Sunday, Jul 03, 2022
Conflict Zones

Caught In The Crosshairs: Tales Of Sexual Violence Women Face In Conflict Zones

Across states where insurgencies are rife, women are among the worst victims during security operations as justice elude the victims and errant security personnel are protected by the political machinery to save the government from embarrassment.

Shadow of the gun A Kashmiri woman walks past soldiers in Baramulla district.
Shadow of the gun: A Kashmiri woman walks past soldiers in Baramulla district. Photograph: Getty Images

On July 6, 2011, a 16-year-old girl was killed, according to the official version, in police firing in Chhattisgarh’s Karcha village, then a part of Surguja district. Her family alleged that she was raped and murdered by police personnel. Over a decade later, in April this year, a Raipur court acquitted two policemen—while another accused died during the trial—despite noting that there was “ample suspicion of the commission of the offence”, but “improper investigation” had resulted in poor evidence.

While the police had then claimed that she was a Maoist cadre, villagers had refuted the charge. A judicial commission set up to probe the case had submitted its report in 2015 stating that she was not a Maoist. The three policemen—Nikodin Khes, Dharmdutt Dhaniya and Jivan Lal Ratnakar—were charged with murder. Khes died during the trial.

Additional inputs from Syeda Ambia Zahan