This refers to the report “In Chhattisgarh, tribal women retract rape charges” (March 6). The retraction reinforces the constant struggle of tribal and Dalit women against sexual violence, used as a means to suppress them. That three out of six tribal women have withdrawn their charges against Salwa Judum functionaries, allegedly under pressure, implies that they are not worthy of protection from Indian laws and society. Adding insult to injury is the statue of a rape accused put up in Dornapal.
Can the accused be absolved and glorified even if the rape victims withdraw their charges? The treatment meted out to the women is in blatant disregard of human rights standards. The rape victims should have been provided adequate legal advice. Their allegations should be investigated by an agency which is not under the State police.
The retraction of rape charges by the tribal women shows their lack of faith in the criminal justice system and the government. It is clear that they were not given adequate protection after they made their statements against Salwa Judum functionaries. This incident shows why Maoists still enjoy wide support in Chhattisgarh.
Vimal P. Anand,