Retaliation & Revenge by State or Non-State Actors is Not the Answer: Sukma

The Maoists' statement claiming the Sukma attack was in retaliation
for sexual violence against adivasi women and girls by paramilitary
forces is highly problematic and condemnable, for a variety of

Image Courtesy: Times of India

1) The women's movement for long has been stressing that retaliation
and revenge, whether by the State or by non state actors, do not
constitute justice for victims of sexual violence. An organized
military 'retaliation' of this kind is very very different, also, from
any spontaneous resistance or self defence by a woman victim herself.
Such retaliation by the Maoists perpetuates the same macho masculinist
logic that the State also peddles when it upholds death penalty for
rape. Such retaliation says 'We're man enough to avenge our women.'
Like the State, the Maoists might argue that such retaliatory violence
will be a 'deterrent' and so on. Again, women's movements have long
argued against the so-called deterrent potential of draconian
punishments or retaliatory violence.

2) The Maoists' rationale smacks of the logic of collective punishment
– I. E it does not claim to bring individual perpetrators of rape to
justice, or even the individual commanders who encourage and enable
such rapes; instead it kills one lot of CRPF men in retaliation for
acts done by other CRPF men.

3) By claiming the Sukma attack to be retaliation by [read: "against]
sexual violence by CRPF men in Bastar, the Maoists have undermined the
painstaking work by women's groups to seek justice for those acts of
sexual violence. There are women's rights activists and human rights
defenders putting themselves in considerable peril to bring such
instances of sexual violence to light and helping the victims or
victims' families pursue the cases. The Maoists' rationale for the
Sukma action undermines this immensely courageous work.

Finally, some journalists have flagged the possibility that some of
the CRPF jawans' private parts were mutilated in the attack. The
police and CRPF officials have so far denied this. The Maoists have
also denied inflicting such mutilation. So, in this particular case
there is no confirmation yet that bodies were mutilated. But for the
record let us reiterate what we have said often before – that
mutilation of bodies whether by State or non State actors would be
nothing less than an atrocity. If the State forces – police or CRPF –
are covering up an atrocity of this kind anywhere please hold them to


(The author is Secretary, AIPWA)



Related Articles