Dear comrades, friends and well-wishers,
We are happy to tell you that we have just started from AIDWA Centre to arrange, collate and digitise in archival form the rich materials that we possess about our movements and our experiences in the organisation in the 40 years of our existence. Even as the process of archiving started we came across some important materials, reports, articles, booklets from our past which we might begin publishing or re-publishing very soon. At the same time, we would like to share some of it with our readership in this newsletter. What we would like to present to you in this number is the report of a joint fact-finding investigation by women’s organisations initiated by AIDWA on sexual and other atrocities committed on women in Tripura between January 1988 and October 1990.
Starting with the infamous ‘Ujan Maidan’ incidents perpetrated by Central Security Forces led by Assam Rifles in Tripura, post-poll violence against ordinary tribal and non-tribal people and cadres of the Left resurfaced during the ADC elections in 1990 when goons associated with the Congress-TUJS government in power and protected by the state made women the special targets of their terror. This report is on this second wave of atrocities against women which AIDWA decided to investigate jointly with other women’s organisations in October 1990. The AIDWA also petitioned the Court against these atrocities. The members of the Committee on this particular occasion were: 1) Susheela Gopalan (AIDWA), 2) Vidya Munshi (NFIW), 3) Manju Mohan (Mahila Dakshita Samity), 4) Vina Mazumdar (Centre for Women’s Development Studies), 5) Malini Bhattacharya (Member, Loksabha) and 6) Kirti Sngh (Lawyer).
At present, when AIDWA’s Tripura State Committee is leading a fight against growing atrocities by a fascistic and communal political establishment, we felt that it is important to recall that in the 1990 episode recorded tellingly by the joint team from women’s organisations, what shines out is the determination of tribal and non-tribal women in our organisation to fight state violence unitedly. Today when that unity of women is sought to be destroyed in Tripura and elsewhere in the country by the poison of divisive politics we pay our homage to those brave women of Tripura who on the strength of excellent understanding and unfailing coordination among themselves within the organisation crossed difficult and unfriendly terrain to present their evidence to the investigating team.
Malini Bhattacharya and Archana Prasad