- 40 Adivasi women allegedly raped, gang raped or molested in Bastar (Chhattisgarh) by the police.
- Tribal women were verbally and physically abused and sexually exploited by the police.
- Tribal girl Meena Khalkho, allegedly a ‘Maoist’ and was killed in an encounter—was in fact innocent, who was brutally raped and murdered.
Staring off from these ‘startling facts’, the Chhattisgarh Congress unleashed a scathing attack on Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Monday.
Chhattisgarh Congress president, Bhupesh Baghel alleged, “In Raman Singh government, the tribals of Chhattisgarh have virtually lost their rights to live. Innocent tribals have been branded as Maoists and thrown behind bars and women are being raped. Our fact-finding team went 20 km into the tribal belt of Bastar and got the horror tales of rape. The government is patronising criminals and the corrupt. We will organise a ‘Save Democracy’ rally in Jagdalpur and expose the BJP’s ugly face.”
The public rally will narrate the stories of rape and atrocity on tribal women and corruption in Chhattisgarh, and challenge the government to come up with the truth.
The fact-finding report of the Chhattisgarh Congress alleges that15 tribal women from Peddagelur and Chinnagelur were molested, beaten, threatened; some were chased out of their homes, which the security forces occupied. “Our team heard statements from women of atrocities and verbal abuse of extreme form. Women told them that they were beaten with batons and guns. They were pulled by their hair and their faces were banged on the ground,” alleged Baghel, while speaking to Firstpost.
“In fact, the incident of molestation and rape of three women by the police that took place between 19-24 October, was independently investigated by a special committee of Congress MLAs which shockingly found the facts to be correct. Another such incident is that of the tribal girl Meena Khalkho from Surguja.
Chhattisgarh government and police have alleged that she was a Maoist and got killed in an encounter. But, after a strong protest from the Congress, a judicial probe was conducted and it was found that she was brutally raped and killed. The post mortem report tells a tale of brutal rape and horror,” alleged AICC spokesperson Ajoy Kumar.
“Even after tabling of the inquiry report of Meena Khalkho in Chhattisgarh assembly on 25 July, 2015, no action has been taken against anyone involved in this crime. There is no police record or evidence to establish the lie that she was a Maoist. The state government has demanded Rs 4500 crore from the Centre to deal with the Maoists and development. For this they have cooked up stories of fake surrenders of 70 Maoists. Out of the 70, 60 had no criminal records against them. The Chhattisgarh government cannot deal with the Maoist menace by alienating the tribals and by using coercive methods,” Chhattisgarh’s Leader of Opposition, TS Singh Deo told Firstpost.
Citing the report, Congress MP and in-charge of Chhattisgarh, BK Hariprasad said 11,000 tribal women have been missing in Chhattisgarh and 40 minor girls between six to 13 years had been sexual exploited for two years. “After the Congress countered the BJP, it has been branded as anti-Hindu. Today, the Naxals have made inroad up to the state capital Raipur and the government hasn’t done anything,” he claimed.
The Congress has squarely blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for these incidents.
“BJP is ruling both at the Centre and in the state. If Chhattisgarh has been witnessing cases of mass rape, sexual exploitation of minors and atrocities on innocent tribal, who’s to be blamed other than the PM? Like the BJP-led government at the Centre has branded all the JNU students as anti-nationals, they have branded tribal as Maoists,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
The Chhattisgarh BJP has termed the Congress’ allegations as false and claimed these have been leveled with the intention to belittle the state government’s efforts to root out Maoists from the state.
“There is no question of suppressing the truth. The Congress had raised the issue of rape of Meena Khalkho. The CM and Minister for Home addressed it and the culprits were arrested. There isn’t a single case against which legal action hasn’t been taken up,” remarked state BJP spokesperson Sachhidanand Upasane.
Shivratan Sharma, general secretary, state BJP added, “It has been the policy of the Congress to malign the BJP government through false and baseless allegations. The state government has tackled the Naxal menace in Chhattisgarh with an iron hand and have cornered Maoists. The Congress has levelled false charges only to gain political mileage.”