Thursday July 26, 2012
CRPF, ASSAULT ON WOMEN, CONFLICT, ODISHA
“Odisha’s Two blocks on the foot of gandhamardan hill range in Bargarh district, Khaprakhol and Paikmal, have become places of conflict because of frequent actions and counter actions by both Government and Private gun holders. However, in the conflict between the Maoists and the Armed Forces, the common man and forest dwellers are getting squeezed and are falling prey to it as well. There have been allegations of civilians with no connection with the Maoists being killed by the forces and termed Maoists. Amitabh Patra
A recent complaint about assault on local women by Jawans of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camped near Paikmal in Bargarh district of Odisha has once again raised the issue of assault by forces deployed to deal with the Maoist menace in various parts of Odisha.
As alleged by people of Vindhyabasini colony of Paikmal, a group of CRPF Jawans have assaulted a newly wed 18 years old woman of the colony which is at the foot of the Gandhamardan hills. The incident took place on 24 July 2012 at about 10.30 AM when the male members of almost all family were out for their works.
“The CRPF Jawans came to the village in the morning when my wife had gone to the tube well for water. The Jawans surrounded her there and tried to allure her with 1500 rupees and asked her to follow into the forests. When my wife denied to do what the Jawans said, she was assaulted and dragged by the jawans. Her bangles broke and pierced into her hands, the legs are swollen being hit by the boots of the jawans. Somehow, she escaped from there and came to village and narrated the whole story to the villagers”, said Lambodar, the husband of the assault victim.
The villagers held a meeting the next day and decided to lodge a complaint with the local police in this regard. “Even though an FIR has already been submitted with the local police, the copy of FIR has not yet been given by the police. Instead, the complainants are now being threatened by the CRPF Jawans to withdraw the case or they would be framed as Maoists and shot down”, said Lambodar.
“CRPF Jawans misbehaving women, throwing currency notes on them in a very lewd manner, staring at them when they bath in the nearby check dam have become a regular affair. Because of such acts by the Jawans, village girls and women are afraid of going to the check dam for bathing”, say the people of the colony. However, this is not the first case but many such allegations have come in the recent months in different villages of Paikmal and Khaprakhol Blocks.
Members of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have camped in the area since past few years to deal with growing Naxal (Maoist otherwise) activities in the Gandhamardan Hill Range. Two blocks on the foot of the hill range, Khaprakhol and Paikmal, have become places of conflict because of frequent actions and counter actions by both Government and Private gun holders. However, in the conflict between the Maoists and the Armed Forces, the common man and forest dwellers are getting squeezed and are falling prey to it as well. There have been allegations of civilians with no connection with the Maoists being killed by the forces and termed Maoists. As per people living in the hillside villages, “we haven’t seen the Maoists and have never faced any trouble from them. But the Jawans deployed to deal with the Maoist activities have become nightmare for us”.
[Amitabh Patra is an independent journalist and social activist based in Bargarh, Odisha]
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