THE NATIONAL Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has found that 16 women were “prima facie victims of rape, sexual and physical assault by state police personnel in Chhattisgarh” in Bijapur district in October 2015, and said it is of the view that “prima facie, human rights of the victims have been grossly violated, for which the state government is vicariously liable.”
Stating that it could not record the statements of 20 other women, the NHRC has asked for those statements to be recorded within a month. It has also sent a notice to the chief secretary, asking the state government to show cause as to why it should not recommend interim monetary relief of Rs 37 lakh to the victims.
In its press release, the NHRC said it took suo motu cognizance of The Indian Express report dated November 2, 2015, and sent an investigation team to the spot on February 22, 2016.
As reported by The Indian Express, women from five villages of Bijapur district — Pegdapalli, Chinnagelur, Peddagellur, Gundam and Burgicheru — had alleged that Chhattisgarh Police personnel sexually harassed and assaulted more than 40 of them, and gangraped at least two. Villagers in Pedagellur alone alleged that four women had been raped, including a 14-year-old who was allegedly blindfolded and gangraped.