Despite a Delhi High Court directive to the Chhattisgarh police to ensure the safety of the jailed adivasi teacher who had apprehended custodial torture, Soni Sori has alleged that in clear violation of the Court’s order, the Dantewada SP gave her electric shocks, underdressed her and tortured her on the night of October 8. In a letter addressed to the Supreme Court, and received by a social activist in Delhi today, Sori has described the torture to which she was subjected by the Superintendent of Police, Ankit Garg, and has demanded to know who is responsible for her condition.
On the night of 8.10.2011, from 12 midnight to 2:30 am, SP Ankit Garg called me into a room in the police station, gave me electric shocks (current shock), took my clothes off and severely tortured me. Why has no action been taken against him? Sori has asked in the letter in Hindi, a scanned copy of which is attached herewith. Sori, whose case is currently being heard in Delhi, has written this letter on a small scrap of paper and asks the apex court five incisive questions.
Describing herself as a suffering adivasi women who is also a daughter and sister of this country, she asks the Court to tell her who is responsible for the brutal custodial torture to which she has been subjected by the police in Chhattisgarh. It may be recalled that Soni Sori had apprehended this physical torture when she was picked up by the police in Delhi, and had moved the Sessions court and the High Court in Delhi to oppose her remand to the custody of Chhattisgarh police. Keeping her fears in mind, the Saket Court in Delhi had awarded her custody to the Chhattisgarh police only upon receiving their assurance of her safety. The Delhi High Court also asked the Chhattisgarh police to submit a report listing out steps to ensure Soni’s safety.
However, as Soni points out in this recent letter, despite these safeguards and the assurance given to her by the Saket Court, she was tortured brutally, both mentally and physically, by the Chhattisgarh police. Why did the police do this to me, why was this allowed to happen? Soni asks the Supreme Court in this letter. Describing her police harassment over the past year and a half, she writes about how the police kept showing her as an absconder in half a dozen cases, even though she was meeting with them, going to the police station and regularly attending her job as an ashram school teacher, as evidenced by the entries of the school attendance register. Why did the police not arrest me at that time? asks Soni in this letter. Referring to the most recent case, in which the police alleges that Soni has acted as an intermediary between Essar and the Naxalites, she claims that she was asked by a police constable Mankar to flee from the place, which has made her into a criminal.
In the letter, Soni asks the apex court why no action has been taken against the erring police constable. Soni also refers to the fact that she was kept chained to her hospital bed when she was undergoing treatment for her injuries due to custodial torture in the Raipur hospital,which is explicitly prohibited under Supreme Court orders. At the end of the short letter which lists these five questions, Soni plaintively asks the court, Who is responsible for my condition? The Chhattisgarh government or the police administration? Soni affirms in the letter that she is still on hunger strike since she has still not obtained justice. Social activist Himanshu Kumar says that this letter will be delivered to the Supreme Court once it reopens on Monday and notes,These questions which Soni is raising are important not only for her, but for all of us in this country. We must be prepared to face these questions and ensure that our democracy is strong enough to answer them.
For more information contact: Himanshu Kumar ph: 9013886571 email: vcadantewada@ gmail.com
Letter for the Supreme Court
1. Why are my feet chained?
2. Mankar constable is the culprit in the Essar case. He made me into a criminal by asking me to abscond. Why is there no action taken against him on this?
3. For a year and a half, the police have been harassing me by lodging false cases against me. I used to openly come and go in front of the police force. I was called at the police station many times, and I used to go there. Why did they not arrest me at that time? For no reason, they declared me as an absconder, even though I was regularly doing my service at the ashram school at that time.
4. I was brought here from the Saket Court in Delhi by promising that there would be no physical or mental torture, and I believed this to be the order of the court and came here. Then why did the police do this to me (torture me), why was this allowed to happen?
5. On the night of 8.10.2011, from 12 midnight to 2:30 am, SP Ankit Garg called me into a room in the police station, gave me electric shocks (current shock), took my clothes off and severely tortured me. Why has no action been taken against him? Today, who bears the responsibility for my condition? The government of Chhattisgarh or the police administration? I am a suffering adivasi woman and I want to the Supreme Court to answer my question. I am also a daughter and sister of this country. Why did this happen to me? This is why I have not yet broken my hunger strike.
Applicant Mrs. Soni Sori Central Jail, Jagdalpur