Another day in Odisha: Caste rapes and murders shames India


Fact Finding Report

Title:  Sargipali  Rape and Murder Incident.

Date of occurrence: 22.05.2015 at about 7.00 AM

Place of occurrence:   Harisankar Nala about  400 meters from  village Sargipalli,  PS- Khaprakhole, Patanagarh, Bolangir dist, Odisha

Date of FIR:23.05.2015 at Khaprakhole Police station, Dist- Bolangir, Odisha,  Case No-34(15) U/s 364 & 302 IPC

Fact-finding under taken:   29.05.2015

Fact-finding team members:  Mohan Jena, Former M.P. Jajpur

Kshirod Rout, Advocate, Odisha High court

Sangram Mallick, President, ALVM

Abhiram Mallick, Mulnivasi Samata Parishad

Jugal Kishore Ranjit, DAS& NDMJ

Mandate of the Fact-finding:    To collect fact & document the case to undertake advocacy measures to render justice to the victim.

Details about the Victims:      Deceased Snehalata Chhatria, Age -15 years, Passed 10th standard in 2015

Father- Arta Chhatria, 45 years

Mother- Dalimba Chhatria, 40 years

A Brother- 9 years,  belong to  Scheduled Caste ( sub Caste- Gonda)  and landless daily labourer & BPL holder  family.

Details about the accused person:    Unknown

Socio-economic background of the village:  Sargipalli village is inhabitated by  25 Scheduled caste ( Ganda) families, 25 Gauda families, 30 tribal ( binjal) families  and 50 Mallik families. Majority of the SCs are landless and belong to BPL category. The education level is not up to the mark as none among scheduled caste communities have completed graduation and similarly none among OBC communities completed post graduation.

Brief history of the case:   Snehalata Chhatria, a lone daughter of Arta Chhatria and Dalimba Chhatria of Sargipali village  was missing since she went to Harisankar Nala for bathing at about 7.30 am on 22.05.2015. As her return to home was delayed, her parents and relatives were worried and  searched her all around the nala and nearby forest and bus stops/stand. But nowhere had they found her.  On 23.05.2015 at about 9.00 am the parents reported at the police station and police asked them to search again. At about 4.00 PM on 23.05.2015, they found Snehalata’s dead body at same bathing ghat where they had been searching many times on the day of incident and also on following day. The dead body was found completely naked, the body was 4-6 sign of knife stabbed and her breasts and vigina were cut. There was also acid attack to deface her to create confusion for investigation.

Statements of Victim (s):

Arta Chhatria- Father of deceased: I am Atra Chhatria father of deceased,  I was not in the house when incident took place as I was away for work since morning. At about 9.00 am I received a phone call from my wife that Snehalata was missing since she went to Nala for bathing. I rushed to home and reached there at about 11.00 am and joined for searching my daughter. My daughter was very innocent and she had no enmity with anyone. She has just passed 10th standard this year( 2015) from Maharapali High School.  We searched her every bus stops and Bus stands doubting that she might have been eloped by someone.  We could not report to police on the day of incident because we were all engaged in searching. All my relatives from different villages reached and helped us in searching. One of my brothers in laws first saw the dead body and we all went to see the body, which was laying naked on the bank of same nala where my daughter was taking bath. She was stabbed 5-6 times by knife, her breasts and vagina were cut and her face and body was acid attacked. We could not find her clothes anywhere even we searched dip into the nala. On information given to police about finding of dead body, the police came to the spot with scientific team but the scientific team did not investigate properly. The post mortem is also not done properly because her head and body are not dissected. Revealing the caste tension in the village, Arta said that the tension was begun with caste Hindus and adivasis communities in 2012 during Asta Prahari on a hot argument over not lifting the leaf plates in a feast. Since then, we were excommunicated from participating in every social function.

Bhanumati Chhatria, Secretary of  Maa Bhairabi Self Help Group: I am  the secretary of Maa Bhairabi Self Help group. Dalimba Chhatria, the mother of deceased is the president of SHG. As a self help group, we have been undertaking many actions against social issues. In 2012, An Asta Prahari- a religious function was organized with the involvement of whole communities of the village, we were also part of it. We contributed Rs.100 from every scheduled caste family towards the arrangement; besides this our BPL cards were forcefully taken to purchase rice for Asta Prahari.  At the end of function, we had a village feast  and we partook in the  feast. The caste Hindus alleged that we did not lift the leaf plates after having food and there was a hot argument between SC communities and Caste Hindus over it . As a caste practice, SC communities have to lift used leaf plates after having food but for caste Hindus, it is done by Nariha. In fact all SC members lifted the plates and there might be some children who forgot to lift plates. So one of the youth members lifted the left away plates. Since them the Caste Hindus including tribal communities excommunicated us for all social functions. We demanded to convene a village meeting to sort out issues but it went in vain. Hence, we file a complaint against excommunication at police station on 27.05.2013 , but police did not register the case. However, police opted for an agreement between two communities which was signed on 9.12.2013.

The self help group members headed by Dalimba Chhatria, president of SHG and the mother of deceased took action against illegal liquor trading which was mostly done by tribal communities. As most of the community tension were aggravated by drinking, we took strong steps against it. We filed a complaint against illegal liquor trading in October 2014 and met Superintendent of Police in November 2014. Police took strong action against it and since then liquor trading was completely stopped in the village.

In 2013, Kichak Bariha was attempted to muder by Rameswar Bariha in connection with liquor trading

On 30.07.2014, Laxmi Chhatria and Bhanumati Chhatria were threatened to be killed by Padmalochan Bariha in connection with action taken by police on  liquor trading. However, a counter FIR was filed against Laxmi and Bhanumati on 1.08.2014.

There was another complaint filed by Arta Chhatria, father of the deceased against caste discrimination against SC children in the schools and Anganwadi center on 21.06.2013. Police did not register the case and retuned the complaint.

Statement of Laxmi Chhatria, treasurer of SHG and relative of the deceased:  on 22nd May 2015, at 7.O’ clock mrning, I also went to bathing ghat for washing. I saw Snehalata was washing her hand and about start her bath. I came back home completing my washing.  On the previous day on 21.05.2015, me another lady having our second nature on the bank of nala, a boy about at his 25 was peeping at us, while I was approaching at him, he run away from the place.

Statement of Person who took the body for Post Mortem:  My name is…………………..I took the body to Khaprakhole medical for post mortem at about 9.00 pm. We kept the body whole night with us. In the morning, doctor came and saw the body and said that I understood everything. He did not dissect the body. Police did not help us to carry back the body to village. We carried it in a motor bike.

Statement of Officials:

Pradeep Kumar Pradhan, SDPO, Patnagarh: It is a well planned murder.  We have taken the issue seriously, we have detained some of the suspects. A sketch of accused has been prepared for circulation for identifying accused. The incident proves that the accused has strong enmity against deceased and her family.  Section 376 of IPC would be invoked once  we receive the post mortem report. Vedeography of post mortem is not done.

Statement of District CollectorNone

Photos of dead boyand Victim :

Pic 01:The boy was brutally murdered in day light ..Gruesome..

Pic 01:The boy was brutally murdered in day light ..Gruesome..

Pic 02: Victim of Odisha caste atrocity
Pic 02: Victim of Odisha caste atrocity

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