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NCW wants CBI probe into assaults on Bhatta-Parsaul women

Saturday May 21, 2011 08:47:37 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: The demand for an indpendent probe into the alleged atrocities against farmers of Uttar Pradesh's Bhatta-Parsaul village intensified Saturday as the National Comission for Women (NCW) slammed the state government for molestation and rape of village women, and sought a CBI inquiry.

The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), effectively supporting the claims of Congress G]general secretary Rahul Gandhi who staged a daylong sit-in in the village, demanded a judicial probe.

Yasmeen Abrar, acting chairperson of the National Commission for Women (NCW), demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incidents after a visit by its team to the affected areas and slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for not registering any first information report (FIR) on complaints of victims and not posting women police in the area.

"We have prepared a preliminary report which states that the women in the village have been molested and sexually assaulted. There are allegations that they have been raped but it could be confirmed only after all the investigations are over," Abrar said.

The village in Greater Noida, near the Indian capital, has become the epicentre of the farmer's protest for higher compensation of takeover of their land after May 7 violence that killed four people, including two policemen.

An NCW team which visited the village May 12 noticed ransacked homes, horrified women, hungry and helpless children and bones of human beings lying in the ashes on the ground.

"There are bones of human beings lying with the ashes of burnt bodies. The family members of the villagers have been burnt alive. The burnt houses bear the marks of flames on the walls. Villagers, especially women, are not just broken, but terrified," said Abrar.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the original problem of the farmers was being overlooked in the controversy created by Gandhi's allegations about rape of women and discovery of bones in ashes, which have been denied by the Mayawati government.

"The irony is the original problem is getting lost in the whole controversy, that is the inadequate compensation to the farmers," Sitharaman told IANS.

Sitharaman said that only an independent inquiry can ascertain the truth of what happened in the village.

"The NCW is a statutory body, they have found some facts and given a report, but what we are asking is for an independent inquiry. We are demanding a judicial inquiry in the action done by the state government," she said.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi also favoured a judicial probe. "A judicial inquiry will find precisely that (facts)," Singhvi said answering queries.

He wondered why the Mayawati government in the state was not agreeing to a judicial probe when statutory panels like the NCW had come out with their reports.

The NCW team visited Bhatta-Parsaul after a delegation of villagers met its officials and alleged rape, molestation and sexual assault of women by policemen. The report will be given to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Supporting Gandhi's claim that women were molested in the village, the report said the women alleged that a group of about 10-12 policemen tore their clothes, paraded them naked and teased them.

Abrar said she did not believe in the forensic report of the state government which denied the presence of any human bones in the heaps of ashes in the village. "We have got certain proofs and pictures, which we cannot disclose now, to prove it."

She expressed surprise at Chief Minister Mayawati not visiting the affected village though her native village of Badalpur is "only 15 km away".

"Being a woman, she should have been more senistive to atrocities against women," Abrar said.

Gandhi surprised the Mayawati government by his visit to Bhatta-Parsaul village after the May 7 violence. He was arrested and later released.

Gandhi also met the prime minister with a delegation of farmers from Bhatta-Parsaul and handed over pictures of ashes with bones, injured people and ransacked houses.

He quoted villagers speaking of "mass murders, repression and rapes" by police in the village.

An 11-member team comprising retired judges, lawyers, social activists, civil society members and some NCW members would be visiting the village in a couple of days to work on the second report.




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