Interim Report of the Fact Finding Investigation of Rape and Murder of Dalit & Minority Girls
January 10, 2013 in Kandhamal, Odisha
[Via Asha Kowtal]
The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights with allied organizations like NAWO, Odisha Forum for Social Action, human rights activists and journalists conducted a fact finding visit to investigate into the recent cases of rapes in Kandhamal district.
The members of the team include:
1) Asha Kowtal, General Secretary, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, New Delhi.
2) Namrata Daniel, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, New Delhi.
3) Manjuprava Dhal, National Alliance for Women Organisation (NAWO)
4) Bigneswar Sahu, Journalist
5) Bijayalaxmi Routray, Secretary (SAHAYOG), Bhubaneswar, Odisha
6) Divya Raphael, Odisha Forum for Social Action.
7) Rajesh Kumar Jena, Advocate & Human Rights Activist
8) Mahendra Parida, Child Right Activist
9) Dhirendra Panda, Civil Society for Human Rights
The team has put together the interim report, which includes major observations, recommendations and brief case studies of the cases that were investigated, on Jan. 10, 2013.
Key observations of the fact-finding team
1. All the five cases reported to the fact-finding team were found to be authentic and the alleged crimes were truly reported. The details of each case is attached.
2. All the acts of sexual violence were intentional and pre-planned to victimize the girl by raping and murder.
3. Rape survivors and family members do not have any knowledge about their legal rights and steps to be taken towards access to justice.
4. SC/ST PoA has not been invoked in Tikabadi case and hence the accused have been roaming scot-free for more than 5 months. No compensation, no protection and no justice for this young girl who was raped and almost lost her life because the accused slit her neck with sharp knives.
5. The team observed that the local police did not registered FIR immediately and even those cases registered police did not supply free FIR copies to the victims
6. Severe gaps in investigation were observed particularly allegations relating to the police forcing the victims to change the statements.
7. Filing of Charge sheets has been delayed inordinately in all the cases. Police were not able to give a justification for this.
8. Filing of false / counter cases on family members of victims has been observed.
9. The entire child protection system is a total failure and has not been linked with any of the cases yet inspite of several complaint letters and phone calls. None of the concerned members have shown support. In addition, the girl was denied rehabilitation support by the administration.
10. After the rape and murder of young girls, siblings of victim’s family and other girls in the villages have dropped out from school in fear.
11. The victims are living a life of extreme poverty and have no access to life and livelihood. The team observe that financial assistances not given immediately after the cases. In one case Rs. 10,000 was given in the case of gang rape and murder and Rs. 5000 for rape was given.
12. District administration and police have not taken serious steps and it seems are purposefully neglecting the cases of violence against dalit and minority girls
13. Human Rights Commissions and other statutory bodies have failed completely in addressing the life security and protection of dalit girls and women in Orissa. No committee working in the district such as Women and child development committee and District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC) under SC/ST (PoA) Act 1989 and Rule 1995.
1. The Orissa Government should ensure speedy trial for all the cases immediately.
2. Fast track courts should be set up for these trials.
3. Ensure filing of charge sheet immediately for the investigated cases.
4. Review of enforcement of SC/ST PoA Act at district and state level should be taken up with the state and include SC/ST minorities be included in the PoA Act as they are targeted with the same prejudices and biases.
5. Full rehabilitation plan for the survivors and families should be made for the survivor and family. Provide a job for the family member, residential school for the survivor and compensation of Rs. 15,00,00 for rape and murder case.
6. Panchayat standing committee should be activated and take serious action in these cases of violence.
7. Health department (NRHM) has not taken any action in any of the cases. Trauma counselling and medical treatment for the survivors and the witness should be provided immediately
8. Education department (SSA) should ensure that the girls are back in school.
9. Minority Commission to be set up in the district and Orissa State level to look into all matters concerning minority groups
10. Residential school for minority girl children should be set up to ensure quality education, safety and security of the children.
11. The child protection system (ICPS) should be strengthened and activated with continuous monitoring and follow up.
12. The district administration should take steps to generate awareness of legal rights in particular for women and young girls.
13. Sensitization on gender and exclusion issues – training of police and other district officials should be conducted.
Details of the cases
Fact finding code: 1
Sarangada Rape Incident
Background and Summary of the Case
Priyanka Nayak, aged 5 years, daughter of Fakir Nayak of Colony Sahi of Gundurigaon village under Sarangada police station of Kandhamal district was raped by another minor boy Balia Nayak aged 16 years of same village on 13.11.2012. The incidence occurred at about 11.00 am while Priyanka was playing with other kids of same village on the street. Balia Nayak called her to his house by alluring her to give chocolates and started to rape her. When the child begun to cry, the mother of the child rushed to the spot and rescued her. The parent rushed to the police station and lodged FIR on the same day. The child was taken to district medical for test and treatment. The medical report confirms that there was a minor injury in the private part of the child. A case is registered and accused is summoned to the police station and later he was brought to the District Juvenile committee, which granted him bail.
Presently, the family lives under trauma and fear, the parents are having psychological burden of social stigma due to rape and the victim child is not allowed to play with other kids. The victim and its family are treated differently by the villagers.
Supported by NGO workers, the matter was informed to the Sub-collector for providing financial compensation and educational support to the victim by admitting her in the government hostel to begin her studies. The Sub-collector supported only Rs. 5000 towards victim’s treatment and told that the government has no provision of hostel facility for her study as the victim belongs to Christian minority community.
Necessary Socio-economic, political background of interviewed persons
Priyanka is from a six member family, comprising of her parents, her two year old sister and grandparents. The parents earn their livelihood by selling stone chips. The family is from dalit background and under the below poverty line. They posses neither homestead land nor agricultural land. They had a house built in a land provided by the Panchayat, however, the house was destroyed and the land forcefully taken away by the tribal community during 2008 Kandhamal violence. Presently, they have built a temporary house on a land donated by the in-laws. As a victim of Kandhamal violence, the family was compensated with Rs.30000 to rebuild the house but due to other wants they were not able to build a permanent house.
Detailed statements of victims, witness, officials, and perpetrators
Mr. Basant Panda, the Sub-Inspector of Police of Sarangada police station has informed the fact finding team that the matter is taken up seriously by the police as the accused was arrested and brought before the juvenile committee according to the juvenile law.
Fact finding code: 2
Simanbadi Rape Incident
Background and Summary of the Case
Sabita Digal, aged 13 years, daughter of Bipin and Antajini Digal of Dadadamaha village under Daringibadi police station of Kandhamal district was gang raped and murdered on 26.10.2012 by Ankur Pradhan, a minor of Dadadamaha village and Udhab Pradhani and Bharata Pradhani of Suluma village of Daringibadi police station. He has been arrested.
The incident occurred during Durga puja festive week on 26.10.2012, on the way to Simonbadi at about 11.00 PM while Sabita was going to witness an entertainment programme ogranised for Durga puja festival. She was accompanied by her 10 year old cousin Hebal Digal. Simonbadi is about one and half Kms away from Dadadamaha. On the following morning, passersby saw the dead body of Sabita lying on the road side between Simonbadi and Dadadamaha. The family members and the villagers rushed to the spot and identified Sabita’s body. The medical report confirms that Sabita was gang raped and murdered. Her body was lying naked with lots of injuries on private parts, throat and chest. A case is registered against the accused bearing no 77/12 under the section IPC-376/302 at Daringibadi police station.
At present, the family lives under trauma and fear. Supported by NGO workers, the parents of the deceased received Rs.10,000 towards the funeral from the Red Cross Fund.
Necessary Socio-economic political background of interviewed persons
Dududumaha village comprises of 17 families out of which two belong to a dalit caste and Sabita’s family is one of the two dalit families living in the village. Sabita’s family comprise of parents and two younger sisters. Her father Bipin Digal is a migrant worker. During the visit, he had gone to Andhra Pradesh to earn his livelihood. Mother Antajini Digal manages the family by working as a labourer. The family has no agriculture land; however, a small patch of land is occupied them and is not registered yet. As they belong to dalit communities, they are often threatened and silenced by the dominant tribal group.
Detailed statements of victims, witness, officials, perpetrators
The Sub-Inspector of Police of Daringibadi police station has informed the team that the matter is taken up seriously and the accused were arrested and sent to the jail.
Fact finding code: 3
Kotagarh Rape Incident
Background and Summary of the Case
Banitha Boliarsingh, aged 15 years, SC Christian, daughter of Mikhael Boliarsingh and Chitka Boliar Singh, resides in Madaguda GP, Khandiaguda village, Navasahi, Kotagarh; raped by a 65 yr old man, SC Christian, belonging to the same village community on 22nd December 2012 at 12 pm.
On 22nd December 2012, as usual she had gone to take bath in a pond nearby and the accused aged around 65 yrs followed her quietly. The accused is a family friend of the child’s family. The girl was all alone and that was the time he sexually assaulted her. She informed the family immediately but because of the stigma and shame they kept this incident covered until 2nd of Jan 2013. On 2nd Jan they filed a case against the accused. The FIR was registered on the same day. The police threatened them not to reveal the matter to anyone. The family does not want to go ahead with court cases because they are very poor. At the same time they want the man to be punished. The police had asked the family to change the statement in the beginning because they belong to the same village community. The medical examination is done at Berhampur hospital and the report is with Kotagarh police. The accused was arrested immediately and he is in Balliguda sub-jail. After the arrest of the accused, no follow-up action has been taken for the welfare of the child.
The child is under trauma. She wants to have a change of place and people; she is willing to stay somewhere else so that the memories will not taunt her.
Presently, the family and the child is living under trauma and fear, the parents have the psychological burden of social stigma and shame. The family consists of 7 members, belong to dalit background and is below the poverty line. They posses neither homestead land nor agricultural land.
Fact finding code: 4
Name of the Child : Pragati (Name changed)
Age : 13 yrs
Religion : Catholic Christian
Caste : SC
Educational status : 7th Std
Name of the village : Tiangia, based in Bubaneshwar
Pragati is the third child of her parents. She has two elder brothers and a younger sister. Her parents are wage laborers and reside in a rented house in Kalingavihar, Bubaneshwar. She was doing her schooling in Kandhamal district. She belongs to minority dalit Christian category. During the puja holidays she was staying in her grandmother’s house in Tiangia. On 24th October, 2012, along with her aunt she went to see a drama organized in a temple at Raikia. After attending the temple festival celebration, she was returning along with her aunt to her uncle’s house at Raikia. While she was waiting for her aunt 6 boys approached her and took her to a nearby bush and raped her (three of them were adults and the other three were minor boys). Her aunt was not with her when the incident took place. They did not file the complaint at Raikia police station because there were some complaints already registered against her father in the police station.
Mental Health of the girl
She is under trauma after the incident, she looked stunned and emotionless. Her mental health has been affected badly after undergoing this traumatic experience. She could not even express her feelings. She was sent for counseling therapy and it helped her to express herself to some extent. She was also given psycho-therapy by a professional psycho-therapist. She clarified all her doubts and concerns with regard to her physical health and about her future. It helped her to come out from her anxieties and fears to a greater extent. After the psycho-therapy she could identify her talents and coping capacity. She seemed to be pleasant, motivated, determined to face the future and her self-confidence also has increased. The therapist said that the child has obtained high level of coping and decision making capacity, which will enable her to reintegrate herself completely in the mainstream.
Status of the Case
Jana Vikas came to know about this incident through one of its staff members. We visited the child at her grandmother’s house and immediately took the child to the women’s police station in Bhubaneswar. Since the Circle Inspector had gone for a meeting, we could not lodge the complaint. From there we took the child to child rights commission and produced her before the chairperson. She was very cold and passive in her approach and asked us to file the complaint at the police station, then to produce the child before the commission. She did not attend to the child, and the child was made to sit in the police station for 6 hours without registering the FIR. When the Inspector in charge came at 8.30 pm she forwarded the complaint to Raikia police station, without registering the FIR. The following day we produced the child before Mr. P.L. Punia, the chairperson of the SC commission and Ms. Latha Priya Kumar, Honorable member of SC Commission. The commission forwarded the case to the police station and then they registered a FIR at Bhubaneshwar women’s police station. Immediately the police took initiatives to take the child for medical examination. The IIC wrote a letter to Deputy Commissioner of Police and to Khorda collectorate for compensation and education.
After the intervention of the commission, the Raikia police arrested 4 accused persons (1 adult and 3 minors) and the other two accused are still absconding. The child was brought from Bhubaneshwar by police escort to Raikia for spot investigation, and the child identified the place. Second time she was brought to G. Udayagiri for TI (Test in Identification) parade. Among 4 people she identified 3 of them. Along with Lathika (Activist) the child went to Khorda collectorate for compensation and rehabilitation. But the collectorate had not received any information from the women’s police station, BBSR. DWO of Khordha assured to take action after they receive the letter from the women’s police station. The Khorda Collectorate received the report from the police station after one month. Now the procedure for getting the compensation is in progress.
Fact finding code: 5
Badagaon Rape Case
Name of the Child : Lolita (Name changed)
Age : 3 years
Religion : Catholic Christian
Caste : SC
Education : Goes to Anganwadi center in the village
Name of the Village : Badogoan
It was during the puja time on 17th October, 2012 when her parents had gone for work and she was in the house with her grandmother. Then her uncle came home when she was playing and took her by hand; her grandmother did not object as he is a part of the family. He took her outside and raped her. When her parents came back home and did not see her they inquired from the grandmother; she told them that her uncle has taken her outside. When she came back home she could not walk properly and she had pain in her private parts. So her mother asked her what had happened so then with actions she explained to her mother what uncle had done with her. Her parents then took her for a medical examination. After the incident, the victim child is taken to Balliguda hospital for check up and treatment. The doctor recommended forensic tests. The matter was informed to the village committee but the accused person did not confess his offence rather he filed a counter case against the parents of the victim. According to the suggestion of village committee, the mother of the victim child lodged a complaint against Raghu Digal on 20.10.2012 at Balliguda police station, which was registered as case no 99/2012 under section 376 (2) ( 1) of IPC.
The Balliguda police sent the victim to Berhampur Medical for forensic test and arrested the accused on the following day. However, police kept the victim child around 12 hours in the police station for interrogation, which is uncalled for.
Tikabali Rape and attempt to Murder Case Study
Ritamati Behera, 22 years old girl belonging to washerman family, lives at her grandmother’s house (Indira AWAS) in the village Tentuliapada of Bastiguda G.P. They are three sisters. The elder and young sisters are married. As per her mother though some proposals had come for her marriage, those were cancelled because of her dark color. They are originally from the village Nabaguda near Phulbani. She has studied up to 10th class and then she started helping with the household work. Pratap Sahoo is a 55 years old married person having 4 sons. He belongs to OBC (sundhi) who is a contractor and does construction work.
He was doing canal construction under NREGS. He called Rita to work at the worksite under NREGS but she refused to do it. He requested and called so many times by sending people to Rita’s house. Finally Rita agreed to work to support her family financially and she joined work. She was not going alone, rather she went in a group with other girls. After 2/3 days, Pratap asked her whether she will agree to do what Pratap would ask her to do. Rita said if it would be good and beneficial to me then I will agree. Then Pratap offered a chocolate to her and she refused to take it. Pratap told her that you had committed that if it is be good for you, you will do it then why you are refusing?. Then Rita received the chocolate.
Then another day, Pratap told her to go to his house to collect some cement. She went and Pratap was present there and his wife was absent. Pratap attacked her and abused her sexually. Pratap threatened to kill her and her parents if she informed anybody. He had also abused her sexually 3-4 times by making similar threats to her. Though she was upset, she was not able to share with her mother. She tried to face it herself and did not allow Pratap to do it again. Pratap told her to sleep alone in a separate room instead of sleeping with her parents so that he could come at night. He also told her to use tablets to prevent pregnancy and also told her to run away from the village so that nobody could catch them. Finally, she did not agree with all these and stoped going for work. She had not even got her wages for the last 10 days of work.
All this happened in June, 2012. After some days, in July, Rita had been to the village backyard area for toilet (open defecation) at 5.30 A.M. Suddenly she found 4 people around her whose faces were black painted. One of them asked her: do you know Pratap or not? She refused. Then they threatened by asking many other questions like how do you know Pratap, has he invited you to go with him, has he not offered you money, Rs 45,000/—-etc. Rita was quite afraid, but still she strongly responded that I do not know anything at all about it and Pratap. Then she found Pratap was also one among them. Then they threatened and pressured her to tell others that she was bitten by a wild pig. Rita was not able to understand about it and within no time they put something over her face and she became unconscious. Then they cut her throat and left her there.
After some hours she came to know that she was injured and her body was full of blood. She was not able to move. It was also raining. She tried to move a little bit and tried to shout that: whoever is here, tell my parents that I am not able to move and let them come and take me from here. Hearing her cries some people came and informed her family. And then she found 20/30 people came and took her to the hospital; and that was about 10 O’Clock. She had been struggling alone nearly 5 hours.
She, along with her parents, had been to the police station Tikabali where they lodged an FIR on dt 03.08.12 under sections 311, 326, 307, 506 and 34. She was also harassed by the police there, even by the policewomen who discouraged her. They told that her if her parents will give the responsibility to the police, they will arrange a job in the police or they keep her at some other place. They had informed the DSP and the DSP of G. Udaygiri had also come. Everybody tried to motivate her to change the statement. Though she had written about the happenings in detail, they had changed it. The family feels they must have all been paid by Pratap to do so. Rita has the original write up still with her.
Pratap was arrested only on 29th December.
The whole family including Rita is traumatized. They are under threat. Rita is till getting pain in her throat. She is not able to eat properly. They are quite afraid of Pratap’s family and his friends. As Rita says Pratap’s wife was scolding them and it is stopped. They all are afraid because they have money and power and they can do anything by paying money. This family feels helpless as they also do not get any support and cooperation from the village/community. And there are only two families belonging their caste in that village.
We feel she needs treatment for her throat. The family needs protection at present. And the case needs to be taken seriously and proper action needs to be taken.