WASHINGTON: Noam Chomsky, renowned liberal philosopher and Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has joined a list of close to 250 Indian and foreign intellectuals in an open letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh protesting the “brutal treatment meted out to Soni Sori,” a woman from Chhattisgarh who is said to have been tortured by police.
In the letter signed by Professor Chomsky and others including Jean Dreze, Harsh Mander, Anand Patwardhan, Aruna Roy, and Arundhati Roy, the group called for “immediate medical attention” for Ms. Sori (35), who was allegedly stripped, electrocuted and tortured physically and sexually.
Following a Supreme Court order that Ms. Sori have an independent medical examination at NRS Medical College, Kolkata, doctors reportedly found stones lodged in her vagina and rectum.
“We fear for Soni’s life and are outraged and ashamed at this inhuman treatment of a woman in India,” said the authors of the letter about Ms. Sori, who is currently still under arrest in Chhattisgarh.
Pointing out that she has received “virtually no follow up medical treatment for the injuries she sustained in police custody and the infections that have developed as a consequence,”
Mr. Chomsky and others said in their letter that two individuals who had met Ms. Sori last week, reported that her face was “visibly swollen and her hands and feet appeared abnormally thin, indicating severe weight loss.”
They urged that with six months passing since the time Ms. Sori was said to have been tortured her attempts to communicate with civil society groups had also been stifled and in January, a team from womens’ groups attempting to meet her in Raipur Jail, “were prevented from doing so by the administration.”
In the letter addressed to Mr. Singh, and Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the group of intellectuals expressed “grave concern” about Ms. Sori’s medical condition and demanded immediate access for fact-finding groups to meet with her to assess the situation on the spot.