Dear Union Minister for Home Affairs,
INDIA: Call for immediate investigation and arrest the alleged four security force who raped a minor tribal girl entertaining violence against tribes
Name of victim:
1. 14 year-old tribal girl, gangraped by four alledged security force
2. Ganganna Sirka, 12 years old, physically abused by four alleged security force
Names of alleged perpetrators: four alleged unidentified security force
Date of incident: 19 April 2011
Place of incident: Taladekapadu village, Narayanpatna Panchayat, Narayanpatna block in Koraput district of Orissa
We are writing to voice our deep concern regarding a 14 year-old tribal girl who was allegedly raped by four security personnel and a 12 year-old tribal boy who was assaulted by them on April 19, 2011.
According to the testimonies of the victim children, at 3am, 19 April 2011, four unidentified men including one wearing a military uniform broke open the gate to enter the house located in Taladekapadu village, Narayanpatna Panchayat, Narayanpatna block in Koraput district of Orissa. They lighted on 14 year-old girl Sirka (name withheld) by torch and her younger girl cousin sleeping in the room to wake them up and went to the next room where her boy cousin Ganganna Sirka (12 years old) was sleeping alone. All three are tribal children and no adult was at home at that time. The children were sleeping at their uncle’s home.
The rapists who are alleged to be security personnel began questioning two tribal girls in Hindi which is not the girls’ ethnic language. The girls identified them as security personnel since one of them wore a military uniform and all spoke Hindi. Immediately after recognizing them as security personnel and fearing them, the younger girl ran away to flee from the house whereas the other girl failed to escape. They tied the boy’s hands and mouth with clothes, and forced him to lie down on the floor blindfolding him. After plundering the girl of gold earings and three nose rings, they also forced her to lie down then gagged and blindfolded. They then demanded money. As she said she did not have money, they beat her with a stick and slapped her repeatedly.
One of them watched the broken entrance door, one held Ganganna in other room, one pulled girl Sirka’s legs down and the fourth one started sexually assaulting her. All of them raped her in turns while taking turns to hold Ganganna, which lasted for about an hour. Before leaving the place, they threatened to kill her or with dire consequence if she made a complaint to the police or shared anything about them with anyone.
After they left the boy managed to untie them and asked the victim what had happened to her. However, she could not tell him anything as she was too scared to speak out and even to get medical treatment. She did not file a complaint immediately after the incident since she was fearing for her life as the alleged perpetrators had threatened.
The boy went out to call her parents who were sleeping in a small temporary hut nearby an agricultural field where her parents farm. During the agricultural season, the tribes build huts near their fields and stay there to prevent the wild animals from eating up their crops. The victim could not step out of house for about three days due to excruciating pain although she did not have internal bleeding.
We were informed that about two weeks later, the victim girl was encouraged to speak of what happened to her by elderly of the village who suspected serious assault against the children. On 4 May, the elders of the village filed a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police (SP) by registered post while the girl Sirka’s brother also filed a similar case by post. Accordingly the police have registered two cases (First Information Report -FIR) no. 13/11 and 14/11) under sections 450, 451, 379, 323, 342 and 376 (g) and 34 of Indian penal Code (IPC) at Narayapatna Police Station and conduct investigation. The copies of the complaint were sent to Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) South-West region Soumendra Priyadarshi, Home Secretary U N Behera and several human rights institutions such as Orissa human Rights Commission, Orissa State Womenâ€™s Commission and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
It is reported that on 14 May, local media reporters along with human rights defenders visited the victim, her family and other villagers to find out the details of the incident. The villagers alleged that on May 11 and 13, Narayanpatna police had visited the village and allegedly abused and forced the villagers to put their thumb impressions on blank paper. It is again found that the Inspector in Charge asked the victim girl to put her signature on another register on 14 May when the victim girl and her parents had gone for medical examination.
We have learned that contrary to the testimonies of the victim children and the villagers, the Narayanpatna Inspector in Charge insisted that the signature from the victim girl was for the FIR receipt despite the fact that the victims filed a case on 4 May. He also denied the allegation about police involvement suggesting that there was no combing operation on the day of incident. He rather suspected that it could be committed by unidentified youths wearing uniforms, clarifying that lately there have been a number of thefts in the area and the alleged perpetrators could be one of them.
However, according to the villagers, it is the third time that the village faced brutal assault and theft by the security personnel. I am informed that on 11 February 2011, about 1 am the security personnel had attacked Mr. Kiya whose hut was nearby his farm and stolen 15 chickens and INR 2500 (USD 55). They also had stolen 10 chickens and INR 5000 (USD 110) from Mr. Benu Sirikaâ€™s hut. They even beat women who tried to stop the security personnel from beating men. The security personnel took both of them to Narayanpatna Police Station and detained them in police custody at night. Next morning at 10 am, Mr. Kiya was sent back home whereas Mr. Benu was sent to Koraput district and is currently in district jail.
We were further informed that on 15 May Narayanpatna Police Station female constable Ms. Samita brought the victim girl, her parents and a few villagers to Koraput District Headquater Hospital where the victim girlâ€™s medical examination was conducted by Dr. V Sangita.
The NCPCR also directed the District Human Rights Protection Cell under the office of Koraput SP to ensure proper counseling for the victim girl, for which the Koraput SP informed the lawyer Ms. Sujata Nayak in the letter (no. 499 dated May 14) that she has been appointed as a counselor for the victim girl and all expenses would be covered by the office of Koraput Collector.
We are of the opinion that the human rights institutions are currently conducting their mandate to support the victim girl whereas the police try to cover up the case instead of conducting a thorough investigation to arrest the perpetrators immediately. I request that the human rights institutions monitoring the investigation process as it is highly possible that the alleged perpetrators are the security force.
We therefore urge you to intervene into the case to ensure the rights of the victim and to stop the security force or police entertaining violence and impunity. An immediate impartial investigation must be launched in that case, followed by subsequent prosecutions against the perpetrators. The victim must be provided adequate compensation, medical treatment and protection during the length of the investigation.
ASIA INDIGENOUS PEOPLES PACT