| People of Khalari village. Picture by Amit Kumar |
Arrested Maoist leader Reena Rana alias Reena Lohar has alleged marital rape against Sidhu Koda, a self-styled zonal commander of the banned outfit, during interrogation.
Reena was picked up in Khalari village in Jamui district last Friday soon after the Maoist ambush and subsequent killing of Harikant Jha, deputy commandant, CRPF 7th Battalion.
The allegation by Reena also echoed the recent UN report, which has expressed concern over the killing and maiming of children who continue to be recruited and used as human shields by Maoists in India and over the threat of sexual violence against girls within Naxalite ranks.
Reena (29), a native of Sapaha village near Simultala under Chandramandi police station in Jamui, told the police that Sidhu married her in 2012 alleging that she had to undergo abortion without her consent last year.
A senior policeman in Jamui, present during the interrogation, revealed on condition of anonymity that Reena, daughter of a poor villager Basudev Rana, lost her mother during her childhood. She has one brother and a younger sister. She said because of extreme poverty and influenced by one of her close relatives, Meena, a Naxalite also, she was forced to join the rebels. Reena said she had not been allowed to visit her native place since she joined the Maoists.
Once she managed to escape and reached Sapaha but within two-three days she had to return after her husband threatened her with dire consequences, the officer quoted Reena as saying.
Reena claimed that in the early hours of July 4 when she along with Sidho was sleeping in a house at Khalari village, the CRPF officers entered the village. She woke to the gunshots Sidhu and others started. Sidhu tried to help her to escape with others but she did not accompany them.
Jamui superintendent of police Upendra Kumar Singh was not available for comments but one of his sub-ordinates on condition of anonymity said a case of sexual harassment could be registered against Sidhu if Reena approves it. Khaira police station house officer Bijay Kumar Yadavendu, who is also investigating Jha’s killing, said the police would certainly cross-check Reena’s statement. He said a murder case has already been registered against Sidhu and 15 others.
Reena’s was not an isolated case but Sabita’s confessional statement had earlier baffled the Jamui police. Sabita (28), a native of Punia Pathar in Jharkhand’s Giridih, was arrested from Jamui in 2013. “I had to dance to their tunes and on many occasions, I had to entertain leaders, who used to visit from other states,” she said.