January 25, 2012
As a total of 97 police gallantry medals were announced by the government on the eve of the Republic day on Wednesday, more than half (about 52) have gone to those personnel who are either combating Left-wing extremists in various states or have taken on militants and insurgents in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.
1992-batch IPS officer Nalin Prabhat was awarded the gallantry medal a second time for conducting a daring operation in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in 2010 to eliminate Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] commander Abu Atif who masterminded the Indian Institute of Science attack in Bengaluru [ Images ] and the Rampur Central Reserve Police Force camp attack.
A Letter to Supreme Court Advocate Sir
On the night of Saturday, 8.10.2011, in the new police station in Dantewada which has been built next to the old police-station, I was tortured. That night, when I was sleeping, I was woken up by two policewomen. I asked them, why am I being woken? I was told that SP Ankit Garg has come. I was taken to a second room. In that room, SP Ankit Garg and the SDPO of Kirandul Police Station were seated. I was made to sit in that room for some time along with the women police.
After a while, the two police women were asked to go out of the room. They were told, “Whatever is happening in this room should stay in this room—if word gets out, you know very well what will happen to you.” The two of them said, “Yes, sir. We won’t tell anyone.” “Okay. Go,” they were told.
After this, Constable Mankar and Basant were called. He told Mankar. “Don’t be afraid. After all, I am here for you. What will this bitch do to you? Bitch, you should know that the plan was hatched by us together, and it looks like the plan is yielding success.” He told Mankar, “Son, you have acted very bravely. I am very happy with you.” “Bitch, do you know who I am? I am SP Ankit Garg … who used to be in Bijapur earlier, and am soon going to be promoted from an SP to an official of the big range.” He banged on the table and said, “Everything happens from here. Whatever we order will be carried out. We are the administration, authority and government. Do you understand, you bitch? How will you defame Mankar? He will now be given a promotion.”
For a long time, he verbally abused me and tortured me psychologically. I have referred to the verbal abuse in my earlier letter. Maybe you have received that letter. I can’t write about all the abuses in this letter. I was asked to sign on some papers and was asked to write down some things. When I refused, I was pressured through stern talk. I still refused, and then they started giving me (electric) current in my feet, legs and on my clothes. For some time, they stopped doing this and told me, “Do whatever we are asking you to do. Your well-being lies in this. You will be safe, do you understand? Write a letter saying that Himanshu, Swami Agnivesh, Prashant Bhushan, Colin, Lingaram, Kavita Srivastav, Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Nandini Sundar, Manish Kunjam, Rama Sodhi, the owner of Essar company, are all Naxalite supporters. That Linga and I used to send all news from here to Delhi. That I went to Delhi since they had asked me to come. That Essar company officials used to always give money to Naxalites through Manish Kunjam, Rama Sodhi, and me. This is the way in which we used to help the Naxalites…” There were a lot of things. This is how they asked me to write a letter.
I did not write such a letter, nor did I sign the papers on which they had written. “Bitch, sign the papers which we have written!”—a lot of pressure was put on me. I told them that I am willing to die but I have not committed any crime and I will also not write about the people you are asking me to write about. I told them that it is better that they kill me. He said, “This also would have been done, but we can’t do it now since you have been arrested in Delhi. However, since you are not obeying my commands, I will send you back only after punishing you. You will be so ashamed of yourself; you will beat your head against the walls of the jail and die of shame. You are an educated woman; you will not be able to live with this shame.”
He said these kinds of things and ordered that electric shocks be given. After repeatedly giving me electric shocks, my clothes were taken off. I was made to stand naked. SP Ankit Garg was watching me, sitting on his chair. While looking at my body, he abused me in filthy language and humiliated me. After some time, he went out and in a little while, he sent three boys. These boys started molesting me and I fell after they pushed me. Then they put things inside my body in a brutal manner. I couldn’t bear the pain, I was almost unconscious. After a long time, I regained consciousness and found myself in the room in which I had slept. By then, it was already morning.
On Sunday, 9-10-2011, I bore the pain quietly, all by myself. Whom could I tell; there was no one that was on my side there. On the morning of Monday, 10-10-2011, the women police told me to freshen up since I had to be taken to court. I told them, “Madam, I am feeling quite dizzy. I am not feeling strong enough. Please wait for a bit.” They said, “They are asking to have you ready quickly. Otherwise, they will shower abuses on us.” Then I asked for a cup of tea so that I could get some strength. I drank some tea, and slowly got up and went to the bathroom. After a while, I felt dizzy and fell down. I was anyway not fit enough to go to the bathroom, but I was pressured to go to the bathroom to freshen up. Maybe these people wanted to present me in a good condition in front of the court. But this could not happen. As soon as I fell in the bathroom, I became unconscious. Then, they took me from the Dantewada police station to the Dantewada hospital. After a long time, I regained consciousness. After regaining consciousness, my pains had increased and I could not stand up, nor could I even get off the bed. I was in a fully injured condition.
I did not mention my torture to anyone at that time. I had been threatened. Still, I kept looking for an opportunity to talk about my torture, but I was surrounded by police at all times. Then, around 2 pm, I was taken from the Dantewada hospital, lying down on the seat of the police vehicle, and brought to the court. For a long time, we were kept outside the court and were not taken inside the court. SDPO brought some papers from inside the court and asked me to sign them. I told him, “Sir, I want to give some testimony in front of the Judge.” He told me that all that will happen later. All these papers are to send you to jail, sign them. What could I do? I thought that going to jail is better than this. The Judge Madam did not hear me out, did not talk to me, and just sent me off to jail.
After the court, they brought me to Dantewada police station. Two people were already present in the Dantewada police station. In spite of all my difficulty, they started to interrogate me about Kavita Srivastav. I told them that I am not feeling well, I am not in any shape to talk. Please do not force me. By that time, my brother Ramdev had reached the police station along with my family. He started asking, “why have you brought my sister here? The court had given you the permission to take her to the jail.” Then, they immediately took me to the Jagdalpur. We reached the Jagdalpur Central Jail around 7-8 pm. On seeing my condition, the jail authorities refused to admit me. Then the guard (unclear) of Dantewada only got me admitted into the Jagdalpur hospital. They treated me. Then, on Tuesday, 11-10-2011, the doctor at Jagdalpur hospital referred me to Raipur. In the evening around 10-11 pm, we left for Raipur and reached Raipur on Wednesday morning, 12-10-2011. I was treated there. The Raipur guard forced the doctor and brought me to the Central Jail Raipur around 8-9 pm. I tried my best to tell them, “Sir, I am in a lot of pain. Please let my treatment continue.” Then also, they brought me forcibly and told me, “You will get better immediately on seeing the red gate.” I wasn’t in any condition even to walk. I managed to enter the gate of the jail with a lot of difficulty.
The troops of the CRPF, deployed extensively for anti-Maoist operations, have not only been decorated with four of the top-notch President’s police medal for gallantry out of the total seven in this category, 14 other personnel of the force have got the medals for gallant action in the same theatre of operations.
Constable Bhoop Singh of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police was awarded posthumously for gallantry as he took on Naxals at the Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border in January last year and succumbed to his bullet injuries.
Another special mention in the daredevils’ list is of Border Security Force constable Jai Kishan who in May last year, at the international border with Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, battled and laid down his life while engaging two intruders in a gunfight from across the border while he was on the ‘naka’ (picket) duty.
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- World Report 2012: India | Human Rights Watch (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE-Gallantry Award for Sexual Violence ? (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Republic Day gallantry award to alleged torturer of Soni Sori! (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Soni Sori’s letter from Raipur Central Jail- Audio-Hindi and English (kractivist.wordpress.com)