In a startling incident, CRPF jawans allegedly kept two girl students of class VI and VIII in custody along with several villagers for four days in the Naxal-dominated Kanker district of Chhattisgarh. Villagers of Chhindabat in Kanker claimed that in the name of interrogation the girls were not spared.
The sub-inspector of insurgency-hit Antagarh police station of Kanker district Vivek Patle said that the girls who were held for interrogation belonged to the Chhattisgarh Natya Mandali formed by the Naxalites to influence young and adolescent students through street plays. But these girls were not directly sent to the Child Rehabilitation Home as they were to appear for examinations. “When they (CRPF men) were told that the girls have to appear in examinations, they were released immediately,” the S-I said.
When contacted on the phone, Kanker DIG Pawan Deo claimed ignorance about the issue. “I have no information regarding the girls detained by the CRPF,” the DIG said.
The State Human Rights Commission, acting on a complaint filed by a voluntary organisation, Fact Finding Documentation and Advocacy, has called for a report on the incident from the Kanker Superintendent of Police. He has been directed to submit his report to the rights panel within a month.
The villagers of Chhindabat lamented that the police often torture them under the suspicion that they support the Maoist rebels. Villagers said that the police and security forces come to their homes at night, threatening them even if they don’t support the Maoist rebels.
One of the girls, Soni, daughter of Bhajan Singh, who visited the state capital Raipur on Tuesday, told HT that the constables of the paramilitary forces had come to her village on March 24. They forcibly took away her parents and she was also taken by the CRPF men later for interrogation. When the parents protested against their daughter being interrogated, the constables started beating her father, Soni said.
Similarly, another student Amitra, daughter of Manglu, said she was also held by the CRPF for interrogation. She was freed on March 27 when she pleaded to be let off to take her annual examinations.