By Sify News Desk,  March 30,2012

New Delhi: Home Minister P Chidambaram has agreed to take up the case of Soni Sori, the school teacher who was arrested for alleged links with Maoists, after human rights activists met the Minister this week and handed over a 3700-strong petition.

The petition and an accompanying letter call for Soni Sori to be given prompt and due medical care and treatment, and to be moved to a safe place where police cannot interfere with the course of justice.

Sori, who was arrested for her role in an alleged pay off by Essar group to Maoists, is said to have been tortured and sexual assaulted by Chhattisgarh police while in custody last October. She remains behind bars.

Campaigners who attended the meeting say the Home Minister promised to write to the Chhattisgarh government raising the issues related to human rights violations.

“We discussed issues related to Soni Sori and delivered the voices of nearly 4000 people from all over India,” said Kalpana Mehta, of Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression.

Others at the meeting with the Home Minister included Brinda Karat (Ex-Rajya Sabha MP), Sudha Sundararaman (All India Democratic Women’s Association), Indira Chakraborty (Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression) and writer Kiran Shaheen.

Brinda Karat demanded that Soni Sori be given adequate constitutional safeguards as a prisoner facing trial and sought the Home Minister’s intervention for prompt action to be taken against Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg and other officials said to be involved in the custodial and sexual violence inflicted upon Soni Sori in the Dantewada police station.

The campaigners expressed concern that they were not being allowed to meet Soni Sori.

The campaign was started by human rights lawyer Kamayani Bali Mahabal and has attracted more than 3700 signatures from all over India, including leading human rights organisations such as Amnesty, who have described Soni Sori as a “prisoner of conscience”.

The petition can be found here