India

Citizens appeal to PM, CM: Save Soni Sori from Death in Jail

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

In an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister of India and other officials, about 250 concerned activists, academics, intellectuals, students, professionals and democratic organisations have demanded immediate medical attention for the Adivasi school teacher, Soni Sori, 35, currently in custody in Raipur Central Jail, Chhattisgarh.  Soni Sori’s condition is believed to be rapidly deteriorating as a result of torture and sexual abuse at the hands of the Chhattisgarh police. She is the mother of three young children. Signatories to the letter include members of the National Advisory Council Harsh Mander and Aruna Roy, writers Arundhati Roy and Meena Kandasamy, respected economist Jean Dreze, Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan and renowned intellectual Noam Chomsky.

In a recent medical report, doctors found stones inserted in Ms. Sori’s genital tract and rectum, and in a letter smuggled out of the prison, Ms. Sori states that she was stripped and electrocuted during police interrogation.  Meantime, she received none of the follow-up medical treatment that she badly needs.

More than six months after she was tortured, Sori continues to be imprisoned in Chhattisgarh and has received virtually no follow up medical treatment for the injuries she sustained in police custody and the infections that have developed as a consequence.

No investigation or action has been initiated against the police officers responsible for her torture. On the contrary, Superintendent of Police Ankit Garg, named in Sori’s letters, was awarded a Gallantry Medal on Republic Day, 2012. Sori’s petition before the Supreme Court asking to be transferred out of Chhattisgarh has been subjected to repeated delays and is still pending. Her health continues to deteriorate in the meantime.

Open Letter:

To,
Shri Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
Shri P. Chidambaram, Home Minister
Shri Shekhar Dutt, Governor of Chhattisgarh
Shri Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by the rapidly worsening health of Soni Sori in Raipur Central Jail. She has been passing blood with her urine, is having difficulty to sit or get up, and has lost considerable weight. Despite doctors from NRS Medical Hospital having confirmed that stones had been inserted into her vagina and rectum, Soni Sori has received no proper medical attention. We fear for Soni’s life and are outraged and ashamed at this inhuman treatment of a woman in India.

Soni Sori, 35, is an adivasi school teacher from Dantewada who was arrested in New Delhi on Oct 4 2011. Six months have passed since Soni was tortured physically and sexually but neither the state nor the central government has investigated the abuse. Her case has been repeatedly listed up in the Supreme Court but has been postponed every time. Throughout the duration of Soni Sori’s imprisonment, the state has also tried to stifle her communications with the civil society. In January this year, a team from various women’s groups across the country went to Raipur Jail to meet Soni, but they were prevented from doing so by the administration.

The brutal treatment meted out to Soni Sori, and the prevailing situation of conflict and repression in Chhattisgarh, cause us grave concern about Soniin particular, and the situation of women prisoners, in general. We demand immediate access for fact-finding groups to meet with Soni Sori and others to assess their condition in jail, particularly their medical situation. We fear that Soni Sori’s condition is rapidly deteriorating, and demand that she receive immediate medical attention.

Signed,

Harsh Mander

Meena Kandaswamy, Poet, Writer, Activist

Prof. Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor Emeritus, MIT

Prashant Bhushan, Advocate, Supreme Court of India

Anand Patwardhan, Filmmaker

Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)

Nikhil Dey,  Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)

Shankar Singh,  Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS)

Dr. Deepankar Basu, Prof of Economic, UMass Amherst

Dr. Prithvi R Sharma, MD

Jean Dreze, Allahabad University

Uma Chakravarti, Retd Professor, Delhi University

Anand Chakravarti, Retd Professor, Delhi University

Githa Hariharan, Writer

Arundhati Roy, Writer & Social Activist

Mohan Rao, Professor, JNU, Delhi

Geetha Nambisan

Dr. Abha Sur, Women Studies, MIT

Hiren Gandhi, Darshan, Amhedabad

Dr. Saroop Dhruv, Darshan, Amhedabad

Alisha Sett, Student, Tufts Univ

Dr. Suvrat Raju, Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad

Manasi Pingle, Film Maker

Admiral L Ramdas, Former Chief of Naval Staff, Alibag

Lalita Ramdas, Alibag

Prof. K.N. Panikkar

Dr. Jonathan E Fine, M.D, Founder Physicians for Human Rights

Santosh Rohit, Graduate Student, Univ. of Buffalo

Dr. KS Sripada Raju

Shrikumar Poddar

Mayurika Poddar

Soundarya Iyer, PhD student, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore

Prof. Ved Vatuk

Nurul Kabir

Karthik Sekhar, PhD student, MIT

Priyanka Srivastava

Ananyo Maitra

Srihari Murali, Indian Institute of Science

Dr. Jonathan E. Fine, Founder Physicians For Human Rights

Dr. Joyoni Dey, Professor, UMass Medical School

Dr. Amit Basole, Asst. Prof., Bucknell Univ

Dr. Veena Poonacha, Director, Research Center for Women’s Studies, SNDT Women’s University, Maharastra

Dr. Jinee Lokaneeta, Prof. Drew Univ, NJ: Author of Transnational Torture, Law, Violence, and State Power in the United States and India, NYU Press

Arati Chokshi,  Secretary, PUCL- Karnataka

Himadri Sekhar,  Delhi School of Economics, Delhi

Jyoti Punwani, Journalist, Mumbai

Rajasekhar Jammalamadaka

Aashish Sangoi

Parvathy Prem, Graduate student, University of Texas at Austin

Vishal Kudchadkar, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley

Snehal Shingavi, Assistant Professor, English, University of Texas at Austin

Sucharit Katyal, Graduate student, University of Texas at Austin

Neetu Jain, Association for India’s Development, Austin

Shikha Gupta, Association for India’s Development, Austin

Anand Surada, Association for India’s Development, Austin

Sivasankari Krishnanji, Association for India’s Development, Dallas

Yatin Phatak, Association for India’s Development, Dallas

Kirankumar Vissa, Hyderabad, India

Sukla Sen

Priti Turakhia Mumbai, India

Indira Chakravarthi

Reva Yunus

Sridhar Seshan

Kashif-ul-Huda, Editor, TwoCircles.net

Shalini Gera, Delhi, India

Asha Kilaru, Independent Public Health Researcher, Jan Aroghya Andolaan – Karnataka

Pranesh Prakash

Dr. Garga Chatterjee, Researcher, MIT

Daniel Mazgaonkar, Mumbai

Rohini Hensman, Mumbai

Reena Mary George, University of Vienna, Austria

Renu Pariyadath, University of Iowa, Iowa

Chirag Bhangale

Himanshu Kumar

Dr. Margaret McFadden, Prof Emerita, Women’s Studies, Living/Learning Academic Center, Appalachian State Univ, NC

K.J.Mukherjee, Professor, JNU, Delhi

Yasmin Saikia Hardt-Nickachos, Chair in Peace Studies, Professor of History, Arizona State University

Dr. Vandana Prasad

Piya Chatterjee Associate Professor, Department of Women’s Studies, University of California at Riverside

Uma Chandru, Member, PUCL-Bangalore & WSS

Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Documentary Filmmaker/Lecturer, AfroLez® Productions

Jane Ward, Associate Professor, Department of Women’s Studies, University of California, Riverside

Vidya Bhushan Rawat, Delhi

Satyen K. Bordoloi, Journalist, Film Critic, Mumbai

Madhuri Krishnaswamy, Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan, M.P.

Gowru Chinnapa

Navaneetha Mokkil, Assistant Professor, Central University of Gujarat

Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra, Badwani, MP

Kavita Srivastava, PUCL National Secretary

Pushkar Raj, General Secretary, PUCL

Mahipal Singh, National Secretary PUCL

Radha Kant Saxena, Vice President, PUCL, Rajasthan

Prem Krishna Sharma, President, PUCL, Rajasthan

Nishat Hussein, V.P President, PUCL Rajasthan

Mamta Jaitly, Vividha Mahila Alekhan evam Sandharbh kendra,

Renuka Pamecha, WRG, Jaipur

Indu Krishnan, Independent Documentary Film Maker

Debo Prosad Roy Choudhury, Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR)

Leni Chaudhuri, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Mumbai.

Reena Mary George, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Katyayani Poet, activist, Chairperson of Janchetna

Shivarth Pandey, Disha Students Organisation

Abhinav, Disha Student Organisation

Sukhwinder Editor, Mazdoor Bigul & Pratibadh (Punjabi journal)

Sandeep Samwad, Journalist & Activist

Tapish Maindola, Textile Workers Union, Gorakhpur

Rajwinder, Karkhana Mazdoor Union, Ludhiana

Ajay Swami, Delhi Metro Kamgar Union

Lakhwinder, Editor, Lalkar, Punjab

Meenakshy, Arvind Memorial Trust

Kalpana Karunakaran, Assistant Prof., IIT Madras

Madhusree Mukherjee, Writer

Abha Bhaiya, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Dr Debabrata Roy, Laifungbam President, Elders’ Council, Centre for Organisation Research & Education, Manipu

Shankar Gopalakrishnan, Campaign for Survival and Dignity

Janet Chawla

Pushpa Achanta Member, WSS-Karnataka

Gracy Andrew, Country Manager, CorStone, www.corstone.org

Ramneek Singh, Playwright, Bangalore

Amar Jesani, Editor, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics

Dr. Anand Philip, Medico Friend Circle

Pushpa Achanta, WSS, Bangalore

Nisha Biswas, Kolkata

Ritika Shrimali, York University, Canada

Dunu Roy, Hazards Centre

Janaki Nair, Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU

Mohan Rao, Professor, JNU

Vinod Raina

Nalini Visvanathan

Tithi Nandy, HEALTHWATCH Forum, UP

Jasodhara Dasgupta, National Alliance on Maternal Health and Human Rights

Siddhartha Sharma, ISI, Kolkata

Kirity Roy, MAUSUM & Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity

Mohit Jaiswal

Devra Weber, Associate Professor, UC Riverside

Kiran Uppalapati, Charlotte, NC

Chandni Sheth

Dr. Anish Mokashi, Independent Researcher, Coimbatore

Junuka Deshpande, Artist and filmmaker, Coimbatore

Dr. Smita Mukherjee, University of Pittsburgh Medical School, Pittsburgh

Shalini Bhutani, Legal Researcher, New Delhi

Joanna Levitt, Director, International Accountability Project, California

Dr. Reety Arora, Association for India’s Development, Pittsburgh

Rounak Narvekar, Association for India’s Development, Pittsburgh

Prerna Grover, Graduate student, University of Pittsburgh

Madhav Sankunny, Graduate student, University of Pittsburgh

Chris Mason, Amnesty International Group 39, Pittsburgh

Dr. Ashwin Kumar, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

Lavanya Subramanian, Graduate student, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

Kaushik Vaidyanathan, Graduate student, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh

Jordana Rosenfeld, Amnesty International Group 39, Pittsburgh

Mamata Dash, Activist and Independent Researcher

Madhuresh Kumar, NAPM

Sylvanna Falcon, Assistant Professor Latin American & Latino Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Prof of English and Director of Gender Studies, Montclair State University, NJ

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

Erin Runions, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Pomona College, California

Devra Weber, Associate Professor, History, UC-Riverside

Dipti Misri, University of Colorado

Dr. Swati Dhawan

Swapna Kollu, Researcher, Boston

Rupal Oza

Komal Choksi, Psychologist, New York City

Shibani Potnis

Rucha Chitnis

Madhav Srimohan

Dr. Sanjeev Mahajan, Mountainview, CA

Tsering Dhundup, Dharamshala, India

Deeksha Bajpai Tewari, Delhi University

Sudharshana Bordoloi, York University, Canada

Ajay Panicker

SR Hiremath, Samaj Parivartan Samuday, Karnataka

Amrita Basu, Departments of Political Science and Women’s and Gender Studies, Amherst College

Mahtab Alam, Civil Rights’ Activist and Journalist, Delhi

Shabnam Hashmi, Social Activist, Delhi

Patricia Morton, Chair and Associate Professor of Architectural History, Univ of California, Riverside

Jaskiran K. Mathur PhD,  Chairperson Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, St. Francis College, NY

Vivek Sundara, HRA,Mumbai

Naazneen Diwan, Los Angeles

Archana A. Pathak PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies, Virginia Commonwealth University

Bettina Aptheker, Distinguished Professor, Feminist Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz

Dr. Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor Department of Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Basuli Deb, Assistant Professor,English/Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Padma Balasubramanian

Prof. Bishnupriya Ghosh, Department of English, University of California, Santa Barbara

Deepa Rajkumar

Punita Chaudhary, Filmmaker, Mumbai

Asutosha Acharya, York University

Nishant Upadhyay, York University

Rahul Varman, IIT, Kanpur

Pradeep Esteves, Bangalore

Dr. Abhay Shukla, Pune

Priya Thangarajah

Aditi Malhotra

Pratiksha Baxi, CSLG, JNU

Sheba George, Ahmedabad

Minnie Vaid, Filmmaker and author

Rona Wilson, Secretary, Public Relations, Committee for Release of Political Prisoners

Shoma Sen, Committee Against Violence on Women

Jayasree Subramanian, TISS, Hyderabad

Vani Subramanian, Saheli Women’s Resource Centre. Delhi

Kavita Krishnan, AIPWA

Aarti Sethi, Columbia University

Patricia Morton, Chair and Associate Professor of Architectural History, UC Riverside

Soumitra Ghosh, North Bengal Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers, SIliguri

Sanjay Basu Mullick, Jharkhand Jangal Bachao Andolan, Ranchi

Pushpa Toppo, Jharkhand Jangal Bachao Andolan

Madhu Mehra, New Delhi

Sushil Khanna Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

Rajashri Dasgupta Journalist, Kolkata

Nandini Rao

Kavita Shourie Vissanji, Samskara Wellness, Mumbai

Vijayshree Danthurthi, Charlotte, NC

Nitin Sonawane

Purba Rudra, Kolkata

Balmurli Natrajan Mining Zone People’s Solidarity Group, USA

Vidya Kalaramadam, Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies, William Paterson University of New Jersey

Elizabeth Gillaspy

Nandita Ghosh

Amrita Shodhan, Teacher, London, UK

Runu Chakraborty

Christine Guzaitis Department Chair, Gender and Women’s Studies, Scripps College

Richa Nagar, Unıversıty of Mınnesota

Joe Athialy, New Delhi

Chakraverti Mahajan

Manasi Mayerkar, University of Pittsburgh

Anindya Dutta

Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd), Mysore

Rıcha Nagar, Unıversıty of Mınnesota

Pramila

Anand Sivaraman, Entrepreneur, Bangalore

Manohar Elavarthi, Praja Rajakiya Vedike, Bangalore

Neeraj Malik

Christine Guzaitis, Assistant Professor, Department Chair, Gender and Women’s Studies, Scripps College, Claremont, CA

Hardip Grewal

Christine Ward Gailey

Abha Bhaiya, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Esha Niyogi De, Lecturer, Department of English, University of California, Los Angeles

Sejal Sutaria, Assistant Professor of English, Earlham College, Indiana

Parama Roy, Professor of English, University of California, Davis

Jhuma Sen, Advocate, Supreme Court

Organizations

Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, MIT

Association for India’s Development

Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, Delhi

India Foundation Inc. of Michigan

International Alliance for Defense of Human Rights in India

Moving Republic, Bangalore

Matrika Charitable Trust

Peoples Solidarity Concerns, Bangalore

People’s Union for Civil Liberties, India

Sanhati

South Asian Alliance, UK (www.southasianalliance.org)

South Asia Solidarity Initiative

The South Asian Political Action Committee at Tufts University, MA

Vaishnava Center for Enlightenment Inc.

Vedanta Society of East Lansing, Michigan

ViBGYOR Film Collective, Thrissur

Women Against Sexual Violence & State Repression

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