India: Soni Sori’s husband, Anil Futane, passes away

By the time he was acquitted, Anil Futane was beaten so severely in jail he became paralyzed. With his death on 2 August, serious questions are being raised about the working of the police force in Chhattisgarh
In custody: The next SC hearing in the Soni Sori case will be held on 23 January

is led by the police outside the district court complex in New Delhi
Photo: Shailendra Pandey

’s husband, Anil Futane, died on 2 August at his native place in Geedum tehsil in Dantewada district of . Like Soni, he had been arrested and jailed as a . On 1 May 2013 he was acquitted by the court after spending nearly three years in jail. While in jail he was beaten so severely he became paralyzed. Soni, Anil’s wife, is still lodged in Jagdalpur central jail and his last rites were performed in her absence.

Soni and her husband were residents of Sameli village in . While Soni was a teacher in a government primary school, her husband, Anil ferried local passengers in a Bolero jeep. In July 2010 a case was filed against , Anil and Lingaram Kodopi for carrying out a naxal attack on the house of Avdhesh Gautam, a Congress leader from Nakulnar in the Dantewada district of . Although Anil was acquitted in all the cases, his health has severely deteriorated in the three years he spent in jail.

NRK Pillai, a CPI leader and a senior journalist from Dantewada, says that the police left Anil at his house in the Geedum tehsil of Dantewada. Although he had been acquitted in all the cases, no one came forward for his treatment. Pillai says he had gone to Anil’s house to meet him and saw that he was in serious need of medical attention. He talked to his associates in Delhi regarding Anil’s health and was advised to send him to Delhi for proper treatment. According to Pillai no one came forward to take Anil to Delhi because of police fear.

A prisoner, who was lodged in Jagdalpur jail along with Anil, told TEHELKA on condition of anonymity, “Police torture had taken a heavy toll on Anil’s health and he started staying ill in  jail. By the time he was released he was already paralyzed. His wife was in jail and there was no one to look after him.”

TEHELKA has been consistently following the case, one of the biggest symbols of police atrocity and torture in this country. A teacher in a government primary school in Jabeli village, Dantewada, Sori fled the state fearing for her life and reached New Delhi seeking legal assistance but was arrested in Delhi by the police in October 2011 for being a “ on the run”. She was charged by the police, along with her nephew, for acting as a conduit of Maoists to collect protection money from an Essar contractor. Charges of conspiracy, sedition, waging war against the state and those related to contributing to terrorist activity and raising funds for terrorist activity have been slapped against her in seven cases she is fighting in Dantewada.

Sori had earlier complained about inhuman treatment being meted out to her in Raipur jail and had accused a senior police officer Ankit Garg of sexual torture in police custody. In a medical examination conducted on her by the orders of Supreme Court, several stones were recovered from her private parts.

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