven.
*Show public proof of the good health and safety of Lingaram Kodopi and other prisoners in Chhattisgarh police custody.
*Set up a high-level independent investigation team to look at the condition of prisoners, especially women, including in the state of Chhattisgarh, to determine whether other women may have been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment, and investigate the reality of prisoners’ access to health care.
*Enact the Prevention of Torture Bill and remove the need for prior state authorization to initiate criminal action against the officials implicated in custodial torture. Ratify the Convention on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
*Ensure that the latest central government grants to states to set up police stations in Maoist areas include support for independent monitoring of detention facilities including station lockups and jails by human rights commissions and civil society groups. Consider requiring police to videotape interrogations, especially in police stations in Naxalite areas.
*Work with civil society groups to train police on proper conduct toward women in custody.
*End the use of custodial torture, lengthy custodial holding on false charges, and constant police harassment as tools of repression against the adivasi and other residents of Chhattisgarh.

Come join us for a protest against the custodual torture and sexual assault of Soni Sori and many such women on 24th March 2012, Saturday, at Town Hall Steps, at 6.PM

LesBiT, SICHREM, Vimochana, Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression: WSS -Karnataka and WSS-National, People’s Union for Civil Liberties: PUCL-Bangalore, Alternative Law Forum (ALF)

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[LesBiT] Email Campaign Against Custodial Torture Re: Soni Sori

From LesBiT:

Dear Friends,
This is an appeal from LesBiT. We are starting an Email campaign to free Soni Sori. Attached is a example draft mail which can be personlised by you all not just as groups but also from your personal emails, in your own manner and sent to president of India and other people in position like the prime minister, Jayalalitha, National commission for women, National commission for Schedule caste/Schedule tribes, NHRC, and Chattisgarh SHRC.

emails – presidentofindia@rb.nic.in, manmohan@sansad.nic.in, drjjayalalitha@gmail.com, ncw@nic.in, chairperson.ncw@nic.in, chairperson@ncst.nic.in, ro-ncm@nic.in, covdnhrc@nic.in, ionhrc@nic.in, cghrcryp@sify.com

About Soni Sori
Soni Sori, a 35-year-old Adivasi school teacher in Chhattisgarh, has been languishing in Raipur Jail since October 2011, she has written letters from jail asking the Nation to help her. Soni has been tortured by the Chhattisgarh police – she complained that she was stripped naked and given electric shocks. A medical exam found small stones in her vagina and rectum. The torture was under the supervision of Ankit Garg, Superintendent of Police. In a terrible twist of events he was given the President’s Award on Republic Day. Soni lives in Dantewada. a Naxalite stronghold. Last year, Soni fought with the Naxalites when they tried to stop her form hoisting the national flag on Independence Day. Naxalites shot her father in the leg saying he was a police informer. Yet the police first arrested her husband, and now Soni, for being Naxalite supporters! Because she has constantly fought for her people’s rights – for minimum wages. She has taken on powerful companies that want the Adivasis’ land, and the Chhattisgarh government that supports these companies. She has taken on the police for their illegal activities. Now, fed up of being in jail, far from her three young children, Sori has gone on hunger strike. In a letter to her lawyer she writes: “We Adivasis are only fated to suffer atrocities and die. We Adivasis are a business for the government.”

In Solidarity
Sunil
LesBiT

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Soni Sori Fails to Appear in Court [Latest Update]

Via Himanshu Kumar

इस सप्ताह दो पेशियों पर सोनी सोरी को पुलिस दंतेवाडा कोर्ट में पेश नहीं कर पाई ! पुलिस ने कोर्ट को सूचित किया है की सोनी सोरी बीमार है तथा वह रायपुर के सरकारी अस्पताल में भरती है और कोर्ट में पेश करने की हालत में नहीं है ! हांलाकि सोनी ने अपने पत्रों में छत्तीसगढ़ से बाहर इलाज की मांग की है क्योंकि पुलिस प्रतारणा के बाद रायपुर के सरकारी डाक्टरों ने सोनी का इलाज करने के बजाय उसे अस्पताल से निकाल कर जेल भिजवा दिया था और मीडिया में बयान दे दिया था की सोनी झूठ बोल रही है ! परन्तु कलकत्ता के अस्पताल में उसके गुप्तांगों में पत्थर पाए गए थे ! हमें सोनी की जान की चिंता हो रही है !

Translation:
Last week police has failed to bring Soni Sori in two court hearings. Police has informed the court that Ms.Sori is not well and had to be admitted in a govt. hospital. However Soni Sori has demanded that she must get medical treatment outside Chattisgarh, because after she was tortured by police, the govt. doctors instead of treating her in the hospital sent her back to jail and gave statement to media that Soni Sori is lying. Later medical reports from hospital in kolkata confirmed stones were found in her private parts. We are worried about her Life.

Please see Chandresh Meravi’s board for the complete translation and more information on Soni Sori.

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