The Role of State and Repression of Women by Armed Forces

The role of the state in the entire north east, in the name of suppressing the movements of the militant organizations is against human rights. Since 1990, so many incidents of women’s rights and human rights violations by army personnel have occurred in Assam that one cannot give a complete list.

Some examples—

·  28th Nov, 1990 at night Indian Army Jawans entered the village Kopohowa of Dibrugarh district and raped eight women.

·  December 4, 1990, two men of the Indian Army brutally raped 14-year old Phulmai Tapnna and Karuna in Lakhimpur district.

·     January 7, 1991 in village Adarsa in Lakhimpur districts Nayantara Hazarika, a mother of a one month old baby was raped by Army personnel.

·     Oct 6, 1991 Raju Baruah a student of Chayduar college was dragged to the back of her house of Gahpur and was raped by Army personnel and later on she was shot and was thrown into a pond.

·     Oct 16, 1991 in Nowboisa of Lakhimpur districts 14 year old girl Bhanimai Dutta was raped by three Army personnel and she died. The army men blocked the post mortem of the body three days. (‘Women Rights Violated by State in Assam’ article by MASS and BWJF’)

·     On 13th August 2003 Nuril Terangpi, 12 years, was raped in Andrew Tesanggaon, Diphu by Army men.

·     On 25thjuly 2004 Renuka Beipi 21 years was raped and shot dead. On the same day Larsika Rongpipi, 19 years, and Rukjili, 16 years, were also raped and shot dead in Dikruit Timungof village of Diphu (collected from KNCA).

Assam was declared a “disturbed area” on 27th November 1990 by the Centre under section 3 of AFSPAC. There has been increasing opposition to AFSPA by different Government-instituted committees and civil society organizations. The report of the committee headed by Justice (retd.)

B.P. Jeevan Reddy to review AFSPA in 2005 clearly mentioned that the rule of law had become a ‘symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and highhandedness’4 The impact of AFSPA can be seen on women in terms of restriction of mobility and fear psychosis. The impact of state repression, operation of army has already been discussed under the head ‘Impact on women’s lives’.

The role of the state in cases of rape victims at the hands of army personnel and in case of mothers of those killed by army personnel, the government’s role is restricted to the announcement of a nominal financial aid, in most cases it is also not seen. The state must surely take steps for their rehabilitation.

Women bear the brunt when the state fails to prevent massacres like the Nellie massacre or the numerous massacres of tea tribes in Bodoland. Most of the victims in the massacres were women and children as men mostly run away and hide in the nearby forests and the hapless women and children are left behind or they become the soft targets in general.

The violence against women has an additional dimension as sexual violence has become an inseparable part of inter-ethnic strife as well as counter-insurgency operations.

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