On 10 October, women’s groups and progressive forces held a militant protest at the office of the National Commission for Women at Delhi, protesting inaction in the case of custodial sexual violence and humiliation of adivasi schoolteacher Soni Sori in Chhattisgarh jails.
A full year had passed since women’s groups brought the matter to the NCW’s notice, but in spite of repeated appeals and reminders, the NCW took no action at all, and did not even visit Soni when she was in hospital in Delhi.
Saheli, AIPWA, NFIW, several other women’s groups, AISA, as well as a large number of CPI(ML) activists participated in the protest. Representatives of NCW revealed that they had actually closed the case a few days before the protest, without even bothering to inform the petitioners! The protestors agitated until the NCW was forced to reopen the case. Subsequently, the NCW has agreed to send a fact-finding team along with representatives of women’s groups to investigate the conditions of women prisoners in jails of Dantewada, Raipur, and Durg, where Soni and many others accused of being Maoists are incarcerated.