Vachathi Judgment: Lie most foul. ‘Rape’ as NGO instrument of vilification
by Radha Rajan on 12 Oct 2011 13 Comments

The Dharmapuri District and Sessions Court on 29 Sept. 2011 found 269 state government officials from the departments of police, forest, and revenue, guilty of rape and assault against tribal women of Vachathi village in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu.


Those were the days of Sandalwood pirate Veerappan (subsequently hunted down and shot dead by the Special Task Force constituted by Jayalalithaa) who had made the Satyamangalam forests his hunting ground.


Co-habiting with Veerappan were a much weakened group of Naxals and some ascendant Tamil extremist / terrorist groups. Compound this with the fact that Tamil extremism, Maoism / Naxalism and tribal villages are also the natural breeding ground for vermin called missionaries, profiteering-from-human-misery Christian NGOs, and foreign funded human rights industry, and we have a lethal Molotov cocktail with the potential to explode at the touch of a match-stick.


The tribal village of Vachathi was raided by forest, revenue and police officials in June 1992 as part of their routine raids in the area, looking for illegally cut sandalwood, ready to be transported to subaltern markets.


Veerappan and his Naxal friends had befriended tribal villages nearby and used the tribal people for logistics support in the decades’ long career in pirating sandalwood. The pecuniary and political benefits accruing from sandalwood piracy, with Tamil extremism lending Veerappan a helping hand, were huge, and it is not surprising therefore that there was no political will to bring Veerappan’s profitable career to an end and disperse the lethal mob in the forests of Satyamangalam.


There was no political will, at least not until Tamil extremist ideology cast a shadow on Veerappan’s secular piracy and he committed the worst mistake of his life when he kidnapped Kannada thespian Rajkumar and held the ailing actor captive in the forests for close to a year, allegedly for ransom.


The Tamil-Kannada civil war over Cauvery waters is well-known, and when Tamil extremists prevailed upon Veerappan to kidnap Rajkumar, it was the beginning of the end of his until-then invincible life. Rajkumar’s kidnapping caused national outrage and Jayalalithaa, herself an actor and staunchly opposed to Tamil extremism in those years, used national outrage to hunt and kill Veerappan.


But until Veerappan ventured into dangerous waters, the only thing hapless government officials could do was to conduct periodic raids in adjoining villages, including the tribal village of Vachathi, for pirated sandalwood. It was during one such raid that officials from the police, revenue and forest departments raided the tribal village of Vachathi, allegedly after severe provocation from the men in the village.


The NGO industry, driven in the main by Christian and Marxist NGOs, rests on the core premise that Abrahamic minorities, tribal people, dalits (scheduled castes) and women are always innocent and are always the victims. Truth on the ground is otherwise.


When NGOs and human rights activists open shop in tribal villages, dalit colonies, and Abrahamic localities, one of the earliest manifestations of the disease is when sections of the community pick up arms against our men in uniform and provoke confrontation with the state. In such incidents, the role of NGOs and individual human rights activists in goading the people to confront state authority is always invisible and never known.


When the police or the army respond with equal force, the entire NGO and human rights industry, with full support of the media, turn against our men in uniform and unleash a media campaign against governments, police, army and Hindus. The media, as long as they are fed with grist for their 24 hour mill, has always fuelled anti-police and anti-army protests with hysterical commentary on “excessive force and human rights violations”.


Just how partisan has been the role of the media can be gauged from the fact that there has been no critical analysis of the judgment and no effort to trace the events back to 1992.


The case against government officials dragged for 19 long years, and during its amoral and downright criminal pendency in the district and sessions court, 54 persons of the 269 now found guilty by the judge had already died. Dharmapuri Principal District Judge R. Kumaraguru meted out sentences of imprisonment for the remaining 215, ranging from 10 months in prison to one year, 10 years, and even a second term of additional ten years in prison to run concurrently with the first.


The judgment is being hailed as unprecedented in court history for the only reason that the judge found 269 persons guilty in the case which was handed over to the CBI in 1995. Those convicted included 84 state police officials, five revenue officials and 125 forest department officials, including four officials from the Indian Forest Service. Seventeen persons in all were convicted for rape of 18 women.


G.R. Swaminathan, practising lawyer in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, and arguably one of the best, has called the judgment “a gross miscarriage of justice”. G.R. Swaminathan was one of the five-member fact-finding team sent by the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) within days of the raid on the tribal village on June 20, 1992. The team comprising Anuradha, Sridhar, Kalavathy, Swaminathan and another person whose name Swaminathan cannot recall, held extensive discussions not only with people from the village, but also met with and spoke to police, revenue and forest officials. The PUCL team also held discussions with the Tahsildar.


Swaminathan contends that the judgment of the District and Sessions Court on 29th September is a miscarriage of justice on two grounds –


-        From his recollections of detailed discussions with the people of Vachathi village within days of the raid, Swaminathan asserts that the villagers estimated the raiding party to consist of around 50 officials; therefore to find 269 people guilty for crimes committed by around 50 persons constitutes miscarriage of justice


-        Swaminathan contends that to the best of his memory there was no mention of rape by any of the women with whom he held talks and from whom the PUCL fact-finding team collected affidavits, on the basis of which PUCL produced their report on the Vachathi raid; yet now 17 of the 269 accused have been found guilty of raping 18 women.



The writer has absolute faith in Swaminathan’s integrity, and allowing for a minute margin in the accuracy of his recollections of the event, the Madras High court must direct PUCL to produce and make public all affidavits gathered from the villagers of Vachathi and all records maintained by PUCL of their discussions with government officials in June 1992.


The Madras High Court must also direct PUCL to make public the report which was released to the media within 10 days of the incident amid much fanfare by V. Suresh, who was not only a member of PUCL, but also a correspondent with The Hindu at that time. This is the only way to ascertain whether the PUCL report flowed logically from the affidavits and from the notes of discussions with government officials.


The Madras High Court must summon the records of PUCL affidavits and the final report because, reacting to the verdict of the District and Sessions Court, PUCL State Secretary S.  Balamurugan remarked, “The victims were tired, yet would not give up the fight against injustice. These tribal women put up such a brave fight using democratic tools”.


Going by Swaminathan’s account, the case was not supposed to be about women, but about use of disproportionate force by government officials against the people of Vachathi village.


The writer visited the website of the PUCL but saw no mention of their visit to Vachathi in June 1992; no reference to the affidavits collected from the people in the village; and the PUCL Vachathi Report itself is not to be found, although the website carries two PUCL reports prior to 1992 – report on Communal riots in Aligarh, January 1991 and Black Laws in India, June 1985 and several reports subsequent to 1992.


Swaminathan attests to the fact that police and government officials had indeed gone on the rampage in Vachathi; that there was total destruction of property; and that the men had fled the village for fear of reprisal and harassment from the officials. While attesting to large scale destruction of property in the village by the raiding party of government officials, and not commenting on the trial itself, Swaminathan confesses feeling a deep sense of misgiving because he does not remember any villager testifying to rape of even one woman, let alone eighteen.


Swaminathan contends that Vachathi is not an obscure village in the middle of nowhere, cut off from state apparatus; it has good motorable roads from Dharmapuri and Harur where the PUCL fact-finding team stayed and from where they drove down to Vachathi on all three days.


It would be impossible to perpetrate rape on 18 women from a single locality on a single day even in a sprawling metropolis like Chennai without immediate and forceful reaction from the people and the state; to claim that 18 women were raped by 17 men on June 20, 1992, but that the horror and magnitude of this heinous crime is not mentioned in passing even to the genetically anti-establishment PUCL or to any other body thereafter, is not simply strange, but sinister in implication. The writer thinks there is something not quite in order here.


To begin with, there is an urgent need to find out and make public when exactly in these 19 years the talk of rape and sexual assault against the women of the village was first heard, and if these accusations surfaced after NGOs and human rights activists descended on Vachathi and became involved in the case. Rape can be conclusively established and the truth is maintainable in law only by medical examination, and only if the victim is treated by the doctor when the injuries are fresh and have not healed over time, and only if incriminating body fluids from the perpetrator and the victim have not been washed away or otherwise destroyed.


Unless the courts demand medical proof of rape to be established by one government doctor and one independent private doctor, all complaints of rape, especially those with political objectives, if they are brought to court without attestation by competent medical authorities, must be deemed by the courts to be questionable in intent and untenable in law.


The imported and fashionable concept of human rights, supported and funded by western Government and non-Government funders and donors including Churches, has spawned a veritable industry in NGOs doing human rights as profitable business. The human rights industry is by definition anti-nation, anti-police, anti-armed forces, and anti-Hindu in orientation, and the most-used weapon against their targets – governments, the police, the armed forces, and against Hindus is ‘mass graves’ and ‘rape’.


What should be cause for grave concern is that in every case which received uncritical media attention - Vachathi, Orissa nun rape, J&K, or Gujarat (Teesta Setalvad), rape was never established by medical examination. The word of human rights activists, NGOs and victims belonging to the Abrahamic religions was taken to be the Gospel and Quranic truth.


PIPFPD cries mass rape – Target? Indian government and Indian security forces


The late Nirmala Deshpande and Admiral Ramdas were pioneers in the use of ‘cry rape’ as a weapon of intimidation and vilification; their target was the Indian army. Their NGO Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) was a travelling circus which toured important cities in Pakistan and India, peddling lies and unrealistic solutions for peace between India and Pakistan, including anti-India prescriptive resolutions on J&K.


The fourth convention of Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy was held in Peshawar, Pakistan, on 21-22 November 1998. Over 300 Pakistanis and Indians participated in this convention. The delegates noted that a significant change had taken place between the third and fourth conventions – the worsening of peace prospects in the region as a result of the nuclear tests conducted by both India and Pakistan.


.......Ultimately peace and democracy in Pakistan and India, and in the sub-continent, cannot become a reality unless the Kashmir question and other issues are resolved to the satisfaction of all the parties involved and the people affected by them.


Resolution on Kashmir


We the members of PIPFPD are deeply concerned at and condemn the atrocities committed in Kashmir by the Indian security forces against women, including rape and molestation in a systematic way, and on un-armed civilians through the use of arrest, detention, and torture. We similarly condemn violations by sections of the militants. (NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds: Anti-Nation Industry, 2nd edn., Appendix 6, pp 356-57)


The obnoxious PIPFPD condemned (with not a shred of evidence or proof) the entire Indian armed force for rape in Kashmir, while only sections of militants came in for criticism as though militancy/terrorism in itself was a good and harmless thing. The Supreme Court, which usually takes suo motu notice of issues with marked anti-Hindu characteristics, did not take notice of PIPFPD’s outrageous and slanderous resolution in Peshawar and did not demand of the duo that they prove their allegations against the Indian Army with incontrovertible proof or else face charges of sedition.


Orissa nun cries gang rape – Target? Hindus


In the immediate aftermath of the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati in Kandhamal by Christian tribal people and Christian Maoists (a new hybrid in demographics), there was wide-spread retaliation by tribal people who remained within their faith, against churches which were running amok with foreign money driven religious conversion in the tribal villages of Orissa. The attack against churches and destruction of church property was manna from Christian heaven and grist for the church-driven NGO mill.


In the media-orchestrated frenzy of sustained disinformation which followed the communal riots in Kandhamal, a nun cried rape; in fact, she cried gang-rape. For fear of being subjected to the kind of vilification campaign that the international community, with the US State Department leading the pack, had mounted on Narendra Modi with Teesta Setalvad, Kamal Mitra Chenoy and other squealers doubling as human rights activists serving the American agenda in this country, the Chief Minister of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik accepted the word of the nun to be biblical truth, and chose to err on the side of vilifying Hindus, instead of getting to the bottom of the alleged rape.


The Supreme Court too did not cover itself in glory. Justice Markandey Katju and the then CJI, K.G. Balakrishnan muddied the waters further; displaying scant respect for an even-handed approach to the issue and with little interest in establishing the truth beginning with the rampant religious conversion activities of the Catholic Church in Orissa, moving on to the foul murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati by Christian Maoists, and then to the enraged retaliation against churches and Christian missionaries, the Supreme Court remained fixated on the idea of Christians as victims of Hindu rage.


In typical judicial proclivity for a selective sense of victimhood, the Supreme Court refused to see Hindus and tribal peoples as victims of foreign-money driven religious conversion, and the fissures caused by such religious conversion to the essential harmony and cohesion in urban localities, in villages and tribal communities. Justice Markandey Katju, afflicted by a congenital penchant to ad-lib in court, hectoring his hapless audience, rattled his sabre and bellowed at Counsel for the Orissa government, “If your government is unable to protect minorities, then you quit office. We can’t tolerate persecution of minorities. If your government cannot control such incidents, then quit office”.


Not to be outdone in grandstanding to the international gallery, “The CJI asked Cheenath’s (Archbishop of Orissa Raphael Cheenath) counsel about the infamous gang-rape case pertaining to the nun and said he had been flooded with queries from different countries about it”.


The CJI was less worried about the truth of the matter, and more concerned about the international Christian interest in the case. Totally oblivious to the fact that queries to a sitting judge about any pending case amounted to gross impropriety, the CJI made this observation in open court with no challenge or protest against this judicial impropriety from jurists, senior advocates and other judges.


Such is the effect of ‘cry rape’ – it can silence common sense, force judges to judicial impropriety, and eventually perpetrate miscarriage of justice.


Facts about the nun gang-rape case


-        The nun and a priest allegedly took refuge in a house in Nuagaon village on 24 Aug., 2008, at the height of communal riots in Kandhamal


-        According to the complaint filed by the nun in a local police station two days later on 26 Aug., a mob of 40-50 armed men entered the house on the 24th, dragged them both to a building belonging to an NGO, and there they gang-raped her


-        The nun in her complaint also alleged that she was then paraded naked on the streets


-        The police register her complaint, but do not ask the lady to subject herself to medical examination to establish proof of rape


-        Because the nun did not submit to medical examination, samples of body fluids could not be collected to match the DNA of suspects eventually arrested, to establish conclusive guilt


-        For four entire months, the nun fails to appear before the police to identify the culprits


-        The police meanwhile had arrested five persons for the crime; on what basis it is not clear, as the nun had not submitted to medical examination and had not identified the people alleged to have gang-raped her


-        Meanwhile, the nun (with face covered) issued a statement to the media in Delhi in an open press meet in October that she could identify the men who raped her; she then disappeared again


-        The Orissa police sent a team to trace the nun but failed to trace her and returned to the state empty-handed


-        Finally on 3 Nov. 2008, the nun in response to a judicial order demanding that she appear before the court and make a statement, came and identified five out of nine persons as her rapists


Five men arrested for rape have been held guilty of rape without a shred of evidence to prove that the nun was raped; indeed, gang-raped. Our courts are beginning to look increasingly like the kangaroo courts of the Wild Wild West, where peddlers of human rights or the Abrahamic faiths have to cry rape and no further proof or evidence is demanded of those levelling the accusations.


The only thing missing is stringing up our police, our army and Hindu men from the nearest lamp-post on a Sunday morning as public entertainment.


Teesta Setalvad cries rape – Target? Hindus


The Supreme Court shamed itself and insulted the Gujarat judiciary when it bought Setalvad’s lemon that she and the victims of the Gujarat riots had no faith in the judges of the Gujarat High Court and wanted the cases to be transferred outside the state. The Supreme Court transferred the cases to the Bombay High Court, and not to be outdone in grandstanding to the international gallery about judicial independence, fair-play and secularism, the Bombay High Court warmly welcomed Teesta Setalvad to Mumbai. As a gesture of the spirit of Mumbai and traditional Mumbaikar hospitality, the Bombay High Court told Teesta she could choose the public prosecutor who would prosecute those whom Teesta held guilty of crimes against Muslims.


Teesta Setalvad had lined up several eye-witnesses to several crimes and had filed several affidavits in several courts. Then, one fine day, when her colleague and trusted lieutenant Rais Khan turned against her and accused Teesta Setalvad of coaching the witnesses and filing false affidavits, Teesta’s sand castle resting on allegations of rape, came crashing down. Teesta Setalvad is now facing charges of perjury in the Gujarat High Court.


The very same Supreme Court which had no qualms about declaring in open court about how it was receiving queries from foreign countries on the Orissa nun rape case, now pounced upon Teesta Setalvad for writing to the United Nations Human Rights Commission seeking justice for the Muslims of Gujarat. It was borne upon Teesta Setalvad that it never rains, but pours.


Facts about Teesta Setalvad and her false affidavits on rape


1. Yasmeen Banu Sheikh: A prime prosecution witness in Best Bakery Case, in her affidavit dt 17/06/2010 to the Chief Justice Mumbai H.C., accused Teesta of forcing her to lie in the Trial court at Mumbai & stated “Teesta Setalvad made me to give false testimony in the Best Bakery case by luring & misguiding me”. She narrated how after her deposition she was thrown out from the house where she was kept for 11 months. When Mumbai H.C. took no cognizance of her affidavit, she filed a writ petition in the Mumbai H.C. to re-examine her in the interest of justice.


2. Madina Banu: A witness of Naroda Gam case, during her deposition in August 2010 before the SIT as well as in the court of Additional Sessions Judge, disowned parts of her affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court, saying she was not raped though she spoke of being raped by the mob in her affidavit to the S.C. on the prodding of Teesta.


3. Zahira Habibulah Sheikh: A star witness of Best Bakery case, filed a criminal complaint against Teesta Setalvad, saying she was forced by Teesta to give false deposition. She was kept confined illegally in 2003; Zahira accused Teesta and also her other associates in Baroda.


4. Nanumiya Rasulmiya Malik: A witness of Naroda gam case no. 203/2009, during deposition in August 2010 before SIT as well as before Additional Sessions Judge, disowned certain parts of his affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court through the CJP of Setalvad. Nanumiya denied seeing any rape or murder on 28 Feb. 2002, which was mentioned in his affidavit in S.C.


5. Imran Pathan: A witness of Naroda Gam case, too disowned certain parts of his affidavit and denied seeing any rape or murder, though in his affidavit to the SC had vouched for mass murder & rape in Naroda Gam area.


6. Rafiq Malik: A witness of Naroda Gam case, during his deposition in September 2010, retracted like above mentioned witnesses and said he did not see any rape or murder on 28 Feb. 2002, though his affidavit said differently (Excerpts from Rais Khan’s Open Letter to Justice P.B. Sawant)


The fatal weakness of Hindu organizations is that they fail to provide legal help to Hindus who are made victims of politically motivated vilification campaigns. The Kerala nun and the Catholic Church, including the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar must be held accountable for crying rape without the accompanying responsibility of bringing the perpetrators of the crime (if there was indeed any crime) to justice with incontrovertible medical proof of rape.


‘Cry rape’ is now the preferred modus operandi of the Abrahamic minorities and their handlers in the human rights and NGO industry, when they seek to sweep their original and first sin away from judicial scrutiny. Thus Teesta Setalvad and the Sunni Muslims of Gujarat cried rape to bury their jihad against Hindu pilgrims in Godhra miles deep under the soil. The nun and other padris cried rape in Orissa to bury the truth of their missionary activities and the pre-meditated murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati. This was too close in time to the enraged revenge against the Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines for his religious conversion activities in Orissa.


The deafening sound of ‘cry rape’ was the only way to silence the growing voices of anger against the church for its relentless efforts to alter the religious demography of Hindu India.


The Indian armed forces, our police and the Hindu community cannot be made collateral damage in the government’s or judiciary’s exercise to prove their secular credentials to the US State Department and to the EU Parliament.


Vilifying Hindus, our police and the army can become dangerously counter-productive. There are ominous portents that the foundations of our democracy are beginning to shake because our men in uniform and the majority populace are being pushed to the brink. Soon, they will begin to lose faith in the nation’s polity and the judiciary’s commitment to protect the nation from predatory ideologies and religions, and will to defend those who protect it.


The Vachathi judgment which pronounced verdict on rape without establishing rape, is a sad reflection of the state of affairs in our courts and a sad commentary on the idiom of our public discourse on issues of national interest.


The author is Editor,

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