• Rape and murder of Champa Chhetri: A detailed story

    From Kashmir to Kanyakumari and from Kutch to Kumki, India has literally transcended from being known as a golden bird to becoming a patriarchal phenomena. One that the whole world is talking of. The 2012 Nirbhaya case wasn’t enough to raise our collective altruistic consciousness, at least that’s what it looks like. After the ‘Jisha’ rape incident in Kerala that took place last week, another incident that took place in the rhino-poachers’ haven, Assam, will rip hair off the flesh of your skin.

    Champa Chhetri, a 20 year old girl who lived in a small town called Margherita in the Tinsukia district of Assam went missing on April 28 and her charred body was recovered from the Dihing river. From what the body looked like, it is being speculated that the girl was raped. Ironically, her body was found afloat a tributary of the only male river in India.

    SheThePeople.TV got in touch with a few people connected to the issue, who, on the condition of anonymity, have shared the timeline of the series of events.

    Champa was a Gorkha Hindu girl who had just completed her higher secondary education and was undergoing training for a beautician in the town of Margherita. She had told her parents about a friend’s birthday party that she was going to attend after work the day she disappeared;

    The accused, Biswajit Chettri and Moinul Ali of Ledo along with the girlfriend of one of them are being interrogated in police custody.

    Champa was to attend the girl’s birthday party. However, the police has failed to produce the post-mortem report until now.

    The administration is trying to build a case of suicide

    At least that’s what senior officials are claiming. It is impossible to fathom a suicide involving a girl setting herself ablaze and then jumping in the river after 6 days of truancy.

    Not the first time

    This is not the first time this is happening. In August 2015 Tuhin Tikha was raped and killed brutally by 5 men. Neither have the accused men being convicted, nor has the family received any compensation as per the new rules.

    Another minor girl was raped at Naogaon in 2012, for which no action was undertaken. 2 days after Champa’s body was discovered, another case of gang rape also surfaced in the area. From what it seems, indigenous girls are prime targets, as there is hardly any redressal mechanism.

    Police attitudes

    When Champa’s family went to report their daughter missing, the police at Lido police station refused to file an FIR saying that the girl must have ‘gone astray’ and that the family must wait for her to return. Rights activist from Assam, Rakesh Furba Sherpa Lamba said:

    Police is not taking any interest in the case, there is no cooperation from them. The case happened on the 28th, the girl’s family, accompanied by a few boys from the union, went to the Ledo police station in order to file a missing report. To this the response of the police was “the girl must have gone somewhere, she will come back”. There is never prompt action in such cases.

    When students of the AAGSU (All India Gorkha students Union) observed a silent protest in order to bring some public attention to the issue, black commandos were called in to break it down. Every student was beaten mercilessly and kept in police custody for 10 hours (it’s still a fundamental right to observe silent protests, can you believe?). Girls were treated with added inhumanity, with their breasts being punched, stomachs kicked and and lathis charged on their stomachs and backs while they lay on the ground, helpless and immobile. mind you, these girls were students who were concerned about the recurrence of this issue.

    Rakesh tells ShethePeople.TV:

    If people had a good mentality towards women, neither these rapes would have happened, nor the police wouldn’t have treated the women with such brutality

    Why does the media ignore this brutality

    Rakesh Furba Sherpa Lamba looks at it as alienation. He tells SheThePeople.TV:

    When I went to Mumbai in 2007, or during my recent visit to Delhi, I observed that people in the northeast are seen as Chinese and not Indians, which alienates us. Probably the same attitudes persist with politicians as well, who don’t see us as a part of this country. Most local news channels refuse to cover such incidents. As a representative of the Gorkha community I would like to take this opportunity to say that we are being ignored as a community. We don’t want smart cities, We have no use of them, we are farmers who just want safety for our women

    Sherpa has also written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to draw his attention to this particular case which he shared with SheThePeople.TV

    Champa case open letter

    The open letter written by Sherpa to the PM regarding the case

    Let’s hope the letter actions some response from the Prime Minister’s Office.

    Feature Image Credit: abplive