State government under fire by National Human Rights Commissions

Accusations of gross negligence and violence of Indian security forces towards women have been uncovered through an investigation of India’s national human rights commission.

Indian police are accused of raping and assaulting 16 women in the Chhattisgarh state, with over 20 other alleged attacks involving beatings, and sexual exploitation also being uncovered through the investigation.

The investigation by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) began after reports by the Indian Express of widespread sexual violence in the Indian state.

Chhattisgarh sits in part of the territory in Indian described as the ‘red corridor’; a stretch of land that is home to thousands of armed rebels waging a rebellion against the government. These forces, called Maoists, are so named for their dedication to communist ideals and claim their fights will benefit the poorest of India’s peoples.

Indian security forces have been accused of unjust killings, violence and rapes in their attempts to suppress the Maoists while the bloody fighting has resulted in civilian casualties and destruction in some of the region’s poorest villages.

Members of the police force carried out the attacks during an operation in 2015, where 11 women are said to have been gang-raped, with one victim under the age of 15 blindfolded and gagged during her assault, while another victim was pregnant.

The NHRC is calling for the Chhattisgarh government to compensate the victims for their trauma, however the government is yet to take action.

No arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation while the Indian police force is accused of covering and hiding their officers, hindering the inquiry.

Some victims of the assaults have come forward and are involving in persecuting their offenders, calling for a specialised police team from outside the site to apprehend their attackers. Other victims are intimidated and fearful of making statements due to pressure from higher authorities to remain quiet and drop the accusations.

The investigation is expected to continue for the next six months.

Anusha Muller, Correspondent (Our World)