This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Simran Keshwani. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

CRPF Men Allegedly Sexually Harass School Girls Who Were Forced To Tie Rakhi On Them

More from Simran Keshwani

There have been massive debates about how a festival that compels a 5-year-old boy to ‘save’ a fully-grown woman is really furthering the inane logic behind patriarchy. And women do its dirty work (with damning logic like it can kill a brother if we don’t tie threads on them) – for what? Gifts? A packet of ₹2100?

As we debate patriarchy, capitalism catches up with commodity fetishism. Here’s one such message out of a plethora of others that reached me on Raksha Bandhan: “Celebrate Raksha Bandhan by gifting ur sibling delicious & healthy Pita sandwich/salad from Pita Pit. Get 10% off. Order @ orders.pitapit.inCpn: RAKBAN10.*T&C*”

Before you put forth your excessive sentiments to say that Rakhi is not all about patriarchy, force and pithy capitalism, read this till the end.

[Note: The following is a version of the statement that’s been issued by the Bastar Solidarity Network – Delhi Chapter on Facebook. It can be found here.]

A district in Chhattisgarh – Dantewada. A village in Dantewada – Palnar. In Palnar, there is a school for girls, with hostel. About 500 tribal girls study there.

Last Monday, the additional collector of Dantewada district and many other officers came to the school. These people had planned to script a programme here. The programme was to get the girls of this school tie rakhis on the CRPF soldiers.

So, on Monday, July 31, 2017, these officers took around 100 CRPF men inside the girls’ school. The girls were told to tie rakhis on the CRPF men. Five hundred girls tied rakhis on the CRPF men.

On the orders of the officers, a video was made of this programme. The government wanted to show that tribal women consider CRPF men as their ‘defenders’. This programme was to be shown on TV channels in Chhattisgarh on Raksha Bandhan.

This programme of making the video in the school continued for a long time. In the middle of the programme, some girls went to the toilet to urinate. Five or six CRPF soldiers quietly followed the girls.

The girls protested against the CRPF soldiers standing outside the toilet. These CRPF men threatened the girls and said that they would have to ‘search’ them. In the name of searching, the CRPF men brutally squeezed the breasts of three girls.

A girl was inside the toilet when three soldiers also entered it. For 15 minutes, the three soldiers stayed inside the toilet with that tribal girl. The girls standing outside were intimidated by the other CRPF men there.

After this, the girls went to their rooms and the CRPF men joined their crew. After the programme, all the soldiers and officers left the school. ‘Mission accomplished’ it was.

At night, the girls told their warden, Draupadi Sinha, about the misdeeds by the CRPF men. The warden gave this news to the SP and the Collector.

The next day, the collector and the SP reached Palnar. But they did not visit the girls. Instead, both the officers called the complainants to the CRPF camp.

The hostel warden took two girls to the CRPF camp. There, the collector and the superintendent (SP) threatened both of them and instructed them not to tell anyone about this incident.

But the news spread throughout Palnar. The villagers called Soni Sori for help.

When Soni Sori went to meet the girls in the hostel, she saw a stunning scene. The warden of the hostel had locked the gates of the school and was sitting there like a watchman. A female police constable was also stationed at the gate. They were guarding the gates to stop any social activist or journalist from going in!

After school time was over and the girls went to their houses, Soni Sori asked them about the incident. The girls narrated the entire incident.

Himanshu Kumar, a social activist, who informed us about the above, is moving court against such gross sexual offences and the impunity awarded in return.

He says that when the girls complained about the misbehaviour, the collector and the superintendent should have taken cognisance of the complaint.

But instead, the collector and the SP tried to suppress the case rather than investigating the matter and chose to threaten the complainants. As per the POSCO Act, in cases of sexual offence against a child, such inaction ought to be punishable, said Himanshu.

Meanwhile, we ought to ask ourselves what really ails our society when Adivasi girls are forced to tie rakhis on the same hands that rape, torture and molest them with impunity. What really ails our society, when one Kalluri – who has been accused by the NHRC for overseeing gang rapes of several Adivasi women – is invited to hoist the flag in a university on August 15.

There is a war that the state has declared on behalf of the corporates – to displace the Adivasis, to crush them, to annihilate them – to reach to the gems under their feet, which are worth trillions of dollars. Far from the farce of the state’s patriarchal ‘protection’ – these girls are in a struggle to protect their jal-jangal-zameen (water-forest-lands), their dignity and their right to exist.

This post is a part of my series #PoliticalIsPersonal on Youth Ki Awaaz that explores how an innocuous act like opening your house gates to someone has immense political echoes across the system. I plan on understanding the link between political thought and personal liberty and how the two almost always are at loggerheads.


Image used for representative purposes only.

You must be to comment.

More from Simran Keshwani

Similar Posts

By Neha Yadav

By Tanveer Wani


    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below