Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Action against police officials and survivor received compensation: A fight against impunity

Case Details of File Number: 2531/18/32/2013-WC
Diary Number 10395/JR
Name of the Victim ITISHREE PRADHAN
Date of Incident 10/27/2013
Direction issued by the Commission The Commission received an email complaint dated 31.10.2013 from Shri Manoj Jena, an office bearer of NGO 'Human Rights Front' alleging that a woman teacher, named in the complaint, was being sexually harassed by her senior in Rayagada district of Odisha but no action was taken despite several complaints to the authorities. Subsequently, she was threatened to withdraw the case against the accused official, and when she refused to do so, she was assaulted and set ablaze with kerosene. Now she was struggling for her life in a hospital. The Commission took cognizance in the matter on 06.11.2013 and issued notice to the Director General of Police, Odisha, Bhubneshwar and Secretary, Department of School Education, Government of Odisha, Bhubneshwar calling for a report in the matter. However, it has been brought to the notice of the Commission that the NGO has handed over its fact finding report dated 07.11.2013 to the Joint Registrar (Law) of the Commission during his official visit to Odisha, which states that the victim, a contractual teacher, Ms. Itishree Pradhan, 27 years, was sexually harassed by Headmaster of the School, Netrananda Dandasena, since her joining on 18.06.2011 in the School. Due to this, the victim lodged an FIR on 18.07.2013 in Tikiri Police Station on 18.07.2013 against Netrananda Dandasena. As no action was taken by the police, she approached the Director General of Police on 31.07.2013. Again on 19.09.2013 she registered an FIR against the family members of Mr. Netrananda Dandasena as they had threatened to kill her if she would not withdraw her complaint. On 05.08.2013, she approached the Superintendent of Police, Rayagada for protection and action against the accused persons. A copy of the letter was also addressed to the Chief Minister, Odisha. She further registered an FIR on 16.08.2013 against the accused persons and requested immediate action. As no action was taken, on 18.08.2013 the victim informed the media that nobody was addressing her grievances. Subsequently, she was set ablaze by the accused persons and she died on 27.10.2013. Her father and elder sister have alleged that the accused were being shielded by the local Member of Parliament. The Joint Registrar (Law) also obtained copies of order dated 05.11.2013 issued by Government of Odisha, vide which Shri Sujit Kumar Say, IIC Police Station, Tikiri and Shri Muralidhara Pradhan, ASI, Tikiri have been dismissed from their services under Article 311 (2) (b) of the Constitution of India. The Special Secretary to the Government of Odisha, Department of Home vide communication dated 26.12.2013 has intimated the Commission that the Government of Odisha have paid Rs.10.00 lakhs as relief to Shri Balabhadra Pradhan father of the deceased, Iti Shree Pradhan. The report is annexed with a proof of payment of Rs.10.00 lakhs. The Collector, Rayagada vide communication dated 08.01.2014 has intimated the Commission that Shri Netranand Dandasena, ek-SI of schools, Tikri, Shri Muralidhar Pradhan, the I.O.cum-ASI of police, Tikri P.S., SI, Sujit Sai, IIC Police Station, Tikri and Shri Dharnidhar Behera, DI of Schools, Rayagada have been dismissed from service by the State Government. The Superintendent of Police, CID, CB, Odisha, Cuttack vide communication dated 06.03.2014 has given details of investigation and has reported that as prima facie evidence u/s 120B, 302, 449, 450 IPC was collected against accused, Netrananda Dandasena. The I.O. has submitted chargesheet vide C.S. No.03 dated 22.02.2014 against him, keeping investigation open u/s 173(8) Cr.P.C. for making sincere efforts to establish the identity of the persons, who set the deceased ablaze. Let the DGP, Government of Odisha be asked to send within eight weeks the final outcome of investigation of the CID CB case No. 32 dated 01.11.2013 u/s 302 IPC in respect of accused other than Netrananda Dandasena.
Action Taken Additional Information Called for (Dated 8/26/2014 )
Status on 9/9/2014 Response from concerned authority is awaited.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: PVCHR Communication <cfr.pvchr@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2013 16:28:05 +0530
Subject: Woman teacher's death triggers protests in Odisha
To: covdnhrc <covdnhrc@nic.in>, jrlawnhrc <jrlawnhrc@hub.nic.in>
Cc: "Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi" <lenin@pvchr.asia>

The Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
New Delhi
Dear Sir,
I want to bring in your kind attention towards the news published in daily
news on 2nd November, 2013 Woman teacher's death triggers protests in
Woman teacher's death triggers protests in OdishaSaturday Nov 02, 2013
Bhubaneswar, Nov 2 — The death of a woman teacher, set afire for allegedly refusing to withdraw a sexual assault complaint, triggered protests in Odisha Saturday with people staging rallies and demonstrations.

A delegation led by state Congress president Jayadeb Jena met Governor S.C. Jamir and submitted to him a memorandum demanding a probe into the incident by the Central Bureau of Investigation, while the Bharatiya Janata Party said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should resign on moral ground for the increasing lawlessness in the state.

Hundreds of activists of Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM), holding placards and banners came in a procession here and shouted anti-government slogans.

Demanding resignation of the chief minister, they staged a demonstration in front of the office of the police deputy commissioner.

"The teacher had asked for justice many times when she was alive. She had written to all the authorities concerned, including the chief minister seeking protection but no action was taken," Sidheswari Prasad Mishra, the president of OJM's youth wing, who led the protest, said.

Hundreds of Congress workers and leaders blocked a road in Jeypore town of Rayagada district, about 521 km from here.

People took out rallies in Cuttack, Rayagada and Puri. Women also organised candle rallies in different places.

Itishree Pradhan, 28, died Friday in a private hospital in Visakhapatnam four days after she was set on fire in a residential government school at Tikiri in Rayagada district after she reportedly refused to withdraw a complaint of sexual assault she lodged in July against local school inspector Netrananda Dandsena.

She was watching a television show along with some children when the assailant entered the school room, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire. Pradhan had sustained more than 90 percent burn injuries.

Dandsena was arrested Wednesday. The government also suspended a district inspector of school, investigating police officer and in-charge of the police station concerned.

Therefore it is a kind request please take appropriate action at earliest.

Thanking You
Sincerely Yours
Lenin Raghuvanshi
Secretary General

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