The unprecedented and shocking case of custodial torture of four girl students of Bengal at the hands of the State Government was taken to the National Commission of Women today by Brinda Karat and office bearers of the AIDWA S. Punyavathi and Asha Sharma.
The girls had been stripped while in custody had been groped, humiliated and subjected to sexist abuse and humiliation.
The NCW Chairperson Ms. Lalitha Kumaramangalam received the memorandum (copy enclosed) and also at the request of the delegation spoke on the telephone to one of the highly traumatized girls Madhuja Sen Roy.
The NCW Chairperson has instituted an inquiry team on the basis of the complaint which will visit Bengal. She assured the delegation that the complaint will be addressed urgently. Read the memorandum here:
Ms. Lalita Kumar Mangalam,
Dear Lalita ji,
We wish to bring to your notice an atrocious case of abuse, persecution and humiliation by the West Bengal Police of 4 young women from Students Federation of India and Democratic Youth Federation of India at Kolkata, West Bengal, on 10 March, 2017.
Madhuja Sen Roy, Ahana Ganguli, Rupsa Saha and Ananya Niyogi are student and youth activists. They were arrested by the Bengal Government and police, along with others, on March 9. They were participating in a protest march against the scam in appointments in primary schools. Many students including girls were brutally beaten by the police and a few were hospitalized. The four arrested young women were locked up in the police station and the next day were remanded to police custody until 14 March. The way the Government and police dealt with the participants and the March reflected the utter intolerance to any dissent or protest against corruption. But much worse was to follow.
The four were taken to the jail at Alipore Womens Reformatory. Instead of being treated as political activists, they were subjected to illegal custodial torture. They were taken to the searching” room. Here they were stripped and “searched” which consisted of highly objectionable groping of their bodies. One of the young women who was in her menstrual cycle at the time was made to take off her sanitary pad, forced to go down on all fours and ” searched.” All through they were subjected to the most filthy sexist abuse by women police personnel. The groping and abuse was repeated on March 14.
The women personnel responsible also made it clear that they were acting
“on orders from above.”
The Government, the police and the jail personnel are guilty of blatant violation of all standards to treat those in custody, particularly women prisoners. It becomes all the more reprehensible when the young women are idealistic student activists fighting for a just people’s cause. As you can imagine, they have been deeply traumatized by their experience. If this is the treatment students and youth receive within a jail in West Bengal, does it not fly in the face of the democratic norms of which we boast as citizens of India? Is it not a fact that even with a woman Chief Minister in the state, human right violations have been increasing by leaps and bounds?