Expressing “dissatisfaction” over the police probe into three cases of alleged excesses and sexual abuse by security forces in Bastar, the National Scheduled Tribes Commission (NSTC) has asked the Chhattisgarh government to hand over the investigation from district police to state CID.
Taking cognizance of an article published in the “Outlook” magazine in which social activist Bela Bhatia had documented the allegations of mass sexual abuse and police excesses in three cases — two in Bijapur and one in Sukma — a team headed by NSTC chairperson Rameshwar Oraon had toured Bastar last month.
In its report dated April 29, the commission said the “investigation carried out by the local police is unsatisfactory”, and that the statements of all the victims and witnesses were yet to be recorded.
“The commission has also taken seriously the delay in filing the FIRs… In all the three cases, sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act have not been applied, despite the accused being security personnel,” the report stated, adding that none of the accused security personnel has been identified.
“The victims, social activists, and non-governmental organisations working in the area have expressed a lack of confidence in the investigation of the local police, contending that those accused themselves are carrying out the investigation,” the report said.
The report stated that whenever police search parties entered the villages, the male members of the villages often ran away, fearing assault, leaving only women and children in the village.
“These circumstances are created where there are allegations of rape, molestation, assault and loot. Therefore, searching parties should be kept away from the villages,” the report said, advocating inclusion of women personnel in the search teams to prevent such incidents in future.