Sori lawyers move Apex Court against Chhattisgarh police
Was produced before Judicial Magistrate Wasnik, after being treated for injuries sustained in custody
Thirty-six-year-old tribal school teacher Soni Sori was to be produced before Judicial Magistrate (Dantewada) Yogita Wasnik on Monday. She did not show up at the appointed hour. Chhattisgarh police have claimed that Sori could not be taken to the Judicial Magistrate because she had sustained serious injuries from an accident.
Sori was admitted with back and neck injuries at the district hospital in Dantewada. Video clippings show her in an X-Ray room, writhing in pain ( see video ) . Sources said Sori had suffered injuries on the head and back. According to doctors, Sori has suffered a concussion on the back of her head and also has tenderness in the lumbar region of the back.
After receiving treatment for her injuries, Sori was produced before Judicial Magistrate Wasnik in the afternoon. During her appearance in court, Sori made no mention of custodial violence , however she alleged that she was mentally tortured.
Judicial Magistrate Wasnik has asked for Sori to be taken to the Jagdalpur Hospital for a CT scan after which she would be kept in judicial custody at the Dantewada Jail.
After Sori was arrested in Delhi on 4 October, she expressed fears of being killed if she were sent back to Chhattisgarh. Though Naveen Arora, the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) of Saket District Court, New Delhi, denied Sori’s bail plea on 7 October, he did direct the Chhattisgarh police to ensure the safety and security of Sori. Sori’s lawyers have moved the Supreme Court this afternoon for the failure of the Chhattisgarh police in carrying out the court order.
Soni Sori’s denied bail, will be sent to Dantewada within three days
Delhi High Court orders state police to file a detailed security report by 14 October
In an expected decision, Naveen Arora, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) of Saket District Court, New Delhi, denied Soni Sori’s bail plea, and ordered for her to be taken into transit remand to Chhattisgarh within three days. Soon after proceedings Sori was taken back to Chhattisgarh by an evening flight. Sori, a 36-year-old tribal from Chhattisgarh, was arrested in the capital by the Delhi Crime Branch in collaboration with Chhattisgarh police on 4 October.
Following her arrest, Sori was presented before the Additional District and Session’s Judge in the Saket District Court on 5 October. The Chhattisgarh police had asked the concerned ACMM for transit remand to take Sori back with them. However, Sori filed a voluminous application asking for the rejection of the transit remand and releasing her on bail.
After hearing both sides the ACMM stated his inability in entertaining the bail application as he was not the competent authority for bail and thus the application was transferred to the concerned Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) and the matter was deferred till 7 October.
At the bail hearing on Friday, the ASJ referred the matter back to the ACMM, who then rejected Sori’s bail application and asked for her to be produced before Judicial Magistrate (Dantewada) Yogita Wasnik. The ASJ did, however, take cognizance of Sori’s fear for her life, and thus directed the Chhattisgarh police to ensure her security.
Sori’s lawyers also moved a writ petition on Friday in High Court and were brought before the vacation Judge. Justice Mukta Gupta stated that she could not deal with the issue of transit remand, but did order the Chhattisgarh police to file a detailed security report of Soni Sori to the HC by 14 October. “Once it was clear to her (Soni Sori) that she would be sent back to Dantewada, she made her peace with it, and we tried to ensure her safety to the maximum possible extent,” said Divyjyoti Jaipuriya, one of Sori’s lawyers.
Viswajoy Mukherjee is a Trainee Correspondent with Tehelka.
Chhattisgarh police will kill me: Soni Sori
After surviving an attempt on her life, she came to New Delhi to seek legal help, was arrested on Tuesday
Thirty-six-year-old Soni Sori from Chhattisgarh, aunt of arrested activist and journalist Lingaram Kodopi was arrested in New Delhi on Tuesday by the Delhi Crime Branch in collaboration with Chhattisgarh police on the charge of being a “Maoist on the run”. Based on an intelligence input to the office of Commissioner of Police, provided by the Bastar SP office, Delhi police is said to have zeroed in on her near the Katwaria Sarai in the Capital.
Soni Sori, who has been on the run since her nephew Lingaram Kodopi was arrested by the Chhattisgarh police on 10 September for allegedly collecting funds from the ESSAR group on behalf of the Maoists. While fleeing, Soni, a mother of three, also survived an attempt on her life allegedly by the Chhattisgarh police.
A video in TEHELKA’s possession has a Chhattisgarh Police Official admitting in a telephone conversation with Soni Sori, that Kodopi has been arrested under false charges, for reasons completely different from the ESSAR case. “We arrested BK Lala (a private contractor also arrested in the ESSAR case) from his house. Nothing has happened. It was done to trap BK Lala. He doesn’t know Lingaram or you,” the police official who identified himself as Mankar, is heard telling Sori.
“Naxals called BK Lala’s mobile and he was called to the market. He just went to market. Then he came back from the market. After that he was arrested from his house. You be assured about this. It is just that you were seen there. That is why the police is using your name,” Mankar is heard telling Sori. Mankar then tries to convince Sori to get herself arrested so that she can be released in three months.
Soni Sori’s father was shot in the leg by the Maoists two months ago alleging the family to be helping the police. Sori according to sources was in New Delhi to get an anticipatory bail from the Supreme Court. However, owing to Dussehra the Apex Court is in recess and Sori were left helpless.
On Monday, a Chhattisgarh police team landed in Jaipur to raid People’s Union for Civil Liberties General Secretary Kavita Srivatsava’s house with a warrant alleging that she was hiding Sori. Since Srivastava was not home, the police questioned her family and harassed her 82-year-old father a heart patient.
“We are filing a case against the Chhattisgarh police for raiding my house in an illegal manner. They have attacked my liberty and democratic rights,” said Kavita Srivastava, in a press conference in New Delhi. “The Jaipur police colluded with Chhattisgarh police and even Central agencies gave inputs. When it comes to these matters it does not matter whether BJP or Congress is in power. The police are brutal to all vulnerable sections of society. Look at the way Chhattisgarh police is subverting the law. Both Lingaram and Sori are innocent adivasis and look what the police are doing to these young Adivasis,” she said.
Soni Sori after being produced in the Saket District court has given a statement that she fears for her life from the Chhattisgarh police. “We have appealed to the court that Soni Sori must not be taken to Chhattisgarh as we fear her life is at risk,” said advocate Vrinda Grover, who got Sori’s statement recorded in the court.
Sori, who has had a permanent warrant (no: 26/11) issued against her on four cases on 9 September, has been charged under IPC section 121(waging war against the state); 120(B) (conspiracy); 124(A) (sedition); section 39(1) and 40 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act(offense related to contributing to terrorist activity and raising funds for terrorist activity). Two cases have also been filed under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act (CSPSA).
“These cases essentially make a bail plea hard to be recognised. Chhattisgarh High court has hardly ever recognised bail pleas whenever UAPA of CSPSA is involved,” said a senior lawyer commenting on the case.
The Delhi police denied any comment on the arrest but instead directed TEHELKA to get in touch with Chhattisgarh police. “We just assisted them. Please ask them the details,” said Rajan Bagat, Delhi Police PRO.
G Vishnu is a Correspondent with Tehelka.com.