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Free Soni Sori : An Update

January 17, 2012

[Previous Post on Soni Sori]

Since the Kolkata medical report came out last month (detailing undisputed custodial torture and sexual violence), the Supreme Court has shifted Soni Sori from Jagadalpur prison to Raipur Central Jail (both within Chattisgarh).

Under the direction of the court, she has spend some time at the Raipur-based Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Government Medical College and Hospital before being shifted to Raipur Jail.

From the People’s Union for Democratic Rights Press Statement (released on 9 December 2011)

When her [Soni Sori’s] complaint of torture including sexual violence inflicted on her was submitted before the Supreme Court, the judges chose not to intervene. And now when the medical check-up ordered by the court by a Kolkata hospital has established that stones were recovered from her private parts, the veracity of her charge stands corroborated. Instead of taking cognition of this and immediately moving her to safety of a jail outside Chhattisgarh, the apex court on 2nd December 2011 gave the state authorities 45 days to respond to the medical report and meanwhile merely shifted her to Raipur jail from Jagdalpur jail in the same state.

Thus the very same delinquent police force, its personnel and associated authorities have got permission to incarcerate her for an inordinately long period […]

The order of the Supreme Court has also risked Soni Sori’s safety further by shifting her to Raipur jail as her travel to the Dantewada court now entails a journey of 22 hours. It threatens her already frail health, puts her in prolonged police custody during transit and provides the government an easy alibi to deny her access to the court altogether. […]

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party National Secretary D Raja has urged the Prime Minister to intervene in Soni Sori’s case as well as the illegal imprisonment of her nephew, Lingaram Kodopi.

There has not been a response from the Prime Minister.

However last month, many organizations, women’s groups and activists held a protest against Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh (who was in Delhi).

The Chief Minister refused to meet the protestors and instead got the Delhi Police to forcibly remove them from the premises and dragged them out of the way so that Raman Singh could proceed to ‘his next meeting!’

Here is the online petition for Soni Sori.

An international coalition of some 80 individuals and 25 organizations in India, the US and Canada have issued a joint statement condemning the ongoing atrocity.

Amnesty International has called for the dropping of charges and unconditional release of both Soni Sori and Lingaram Kodopi.

Most recently women’s groups have been denied visitation to Soni Sori in Raipur.

Via Kafila

Even after applying for permission as per procedure and repeated requests to various concerned officials on 12th, the women were denied permission to meet her, despite already having an assurance from the Principal Secretary, Mr. Baijendra Kumar, during his visit to Delhi in October.For two whole days the team was shuttled from one authority to the other and back, with each and every official avoiding taking a decision or give in writing any denial or reasons for it. Finally, permission was denied on 13th citing `security’ concerns.

The members of the team that visited Raipur consisted members from Saheli, Delhi; Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), Delhi; WSS Orissa and Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, Bhopal.

Their full press statement can be read here.

There have been reports that Soni Sori is on a hunger strike to protest “being treated like a hardcore criminal”. (via Bhaskar)

The Supreme Court had posted the matter for final hearing this month.


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