Dantewada Chhatisgarh (January 31, 2012) - Dantewada SP, Ankit Garg, has recently been awarded the Presiden'ts Police Medal for Gallantry despite allegation of sexual torture against him.
Praised by the state for ‘gallantry’ shown during a 2010 police operation in the epicenter of the ongoing Maoist ‘People’s War,’ Ankit Garg has been accused by a tribal teacher of giving orders to sexually torture her in custody.
Soni Suri, the tribal teacher accused of being a Maoist courier, claimed that Ankit Garg had given the orders to torture her when she refused to sign a pre-written statement implicating several human rights activists as Maoists.
According to Suri’s petition, registered with the Supreme Court, upon refusing to implicate innocent activists as Maoists, she was stripped naked, given electric shocks and molested. Her allegations were corroborated by the findings of an independent medical examination which found stones embedded in her sexual organs.
Commenting on the incident, Canadian Sikh Coalition spokesperson, Moninder S. Bual, said that awarding a gallantry medal to such an individual is deplorable but unfortunately common place in India.
“The act of awarding a police officer accused of seriously torturing a prisoner in an attempt to coerce signatures on pre-written statements is a clear illustration of the corruption in India’s judicial system and so-called democracy.” He went on to say, “the treatment of Soni Suri is not isolated - this is the common modus operandi of police when dealing with tribal people as well as other minorities in Indian prisons.”
This sad state of affairs demands the question, what recourse do tribal people and other minorities have within the Indian state when the government awards the very police officers responsible for terrorizing them?