Nearly three months after four women were raped and nine others faced sexual violence from police personnel during a raid in the Holibayda and Bhutiya villages of Madhya Pradesh, no arrests have yet been made. The incident finds mentioned in a recent fact-finding report submitted by the Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, (MPMM) an autonomous, non-funded network of women.
According to the report published last week, the incident took place on January 25 when a contingent of more than 200 police personnel from 13 police stations from Dhar district raided the two villages of Bhil tribals.
Titled “The police came to steal... the women in the way got raped”, the report says not only did the police rape and sexually assault the women, they also indulged in large scale looting and vandalism.
“The villagers informed that many police motorcycles as well as a pick-up van came into the hamlets from different sides. There would have been more than 30 vehicles that landed into the area.” the report stated. Superintendent of Police of Dhar district Birendra Kumar Singh, however, told The Hindu that “no one was arrested during the raid.”
‘Men allowed to run away’
Hinting that the actual reason behind the raid had nothing to do with law and order, the report pointed out that instead of arresting anyone, police allowed the men of the villages to run away. “Women who were found in ones or twos were sexually assaulted,” the report stated.
According to the report not even pregnant and aged women were spared from sexual violence; even two minors were sexually assaulted. Police looted their savings and destroyed their furniture and ruined stocked food grains. “Rations and seeds that were found in sacks were looted. And what could not be taken if it was in big trunks or traditional containers was spoilt by throwing pesticide into it,” the report stated.
Denying the allegations, Mr. Singh described the two villages as “villages of criminals.” He also said there are about 135 villagers are wanted in different cases and are currently absconding.