रविवार, 21 जनवरी 2018

Report of Public Hearing on "Alleged Rape Cases and Status of Rape Victims in Odisha"

Public Hearing onStatus of Alleged Rape cases and Situation of Rape Victims in Odisha” – A Report
Venue: Lohia Bhawan, Bhubaneswar, Date- 29.12.2017

Since few years, Odisha  has witnessed  a rising trend of crimes like rape and molestation  on woman,  and offense against tribal,  dalit and children  due to negligence of  police either to register the FIRs of victim or/and  undertake to have proper inquiry in order to take prompt measures to  nab the culprits. In many cases, the investigative agency is seen to derail and dilute investigation after being pressurised by the people at the top.  In the name of investigation, the police has threatened and tortured the victims and compelled them to withdraw the allegation.  The poor victims suffer from humiliation, mental trauma and social exclusion and could not voice out their protest against the police.  They run from pillar to post to get justice, but there is no effect.

The recent incident, a Dalit  girl from Kunduli village of Koraput Dist. has become rape victim by Cobra Para-Military force and a rape of Kasturi  Samantaray, a school teacher consequent death as alleged by her parents in Kendrapara district aretwo bright examples in questions ofthe police. It seems their intention of masterminded to suppress the facts and dilute the investigations. Media has also highlighted how Kunduli Rape victim has been humiliated and tortured by the police to pressurize to withdraw the statement made on the rape by Cobra Police.   Similarly, the parents of Kasturi were bribed by Kendrapara district administration to withdraw the allegation. Many women employees have also filed allegation of being lured and molested by Govt. officials. Many poor Dalit girls have been raped and sexually exploited in remote pockets of the state whose voice of protest has not reached at appropriate authority or suppressed by local police. The case of constant rape of a disable girl in Sisuapada village under Deland block of Puri district and given birth to an illegitimate child has not been investigated by the police of Deland police station.  

Under this backdrop, a Public Hearing was organised by Civil Society Groups with the objective of providing platform to rape victims and their relatives to speak about their allegation and as well as humiliation and mental trauma sufferance by them, the status of police investigation and justice if any delivered  to them and their continuing struggle for justice.  We have identified a few cases of allegation of rapes and how the police have allowed the criminals’ scot free.  The public hearing was organised under the aegis of Civil Society Forum on Human Rights, CACL, Odisha and Civil Society Group, Bhubaneswar atLohia Academy Bhubaneswar on 29.12.17.  The Jury members were Justice Hrudaya Ballav Das, Retired CBI Judge, Sri Prasanna Kumar Mishra, retired IAS, Sri Rabi Das, senior journalist and Mrs. AparnaNayak, Woman Activist. Around 200 woman activists, NGOs, advocates, intellectuals, journalists, RTI Activists had attended the public hearing and shared their views with the victims. Smt. SanjuktaPanigrahi, renowned Woman Activist and Sri Akhand, Huamn Rights Activist had coordinated the Public hearing.

The presentation made by Rape Victims and the girls sexually exploited and harassed by the Govt. officials and the people close to powerful people is as follows.

1.       Ahuti Mohanty, Khunta, Mayurbhanj
Miss Ahuti Mohanty , aged 24,  D/O-  Chitta Ranjan Mohanty, At/Post- Bayalamara, Via- Bahanada, PS- Khunta , Dist-Mayurbhanj  presented   before  Jury of Public Hearing   about her  unstinted fight  against  sexual  exploitation, torture and assault by powerful people.  The whole house got mum for few minutes having heard her ordeal, suffering and struggle for justice. Brought up in a poor middle class family, Ahuti uses to write poem in Odia daily newspaper. Her poem drew attention ofMr. Rajesh Pravakar Patil, the then Collector of Mayurbhanj district who calledvAhuti to his residence office and appreciated her poem.  On request of Ahuti, he agreed to give her a job. On 31.10.15, Ms. Ahuti Mohanty was appointed as a temporary Tutor in Gopabandhu Balashram, Baripada with a nominal remuneration of Rs. 3000.00 per month. She joined in service on 1.11.15. After few days, the Collector called her to his chamber and appraised her to stayin the hostel of said Balashram. Though reluctant, she was forced to stay in hostel to look after the pupil. During course of her stay at Balashram, it came to her knowledge that the pupils are exploited and tortured in the said unit. Innutritious food is served. The officials on visit to the said school exploit the girls in an inebriated state of mind under the influence of liquor. After seeing all such nefarious activities committed to the students, she could not tolerate but informed the same to the Collector repeatedly. But without taking any steps, the Collector asked her to mind in her own work and   assured her to make her job permanent and asked her to accompany him to different places with evil design. On the other  hand she also  noticed  that Dayasindhu Parida, Deputy Collector   visited  the said Ashram  in late hours of night  on several occasions and pleaded  her virginity  to satiate  his sexual  appetite. He had also asked her many times sexual favour. But she restrained her from such ideas. But  the  Deputy Collector  used to send  vulgar  and sex  message  to  her mobile (9439311433)  from his mobile (9861140619). As she could not fall in their trap, they conspired to oust her from service. They engaged subordinate staffs to defame herpublicly so that no one could give any attention to herallegation.

One day she discovered Sitanshu, driver of Superintendent of Police, Mayurbhanj approaching her to help to file FIR against officials and succeeded in building confidence to fight for justice.  But in the name of helping me, Sitanshu and Manish, Personal Security Officer were beaten up and tortured her in the office of Police Sanghusing slang language. Later, she came to know that they were engaged by Collector to harass her.  Then Ahuti filed complaint to SP, Mayurbhanj against the driver and Collector and Deputy Collector who had hatched conspiracy against her. SP ordered Manas Mohanty, R.I. to enquire into the matter. But Sri Mohanty did not conduct any inquiry rather the driver Sitanshu threatened to murder her. Then on 23.2.2016,she filed a F.I.R against the Collector, Deputy Collector and driver Sitanshu. But the Inspector In-Charge, Baripada Town police station refused to receive the FIR. Thereafter, the officials engaged many people to torture Ahuti physically, mentally, a lot. On 21.6.16, the District officials managed to file FIR against Ahuti by Anuradha Das, Marten, Gopabandhu Balashram who complained upon Ahuti threatening to murder her. Interestingly, the police immediately registered FIR under section 294,341,386,506,500 of IPC corresponding to G.R.Case No. 722 of 2016 pending in the court of S.D.J.M., Baripadaand started enquiry to arrest Ahuti. Ahuti got absconding to avoid arrest andsucceeding to get bail from Odisha High Court on 30.6.16.

Whereas, she was fighting for justice, BabitaKar and SatyaRanjanShamal of Friends Foundation Trust, Bhubaneswarmade a call introducing them and assured her to fight for the justice. Believing them, she arrived in Bhubaneswar on 23.6.17.  They arranged her stay in a Hotel on Cuttack Road, Bhubaneswar and helped her to file a case in the Court of S.D.J.M. But later, they harassed her. On 27.8.16, she met Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bhubaneswar and lodged complaint against them. Finding no result, on 13.9.16, she filed FIR inMahila Police station, Bhubaneswar against them. The police registered the case No. 175(4)/2016 under section 294/323/354/354(A)/354 (C), of IPC. On 26.9.16, she also filed complaint to Police Commissioner, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack police Commissionerate seeking justice.

On 7.6.16, she filed complaint to Chairperson, State Commission for Women, Odisha, Bhubaneswar seeking justice. The case was registered as Case No. MBJ/500/16. But she is yet to get justice from the Commission. On 1.10.16,she registered another complaint and sent by post to the Chief Minister, Odisha seeking direction to Police for an enquire into her allegation and malicious campaign going on in social media against her.

On 15.4.17, Ahuti sent a complaint to Prime Minister, India describing details of police inaction onher complaint of sexual harassment and seeking justice. On 13.6.17, the Prime Minister office issued notice to Chief Secretary, Odisha to enquire into the matter and take appropriate action. On 2.8.17, the Dept. of General Administration and Pubic Grievances sent a letter to Home Dept. to take action on the complaint of Ahuti Mohanty received from Prime Minister. On 29.8.17, the Home Dept. directed the DG and IG police, Odisha and Superintendent of Police, Mayurbhanj to enquire into her matter. On 8.12.17, the Project Director, DRDA, Baripada issued letter to Ahuti Mohanty to attend the said enquiry on 22.12.17 in his office chamber. She gave her statement in the query.  Nothing has happened till yet. She is still struggling to get justice.

2.       Kunduli Rape Victim  of Koraput district
Kunduli rape victim along with her mother presented the whole incidence of how she was raped by Cobra Para-military force, failure of police to investigate into her allegation and conspiracy of the district administration to dilute case, police torture and harassment faced by her during  her treatment. Her presentation before Jury is as follows:

“On 10.10.17, she had been to Kunduli market to take her photograph required for Caste certificate. On her return to home at Lenjiguda Ghati , four Cobra Para-Military forcibly   took her  inside forest, tore  her clothes and gang raped her.  During that time she lost her sense.  Then, after some time she recovered her sense and returned to home. She met Bada Ma (wife of elder brother of Father) and appraised her about rape. She carried her to home.  Immediately her mother took her to Kunduli Primary Health Centre by auto rickshaw at around 12 o’clock. After first-hand treatment, the doctor immediately referred me to District Head quarter Hospital for more treatment, as my condition was serious. After being admitted in Koraput hospital, the police and District Child Protection Officer reached in the hospital.   I was feeling ill and could not walk properly. The doctor started medical treatment. On the same day, the police interrogated me throughout night and persuaded me to saythe police had not raped but the local people might have raped me”.  Every time, the police officers, Inquiry officers were pressurising me not to tell that you were raped. During my treatment and stay in hostel, the investigating officers were pressuring me to withdraw the allegations.  Though I was requesting to meet my family members, they were not allowing me to meet them.  Similarly, the family members were also not allowed to meet me, as told by my aunty who forcibly entered into my room and discussed with me about my health problem. I was not getting satisfied the way the treatment was  going on.

One-day (she could not recall the date), a police team carried me from hospital to the spot of incidence of rape without giving any food and then after spot verification, I was brought to office of Child Welfare Committee. Then I was carried to Hostel at Jeypore and Child Development Protection Officer (CDPO) left me alone there. It was 11 PM.  CDPO has misbehaved me several times and threatened me.  I was not given food throughout the day.  I suffered from stomach problem due to hunger.  When I complained about it, I was given tablet and asked to take in empty stomach.  I could not sleep in the night, as I had not taken any food. On next day, my condition became critical and I was admitted in Jeypore medical by police.  I was humiliated by the police on the way to hospital. They told me that I was pretending and telling lie against Cobra police. I was provided with lunch at 3 PM.  I was not allowed to talk with my family in the hospital, though my family members made desperate attempts to meet me. Then after being discharged from Hospital, I was carried to Salam Hostel, Dumurput, Koraput.  In hostel, a police team persuaded me to tell that the Cobra police had not raped me. Then we will release you. One day ADG police ( Mahendra Pratap, Additional  Director General of Police, Human Rights Protection Cell, Govt. of Odisha ) along with a police team also met me at night and enquired to know the incident. I told everything. He persuaded me repeatedly not to tell name of Cobra, but to write names of four local people as in a plain paper provided by him.  They also tried to give me money amounting Rs. 90,000.00 as bribe to withdraw the allegation. He pressurised me time and again to write four names of local people. I brought paper from his hand and wrote ADG, SP, IIC. He got angry and tore it and left the room.

 On 18.11.17, I was carried to S.C.B. Medical, Cuttack and admitted on 19.11.17.  I was tied with bed in ICU of New Medicine Block. The doctors took my signature in plain paper for the reasons best known to them. In medical, I was completely OK and physically fit. I persuaded doctor to allow me to go home. I do not want to stay here. I do not require any treatment.  They were not allowing me to talk anybody, rather tortured me mentally. I was kept under surveillance like an accused in medical.  I got hope when my mother met me in hospital. Though my mother met me in hospital, I was not allowed to share anything, as the lady police officer stood by us. I requested my mother to take me from this hospital. On 27.11.17 when I was discharged from medical at 2 PM, I was escorted by police and not allowed to meet anyone. I could not understand why the police was escorting me all the times and did not allow me to meet anybody.  Though the police didn’t like my mother & aunt to be with me, yet they were forced to allow my mother and aunty to accompany me in the vehicle. On the way, the police forcibly took out the mobile   from my mother. We reached at Hostel, Chhapar of Koraput at 12 pm. I was kept there in the night. On 28.11.17, I was carried to be produced before Child Welfare Committee, Koraput and got released from clutches of devils.

Statement of Mother of Kunduli Victim
Whenever we have tried to meet our daughter, the police have not allowed us. Even in S.C.B. Medical, Cuttack where my daughter was undergoing treatment, I was not allowed to spend few times with her.  Whenever I met her in medical for few minutes after due approval of the authority,  I was surrounded by the police and other medical staff  and our interaction  is also monitored by the police.  She was being tortured by the police, DCPO and Medical staff several times in the name of treatment.  Though my daughter has made repeated appeals to go home, she was forcibly kept under police surveillance. She has been persuaded and pressurised by the police to tell that she was not raped.  However despite torture, mental harassment, my daughter has not bowed down to their pressure.  My question is- if my daughter was not raped, what treatment was goingon and why she was kept under police protection’. The administration had hatched conspiracy to kill my daughter in order to save Cobra police, as she is the only witness to her allegation of rape. In S.C.B. Medical, the doctors have conspired to admit her in mental ward declaring her a psychiatric patient.  Had she been admitted, they could have easily made her mad.  But due to our timely intervention, we succeeded in releasing her from Medical.  When CWC, Koraput released  my daughter, I was  asked  to give an undertaking  that  I would take care of my  children and would be responsible  for any untoward incident, if  any happened  to my daughter. While releasing my daughter, CWC, Koraput  has put a lot of conditions which are not acceptable  to me. But I was forced to sign just to get my daughter released from their control.   One of the  conditions imposed  by CWC  was  that  without permission of CWC,  the parents  cannot take  their daughter  out of the jurisdiction of CWC.   Now my daughter is fine and now she will fight for her justice.

3.         Revenue Inspector of Kanas Tahasil , Puri
This case was presented by Pradip Pradhan, Human Rights Activist before Jury, as the victim,  a  Dalit and Govt. employee presently serving  as Revenue Inspector under Gop Tahasil of Puri district had refused  to be publicly exposed  and present her ordeal.   

The Victim   was working as Revenue Inspector in Badas Circle under Kanas Tahasil of Puri district. On 23.3.16, she had gone to Kanas Tahasil for official work.  On that day, Sri Umakant Bal, senior clerk used very slang language against   her while appraising Tahasildar about her presence in the office.  When she wanted to know about the reason, SriBal got enraged and displayed very rude behaviour with casteist remarks against her. She also gave a push on her chest which has been recorded in CCTV camera.  She was humiliated and on her way   back to home,   made a call to Sri Sanjay Pratihari, Tahasilar, Kanas. Tahasildar did not respond. Prior to this incident, Sri Bal and Tahasildar had misbehaved her several times and displayed sexual remarks and compelling her to work in Tahasiloffice even up to 9 PM with much harassment and humiliation.  It is to be mentioned here that since her joining, Sri Bal had been adopting various tricks to get closer and lure her for sexual benefit.  He had also advised her to get closer to Tahasildar and could take any benefits from him. 

However, after getting  humiliated  and harassed  with sexual remarks,  at first    she along with her mother went  to meet  Sri Madhusudan Das , Sub-Collector, Puri  and  filed  complaint  against  Sri Umakant Bal  and Tahasildar.  He assured her to solve the matter within 3 days but did not take any steps till 6.4.2016. On 7.4.16, the Victim personally met the Collector, Puri and   filed Complaint   seeking an inquiry and quick action against the culprits. On 17.4.2016, she filed complaint to Dr. Sarthak Sarangi, SP, Puri seeking an inquiry and action against perpetrators of crime. Nothing happened. No inquiry conducted. Rather both of them supported to Tahasildar. 25.4.17,   she wrote a letter to the Chief Minister, Odishaa appraising him about details of incident and sexual harassment caused to her and prayed for action against both Tahasildar and Head Clerk. On same day, she filed complaint to  Odisha Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, New Delhi, State Commission for Women, national Commission for Scheduled Caste and  National Human Rights Commission,  seeking an inquiry into it.

In the meantime, OHRC has closed the case on the basis of report produced by SP, Puri. NHRC had issued to Human Rights Protection Cell, Cuttack, Govt. of Odisha for inquiry.  Though HRPC conducted an inquiry, the inquiry report has not yet been submitted to NHRC, New Delhi. She had also filed RTI to get CD of recording of CCTV Camera which was denied to her. Now she had been transferred to GOP Tahasil, Puri and still struggling toget justice.

4.       Rape victim of Sisuapada village under Delang block of Puri district
While displaying bunch of papers, Bebina Jena, Mother of Rape victim presented before Jury in a Public Hearing, held in Bhubaneswar on 29.12.17.   About her disable minor daughter being raped, inaction of the police and her struggle for justice. She said that her daughter, aged 15 years is reading in 10th Class of Barada Babalpur High School.  On 29.6.2017, her daughter complained of being suffering from stomach pain. Then she carried her to hospital and after medical examination, the doctor confirmed that she is pregnant. Then she asked her daughter about it. She said that one day while she was returning from the school; Ramesh Ch. Martha of Balihankar village raped her in a lonely place (near Mango tree, Balihunka) nearby river bed.   Ramesh threatened her not to disclose it to anybody.   Out of fear, the victim did not share us about this incident. As she recalled, Ramesh had raped her thrice on her way back to home. Then she developed pregnancy.

On 30.6.17, she formally filed FIR in Delang police station seeking arrest of the culprits. The Delang police station registered the case under section 376 (2) (i) (n) /506 of IPC and under section 6 of POSCO Act. But the police remained silence and did not undertake investigation. On 21.7.17, her daughter delivered an illegitimate child. Finding police inaction, she made a complaint to Superintendent of Police, Puri on 25.7.17. About Delang police conspiring to cover up the investigation and protecting the culprits.  Now, the family of the accused are threatening them to withdraw the case and the police supporting them. On 28.7.17, she approached State Commission for Women, Odisha, Bhubaneswar to get justice and on 1.9.17, she   has also filed complaint to Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR), Bhubaneswar seeking an enquiry into it.  Though 4 months have passed,   the police has failed to nab the culprits. In the meantime, the police has allowed to the culprits   to move to High Court to get advance bail. She also alleged that as the culprit is associated with BijuJanata Dal, the police could not take any steps to arrest him.  In the meantime, she had met SP, Puri thrice to get justice, but in vain.

5.       Rape Victim of Raj Sunakhela of Nayagarh district
As Pratima Nayak(M- 7749962942), mother of Rape Victim could not come to attend the Public Hearing, Mrs. Sharmila Nayak, President of  State Woman Unit of  Republic Party of India, on behalf of the victim presented  the issue  how the police mishandled  the investigation and misbehaved  the victim in the police station.

The victim, aged 20, belongs to Scheduled Caste Community of Chhanapali Patna village of Surugabali Panchayat of Ranpur block under Nayagarh district.   When she had gone to latrine in night on 30.11.17, Sushant Nayak of that village took her inside a dilapidated house and raped her. After hearing from daughter, Pratima Nayak informed the villager leaders   about it and sought the support to resolve it.  Finding no justice from the villagers, he lodged FIR against the accused sushant Nayak and his father, Gadadhar Nayak and elder brother in Rajsunakhela Outpost on 3.12.17.  But the Sub-Inspector refused to receive the FIR and misbehaved her.  However, on 4.12.17, the Sub-Inspector registered FIR (Case no. 303/2017) but did not   conduct any query.  On 5.12.17,Pratima along with her daughter met SP, Nayagarh and filed complaint against the police inaction.  After intervention of SP, the police undertook medical examination of victim and started inquiry by visiting the place of incidence.  But the accused  Sushant Nayak got absconding from the village.  The police could not arrest anybody rather facilitated father and brother to get bail from High Court.  The victim is still fighting for justice.

6.       Rape  and Mysterious Death of Kasturi Samantaray, a 10th Class Student  of Kendrapara district
Supriya samantaray and Bibhuti Samantaray, Parents  of  Kasturi Samantaray,  Rape victim who died under mysterious  circumstance presented  before  Jury  about rape of their daughter  in the school  premises  and   conspiracy of the police to cover up the case and  their  relentless struggle to get justice.

Kasturi was the student of 10th Class of Rukuni Devi High School, Adagaon village under Indol Gram Panchayat of Derabisi block. She was meritorious student and Sportsman. On 22nd Sept.17, she was carried by her sports teacher to Rajendra Narayan High School, Rajkanika to attend the Annual Sports festival.  On 23rd Sept., kasturi returned with the Sports Teacher toher house.  The parents found her mentally imbalance and wanted to know from her about the reason.  She shared how she was raped in the night and said that she did not want to live.  On the next day, she started vomiting and the parents carried her to Kendrapara hospital where the doctor declared her dead.  But   though   the dead body was kept ready for post-mortem, Doctor Nihar Ranjan Praharaj getting a phone call refused to conduct post-mortem. Everybody present in the hospital got astonished and suspected conspiracy behind it.  Then, her dead body was carried to S.C.B Medical, Cuttack for Post-Mortem.  But astonishingly, the Post-Mortem report has not been submitted to them.

It deserves to be mentioned here that Satya brata Sahu, peon of District Education Officer was caught in compromising position in night at 2 pm and he was also beaten up. It was reported to DEO in the night. But the authority of R.N. High School did not file any complaint in local police station. They tried to cover it up and send the girl to her village.

Alleging death of their daughter due to rape, the parents lodged FIR in local police station.  But the police did not conduct any inquiry rather tried to suppress it.  Then, the parents met Collector and SP of Kendrapara and requested them to arrest the culprits and give them justice. But the while district administration sat over complaint and tried to dilute the case giving an impression that death of Kasturi is natural death.  In the meantime, the Head Master of Rukuni Devi High School gave them Rs. 8000.00 as bribe and requested them not to pursue the case. On 23rd Nov. a massive rally and demonstration under banner of 20 Social Organisations was organised in Kendrapara with participation of hundreds of people demanding immediate arrest of the culprits. The parents also approached National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, State Commission for Women by filling complaints seeking inquiry into the matter. On 13.10.17, NCPCR had given direction to SP, Kendrapara to enquire into the allegation and take action within 7 days.  But though 3 months have passed, the administration has not taken any steps to nab the culprits.  The parents also attempted self-immolation in front of residence of Chief Minister, Odisha. However, the police rescued and assured them to give justice. They appealed to all the participants and Jury members to cooperate them in their fight for justice.

7.       Death of Pravati ( Barsha)  Patra,  Rape victim of  Jajpur district
Akhaji Patra of Damodar Pur village, Mother of Pravati Patra, a Dalit who was murdered allegedly after being raped   along with Biswanath Patra, Human Rights Activist narrated   before Jury the police inaction into her complaint about mysterious death of her daughter and her struggle for justice.

Her daughter was the student of +3 Arts in Sukinda College of Jajpur district. On 24.8.17, in the early morning, she had gone for tuition to nearby village.  Few people saw her dead body at Nullah nearer to their village. Within few hours, the police team reached on the spot, carried the body for post-mortem and conducted inquiry.   The parents alleged to the police that their daughter had been murdered and demanded enquiry.  But finding no response from the police after waiting for 4 days, they formally lodged FIR in Sukinda police station.  On 28.8.17, the police registered FIR as case No. 68/2017.  But the police did not conduct any inquiry and tried to suppress it.  Then, the villagers and students of Sukinda College organised Road block movement and blocked State High way connecting Kalinga Nagar.  The Addl. SP, IIC of Kalinga Nagar Police station and Sukinda police station reached on the spot and called all the villagers for discussion.  During discussion, the parents alleged that Sri Sibu Soren, BJD worker close to Priti Ranjan Ghadei, local MLA was in love affairs with our daughter.   Sibu has murdered her daughter.  The police assured them to take action.  After few days, the police asked the parents to receive Rs. 4, 00,000.00 from Tahasildar and not to pursue the case. The parents refused to receive the same and along with Social Activists, Members of Transgender Community and villagers met SP, Jajpur on 8.9.17 for inquiry into alleged murder of Pravati Patra. Finding no action from SP, the parents appraised DG, Police on 20.9.17 about police inaction and requested for inquiry and give them justice.  Now the local police have threatened villagers   to withdraw complaint and not to pursue the matter.  The police is also putting pressure on parents time and again to withdraw the case.  They are still trying hard and pursuing the case to get the culprit arrested and gets justice.

8.       Pre-planned Murder of Snehalata Chhatria, a Dalit girl of Khaparakhol Block of Bolangir district
Sri Sangram Mallik, Dalit Activist who had taken the case of Murder of Snehalata Chhatria had presented   before Jury the details of incident, police inaction and struggle of Dalit Activists to fight out this case and subsequent Crime Branch inquiry ordered by Govt.

Snehalata Chhatria is elder daughter of Dalimba Chhatria of Sargipali village under Khaprakhol block of Bolangir district. On 22.5.15, while she had been to take bath to a stream, she could not return to home. After day-long thorough search, the villagers found her dead body in a bush jungle.   Her body was found attacked with deadly weapons and her face disfigured with pouring of acid.  The private part of her body including vagina was also attacked. The police  seized  the dead body of Snehalata  and registered  a case  under section 363, 364,302,376(2) (i) of  IPC and section 4 of POSCO Act  ( Case No. 34/2015)  and conducted inquiry.  It was suspected that as Snehalata was organising movement against illegal liquor business, the liquor mafias might have murdered them. After seven days of the incident, on 29.5.17, a high-level fact-finding Team had visited the spot to enquire into the matter.  The Team had also met Bhanu Shankar Yadav, IIC and Pradeep Mohapatra, SDPO, Patnagarh and discussed with them.  The police had not reached any conclusion nor arrested anybody. The Collector had given Rs. 5000.00 to the parents.  The fact-finding team had demanded CBI inquiry and award of 20 lakh compensation to the parents. However, there was protest rally and demonstration in front of office of Collector, Bolangir on 19.6.15 and gherao of Assembly on 25.6.15. The police arrested two people in this case. The State Govt. handed over this case for investigation to Crime branch. The Crime Branch, Cuttack registered the case No.15 on 30.6.2015.  As the police did not find charge sheet in the court, the two accused released on bail on 2.11.15.  The district administration had provided  to the family of victim financial assistance of   Rs. 15,000.00 from Red Cross Fund  and  Gram Panchayat Rs.2000.00 and Rs. 2,81,250.00 as compensation under  SC &ST ( prevention of Atrocity) Act,1989. After one year of the incident, finding no improvement of inquiry  by Crime Branch,  on 12.5.16,  Civil Society Organisations met  D.G. police and submitted memorandum  for CBI inquiry. On 10.6.16, the State Government released notification for handing over the case to CBI.  On 23.5.17, a Civil Society delegation met SP, CBI to   discuss about progress of investigation.  It was found that no such decision taken yet for investigation. Now a case has been filed in Odisha High Court seeking CBI inquiry into it. Though two and half years have passed, the investigation has been consciously diluted by Odisha police and the family of victim struggling hard to get justice.

Reaction of the House
After presentation by the Victims and their families, the representative of political parties, Human Rights Activist and Woman Activists expressed their concern and condemned inaction and negligence of the police to investigate the cases of such grave nature.  Sri Biswa Mohan Mohanty, Spokesperson of Congress criticised the Govt. for providing protection to the accused  and diluting investigation and demanded CBI inquiry into all  rape and murder cases. Due to inaction of the police, the culprits are encouraged to commit such crime for which it is raising day by day.  Sri Dhirendra Panda, eminent Human Rights Activist spoke about failure of all Commissions like Odisha Human Rights Commission, State Commission for Women and State Child Rights Commission, Child Welfare Committee for their failure to dispense justice to the victim.  These Commissions have miserably failed to perform their own duties and working to satisfy the Govt. for the reasons best known to them. Other dignitaries Sri Jiauddin Muhammad, Jyostna Rout, Tapan Mishra and many others condemned State Govt. for its negligence to arrest the culprits and dilute the investigation. They called for massive campaign and movement in the state forjustice to the victim.

Recommendation of Jury
During presentation by victims and their family members, the Jury members were putting a lot of questions seeking clarification about their cases. After hearing these cases,  the Jury  is of the view that  all the allegations / complaints presented are genuine  and substantiate police negligence  to investigate the cases properly and recommended to State Govt. for  constitution of  SIT (Special Investigative Team) to investigate into the matter and complete the same within stipulated time period. The Jury members also recommended   that a team of Civil Society Groups should meet Chief Justice, Odisha for taking these cases sou  motto in order to give justice to the victim.  The Jury also thanked all the participants and organisers for organising such public hearing to give justice to innocent girls and Dalit families.

Report prepared by:
PradipPradhan                   SanjuktaPanigarhi                        Sri Akhand
Human Rights Activist       Human Rights Activist                 Human Rights Activist
M-9937843482                    M- 9238598756                               M- 7008816891

Sachikant Pradhan          Pratap Sahu                                    Srikant Pakal
Human Rights Activist     Human Rights Activist                   RTI Activist
M- 8249164980                 M- 8637238600                                M-9338455092

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