Activist Soni Sori today said tribal women in India feel “insecure” despite living in a democracy as she lambasted both police and government for “failing” to protect them and their rights.
“We live in a democracy despite which we are insecure. We are attacked and dissent is squashed. Even today, many tribal women are locked in jail. They face various kinds of tortures, atrocities and injustice.
“Is raising voice against injustice wrong? Is asking for a legal proceedings wrong?,” she said at a gathering at Jantar Mantar to mark the International Women’s Day, where the audience responded with a resounding “Shame!Shame”.
Sori, who herself was attacked with an acid-like chemical in Chhattisgarh last month, alleged that the state police indulges in all kinds of atrocities and still manages to get away with it.
“Police are raping us instead of protecting. They call us naxals and throw us behind bars. FIRs have been filed against the guilty policemen but no action has been initiated against them,” she alleged.
The 44-year-old Adivasi school teacher was arrested by the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch for Chhattisgarh Police in 2011 on charges of acting as a conduit for Maoists.
During her imprisonment, she alleged that she was tortured and sexually assaulted by Chhattisgarh state police.
“Men are killed and women tortured in Bastar by those who want our land and, when we question them, they attack us,” she said referencing to the recent attack on her.
By April 2013, the courts had acquitted Sori in six of the eight cases filed against her due to lack of evidence.
Buoyed by the huge turnout in her support, Sori vowed to continue fighting for the rights of tribals and women in Bastar despite the ordeals she was facing.
“I will return to Chhattisgarh. We are not quitters. We will continue our fight. We will fight for the freedom of women who are in jail for years. We will fight together and we will win,” said Sori.