Police Brutality Against Women in India: Dalit, Adivasi, Tribal and Other Minorites.
The on-going farmer protests have unlocked several well needed conversations in regards to the mistreatment and marginalisation of communities by the current BJP-led government. One conversation in particular that it's pushed is the consistent mistreatment of minority women and girls by the Indian police.
Seething with a history of aggression and sexual violence against Dalit, Adivasi and Tribal women and girls amongst other minorities, the recent abduction of Nodeep Kaur, a Dalit labour rights activist is only a continuation of this.
Nodeep Kaur (2020, current)
Nodeep, 24, a Dalit labour rights activist and member of "Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan" (MAS), one of the many worker unions protesting with the farmers against the government’s new laws, was arrested from the Singhu border on 12 January and her bail was rejected on 2 February.
After Nodeep's arrest by the Haryana police, a medical examination was sought after by her lawyer. The report revealed wounds on her body, her private parts included.
Thangjam Manorama (2004)
Thangjam Manorama, a 32 year old Manipuri woman was picked by the 17th Assam Rifles Unit, accused of being part of the People's Liberation Party, one of the few insurgency groups that existed in Manipur at the time. The following day she was found by her home, lying dead, mutilated and completely bare. Her body was punctured entirely with several bullet wounds, including 16 wounds found around her genitalia and the autopsy found traces of human semen on her body, confirming she had been raped.
Soni Sori (2011)
Tribal woman and activist for tribal rights Soni Suri was born in Chhattisgarh, during the Maoist insurgency. She was arrested by Delhi Police's Branch for Chhattisgarh on charges of being an intermediary for the Maoists in 2011. During her imprisonment, she was a victim of sexual violence and torture by the Chhattisgarh police. She wrote to her lawyer that she had been forced to stand naked while “(Superintendent of Police) Ankit Garg was watching me, sitting on his chair… While looking at my body, he abused me in filthy language and humiliated me." She alleged that he then sent three men into the room to sexually assault her. Sori was subsequently hospitalized where doctors removed stones that had been inserted into her vagina and rectum.
By April 2013, the Indian Courts had acquitted her in six of the eight cases filed against her due to lack of evidence.
Asifa Bano (2018)
Asifa Bano, member of a Nomadic Muslim minority in Kashmir, was missing for a week, before her father received the devastating news of her brutal murder. Her body lay in bushes in the forest, a few hundred metres away.
The family filed a police complaint a day after Asifa went missing, to only not be taken seriously by police officers, who suggested that their 8 year old child had "run off with a boy".
After an autopsy, it was found that Asifa was confined in a local temple for several days and given sedatives that kept her unconscious. The charge sheet alleges that she was "raped for days, tortured and then finally murdered". She was strangled to death and then hit on the head twice with a stone.
"She had been tortured. Her legs were broken," recalled Ms Naseema, who had rushed to the forest along with her husband to see the body. "Her nails had turned black and there were blue and red marks on her arm and fingers.
Sonam Ali (2011)
On a normal evening in Uttar Pradesh, a mother sends her 14 year old daughter, Sonam to fetch the family's buffalo calf, unbeknown that that would be the last time she sees her.
Sonam was found to be murdered in a police station. Her mother recounted "she was cold, her eyes were wide open, her teeth gritted".
All 11 policemen present that day, including the officer in charge of the police station, were suspended hours after the crime. The superintendent of police of the district was also suspended.
Two policemen were later arrested - one charged with murder while the other is accused of destruction of evidence. A policeman was later arrested after admitting he attempted to rape Sonam.
Amandeep Kaur (1992)
Bibi Amandeep Kaur from Pipli pind in Bathinda was killed by the Indian Police Force in Punjab.
Amandeep Kaur, her husband, and father were taken to Phul police station in Rampura. Her father and husband were stripped naked in front of her then beaten and humiliated. The police robbed all their cash and gold jewellery, they were moved to another police station where Bibi Amandeep Kaur was tortured and raped. The police even went to Bibi Amandeep Kaur’s village to rob their house and abduct her mother and sister, her mother was brought her to a police station and also tortured and raped. When their family was finally released after three weeks of illegal detention and abuse the police registered a case against her father. Her terrified newly wed husband abandoned his wife and fled the country.
You can read her story in her own words here.
Mathura was a young orphan tribal girl living with one of her two brothers. She was an Adivasi. The incident is suspected to have taken place on 26 March 1972, she was between 14 and 16 years old at that time. Mathura occasionally worked as a domestic helper with a woman named Nushi. She met Nushi's nephew named Ashok who wanted to marry her, but her brother did not agree to the union and went to the local police station to lodge a complaint claiming that his sister, a minor, was being kidnapped by Ashok and his family members. After receiving the complaint, the police authority brought Ashok and his family members to the police station. Following general investigation, Mathura, her brother, Ashok, and his family members were permitted to go back home. However, as they were leaving, Mathura was asked to stay behind while her relatives were asked to wait outside. Mathura was then raped by the two policemen.
When her relatives and the assembled crowd threatened to burn down the police station, the two accused policemen, Ganpat and Tukaram, reluctantly agreed to file a legal recording of evidence).