Challenging the spate of encounters in Bastar’s Bijapur, two young women –Suneeta Pottam and Munni Pottam, residents of Korcholi village, have filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Chhattisgarh High Court in September 2016. With similar other cases from the area being added to the case, seeking the transfer of their PIL to Supreme Court, the women have filed a transfer petition in the Supreme Court which is placed for hearing tomorrow, January 10.
The petition is regarding the extra-judicial executions of six people which took place in the villages of Kadenar, Palnar, Korcholi and Andri in Bijapur district in 2016. The petition is accompanied by affidavits, challenging the police version, from family members of the deceased and eyewitnesses of the incidents.
Earlier the Chhattisgarh High Court also held that the questions of extra judicial executions and government policies raised in the PIL are similar in spirit to the issues raised by the Salwa Judum petition (Nandini Sundar and Ors vs. theState of Chhattisgarh), currently being heard by the Supreme Court.
In a press meet today, Sunita Pottam and Munni Pottam have told that the district police officials have threatened both of them to file false cases against them by framing as “Naxalites” since they are raising issues against them. Sunita Pottam explained a recent incident on December 21, where the police and security forces have sexually and physically assaulted the women in Korcholi village who questioned the police men regarding a “firing” that took place there. She said “the security forces beat up the women, tore off their clothing and abused them.” The humiliated women have registered their complaints about the behavior of the forces.
Further elaborating on the police force behavior, Sunita told that the police take away hard-earned money from the villagers who migrate to neighboring state Telangana, and work as agricultural labourers to make their living.
The women claimed that their villages and houses were burnt down “in the violence of Salwa Judum” in 2005. In order to support themselves, they work as coolies in stone quarries.
WSS – Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression is the third petitioner in the case.