People's Union for Democratic Rights, Delhi
To 19th Feb 07
The National Commission for Women
Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg
Subject: Custodial death and rape
We want to refer to you a gruesome case of custody death and rape in Sarguja district of Chhattisgarh that has come to our notice recently.
The incident: Ledha a tribal woman was married to Ramesh Nageshia, who was a member of a Maoist party. Some time back she was arrested on the charge of being a squad member and having participated in a land mine blast that killed three CRPF personnel. After spending one and a half years in jail and having delivered a child in this period, she was finally acquitted from the case.
After the acquittal she was advised by her advocate to show her acquittal order to the police to prevent harassment in future. When she went to the police for this, she was pressurized to make her husband surrender. She was offered money and job if she did that. She was told that her husband at the most would face imprisonment.
The S.P of Sarguja District, S.R.P.Kalluri arranged for the surrender on 28th May 2006. As per his plans, the police force from Shankergarh, led by Mr. Kalluri himself, started off on the task. An additional force joined them in Kusmi. Ledha accompanied them. They got down from the vehicles in Kasmaar and went up to Civildagh village on foot. Ramesh Nageshia was waiting there. The police beat him up black and blue. Then S.P. Kalluri asked both of them to sit in the Gram Panchayat secretary’s house. As the two were sitting there, the Assistant Platoon Commander Brijesh Tiwari of the Special Armed Forces came into the house. He suddenly shot Ramesh at point blank range. Ramesh died on the spot.
Ledha was then brought to S.P Kalluri. He ordered the policemen to kill her also. But someone said why kill her, she was after all a woman. Everyone laughed at this. She was taken to Shankergarh Police station and let off from there after thoroughly terrorizing her of dire consequences if she revealed the killing of her husband outside.
The news papers reported the incident as killing of a naxalite in Shankergarh Police Station limits in an encounter.
Ledha went back to her relatives’ place and did not dare to come out for some days. On going back to her village on 30th September 2006, she came to know that the police were searching for her. She was picked up by the police on Dusserah. In the police station she was asked to remove her clothes. On refusing, her parents were also brought there and her father was severely beaten up. S.P Kalluri came and slapped her on her face. Ledha fell on the ground along with her child; she was then raped by S.P. Kulluri in front of her child who was crying uncontrollably and the old parents begging him to leave her. The SP also inserted green chillies into to her vagina. She was kept in the lock up and the next day Dheeraj Jaiswal, the S.P.O came to her along with four other constables in a drunken state. They all gang raped her. This went on for ten days. All this happened in front of her child. Finally she was let off. Ledha met the lawyer with great difficulty in January 2007. She filed a case against S.P. Kalluri and others in the Chhattisgarh High Court. The case was admitted recently.
We are enclosing here with a report of the fact finding team of CAVOW and PUCL Chhattisgarh for your consideration.
Given the seriousness of the case PUDR demands:
· The NCW should investigate the case immediately.
· An FIR should be lodged in the case and investigation handed over to an independent agency like CBI.
· Ledha should be provided protection.
· She should be given compensation for the CD of her husband and also for her rape in custody.
· The accused policemen should be immediately suspended.
We would appreciate an immediate action from you regarding all of these.
5 Miranda House Teachers' Flats
Chhatra Marg, University of Delhi.