The Rape testimonies

16 Jul

1. KUMBLI A

For weeks after they raped us the Salwa Judum men freely roamed our camp while we hid ourselves’

AGE
Around 20 years old, married with daughter

VILLAGE
Pottenar
DISTRICT
Bijapur

ACCUSES
Munna Telga and Dinesh Kunjam

THE FOLLOWING is the account of my rape that I gave the questioners from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC):

I was raped along with probably 10 other girls. At the time, we were all residents of the Salwa Judum camp, next to the police station. Our rapists were SPOs who lived at the police station. Some lived even inside our camp. The distance between the police station and the camp was about 10-15 metres.

One night, some SPOs came to our houses in the camp at dinnertime and asked us girls to come out with them. They had guns. We didn’t go. The men were in full uniform at that time.

Later, at about 10pm, when we had just gone to sleep after dinner, a number of SPOs entered the camp again and woke us up at our houses. Now they were wearing only half pants and vests, which is the regular SPO gear at nights.

“Come with us,” they said. “We have to question you.” I was home sleeping with my father, mother and sister. Outside, I saw they had collected the other girls, too. My father came out of the hut and asked them, “Where are you taking her at night?” My mother said: “Why are you taking these girls? We will follow you.”

The SPOs said, “Don’t worry. We won’t do anything to the girls. But if you follow us, we will kill you.”

The SPOs then took us to the forests just outside the camp. Some marched ahead and some behind us. The girls cowered in the middle. It was a dark night and we walked some distance. All the girls started crying. We all thought they were going to kill us.

We kept asking the SPOs, “Where are you taking us at night? What have we done?” Some boys from our camp were following us. The SPOs caned them and said, “Go back. The girls will come back in a while.”

There, by the roadside, they raped all of us girls, next to each other.

A man disrobed me. I begged him: “Please don’t do this. You aren’t my husband or anything.” But he raped me. He was totally drunk.

I could hear the other girls wailing, “Oh, mother…” I also screamed: “Oh God! He is killing me.” After this man raped me, he said: “Go back now. Don’t even dare tell anyone that I have raped you.” I somehow wore my clothes and started running back to the camp.

But another man caught me and asked: “Where are you off to?” I cried: “I have fever. Please let me go.”

He held me by the hand. I couldn’t free myself. He took me back to the roadside. For the second time, I was disrobed. He, too, raped me.

Then all the men were done with all us girls. The girls got together and somehow ran back home. The men, too, returned to their rooms. I wept before my parents. I told them that the SPOs beat us up. I was too ashamed to tell them that I had been raped.

But the next day, our village people asked us if we were raped the previous night. We had to admit that we indeed were. All the rape victims were all unmarried then. The villagers didn’t do anything.

I bled a lot at being raped. For three months, I was bedridden. I got my periods three months after the rape. For three months I had fever. For three months I bled.

I know the men who raped me. One is named Munna. His caste name is Telga. The other man is named Dinesh Kunjam. I had known them long, though I had never talked to either of them.

After these men raped us girls, they freely moved around the camp for weeks. We were so ashamed of what had happened that we stopped stepping out of our homes. I stayed at the camp another month, then our family moved back to the village.

In June 2008, I deposed before the NHRC. I was pregnant at the time. I now have a five-month-old daughter.

I was taken from my village to the Dantewada town to depose. There were two people in the room. One asked me questions and wrote my answers. The other was the interpreter. Both were men. They wore shirts and full pants.

They asked me, “What did the Salwa Judum men do to you after they abducted you?” I told them that the Salwa Judum men raped me. I told those two NHRC men that I had begged the Salwa Judum men not to rape me.

THERE WERE five of us who had gone to depose before the NHRC. All of us were rape victims. Inside the room, there was one more girl with me from my village.

They asked us questions together. They asked me if I knew who had raped me. I said, “Yes! It was the men from Salwa Judum.”

I gave them the names of my rapists. They asked why I didn’t go to the police. I told them that the Salwa Judum men had told me that if I went to the police, they would kill me.

Hadn’t our rapists gone back to the police station right after raping us? The other girl was quiet as I gave my testimony.

Did the NHRC give me any documents? No.

Did they give me a copy of my testimony? No.

I don’t know what’s an affidavit. Nobody told me that I have a right to get a copy of my testimony, my affidavit. They took my thumb impression on some papers. That’s all. I got nothing from them.

A year after my rape I was married off. I now live with my mother-in-law and husband.

I don’t have faith in the NHRC anymore.

I want my rapists dead.

2. MADHAVI B

All four raped me repeatedly. They kept saying, “Don’t worry. I will marry you later

AGE
Possibly a minor when raped

VILLAGE
Bhandarpadar
DISTRICT
Dantewada

ACCUSES
Veko Soma
of Korpar village, Odiya Rajesh of Polempalli village, Suyid Idma of Palem village

MY PARENTS died six years ago of illnesses. I live with my late brother’s widow. On the day I was raped about three years ago, I had gone with another girl to the woods to pick mahua flowers. At noon, several men in uniforms and carrying guns attacked us. They were SPOs who lived in nearby villages and often passed by.

Four men held me down. I know three by name. They dragged me to a field and disrobed me. As each raped me, the other three held me down. This lasted probably two hours. All four raped me repeatedly. They kept saying, “Don’t worry. I will marry you later.” I wept all the while. I begged them not to pin me down so brutally as it hurt my limbs. They threatened they would kill me if I told anyone of being raped. Once done, they abandoned me there. My clothes lay torn at some distance.

A woman helped me up. Another fetched me her wraparound. They brought me back to my house. The sun had set by now. I told my sister-in-law I had been raped. She washed me with warm water and gave me a herbal drink. I developed an infection and bled for days. My limbs ached for weeks.

I was too scared to tell anyone else. My sister-in-law informed her family and the sarpanch, Sudi Nanda. I gave him the names of three of my rapists. He later told me he went to the police station and reported my rape. I trust the sarpanch still. But the police never came to talk to me or investigate. I didn’t go to the police station myself. A few journalists came and interviewed me, but I never heard anything come of it. I don’t know of any court case in the Supreme Court. I don’t know the NHRC.

I have come across my rapists several times at the weekly market. They avoid me and I avoid them. If I ever look at them, they melt away in the crowd. Do I want my rapists punished? If you can help me, then please send them to jail.

Why didn’t I go to the police? [Goes quiet]

3. MADKAM I

They locked me in a room in the police station. Some time later, a man I know came in. He raped me

AGE
Possibly between 18-20 years old

VILLAGE
Bhandarpadar
DISTRICT
Dantewada

ACCUSES
Tudka, Suresh, Arpat, Govind,
and seven others

IN MARCH 2008, the Salwa Judum burnt down my village, including my house. My father asked me to go to our relatives’ in another village. As I was about to get into a bus at Konta [150km south of Dantewada], a man named Dinesh, whom I knew to be with the Salwa Judum and who was the sarpanch of a village named

Gorka, approached me with another man. He asked me: “Where are you headed?” At that time, my aunt – my mother’s sister-in-law – was passing by. She told them she would take me to her house. My aunt took me to her tenement in the Salwa Judum camp at Konta.

The next morning, at 7.30am, about 10 SPOs in uniform carrying guns, landed at my aunt’s hut. They said Dinesh had sent them. I knew three of them. They were SPOs from a nearby village. Their names are Suresh, Arpat and Govind. I had often seen them at the weekly market. They said the thanedaar [police station chief] at Konta had summoned me. I asked my aunt to come with me but she backed out.

At the police station, the SPOs told the thanedaar that they had caught me with the Naxals. Shortly, my aunt landed up. Three people interrogated me separately through the day in my aunt’s presence. One of them, whom I recognise by face but can’t name, said to me, “You will be jailed, or even killed.” I was scared. I pleaded to be allowed to go. In the afternoon, they said I could go. But just as I left with my aunt, I ran into some SPOs who told my aunt to go away and forcibly brought me back to the police station.

They took me to a bare room about 10ft by 7ft in size, blindfolded me with a towel, and locked it from outside. It had two windows and both were shut.

Some time later, a man came in. He took off my blindfold. I recognised him, having seen him often at the weekly market. I don’t know his formal name, but he is nicknamed Tudka and is an SPO in Konta. He asked me, “How did you get here?” I said: “They brought me here.” Then he raped me. I got very angry. I swore at him. I tried to push him. But he held me and continued to rape me. Once he was done, he blindfolded me again and left the room, locking it from outside.

I lost all sense of time. Later, two men came in. I begged them, “Show me the way out.” They let me out. I ran back to my aunt’s place at the Salwa Judum camp. After that, every day the SPOs came to check on me. One said, “We will kill you if you try to escape.”

Ten days later, I escaped the camp and came to the house of another aunt in a far-off village. She married me off to her son to save me further trouble. But a week later, seven SPOs with guns landed up in my husband’s village. Terrified, I hid myself. The villagers later told me that Tudka, my rapist, had been among them.

The SPOs demanded money from the villagers, citing a tradition in which the groom’s family pays the bride’s. The SPOs claimed they hailed from my village and that made them my family. At gunpoint, they stole three chicken, three goats, and a cow, as well as Rs 3,500.

They came back to my husband’s village several times afterwards, too. I fear that they will keep returning there. So I prefer to stay in hiding all the time.

4. MADKAM I

The men caught me and beat me up. One man then raped me. The others were throwing stuff out

AGE
Married with daughter

VILLAGE
Shamshetty
DISTRICT
Dantewada

ACCUSES
SPO Joga
of Seesod village

IHAD BEEN married only a month when the Salwa Judum men raped me. This was two years ago. My husband was home. It was about 9am. My mother-inlaw was still asleep.

I was winnowing rice just outside my house, and that is when I saw a force of uniformed men approaching our house. They were in green fatigues and carrying guns.I ran to my mother-inlaw and shook her awake.

My husband was inside eating breakfast. The SPOs had once before caught my husband, so I told him to run away to escape the force.

The uniformed men came and caught me and started beating me up. One of them asked me for the house keys.

I opened the house for them. They tore up the sack which held the rice. One man held me. He then took me inside the house. The other men began throwing stuff out of the house.

One man then raped me. He is known as Joga of a village named Seesod. I can identify him. My mother-inlaw had run away by now. They ransacked the house and took my mother-in-law’s money. My husband returned at night. I told him I had been raped. We did not go to the police. The next day my mother-in-law took me to the hospital at Dornapal.

I told the doctor I had been raped and I was in terrible pain. I don’t know what the doctor said. I don’t know what my mother-in-law paid him as fees.

5. MADKAM S

I told everyone in the village about my rape. The sarpanch said, “We are all scared. What can we do?

AGE
Possibly a minor when raped three years ago

VILLAGE
Shamshetty
DISTRICT
Dantewada

ACCUSES
Raju
of Chintanaar village, Vijay (village unknown)

I AM THE eldest of three brothers and two sisters. Our father passed away three years ago. One day shortly after that, I was doing chores at the door of my house when someone grabbed my hair violently and dragged me inside my house. I saw there were four or more men. I know at least two of them, Raju of Chintanaar village and Vijay, who was once a construction labourer in my village. I had worked with both earlier and I know for sure that they had joined the Salwa Judum.

They were in their uniforms and had guns. I screamed for my mother but one of them held her outside. There was no one else at home, as my brothers had gone to the forests and my sister was at school. One of the men asked me, “Are you a Naxal?” I said no. He said they would kill me.

Then they raped me, all four of them. I cried all the while. Then they left.

Three days later, a force of uniformed men returned. Raju and Vijay were not among them. They beat me up badly. They beat up other people in the village. They threatened us saying we should join Salwa Judum or else… As they beat us up, they said, “Come to Dornapal [Salwa Judum camp]. We will enroll you as SPOs.” But no one from our village went.

Why didn’t I go to the police? I was scared they would catch me if I did. I told everyone in the village about my rape, including the sarpanch. But he said, “We are all scared. What can we do?”

One year after he raped me, I ran into Raju while on the way to the hospital. Once I came across Vijay too. On both occasions, they turned their heads away when they saw me.

Three other women were raped in my village. I have never heard of the Supreme Court. I don’t know if it ordered any investigations into the rapes of women like me. I don’t know what is NHRC. I don’t know if it carried out any investigations. I do know that no police report was ever filed about my rape.

I want the police to catch my rapists. I don’t know if anyone will marry me.

6. SODI A

They tore up my clothes, gagged me and raped me. I fainted. I was bleeding as my mother picked me up

AGE
A minor when raped

VILLAGE
Shamshetty
DISTRICT
Dantewada

ACCUSES
Salwa Judum SPOs

AT ABOUT 3PM one day two years ago, I was at our granary with my parents. My mother and I were winnowing the rice from its husk. My father was making ropes. Suddenly, a group of about 10 uniformed men were upon us, guns on their shoulders, sticks in their hands. Two caught me by my arm. I recognised none. My father tried to rush to me, but they held him back and beat him so badly that they drew blood from all over him.

My father screamed, “What are you doing to my daughter?” My mother, too, began to wail. They beat her black and blue with sticks and took her away somewhere. Then they raped me. Four people raped me. I don’t know them. They had masked their faces. They took my father to our house, which was about 100 feet away. Thankfully, my father didn’t witness my rape.

I was wearing a wraparound as my lower garment, a towel on my head, and a red blouse. They tore up my clothes, gagged my mouth with a black cloth, and tied another cloth around it. I couldn’t see my mother. They raped me for a long time, all of them. I was crying. Then the men left and my mother came in and picked me up. I had fainted. I was bleeding heavily. My mother took me home and gave me clothes to wear because my clothes were all torn.

We heard that they’d taken my father to the house of his older brother. There they tied up both men. Later, other villagers went and set them free. The villagers told my father he should have screamed when the men attacked.

How do I know they were Salwa Judum and not Naxals? I know they were from the Salwa Judum because eight days earlier they had come to our village and asked us to join the Judum. Well, four days later they came back. This time, they were fully unmasked. In fact, they kept coming back to the village. Every time they did, I would run and hide.

In fact, I had seen other Salwa Judum members dres – sed exactly like them at Dornapal. They were clearly not Naxals. Naxals come to our village sometimes. But they have never raped anyone.

The morning after I was raped, my father, my mother and I went to a hospital 10km away. No one came with us. My lower abdomen was in terrible pain from the forced penetrative sex.

I saw a private doctor who runs a two-room clinic. He is a Bengali. I told him I had been raped. He asked me, “Why did you keep quiet during the rape?” I told him that I couldn’t speak because I was gagged.

The doctor gave me some pills and syrup. We paid him Rs 1,000. He didn’t tell me that I should go to the police. I’ve no idea if he is bound by law to report rape to the police. I don’t remember his name but I remember him. He said I should drink lots of warm water and stop eating tomatoes and sour foodstuff. It’s two years since I was raped but I still get terrible stomach aches during menstruation.

The doctor also gave us ointments to heal my father’s wounds from all the beating. But my father’s wounds were really bad. His skin had come off his back and arms. Blood had clotted all over. My father died of his wounds in less than two weeks.

I never went to the police. I was scared they would catch me again. I get very angry every time I think of my rapists and the killers of my father. I think of them every day. I want them in jail. I want them punished.

I don’t know what the NHRC is. I have never met anyone from the NHRC.

7. GANTAL R

We found my sister’s body after 10 days. She had been raped, stabbed and shot in the mouth

AGE
Possibly between 18-20 years old

VILLAGE
Lingagiri
DISTRICT
Bijapur

ACCUSES
Salwa Judum SPOs
of raping and killing his sister, and killing his father

SALWA JUDUM men raped my sister on December 29, 2006. Then, they stabbed her, put a gun in her mouth and pulled the trigger. At the same time, they also killed my father by first beating and then shooting him. At that time, I was working in Andhra Pradesh as a movie theater attendant and visiting home.

On that day, a number of SPOs surrounded our village. They fired upon a villager named Motiram near the village pond. The bullet hit his arm. He ran back to the village. The SPOs began burning down the village. Almost 35 houses were burned down. They even burnt the cowsheds and the haystacks.

I had only recently built a new house at a cost of Rs 50,000. All our belongings were burnt to ashes. They caught my father, Gantal Kanhaiya, and began beating him mercilessly. They brought him inside my grandmother’s hut near our house. I had, meanwhile, hid myself in the housetop granary. From there I saw them thrash my father repeatedly. My father lost consciousness and died later.

The SPOs dragged my 20- year-old sister, Gantal Sridevi, out of her room and began beating her too. They then took her inside my uncle’s room. She was crying and screaming. When my mother pleaded with them to let my sister go, a man put a gun in my mother’s mouth and threatened to kill her. They even beat up my grandmother. They beat my wife and snatched her mangalsutra. They stole all our valuables, including money.

The SPOs dragged my sister near the forest, to a spot close to the pond and raped her. We found her body after 10 days. She had been stabbed and was shot in her mouth.

I didn’t go to the police or register an FIR because I was scared. We cremated my sister. That day four people were killed, including Motilal, the man who had been shot first of all. The local priest, Ramaya, was also shot dead when he was trying to flee his house, which they set on fire. I didn’t approach the Supreme Court.

WRITER’S EMAIL
ajit@tehelka.com

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main42.asp?filename=testimonies.asp

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