Memo To NHRC ON MP Case

Memorandum to NHRC on Atrocity Against MP Tribal Woman
22 December, 2005  
Ms. Girija Vyas,
New Delhi
Dear Girija ji,
Sub: Seeking intervention on atrocity against tribal woman of MP.
We would like to bring to your attention the barbaric atrocity on a tribal woman in Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh, in which the victim was gang raped by two upper caste villagers, and her right hand was cut off by them because she dared to approach the police and file a complaint of rape against them.
The gruesome reprisal against Kamala Bai w/o Prakash Gond was accompanied by threats to her life and burning down of her jhuggi in Negri village of Silwani Taluk. The attack occurred in the Chief Minister's constituency, and it took the police four days to arrest the accused, reportedly owing to their political connections.
The poor woman had been admitted in hospital, but received little attention or help from the administration. It was only after intervention from local AIDWA activists, and the Question raised by Vice President Brinda Karat in Parliament that the criminals were arrested, medical treatment was given, and the compulsory relief amount was released.
The degree of callousness displayed by the police is shocking. The rape took place on Dec 2nd, but the woman's complaint was not registered till after her hand was chopped off and house burnt down on Dec. 7th. No medical examination was done, no attempt made to collect the clothes of the victim, no proper police investigation was conducted. To add insult to injury, the police SP and DSP have been describing the victim as a woman of loose morals, and this has been widely published in the papers.
An equally outrageous attitude has been taken by the State Women's Commission Chairperson, who went to meet the woman in hospital and pressurized her to admit that the actual culprit was her own brother -in- law. The victim's 5 year old daughter was taken aside and questioned aggressively in this vein. There is tremendous pressure being exerted on her to change her statement.
The victim's predicament is pathetic. There is no support from the community because the panchayat is completely under the control of the upper caste landholders. Within her own tribal community, her sister's marriage to a nontribal, which has not yet been accepted, has led to a lack of support. The husband fearing worse reprisals and pressures has disappeared from the scene.
This disturbing lack of support highlights the vulnerability of the victim on many counts, and it is certain that without pro active and gender sensitive intervention from Institutions set up for this very purpose, the woman's case cannot get very far.
Kamala Bai has lost her right hand, and for an agricultural worker, this would imply total loss of livelihood. She also feels insecure, and is frightened about the consequences of returning to her village. But in spite of all these handicaps, the woman wants that justice should be done and is willing to resist all the pressures being exerted on her.
It is in these circumstances that we would request the NHRC to intervene and ensure that this gross violation of human rights does not go unpunished. We demand that:
  • There should be a proper rehabilitation package which will include long term free medical treatment, house site, Govt. employment in an alternative place and security safeguards for the victim and her family.
  • The case should be dealt with on a priority basis, and there should be a strong legal team to assist the Prosecution.
  • Stiff penal action should be taken against the policemen whose dereliction of duty has actually led to this brutal attack. They should be suspended, and charges should be framed against them, and also against those policemen whose remarks on her character have further victimized a poor victim.
A delegation may please investigate the matter urgently, and issue suitable directives to the MP Govt.,
Thanking You,
Yours Faithfully,
Sudha Sundararaman
(Gen. Secretary)
Pramila Pandhe
(Vice- President)
Asha Lata
(Asst. Secretary)