New Delhi, 11th April, 2017
The National Human Rights Commission has issued notices, returnable within four weeks, to the Director General of Police, Chhattisgarh and the Union Home Secretary over allegations that on the 2nd April, 2017 at 04.00 a.m. some un-indentified CRPF/Police personnel entered a house at Patel Para of Chintagufa Village in district Sukma of Chhattisgarh looking out for a man said to be a member of Sangham. They dragged out the 15 year old sister of the man and raped her.
Allegedly, they also severely beat her family members when they tried to rescue the girl. The victim and her mother are being kept in custody by the police and pressure is being mounted upon the victim to change her statement. The reporter of the newspaper, who had reported the incident, is also allegedly being questioned. Reportedly, the police authorities have denied the allegations saying that these have been leveled with an intention to defame and demoralize the police force.
The Commission has observed that the allegations, if true, raise an issue of violation of human rights. The CRPF/Police personnel are public servants to protect the citizen’s rights and not to violate them. The perpetrators are required to be booked under law. There is extreme need to provide protection and proper counselling along with relief and rehabilitation to the victim and her family members.
The Commission took cognizance of the matter on the basis of news clippings and the copies of the complaints by the victim’s mother to the SP and by Bhartiya Mahila Federation, Sukma to District Collector, brought to its notice by Ms. Nandani Sundar, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi seeking its intervention.
Complaint filed by Nandini Sundar:
Dear Justice Dattu, Justice Murugesan, Mr. Sinha and Smt Kalra,
Subject: Rape of minor girl by police/security forces and taking her into custody in lieu of filing an FIR
I am writing to bring to your attention a new case of rape of a minor girl by security forces in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh.
The victim: MN, age approx. 15, daughter of MD, resident of Patel para, Chintagufa village, dist Sukma.
Accused: Unidentified (as of now) CRPF/police personnel; most likely CRPF of 150 bn (according to unofficial statement by local police to reporter).
Date and time of incident: 4 am, April 2, 2017
Details of incident: The CRPF/police had been patrolling all night around Chintagufa. Around 4 am, they entered the house of the victim looking for her elder brother who was a sangham member and has since left. Three men dragged her to a distance, and two of them took turns raping her. The other police/CRPF held back the family members who were trying to rescue her and beat them too. The victim was also injured on the neck during the rape (as photos reveal). Due to the darkness, she could not identify those who did the rape. But an enquiry with police/CRPF will reveal who was present at the spot.
Details of reporting: The matter was first reported by a villager on 3rd, and published in Nai Duniya on 4th morning. On 4th a local reporter, Pawan Shaha, went to the village and recorded the girl’s statement. On 5/6 a team from the NFIW (CPI Mahila Federation) visited the village and brought back the girl and her mother to report to the police. Since then police have not let her out of their sight and are not allowing anyone, including MLA Kawasi Lakhma to meet her. Only her mother is with her – this is the first time that both of them have left their village. The girl has been crying desperately.
Police reaction: The first reaction of the DIG and SP respectively when this case has been brought to their notice is to claim it is false and malafide, with an intent to tarnish image of police by ‘safedposh’ naxali. This is even before investigation. The police has also questioned Pawan Shaha the reporter, who first reported the story. He has been told that he must watch what he writes. Now they have kept the girl in their custody and by all accounts are pressurizing her to change her statement.
Relevant news clippings and statements are attached, including the statement of the mother and the statement of the Mahila Federation complaining that the girl was kept in police custody.
Under the circumstances, I request NHRC to intervene and ensure that justice is done to this minor girl, an FIR is filed, she is paid compensation, and the guilty people are found and punished. This is a clear case under POCSO.