After raping two adivasi women last week, police in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra, have engaged in a spiral of atrocities. They have now abducted five people yesterday, including the victims, and are holding them at an undisclosed location. Phone numbers for details and for officials are at the end of this message.
Yesterday evening (January 28th, 2017) at 4:30 pm, two adivasi women who had been raped by the police and their supporters Shila Gota and Sainu Gota were abducted from the office of Nagpur High Court lawyer Nihalsingh Rathod. The police claimed to come from Bardi police station. They did not explain why they were detaining these people and refused to answer questions from the lawyers about what they were charged with (hence, this was an abduction, not an arrest as per law). At 7:40 pm the police returned again and detained activist Mangesh Holi. Till date it is not clear where any of these people are being held or why.
On January 20th, 2017, two women from Gonawara village of Bande block in Chhattisgarh were traveling to Nayatala village (Etapalli, Maharashtra) to see relatives. They were blocked by the Maharashtra Police near Todgatta village and held overnight. In the morning of the 21st they were taken to Naytala, where they were released after the villagers confirmed their identity. But the badly frightened women then told their relatives that they had been sexually assaulted by the police. When the villagers demanded to know what had happened the police battalion beat them up and again seized the two women. When the villagers followed and demanded to know where they were being held the police initially denied that they had ever detained them. After protests the police finally issued a statement saying they had detained the women “for security reasons.” The women were then taken to the district hospital for a medical checkup on the 22nd, but their relatives were barred from meeting them. After repeated protests, the women were finally released on the evening of January 26th after being subjected to further atrocities. They were then again abducted yesterday from the office of the lawyer who was assisting them.
The people of over 70 villages in this region have passed resolutions against iron ore mining and have been struggling for their rights under the Forest Rights Act and against illegal mining. For this reason the police repression in the area has massively increased recently.
Please call the concerned officials and ask to know what has happened to those abducted:
District Collector, Gadchiroli: 07132222001, 07798977831
Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli: 08652573333, 07132222151
Reporters interested in details of yesterday’s incidents and the atrocities inflicted on these women can contact Adv. Nihalsingh Rathod at 09702136264, 09403253160.
Campaign for Survival and Dignity