Want to work for women who have faced police atrocities: tribal activist Soni Sori
Soni Sori, a tribal teacher from Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, wants to return to her hometown.
New Delhi: Soni Sori’s father was shot by suspected Maoists, her husband incarcerated for allegedly supporting them. But Sori, a tribal teacher from Dantewada in Chhattisgarh, wants to return to her hometown despite the threats she says she faces.
“I want to go to Chhattisgarh and work for those women who have faced similar police atrocity. My Janmabhoomi (birthplace) could end up being my kabr (grave), but I will still go back. I know I could be killed there, but I want to keep fighting”, she says.
In October 2011, she was arrested after being accused of being a conduit for Maoists. In spite of getting discharged from five other cases foisted by the police, it took her more than two years to get bail in this one case.
Fearing ill-treatment by Chhattisgarh police, she had sought the help of courts and police to avoid being sent back. However, after her arrest in Delhi, she was sent right back.
“I was given electric shocks, forced to strip, and verbally abused by Ankit Garg. He supervised as police inserted stones into my private parts to force me to give false statements implicating activists (like Himanshu Kumar, Medha Patkar and others). Is this how they expect to solve the Maoist problem?” says an angry Soni Sori, adding, “Today, the same Ankit Garg gets a gallantry award! What did I get in return? Abuse and humiliation.”
Ankit Garg, who Soni Sori accused of supervising police torture, received the police medal for gallantry from the President in 2012 for being part of an anti-Maoist operation in 2010.
Lingaram Kodopi, Sori’s nephew was also given bail along with her by the Supreme Court. “When Badru (a naxal) surrendered, he got a house and compensation from the government. He may have killed hundreds of innocents but all that is forgotten. Instead the government is putting us through such torture, literally forcing us to take up arms.”
Soni Sori is determined to return to her roots despite of the threats. On seeking protection, she has this to say: “Who will give me security? The same police who abused me?”