‘The Government Will Kill Me’

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Soni Sori’s letter from Raipur Jail describes the inhuman treatment meted out to her and how she has been denied medical attention despite her repeated pleas

FOR THE past several months, Soni Sori has been writing letters from Raipur Jail. Soni Sori, 35, is an innocent tribal schoolteacher from Chhattisgarh, arrested on false charges of aiding the Maoists. She alleges she was sexually assaulted and administered electric shocks in police custody. A PIL filed on her behalf is yet to be heard by the Supreme Court. Below is an excerpt from her last letter dated 7 March.

“Three months have passed and I am not being given any medicines. Even after obtaining a Supreme Court order, my treatment has been left incomplete. I have problems walking. At times, my body swells up while walking and, at other times, my feet just go numb. Why this injustice? Why have I been condemned to this life of torment and punishment? I was taken to Kolkata for treatment after the Supreme Court directive to the Chhattisgarh Government. The doctor advised me to take my medicines regularly. But I am not being given these medicines and the pain is just unbearable. I have complained about this. I told the jailor madam many times. I even told the doctor madam from the jail that I need to be treated. She said, “You have come here through the administration.” She put in writing that I am a Naxalite and, thus, I was put through mental harassment. Then, I kept quiet for a few days. My pains go on increasing. One of these days, the Chhattisgarh government will surely kill me. Subjecting Adivasis to atrocities and then awarding us with death penalty is the biggest success of this government. The sonography was supposed to be done as per the doctor’s recommendations. These people did not allow it to be conducted. The government is simply waiting for me to die. I am telling you all the Chhattisgarh government will kill me. I am not safe here. In future, if something happens to me, the Chhattisgarh government will be responsible for it. Please do something. My health is not good. I don’t know if it is because of the electric shocks or something else, but my body has become weak. I want to remain alive to be able to fight this battle. I pray to all of you, please help me stay alive.”

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