प्रतिलिप्याधिकार/सर्वाधिकार सुरक्षित ©

इस ब्लॉग पर प्रकाशित अभिव्यक्ति (संदर्भित-संकलित गीत /चित्र /आलेख अथवा निबंध को छोड़ कर) पूर्णत: मौलिक एवं सर्वाधिकार सुरक्षित है।
यदि कहीं प्रकाशित करना चाहें तो yashwant009@gmail.com द्वारा पूर्वानुमति/सहमति अवश्य प्राप्त कर लें।

यदि आप चाहें तो हमें कुछ सहयोग कर सकते हैं

08 March 2013

An Open Letter to Sonia Gandhi on Soni Sori

Dear Ms Gandhi, President of the Congress Party, Chairperson of the National Advisory Council

We appeal to you as the Chairperson of the NAC and the President of the Indian National Congress Party, the largest party in Government and the party which declares that “it is for us to ensure that it [the party] holds out hope for each and every Indian,” to intervene and speak out on behalf of Soni Sori, an Adivasi woman, a mother and a school teacher who has been raped and tortured whilst being held in police custody and has been held imprisoned now for over fourteen months in Chhattisgarh. We hope that this intervention on your part will lead to Soni Sori`s release by March the 8th, International Women`s day. By standing for Soni Sori, like us, you would not be merely upholding rights of a specific woman but for people of all gender, their civil liberties and human rights. This is what our Constitution promised us and this is what we need you and your party to deliver through actions.

In recent months, the eyes of the world have been focused on the rights of Indian women as a consequence of the horrific rape and murder of a young Indian woman by six men in December. A previous assault on a seventeen-year old in July was well publicised because people chose to watch and use their mobile phones to film the crime rather than go to the young woman`s assistance or call the police. As International Women’s Day approaches, how will the world view the position of women in India? However, the finger of blame is increasingly being pointed at the Indian state, nationally and globally. There is a danger that these events simply confirm to the rest of the world the age-old stereotype of South Asian women being so downtrodden and oppressed that men can act with impunity against them with little fear of punishment or social condemnation. The Indian government not only fails to protect women from sexual and other types of violence, but in fact sanctions, indeed rewards such crimes when they are committed by its employees and representatives to silence women who speak out in defence of human rights.

On the 4th of October 2011, Soni Sori was arrested in Delhi, where she had fled from her home in Chhattisgarh in fear for her life. Three days later she was transferred to the jail in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh where there is compelling evidence that she was tortured and sexually assaulted at the command of the then District Police Superintendent Ankit Garg. Three months later, on the Republic Day in 2012, Garg was awarded the Presidential Medal for Gallantry. Sori continues to be held on a plethora of false charges including one in which she has been accused of being a courier between the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the Essar Energy Group which has mining interests in Chhattisgarh, even though she has recently been acquitted in several other cases .

Pleas by national and international human rights groups to get Soni Sori released in time for International Women`s Day 2012 were ignored. Almost a whole year has gone by and Soni Sori still remains in custody with little hope of bail for an alleged crime of which there is little evidence. Both Essar and the Maoists deny that they were parties in the alleged extortion racket at the centre of this case and although local contractor BK Lala as well as Essar company manager DVCS Verma were also arrested at the same time as Soni Sori, both men have been out on bail since early 2012. Meanwhile, Soni Sori, who is a mother of three children, two of them under ten at the time of arrest, and should therefore, under the Indian law been presumed to receive bail, continues to suffer ongoing neglect and abuse in prison.

Far from being an oppressed and downtrodden woman, as an outspoken critic of both the Maoists and the mining companies, Soni Sori is being punished for exerting her democratic right to speak out in defence of her Adivasi community rather than for a crime she has not even been tried for. She is being punished by those who would not have the authority to mete out punishment even if she were found guilty of a crime and the form of her punishments are not to be found in any penal code anywhere in the world. If the Indian government is not willing to protect women from the illegal actions of its own agents when in their custody, then what message is it sending out to Indian men– that women are fair game just for going out or speaking out?

The arrest and trial of those that perpetrated the rape and murder of the young woman in Delhi is to be welcomed. But justice for Soni Sori and others like her also needs to be seen to be done to send a clear message that rape and violence against women under any circumstances is unacceptable. Recently Soni Sori has been exonerated in four cases. It is important that Soni Sori be released from jail. It is also important that government sponsored awards should not be given to representatives of the State, such as Ankit Garg against whom there is evidence of crimes such as torture and rape.

Many people, men and women alike, are horrified by the case of Soni Sori and how it reflects on the Indian government. They are organising events and protests to highlight such abuses, nationally and internationally. They will continue until their requests for justice are met. Let this International Women`s Day be the day when Soni Sori is unconditionally released and those who committed crimes against her be duly punished for going against the call of justice. Honourable madam, we request and hope that you will add your powerful voice to these calls for justice and help make this happen.

With hopes of an immediate positive action from you

Signed by the large number of  people over face book including shares.


1 comment:

  1. जनकल्याण के लिए और महिला की अस्मिता के लिए सार्थक गंभीर कदम उठाना अति आवश्यक है।


Popular Posts

+Get Now!