Startling revelation by Kunduli Dalit Rape Victim about State-sponsored Conspiracy to dilute process of investigation of police and to defame the Victim into her alleged Rape by Cobra Para-military force in Koraput district, Odisha
On 24.11.17, a 12-member Team of Civil Society Groups reached at Sri Rama Chandra Bhanja College and Hospital, Cuttack to meet Rape Victim of Kunduli village of Koraput district, Odisha who was admitted in Medical on 19.11.17 and kept under surveillance and security cover provided by state Police and strictly monitored by high-level officials and Chief Minister Office. The Team members were not allowed to meet the Victim in spite of repeated requests. During that time, Damei Chhati, Mother and family members of Victim accompanied by Sri Pradeep Majhi, former MP and Sri Krustna Sagaria, MLA reached in Medical to take their daughter to home. They were also not allowed to see their daughter. The Civil Society members got astonished when there is no rape as per police investigation and the girl was physically fit, why she was kept under police custody and restricting family members and sympathisers of the victim from meeting the girl. The DCPO, Medical administration and other police officers were seen working at the direction of top officials not as per requirement of treatment of the victim. The Civil Society Group suspected intention of the administration to keep the victim as hostage under security cover in the name of treatment. Finding ill-intention of Medical administration and State Govt. to keep the victim in hospital for a long period in name of treatment, the Civil Society Group and Family members sat on Dharana in front of New Medicine Building of S.C.B. Medical demanding release of their daughter from hospital as she does not require any treatment. After day-long protest, the Medical authority did not allow anybody except her Mother to meet her daughter (Rape Victim) for few minutes that too in presence of police. During discussion with Doctor in-charge of Treatment of rape victim, the Team members were appraised that the girl was physically stable but required mental treatment and to be admitted in psychiatric ward at least for 10 days. The family members reacted strongly and alleged that the Govt. had conspired to kill her daughter. As her daughter is physically fit, her mother Damei Majhi demanded her immediate release. However, in protest. Civil Society Groups had to continue Dharna for four days which pressurised the Hospital administration to release the girl from Ward on 27.11.17but, did not hand over the minor to the family. However, after a long protest by Civil Society Group, the administration allowed her mother and aunty to accompany rape victim in the vehicle under police protection who was taken to Koraput to be produced before Child Welfare Committee (CWC, Koraput). On 28.11.17, after day-long high-drama, the rape victim was handed over to parents on certain conditions imposed by Child Welfare Committee, Koraput.
It deserves to be mentioned here that the State has witnessed month-long high drama centring around allegation of rape lodged by a 14-year old Dalit girl of Musaguda village under Patangi Police station of Koraput district, Odisha against Cobra Para-military force. On 10.10.17, on her way from Kunduli market to her village, she was forcibly taken away by 4-member Cobra Para-military force and was gang-raped. She being half-naked and suffering from grievous injury came to village and appraised about her rape to family members who first carried them to Kunduli Primary Health Centre and then forwarded to District Hospital, Koraput for treatment. After news being telecast in electronics news channels and highlighted in print media, series of protests, rally , dharana and Koraput bandh call followed demanding immediate arrest of the culprits. This incident also invited Human Rights Activists to go on fact-finding mission to ascertain the fact. Two Fact-finding Team report have ascertained the fact that the allegation of rape by victim is true and culprit must be punished. After FIR being filed in police station, the Police started inquiry and the victim was kept under treatment. Her allegation of rape followed series of political actions i.e., Congress party ‘s Koraput Bandh call, Sri Pradeep Majhi , former MP sitting on hunger strike in front of Raj Bhawan, Bhubaneswar, memorandum submitted by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee to Governor, Odisha seeking his intervention, filling cases in National Human Rights Commission, Odisha Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, New Delhi BY Human Rights Activists seeking justice for victim, PIL Case in Odisha High Court, candle rally conducted by Third Gender Team at Bhubaneswar, Chief Minister giving order for Crime Branch Inquiry and later on Judicial inquiry and many more. Astonishingly, after few days, the allegation of rape was denied by ADG, Human Rights Protection Cell, Odisha. The Medical report which came in too late also denied any rape alleged by victim. From the day one, the State Govt. and the police have been refuting charges of being raped by the girl. However Rape Victim was kept under police surveillance without being handed over to the family. The family members were also not allowed to meet their daughter. Later on, the victim was transferred to S.C.B. Medical, Cuttack for more treatment. The allegation of rape by girl, subsequent denial of rape by the police and medical team created a lot of confusion among the common people in the state. Few questions also raised publicly and mass media that if it is not rape case, why the girl was admitted in hospital and underwent long treatment ?Why the girl was kept under police surveillance for a long period ? Why a minor girl would dare to lodge false charge against Cobra para-military force for raping her?. Civil Society Groups also confronted similar kind of questions among themselves and decided to understand the details of the incident from the victim and to bring more clarity about the incident among the people.
Having heard that the rape victim is quite physically and mentally stable in her home, on 4. 12.17., asix-member Team of Civil Society Group visited Koraput to meet the victim in her residence. The purpose of the visit of the Team was to record the statement from the minor victim’s mouth itself to ascertain the factuality behind accusations of rape, details of treatment given to her in different hospitals, behaviour shown by the police administration, medical authority and District Child Protection Officer, Members of Child Welfare Committee, enquiry conducted by the police authority, her present condition, intervention required to give her justice.
The Team members are as follows.
1. Pradip Pradhan, Advisor, National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi
Plot No.-D-27, Maitree Vihar, Post-Rail Vihar, Bhubaneswar, Odisha
M-9937843482, Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Srikant Pakal , RTI Activist and Member of Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan
Qr. No- 25/1, OTM Colony, Choudwar , Cuttack-754025, Odisha
M-9338455092, Email- email@example.com
3. Suryamani Mishra, Senior Journalist, Bhubaneswar
M- 9438006215, Email- firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Ranjan Kumar Das, RTI Activist, Kendrapara
M-7894070242, Email- email@example.com
5. Bhajaman Biswal, Human Rights Activist, Dhenkanal, M- 9437226087
6. Mahipara Nikhat, Woman Activist and Journalist, Cuttack , M-8847800150
The Team reached at Power House Upper Colony, 20 kms away from district headquarter, Koraput and on the way from Koraput to Jeypore to meet Rape Victim. The Team met rape victim, her mother Damei Chhati, Aunty Radhika Chhati and Brother Bhagaban Chhati. The 14 year old girl narrated her untold story shedding tears from the eyesabout rape by Cobra Para-military force, her agony and sufferings, mental and physical torture by District Child Protection Officer and police, inhuman behaviour by lady police officers, mental torture by investigating officer, harassment , denial of food and proper medical treatment etc.
Her narration has been video-documented which is presented as follows (although she spoke in Odia, her version was translated into English by us for understanding of the readers).
“On 10.10.17, I had been to Kunduli market to take my photograph required for Caste certificate. On my return to home at Lenjiguda Ghati , four Cobra Para-Military force took me inside forest, tore my clothes and gang raped me. During that time I lost my sense. Then, after some time I recovered and returned to home. I met Bada Ma (wife of elder brother of Father) and appraised her about rape. She carried me to home. Immediately my mother took me to Kunduli Primary Health Centre by auto rickshaw at around 12 o’clock. After first-hand treatment, the doctor immediately referred me to District Head quarter Hospital for more treatment, as my condition was serious. After being admitted in Koraput hospital, the police and District Child Protection Officer reached in the hospital. I was feeling ill and could not walk properly. The doctor started medical treatment. On the same day, the police interrogated me throughout night and persuaded me to say “the police hadnot raped but the local people might have raped me”. Every time, the police officers, Inquiry officers were pressurising me not to tell that you were raped. One day , D.I.G. Mam along with a police team came and persuaded me for hours together to tell that I was not raped. So that, we will discharge you. I did not agree and stick to my allegation. She also tortured me and I also pushed her hair down. Then she left the medical. Jayaram Pangi, former MP also met me in hospital and discussed with me about incident and told me that you are telling lie against Cobra police. He told in Odia ( Chhota Lokanka Muhnare Bada Katha). Anjali Madam, lady police officer said that “the women are running after Cobra police for only Rs. 50.00. Why will they rape ‘you’? ”. During my treatment and stay in hostel, the investigating officers were pressuring me to withdraw the allegations. Though I was requesting to meet my family members, they were not allowing me to meet them. Similarly, the family members were also not allowed to meet me, as told by my aunty who forcibly entered into my room and discussed with me about my health problem. I was not getting satisfied the way the treatment was going on.
One-day (she could not recall the date), a police team carried me from hospital to the spot of incidence of rape without giving any food and then after spot verification, I was brought to office of Child Welfare Committee. Then I was carried to Hostel at Jeypore and Child Development Protection Officer (CDPO) left me alone there. It was 11 PM. CDPO has misbehaved me several times and threatened me. I was not given food throughout the day. I suffered from stomach problem due to hunger. When I complained about it, I was given tablet and asked to take in empty stomach. I could not sleep in the night, as I had not taken any food. On next day, my condition became critical and I was admitted in Jeypore medical by police. I was humiliated by the police on the way to hospital. They told me that I was pretending and telling lie against Cobra police. I was provided with lunch at 3 PM. I was not allowed to talk with my family in the hospital, though my family members made desperate attempts to meet me. Then after being discharged from Hospital, I was carried to Salam Hostel, Dumurput, Koraput. In hostel, a police team persuaded me to tell that the Cobra police had not raped me. Then we will release you. Oneday ADG police ( Mahendra Pratap, Additional Director General of Police, Human Rights Protection Cell, Govt. of Odisha ) along with a police team also met me at night and enquired to know the incident. I told everything. He persuaded me repeatedly not to tell name of Cobra, but to write names of four local people as in a plain paper provided by him. He pressurised me time and again to write four names of local people. I brought paper from his hand and wrote ADG, SP, IIC. He got angry and tore it and left the room.
In Salam Hostel, CWC team met me and carried me to Kotapad Sevashram School. It was Thursday (16.11.17). On Friday, I was asked to go to school. But I refused to attend the school as I was not well. The police team used very slang language and asked me to tell that I was not raped. The police also tortured me mentally. On same day in night , I took few tablets out of frustration and anger . Blood vomiting started. I got serious and was admitted to Kotapad medical then referred to Koraput Hospital on 18.11.17. On same day, I was carried to S.C.B. Medical, Cuttack and admitted on 19.11.17. I was tied with bed in ICU of New Medicine Block. The doctors took my signature in plain paper for the reasons best known to them. In medical, I was completely OK and physically fit. I persuaded doctor to allow me to go home. I do not want to stay here. I do not require any treatment. They were not allowing me to talk anybody, rather tortured me mentally. I was kept under surveillance like an accused in medical. I got hope when my mother met me in hospital. Though my mother met me in hospital, I was not allowed to share anything, as the lady police officer stood by us. I requested my mother to take me from this hospital. On 27.11.17 when I was discharged from medical at 2 PM, I was escorted by police and not allowed to meet anyone. I could not understand why the police was escorting me all the times and did not allow me to meet anybody. Though the police didn’t like my mother & aunt to be with me, yet they wereforced to allow my mother and aunty to accompany me in the vehicle. On the way, the police forcibly took out the mobile from my mother. We reached at Hostel, Chhapar of Koraput at 12 pm. I was kept there in the night. On 28.11.17, I was carried to be produced before Child Welfare Committee, Koraput and got released fromclutches of devils.
Statement of Mother of the Victim
Whenever we have tried to meet our daughter, the police have not allowed us. Even in S.C.B. Medical, Cuttack where my daughter was undergoing treatment, I was not allowed to spend few times with her. Whenever I met her in medical for few minutes after due approval of the authority, I was surrounded by the police and other medical staff and our interaction is also monitored by the police. She was being tortured by the police, DCPO and Medical staff several times in the name of treatment. Though my daughter has made repeated appeals to go home, she was forcibly kept under police surveillance. She has been persuaded and pressurised by the police to tell that she was not raped. However despite torture, mental harassment, my daughter has not bowed down to their pressure. My question is- if my daughter was not raped, what treatment was going on and why she was kept under police protection’. The administration had hatched conspiracy to kill my daughter in order to save Cobra police, as she is the only witness to her allegation of rape. In S.C.B. Medical, the doctors have conspired to admit her in mental ward declaring her a psychiatric patient. Had she been admitted, they could have easily made her mad. But due to our timely intervention, we succeeded in releasing her from Medical. When CWC, Koraput released my daughter, I was asked to give an undertaking that I would take care of my children and would be responsible for any untoward incident, if any happened to my daughter. While releasing my daughter, CWC, Koraput has put a lot of conditions which are not acceptable to me. But I was forced to sign just to get my daughter released from their control. One of the conditions imposed by CWC was that without permission of CWC, the parents cannot take their daughter out of the jurisdiction of CWC. Now my daughter is fine and now she will fight for her justice.
Findings of the Team
When the Civil Society members tried to meet rape victim in S.C.B. Medical, Cuttack on 24.11.17, the Medical authority did not allow them to meet her. Since then, the Civil Society Groups had realised ill-intention of the administration to keep the victim under security cover in the name of treatment and were determined to meet anyhow the victim to get the authentic information about her allegation of being raped by Cobra police which has been repeatedly denied by the police and Medical Report. After four-days of Dharana in front of S.C.B. Medical along with family members of victim, the Medical authority was forced to release the girl. On 4.12.16, a six-member Fact-finding Team visited Koraput to meet victim with open mind without any biasness to collect all the information from victim’s mouth. The Team successfully completed this task and collected all the information about how she was raped by Cobra Para-military forces, manner of treatment, her suffering under police protection, mental torture and harassment by the police time and again which has been presented above.
1. From the day of incident till now the girl is consistent in her statement that she was gang-raped by security forces. The Team found the behaviour of the girl as quite normal without any bit of mental imbalance.
2. It appears that the ‘investigation’ process had entirely ignored the ‘complaint’ of the girl and rather all the diversionary and dilatory tactics were applied to cover up the truth. No security personnel of nearby camps was questioned or paraded before the girl for identification. The administration has been miserably found to change its statements and approach from time to time. Initially, the DGP accused ‘Maoists’ wearing dresses of security forces were responsible for ‘gang-rape’, then ‘four locals were detained and tortured by police to admit that they had committed the ‘rape’, then medical report said that ‘no rape’ occurred at all and now the administration accusing the girl to be a psychiatric patient.
3. The approach of administration is quite mysterious and inhuman towards the minor girl. Without approval of her legal guardians, ithas also gone to the extent of putting her in ICU of SCB Medical College & Hospital without any medical reason and trying to prove her as a psychiatric patient by ‘influencing’ the doctors and to admit her in mental ward for 10 days, even if when the girl was alright and crying for release from ICU. The administration put her under constant vigilance by police personnel and didn’t allow others even if her mother to meet her.
4. Keeping the girl restricted in the name of treatment and security either at Koraput or Cuttack clearly indicates that the police administration was trying hard to ‘hide’ something and destroy all the evidences of rape.
5. In the given ‘nefarious’ approach of the administration and police, there is every reason to doubt the so-called Medical report that was conducted at Koraput to ascertain the ‘rape’.
6. The administration has tried its best to cover up the allegation by ‘influencing’(using all tricks such as threat, oral abuse, insult, allurement, force) the victims and persuading and pressurising her for days together keeping her in their custody to withdraw her allegation. Thanks to determination of the girl that she did not succumb to their pressure rather stick to her allegation till now and is continuing her fight alone against the whole police administration. She was tortured, manhandled, misbehaved by the police and DCPO several times and did not bow down to their pressure.
7. The Team also apprehend that there was deep-laid conspiracy by the administration from top to bottom starting from office of Chief Minister to SP, Koraput to deny the charge of the rape victim by adopting all means available to them and defame the girl publicly questioning her intention of allegation.
8. The CWC and some other institutions meant to do welfare of children have been treating the girl and her mother as ‘culprits’ instead of supporting the girl to get her complaints registered, heard and followed up properly.
9. Considering all above, the Team is of the view that it was a ‘rape’ case and the allegation of being raped by Cobra Para-military force is true.
10. From the rapper of the Medicine we found that Victim was treated with Medicine like Higher Antibiotic (Cefixime ) , Metronidazole ( used for the treatment of bacterial infection in the vagina along with swelling and Itching ,working as a Anti biotic ), Levocetrizine ( Used for the treatment of Allergy Symptoms and itching ), Dicyclomine (used to treat a certain type of intestinal problem called irritable bowel syndrome. It helps to reduce the symptoms of stomach and intestinal cramping) , Mefenamic Acid ( used to treat pain and periodic pain ) with piracetam ( used to treat depression and anxiety ) , calcium with vitamin D ( supplement used in bone joint) , Megabol Forte (used for Pain in extremities, Loss of sensation, Low hemoglobin, Adjunct therapy in severe muscle tightness, Decrease in muscle mass) , clotrimazole (used to treat yeast infections of the vagina, mouth, and skin) along with other Antacid and Anti-inflamatory medicines . from the above Medicines any common Doctor can say that all of the above medications were used to treat Vaginal /Skin Infection , inflammation and allergy . Hence from the medicine and its treatment used for it indicates that there was serious injury and infections in the genital part of victim which confirmed Rape has happened.
1. The Government of Odisha must refer the matter to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for investigation to remove confusion and doubt among the common people generated due to denial of rape by the police despite the consistent claims by the minor school girl.
2. The police officers, Inquiry officers and other officials responsible for her harassment, threat and abuse must be punished, as they have violated the right of the child.
3. Adequate compensation must be provided to the girl and her mother.
4. All necessary and acceptable (by the girl and her mother) steps must be taken up to help the child to continue her study.
5. Opposition party like Congress and BJP should intervene in this matter and demand for the CBI investigation as well as they may send their fact finding team to ascertain the matter for veracity of incident.
Report prepared by
Pradip Pradhan Srikant Pakal
Team Leader M-9338455092