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Mar 29, 2013 at 09:46am IST

Chhattisgarh tribal girls' assault: Women activists demand independent probe

New Delhi: Women activists have demanded that an independent probe should be carried out into allegations that tribal girls were being sexually abused in government-run hostels in Chhattisgarh. An IBN7 investigation exposed how young tribal girls in Chhattisgarh were being sexually assaulted and pushed into prostitution by their own teachers. Girls admitted on camera that they were raped and abused by hostel officials at various occasions.

All India Progressive Women's Association (AIPWA) Secretary Kavita Krishnan, speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, said a panel should be set up with eminent women activists, who can go and look at what has happened in these hostels.

ALSO SEE Chhattisgarh: Tribal girls reveal tales of violence, sexual abuse in government-run hostels

Following is the transcript of an excerpt from the debate:

Rajdeep Sardesai: Will activists take up the larger view of the way government-run ashram's, whether in Chhattisgarh today or in many other tribal areas of this country which do not get highlighted in the media, do they need to be looked at?

Kavita Krishnan: Absolutely. But I'd like to say it's the other way around. The activists have, and I know people who have been working in Chhattisgarh in those very same areas, in extremely dangerous conditions. The minute you raise the issue of an adivasi (tribal) girl or a adivasi woman, you're branded a Maoist in Chhattisgarh. It doesn't matter what your ideological orientation is, you know that happens.

A reporter has done the job of showing that even in an older case, no justice has been done. On the contrary the person responsible has been given an award this year, and there you have no response. You're just saying no, we did something on one case.

This is obviously a pattern, obviously only when a big exposure happens are you kind of stumbling to take some kind of action. Why can't there be an independent inquiry by an independent agency? I won't even say the CBI. Let there be a judicial inquiry? Let there be a panel set up with eminent women activists or whoever it is, who can go and look at what happened.

Rajdeep Sardesai: Is your chief minister ready for that? Shouldn't there be an independent probe into this? Not a state-government probe.

Meenakshi Lekhi: I'm sorry, judiciary in a state works under the state. There has already been an inquiry carried out by the state government. The state government has acted already, action has already been taken.

Kavita Krishnan: A state-government probe will not do. That's not independent.