#India -Understanding the Incomprehensible #delhigangrape #stopthisshame #mustread #Vaw


Can one understand the how and why of the rape of the young woman in Delhi and its brutality?

 

rape11

EPW, Dec 29, 2012

The horrifying sexual assault that took place around 9 pm
in a private bus plying in south Delhi on 17 December has
shocked the nation, provoking widespread outrage, protests
and intensive media coverage. Politicians like Sushma
Swaraj have predictably demanded the death penalty for rapists
yet again. As the victim continues to battle for her life, this
murderous act unleashes its most paralysing effects on other
women, spreading fear, anger and helplessness.
Rape invokes the primitive and reminds us that the veneer of
our civilisation remains thin and fragile. That is why there is
always some aspect of rape that is beyond the reach of our
understanding. But almost everything seems inexplicable in
this case which is so extreme that it defi es our comprehension
comprehensively. Gang rape by a group of drunken men is hardly
unknown, but how do we “understand” the mind-numbing fact
that the victim’s body was not just violated but mutilated and
maimed with iron rods, blades and other such weapons? The
nature and extent of her injuries is such that it has baffl ed the
doctors trying desperately to save her. The gruesomeness of
this case invites comparison with the pre-planned attacks on
women during communal or caste riots. But unlike the rape and
murder of Muslim women by Hindu mobs in Gujarat in 2002, or
the attacks on dalit women by upper caste men (most recently
in Haryana), there was nothing premeditated here. According
to one report, the accused declared that the whole incident was
triggered by their anger at the defi ance shown by the woman in
defence of her male friend.
It was during the re-emergence of people’s movements in
the 1970s and 1980s that women’s groups in cities like
Hyderabad, Delhi and Bombay protested against the harassment
women faced on roads and in buses. The term used then –
“eve teasing” – sounds quaint if not sexist today. Along with
this came the fi rst national campaign against rape, provoked
by cases where the perpetrators included policemen. As
women’s organisations discovered to their shock, the country’s
rape laws, dating from colonial times, had not been revised for
more than a century. Since the 1990s, the umbrella term “violence
against women” has become commonplace. Sexual harassment
and sexual assault are now the correct termino logies,
and a number of bills are in various stages of consideration
in the hope that the law can better respond to the range of

violence women have to suffer, from unwanted attention to the
most heinous of crimes.
Despite the understandable clamour for immediate and drastic
action, we must resist the temptation to treat this extreme
case as the norm against which our response must be measured.
It is also necessary to go beyond umbrella categories like
“violence against women”. Apart from its sheer brutality, it is
the identity of its perpetrators that makes this an exceptional
crime. The attackers were not just strangers to the victim, but
socially marginal men. At times like this it is easy to forget that
by far the most common sexual assaults are by people known
to the victim – neighbours, relatives, even friends. Such rapes
are rarely reported. Another common type of assault that
needs to be emphasised in this context is the so-called “power
rape”, where the perpetrator is in a position of power over the
victim, whether as landlord, boss, or police/army offi cer. The
very identity of the perpetrators makes it likely that such
crimes will never come to light. In sharp contrast, this rare
case is one where the accused come from a marginal location
in metropolitan society, whether in terms of their occupation
(driver, fruit vendor, petty criminal, gym assistant…) or their
place of residence in a slum.
Some experts quoted in the media have described the
accused as psychopaths probably provoked by pornography.
Such casual explanations are unhelpful to say the least. Psychopaths
tend to be loners; they do not band together drunkenly,
fi rst to steal from a carpenter (who had boarded the bus earlier
and was then let out), then to vent their anger on the male friend
of the victim before doing what they did to the woman herself.
It may be more useful to focus on the increasing incidence of
vehicle-borne assaults, including cases of rape and gang rape
reported in Delhi. The capital has the largest number of vehicles
for a city, the highest vehicle density and the best roads in
the country. But what makes Delhi distinctive is the peculiar
combination of power and impunity that it both exudes and
offers up as routine public spectacle. The desire to experience
this heady mixture is contagious, and the closest that subaltern
groups can get to this is the feeling of control and power in a
moving vehicle. It is this desire that the men in the bus were
perhaps giving vent to, and the city and its obscene inequalities
deserve to be treated as accomplices in this brutal crime.

The exception may prove the rule but it must not shape the
law. Fast track courts are welcome, but certainly not the death
penalty, which is not a just form of punishment in principle, and
in practice will, legal scholars say, only lower the conviction rate
further below its dismal current level of 2%. Of course, responses
to such violence must go beyond the legal. Women and men
must recognise the rarity of this particular crime. Women need to

overcome their fears and occupy more rather than less public
spaces, the streets, the buses, whether during the day or at night.
Striving for a different public culture is part of the larger battle
against forms of power, both everyday and exceptional.
But above all, we must continue the struggle to understand
that which defi es our understanding – however tentative,
incomplete or frail our reasoning may seem.

 

Freedom without fear is what we need to protect, to guard and respect’ #delhigangrape #stopthisshame


Tehelka Bureau

December 21, 2012

Following the bestial sexual attack on a 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi, the capital, along with other cities across the country, has seen numerous protests demanding justice not just for the survivor, but better laws and stringent action against sexual offenders per se. When on Wednesday 19 December students and protesters marched towards the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s house, the police tried to ward them off with water cannons. Kavita Krishnan, secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), said why Sheila Dikshit and the political establishment are responsible for women’s deplorable social status in India.

Today, we demonstrated outside (CM) Sheila Dikshit’s house. Why are we demanding her resignation? We need people to understand why — it’s true that Ms Dikshit made a statement saying the incident (gangrape) occurred on a private bus, not a DTC (Delhi Tourism Corporation) bus, so how could it be her responsibility. This is what we are here to tell her — if a bus containing iron rods and rapists is plying openly in the city with no rules and regulations, if it can pick up passengers at any time, anywhere — then madam, you are responsible for it, it is no one else’s responsibility — it is yours. If that girl is fighting for her life today, you are responsible for it. Why was that iron rod in that bus that day — is something that only you can answer, no one else can. You cannot blame anyone else for it.

But there is a more pressing matter than even this — something that we have been talking about, that we are here to talk abut today – when that journalist Soumya (Vishwanathan) was murdered, Sheila Dikshit had issued another statement saying “If she (Soumya) was out at 3 am in the morning, she was being too adventurous,” — we are here to tell her that women have every right to be adventurous. We will be adventurous. We will be reckless. We will be rash. We will do nothing for our safety. Don’t you dare tell us how to dress, when to go out at night, in the day, or how to walk or how many escorts we need!

When Neeraj Kumar was newly appointed as a police commissioner, he held a press conference where he said — look, how can the police do anything about incidents of rape? The statistic that he presented was that most number of rapes are committed by people known to the woman. This is an authentic statistic — but shouldn’t that only make it easier to apprehend the rapist? Our question for the police is not ‘why didn’t you prevent this from happening?’. But the conviction rate has gone from 46% in 1971 to 26% in 2012 — who is responsible for this? The fact is that there is a huge gap in the police’s investigation, there is an inconsistency — they have no procedure in place for how to deal with a victim of rape. All the women here know that the Delhi Police has only one way of dealing with such a situation — if you were to walk into a police station today and complain that you have been a victim of sexual violence, the first thing they will tell you is not to file a complaint. Strange people will begin to assemble at the station out of nowhere to “explain” to you – “beta, don’t file a complaint”. Until you don’t speak to the DCP and say that you are from a student body, or a women’s organisation – nothing will be done. I think this is a fairly routine matter – I doubt that there is a single woman inDelhiwho has gone to the Delhi Police and found otherwise. I don’t know which rule book they have adopted this procedure from, but it exists.

Another statement that Neeraj Kumar made at a press conference was that women shouldn’t roam around alone, they should have escorts — and that if you walk around the streets at two in the morning then how can you expect us to come and save you?

This most recent incident is of course the most obvious contradiction — it did not occur late at night, the girl was, in fact, with a male friend — but that is not my argument. I believe even if women walk out on the streets alone, even if it is late at night, why should justifications need to be provided for this, like ‘she has to work late hours’ or ‘she was coming home from a BPO job or a media job’? If she simply wants to go out at night, if she wants to go out and buy a cigarette or go for a walk on the road — is this a crime for women? We do not want to hear this defensive argument that women only leave their homes for work, poor things, what can they do, they are compelled to go out. We believe that regardless of whether she is indoors or outside, whether it is day or night, for whatever reason, however, she may be dressed — women have a right to freedom. And that freedom without fear is what we need to protect, to guard and respect.

I am saying this because I feel that the word ‘safety’ with regard to women has been used far too much — all us women know what this ‘safety’ refers to, we have heard our parents use it, we have heard our communities, our principals, our wardens use it. Women know what ‘safety’ refers to. It means – You behave yourself. You get back into the house. You don’t dress in a particular way. Do not live by your freedom, and this means that you are safe. A whole range of patriarchal laws and institutions tell us what to do in the guise of keeping us ‘safe’. We reject this entire notion. We don’t want it.

Why are we here? We are here to say, that if the Delhi Police is running an ad campaign about violence against women — you must have seen the large hoardings everywhere — why is there not a single woman in these ads? They have instead a Hindi film actor, Farhan Akhtar, exhorting us ‘Be a Man, join me in protecting women’. I want to ask — what about the brother who cuts his sister’s head off when she dares to marry into a different community? Is he not playing the role of a male protector too? This machismo is not any solution to the problem of violence against women — it is the root of the problem itself. This is what we need to reflect on.

It’s clear that in this country, if you leave out the women’s movement — everything else, the government, the police, the political parties, the judiciary; when they speak of women’s ‘safety’ they are speaking from within a specific patriarchal understanding of the term. No one is talking about protecting her ‘bekhauf azaadi’, or her freedom to live without fear. These protests on the street today, I hope they continue and grow, because this is where the answer lies — not with CCTV cameras, with death penalty or chemical castration. I am saying this because even though our rage is justified, I am afraid of some of the solutions that are being offered. If the conviction rate for rapists is low, how can death penalty be the solution to the crime? In your entire procedure, the one person you have failed to take seriously is the complainant who was raped. It is an entirely different matter that the laws for rape are also extremely weak and flawed — for instance, if an object is inserted into a woman’s genitals, it is not included within the definition of rape. The recent incident on the bus when tried in court, will not include within the description of rape that the men inserted an iron rod into her vagina — the reason that she is battling for her life today.

Yesterday on television, I heard Sushma Swaraj say something in Parliament that I found disgusting and highly condemnable. She said, “If this girl survives, she will be like a walking corpse,” Why? If she survives, I believe she will live with her head held high, just as she fought off her assailants. She struggled, she fought against sexual violence and that is why she was raped — to teach her a lesson. There is barely a woman here who has not at some point fought for her dignity on the streets of Delhi, or in its buses. There is not one amongst us that has not found herself alone in such a situation. When we do this, we are told that we are inviting trouble; that we are asking for it. I read – and I don’t know if this is true – that when the girl regained consciousness in the hospital she asked if the rapists had been caught. Her will to fight is still alive. She is not a corpse. We salute her will, and say that those who survive rape are not walking corpses. Rape survivors are complete, strong, fighting women and we salute their spirit.

The last thing I want to address are the people who say not to mix politics with rape. We cannot disregard politics as insignificant; we do need to talk about politics. There is a culture in our country that justifies rape; that defends the act through the words of people like KPS Gill who said that women who dress provocatively invite rape, and many other such high ranking officials like him. If we are to change any of this, we need to politicise the issue of violence against women, find out what women are saying about what is being done to them. The government has to listen. Just shedding a few crocodile tears within the confines of the Parliament is not enough, it is not enough to scream ‘death penalty’ and wind up the issue. I find it funny that the BJP is demanding death penalty for the rapists, when within it’s own constituencies it gets goons to chase down girls who wear jeans or fall in love with members of minority communities — saying that women must adhere to ‘Indian sensibilities’, or else. We need to create a counter culture against this ultimatum. We need to create a counter politics, one that asks for the right for women to live freely without fear.

I don’t want to say a lot more; apart from the fact that it is surprising to me as well that the police is ready and waiting to fire water cannons at us here. I was under the impression that there were protests everywhere in the city today. Shouldn’t the government know this much, at least, that our rage will not be washed away with water cannons, or beaten out of us with sticks? It is shameful that the government and the police who are ever willing to defend the actions of rapists are now poised to attack those fighting for the rights of women.

#Indiashame -260 MLAs and MPs contested polls while facing sexual assault charges #Vaw


Political parties may have joined the entire nation in expressing outrage over the gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in the Capital, but they have never shied away from fielding in elections the candidates facing charges of crimes against women.

A report compiled by the National Election Watch (NEW) and the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed that about 260 candidates facing charges such as rape, assault and outraging the modesty of a woman contested assembly elections on tickets of various parties in the last five years.

The Congress was leading the ‘shame-list’ with 26 such candidates followed by the BJP (24), the BSP (18) and the Samajwadi Party (16), the report said.

In Maharashtra, 41 such candidates were given tickets, while 37 got tickets in Uttar Pradesh and 22 in West Bengal.

SEX OFFENDERS

At least 27 candidates from the list were charged with rape and still managed to contest assembly elections, it stated.

“By giving tickets to candidates who have been charged with crimes against women especially rape, political parties have been in a way abetting to circumstances that lead to such events … but (they) vehemently condemn in Parliament,” the organisations said, demanding that even the cases against such elected representatives be “fast tracked.”

In a statement, they said: “Such people should be debarred from contesting elections and the political parties should be forced to disclose the criteria on which candidates are given tickets.”

Sadly, according to the report, such candidates weren’t just restricted to the state assemblies.

  

“In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, political parties gave tickets to six candidates who declared that they had been charged with rape,” it stated.

In all, 34 candidates who contested 2009 elections declared that they had been charged with various crimes against women.

The NEW and ADR representatives said they had sourced the information from affidavits filed by the candidates with the election commission.

“Since they condemn such incidents in Parliament and outside, the least they can do is not give tickets to persons from such backgrounds,” they said.

more here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2251310/A-rape-charge-bar-politicians-260-MLAs-MPs-contested-polls-facing-sexual-assault-charges.html#ixzz2FhKN5LrN

 

#India- More shame: 3-year-old girl raped in playschool #Delhirape #Vaw


Within hours after the gruesome gangrape of a 23-year-old came to light, a three-and-a-half-year-old girl was drugged and raped inside the bathroom of a playschool. The horrific crime was committed by the playschool owner’s husband. The shocking incident took place on Monday morning in southwest Delhi’s Vashisht Park area. The traumatized girl has told a city court that two-three more girls were abused along with her. 

The police have arrested the accused, Pramod Malik, who holds a senior rank in an autonomous research institute.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/12/21_12_12-metro11.jpg

The minor girl has gone into a state of shock after the incident.

“My daughter told the police and the magistrate that Malik drugged and raped her friends as well in a bathroom on Monday morning,” said the mother of the girl outside Nirmal Chhaya observation home, where the victim is being given counseling to help her overcome the trauma.

The girl had been attending Pathshala play school — located around hundred meters away from their house — for the last one-and-a-half years.

The girl’s grandmother said the girl looked “sad and drowsy” when she returned from the playschool on Monday.

“She did not talk much with us and slept for the entire day. In the evening, she started vomiting. We rushed her to a nearby clinic but the doctor asked us to take her to a police station, saying it was a police case. I got worried and asked her if anything wrong had happened with her. She complained about pain in her private parts and told us that Malik had forced her to consume a tablet,” the girl’s grandmother said in a choking voice.

“We took her to the Sagarpur police station. Her medical examination confirmed sexual abuse,” she said.

The minor was later taken to the station to identify the accused and started “crying and screaming” the moment she saw Malik, her grandmother said.

The incident is among the eight cases of rape reported in the city between Sunday and Thursday. The other cases were reported from Sonia Vihar, New Friends Colony, Kalkaji, Turkman Gate, New Ashok Nagar, among other areas.

 

 

Fatwa prohibits uploading photos on matrimonial, social networking sites #WTFnews #censorship


Twitter

Agencies : Bareilly, Fri Dec 21 2012, ,IE

An organisation of Sunni Muslim clerics here have termed as ‘haraam‘ the uploading of photos on the internet for matrimonial purpose and on social networking sites.

The fatwa issued by Madarsa Manzar-e-Islam of Dargah Aala Hazrat came in response to a question posed by a man from Kanpur.

He had asked whether it was appropriate according to Islamic laws to post pictures on matrimonial and social

networking sites.

Mufti Syed Mohammad Kafeel replied that this action would be considered ‘haraam’. However, he said bio-data could be posted on the internet without photo.

Imam of Shahi Jama Masjid Mufti Khurshid Alam said a fatwa of Mufti Azam Hind was already available in which he has termed photos without necessity as ‘haraam’.

He, however, said a photo can be used for passport and other application forms wherever it is necessary.

 

#Jharkhand Activist Dayamani Barla gets bail #goodnews


ANUMEHA YADAV, The hIndu, Dec 22,2012

She has been in jail for over two months for leading protests related to land acquisition

The Jharkhand High Court on Friday granted bail to activist Dayamani Barla, who has been in jail for over two months for leading protests related to land acquisition and functioning of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Ms. Barla, who was brought to the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) here, is expected to be released from Birsa jail on Saturday afternoon.

“This is of significance to our movement to save our land and water resources. This is a victory for the people of Jharkhand. Our struggle will go on,” said the award-winning activist and journalist at the court.

The court sent a property warrant against Ms. Barla on September 23 in a 2006 case against her for leading a protest march demanding that the people of the Angada block in Ranchi district be given MGNREGS job cards or given unemployment allowance. At this time, she led a successful protest against the setting up of a steel plant by ArcelorMittal at Gumla and Khunti, citing the Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act that prohibits sale of tribal land to non-tribals.

She surrendered and got bail in this case, but two days later, on October 19, she was arrested in a case of leading a protest of tribal farmers against the government move to acquire 227 acres of agricultural land in Nagri village, 15 km from Ranchi, for campuses of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Information Technology and the National University of Study & Research in Law (NUSRL).

An FIR was registered against her on August 15 in the course of protests in Nagri for “leading a group of over 100-150 farmers, who entered the plot where the NUSRL and the IIM had constructed boundary walls and cultivated the land.”

On November 5, while in jail, Ms. Barla became an accused in another case. This was for participating in a demonstration organised by Jharkhand Dishom Party (JDM) leader Salkhan Murmu on October 4, in which JDM workers were accused of burning an effigy of the High Court.

Ms. Barla got bail in this case, but both the CJM court and the district court rejected her bail application in the Nagri case.

The agitation in Nagri continued while Ms. Barla was in jail. On December 15, over 100 Oraon adivasi farmers organised a protest in front of Raj Bhavan here for Ms. Barla’s release and against violation of the CNT Act.