Home » General » Ms. Soni’s brother-in-law, Mr. Ajay Markam and his wife and Ms. Sori’s sister, Ms. Dhaneshwari Markam were illegally picked up by Bastar police and harassed and reportedly tortured in police custody

Ms. Soni’s brother-in-law, Mr. Ajay Markam and his wife and Ms. Sori’s sister, Ms. Dhaneshwari Markam were illegally picked up by Bastar police and harassed and reportedly tortured in police custody

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(Your Organisation/Individual letterhead) Date:  Address:   Sir/Madam, (A line introducing yourself/ your organization)   We have been informed that Ms. Soni’s brother-in-law, Mr. Ajay Markam and his wife and Ms. Sori’s sister, Ms. Dhaneshwari Markam were illegally picked up by Bastar police and harassed and reportedly tortured in police custody in the name of questioning. Mr. Ajay Markam along with three other persons was picked up on March 10, 2016 around 10.30 a.m. from his house in Geedam by the Mr. Sharat Chandra, TI of Kuakonda and taken in for questioning in Jagdalpur.  According to the statement by Mr. Ajay as reported, they were taken to the Police Control Room situated at Jagdalpur. Inside the room CSC, Ms. Bismala Kashyap, Mr.Santosh Singh, ASP Sukma and other two started interrogating them. All police officials abused them with filthy language and hit them with shoes, chappals and batons on their chicks and buttocks. According to sources Mr. Ajay Markam was “repeatedly told by the interrogating team that the police would arrest him for orchestrating the attack” on Ms. Soni Sori. Mr. Ajay and others were tortured repeatedly and threatened to be killed in an encounter or jailed if they don’t act as per the demands of the police.     Ms. Dhaneshwari Markam, (Sister of Soni Sori) wife of Mr. Ajay Markam who is a 2nd  year student in Bodhni Devi Nursing Institute, Jagdalpur  was picked up and brought to the police control room at about 4 pm on March 11, 2016 while she was going to her hostel in the institute bus. She was brought to the control room with the help of one lady police and four male police personnel. She also was threaten and abused in filthy language. Out of fear and mental torture she got fainted (senseless) at the spot. She was released after she recovered on the same night. Three persons along with Mr. Ajay were illegally detained in side police station without being given any reason by the police personnel for 30 hour and released on March 12, 2016 morning. According to sources, they were asked to confess to the chemical attack on Soni Sori. They were reportedly also pressured to name Soni Sori’s nephew, Mr. Lingaram Kodopi, as an accomplice/mastermind in the attack.     It is to be noted that on March 11, 2016 family members of Mr. Markam, including Mr. Mundra Ram Sori (Ms. Sori’s father and the father-in-law of Mr Markam), and Mr Markam’s mother Ms. Pali Markam, and his sister Jyoti Sori went to speak to the IG of Bastar Range, Mr. SRP Kalluri, to express their concerns about the well-being of Mr. Markam and to seek information about his detention. However, Mr. Kalluri treated them with utter disrespect, spoke to them in vulgar, abusive language and openly threatened and intimidated the family members that he (Mr. Kalluri) will destroy all of Ms. Sori’s family.  He specifically mentioned that he will ensure that Mr. Markam will not be released from police custody, and the rest of Ms. Sori’s family will also be made to suffer for her indiscretions in questioning Mr. Kalluri.  He specifically threatened Mr. Mundra Ram Sori that his daughter, Ms. Soni Soni will be killed and that his grandson, Mr Lingaram Kodopi will also be jailed. Ms. Soni Sori’s family has allegedly been receiving death threats since the attack on Soni Sori.   In this regard, we also would like to bring to the kind notice of the Hon’ble Commission about our previous urgent appeal for action issued on February 21, 2016 on Ms. Soni Sori who was attacked with some corrosive chemical by three unidentified men on a motorcycle, while she was returning home around 10:30 pm on February 20, 2016. According to sources, her attackers warned her to “stop complaining against the IG, Bastar and the issue of Mardum encounter and if she does behave as demanded, her daughter would also face the same consequences’. An SIT comprising of ASP Sukma Mr Santosh Singh, CSP Jagdalpur Ms Deepmala Kashyap and ASP Bijapur IK Elesela was set up by the state police to investigate this attack on Ms. Sori. Instead of conducting a genuine inquiry into a serious matter, the police under Mr. Kalluri have turned this investigation into an excuse for harassment of Ms. Soni’s relatives and friends.   There are a number of incidents which raise serious concerns about Ms. Soni Sori’s physical safety and security including her family members and friends. The attack on the tribal rights activist Ms. Sori, who has emerged as a face of democratic protest in Bastar, came just after harassments to women lawyers Ms. Shalini Gera and Ms. Isha Khandalwal of Jagdalpur Legal aid group and journalist Ms. Malini Subramaniam, all at the behest of Bastar range police IG (Bastar) Mr. SRP Kalluri on which HRDA has already appealed to the NHRC.   We believe that universal protection of human rights and fundamental rights in India will continue to be under threat unless the human rights defenders are protected and recognised. The UN declaration on Human Rights Defenders says that all Member States have agreed to recognise the relationship between international peace and security on the one hand and the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedom on the other.   We strongly urge the National Human Rights Commission of India to take urgent and special notice of Ms. Soni Sori’s case. We demand that the NHRC deputed special independent criminal investigation team reaches the depths of this case. This team must positively come out with a report including recommendations and concrete mechanism to provide protection to Ms. Soni Sori, her family and friends after personally meeting them.   It is feared that all harassments are conducted at the orders of the Bastar IG Mr. Kalluri. We also urge the Hon’ble Commission to recommend the transfer of IG Bastar Mr. Kalluri, till the time investigations are not completed in the Mardum encounter, which has led to heightened attacks on HRDs who have been campaigning for justice and fair investigation and trial alleging the direct involvement of the IG Bastar Mr. Kalluri.   We also urge the Hon’ble Commission to direct the Chhattisgarh administration to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of Ms. Soni Sori and her family members as they continue to be under risk of being attacked or threatened by the perpetrators and give this assurance to the NHRC of India in writing immediately and urgently. We urge the Hon’ble Commission to provide security to Ms. Soni Sori and family members of Ms. Soni Sori.   We also urge the Hon’ble Commission to recommend urgently to the SHRC in Chhattisgarh to also take necessary steps to establish a state focal point for HRDs in order to ensure that HRDs have a new protection mechanism in their own state and they can carry out their activities as defenders of human rights without fear of reprisals, and free of all restrictions including police and administrative harassment.   We hope that this urgent action and the reports that will come out of this mission by the NHRC will follow suit for not only in the case of Ms. Soni Sori but also other cases in other parts of the country. This action of the NHRC should lead to punitive action being initiated against the concerned police officers responsible for the continuing police harassment, intimidation and illegal detention of Soni Sori’s relatives and friends.         ADDRESS   Shri A. K. Parashar   National Focal Point – Human Rights Defenders & Joint Registrar National Human Rights Commission Manav Adhikar Bhawan, Block-C, GPO Complex, INA, New Delhi – 110 023 Email:  hrd-nhrc@nic.in   Justice H L Dattu, Chair Person, National Human Rights Commission Manav Adhikar Bhawan, Block-C, GPO Complex, 
INA, New Delhi – 110 023 Email: chairnhrc@nic.in     Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mr. Michel Forst c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights – Palais Wilson United Nations Office at Geneva CH 1211 Geneva 10 Switzerland Email: urgent-action@ohchr.org jgaziyev@ohchr.org defenders@ohchr.org    Front Line – The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders  Second Floor Grattan House  Temple Road , Blackrock  Co. Dublin  Ireland   Email : info@frontlinedefenders.org   OMCT International Secretariat PO Box 21 8, rue du Vieux-Billard 1211 Geneva 8 Switzerland Phone: + 41 22 809 4939 Fax: + 41 22 809 4929   E-mail: omct@omct.org   The Chairperson, CHHATTISGARH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION  NEAR MANTRALAYA,  RAIPUR-492001   Email : cghrcryp@gmail.com  

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