Sun, Jan 22, 2017 | updated 01:11 AM IST

Chhattisgarh: NHRC finds 16 women victims of rape, sexual physical assault by police

Updated: Jan 07, 2017 23:39 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 7(ANI): The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Saturday found 16 women prima facie victims of rape, sexual and physical assault by police personnel in Chhattisgarh, and asked the state government why it should not recommend interim relief of Rs 37 lakh to the victims.

The rights body issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government through its chief secretary to show cause why it should not recommend the interim relief - Rs 3 lakh each to eight victims of rape, Rs 2 lakh each to six victims of sexual assault, and Rs 50,000 each to two victims of physical assault.

The Commission has observed that it is of the view that, prima-facie, human rights of the victims have been grossly violated by the security personnel of the Government of Chhattisgarh for which the State Government is vicariously liable.

The NHRC stated in a release Saturday it was still waiting for the recorded statement of about 20 other victims.

The commission had initiated suo motu proceedings on the basis of a news report in 2015 that stated women from five villages had alleged that state police personnel had sexually harassed and assaulted more than 40 of them and gang raped at least two in Bijapur district. It was also reported that belongings of many villagers were destroyed, stolen or scattered by the forces passing through the villages.

The Additional Director General of Police (CID), Government of Chhattisgarh has also been directed to ensure that SC/ST (PoA) Act is invoked in all the cases the victims belonged to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes.

The Commission has also made it clear that the above directions are of interim nature and a final view will be taken in respect of other victims and also with regard to other issues involved in this matter in due course of time.

It may be recalled that the Commission initiated suo motu proceedings on the basis of news report published in the Indian Express dated 2nd November 2015 under the caption "Bijapur: "Policemen raped women, indulged in loot". It was reported that women from five villages Pegdapalli, Chinnagelur, Peddagelur, Gundam and Burgicheru had alleged that State Police personnel had sexually harassed and assaulted more than 40 of them and gang raped at least two in Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. It was also reported that belongings of many villagers were destroyed, stolen or scattered by the forces passing through the villages.

Considering the gravity of the allegations and brutality of sexual violence upon hapless women, the matter was considered by the Full Bench of the Commission on the February 22 last year. The Commission, on a careful examination of the material on record, directed a spot investigation by a team of the Investigation Division and Law Division of the Commission.

The Investigation Team of the Commission recorded statements of several persons including the security personnel and some of the victims.

The Team could not however, record the statements of all the victims that were mentioned in the three FIRs in question because of the time constraint, prevailing security situation, non-availability of victims and physical barriers. (ANI)