Human rights activists and police spat over two tribals girls gang rape by commandoes in Gadchiroli

Human rights activists and police spat over two tribals girls gang rape by commandoes in Gadchiroli

Chhattisgarh , Jan 30:The alleged sexual assault by Maharashtra’s anti-Maoist unit C-60 commandos on two Chhattisgarh tribal girls in Gadchiroli district has resulted in a spat between the district police and some human rights activists.

Two tribals girls were “detained” by a team of C-60 commandos on January 20 near Hiddur and Murewada forest after an encounter with the Maoists.

According to the police, the girls were asked to stay with the police team at the night “because of security reasons” and were “released next morning”.

However, the activists and their lawyer have alleged that the girls were “gang-raped” by the commandos.

Tribal activists from Gadchiroli — Ramdas Jarate, and Sainu Gota and his wife Sheela Gota — also led a protest march in front of the Gatta police station over the allegation, after which the girls were brought to the district headquarters for a medical examination.

According to Gadchiroli Superintendent of Police (SP) Abhinav Deshmukh, the medical examination ruled out rape. The activists claimed that the girls were “untraceable” after the examination, and launched a social media campaign against the police.

 The police called the campaign “a handiwork of Maoist supporters and sympathisers”.

The activists also moved a habeas corpus writ petition, to know the whereabouts of the girls, in the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court through advocate Nihal Singh Rathod, the director of the Nagpur chapter of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN).

However, policemen in plain clothes “barged into” Mr. Rathod’s office in Nagpur on Saturday and arrested Mr. Gota and his wife. The two girls were also found at the office and were “detained” by the police to record their statements. It claimed that the girls were “forcibly taken to Nagpur by Mr. Gota and his wife,” and a FIR was registered against them in the city’s Sitaburdi police station.

The police also arrested Mr. Jarate and some other activists in Gadchiroli for “illegal assembly” in front of the station and “obstructing” the work of officials.

Mr. Rathod has alleged that the police took away the girls “illegally” from his office. He moved a habeas corpus petition on Saturday evening, after which a special hearing took place in the chambers of High Court Justice B.P. Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi on Sunday.

On the same day, the court ordered that the girls be handed over to Vanita Vikas Gruha (correction home) in Nagpur and produced before a regular court on Monday. It has also barred police from contacting the