Police Continue To Harass Vakapalli Women, Prevent Them From Attending Meet In Delhi

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) strongly condemns the action of the Paderu police who created an atmosphere of fear in the Agency town on Tuesday night with the intention of preventing the women of Vakapalli from attending a meeting in Delhi.

The women hoped to go to Delhi for a National Consultation on ‘Violence Against Indigenous Women’ slated for October 17 and narrate their case. The consultation is to be held with two United Nations Special Rapporteurs (UNSRs) namely Dr. Yakin Ertürk who is the UNSR on ‘Violence Against Women, Its Causes and Consequences’ and Professor S. James Anaya who is the UNSR on the ‘Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People.’ Part of the mandate of the UNSRs is to meet and interact with civil society bodies so as to deepen their own understanding and information of issues confronting indigenous women in India, which in turn will inform their annual report and enhance their work on the elected topic.

Two of the 11 Kondh women of Vakapalli who were raped on August 20, 2007 in and around their village by special party police personnel came to Paderu last evening. They hoped to come down to Anakapalli and catch the Nizammuddin Link Express for Delhi on Wednesday. The two, Korra Chilakamma and Pangi Sittayi, along with their relative Pangi Kondababu were to be accompanied by one or two representatives of the Adivasi Aikhya Porata Samithi and a local NGO.

However, the police led by the Paderu DSP Mr Stalin, went to the house of K Krishna Rao, a local NGO functionary at around 11 pm on Tuesday, checked his house and office and threatened him with dire consequences if he extended any support to the Vakapalli women. He was summoned to the police station on Wednesday morning and again threatened. Given this atmosphere of intimidation, the two women had no choice but to return to their village on Wednesday.

Over the past 14 months, the women of Vakapalli have been subjected to harassment by the police time and again. The latest incident comes in the backdrop of a private complaint moved by the Vakapalli women which has since been taken on file by the Paderu court.

The HRF urges the District Collector to intervene and ensure that the Adivasis of Vakapalli as well as those standing by them in their fight for justice are not harassed by the police.

VS Krishna
HRF State secretary


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