#India- Sexual harassment complaint to #Jayalalithaa from #NWMI #Vaw


To
Ms J Jayalalithaa,
Honorable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,
Chennai.

Madam,

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) is an association of women
journalists working across India. It is with deep anguish that we bring to your
notice a
violation of privacy and mental harassment that is being repeatedly caused to a  member of our network.

Kavin Malar, a Chennai based journalist, has been facing online harassment for
over a month now from one Mr Kishore K Swamy, a self-proclaimed
AIADMK supporter. Mr Kishore K Swamy has been repeatedly posting abusive messages
on Facebook targeting Kavin Malar’s personal character and
willfully causing harm  to her reputation
in  society as well as the  media. The allegations, besides being baseless,
are also a gross violation of privacy and human dignity.
We are also being told that Mr Swamy has been repeatedly and habitually
targeting women journalists, by indulging in character assassination. We find
this kind of behaviour not merely disturbing
but also threatening. It creates an unpleasant   environment for working women.
Kavin Malar  has  sought the help of the police department to
fight the harassment. However, her  complaint to the Commissioner of Police on May
13 has not been of much avail.  The cyber
crime cell has not
taken any action on the complaint beyond calling her for an enquiry.
We are attaching the screenshots
of abusive messages posted by Mr Swamy, a copy of which has been made available
to the cyber crime department.

We are aware of the steps taken
by your government to curb crimes against women. While placing on record our
appreciation of such action to promote women’s safety and security, we  urge you to personally intervene and take
action against Mr Kishore K Swamy for his misdeeds.

We believe such a move will help create a more agreeable atmosphere for women
journalists in the Tamil Nadu.

With kind regards and thanks in advance for your intervention in this case,
Yours sincerely,
(on behalf of the  NWMI)*
Signed:

Binita Parikh, Ahmedabad
Tanushree Gangopadhyay, Ahmedabad

Laxmi Murthy, Bangalore
Anita Cheria, Bangalore
Melanie P. Kumar, Bangalore
Ammu Joseph, Bangalore
Gita Aravamudan, Bangalore
Satarupa Bhattacharya, Bangalore
Satarupa Bhattacharya, Bangalore
Meera K, Bangalore

Lakshmy Venkiteswaran, Chennai
Nithya Caleb, Chennai
Kavitha Muralidharan, Chennai
Nithila Kanagasabai, Chennai
Jency Samuel, Chennai
Ranjitha
Gunasekaran, Chennai
Nithya Caleb, Chennai
Shobha Warrier, Chennai

Teresa Rehman, Guwahati

Satyavati Kondaveeti, Hyderabad
Susheela
Manjari Kadiyala, Hyderabad
Akhileshwari
Ramagoud, Hyderabad
Vanaja C., Hyderabad

Anju Munshi, Kolkata
Rina Mukherji, Kolkata
Rajashri Dasgupta, Kolkatta
Manjira Majumdar, Kolkata
Ranjita Biswas, Kolkata
Rajashri
Dasgupta, Kolkata

Linda Chhakchhuak, Mizoram

Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Mumbai
Jyoti Punwani, Mumbai
Geeta Seshu, Mumbai
Freny Manecksha, Mumbai
Sandhya Srinivasan, Mumbai
Meena Menon, Mumbai
Kalpana Sharma, Mumbai

Neha Dixit, New Delhi
Shahina KK, New Delhi

Shree
Ananya
Ramlath Kavil

 

Mamata Banerjee’s goons silence an entire village #WTFnews


Kamalendu Bhadra, TNN | Jun 19, 2013, 0

Mamata visits rape victim's family; loses cool

Mamata visits rape victim’s family; loses cool
KAMDUNI (BARASAT): “Shut up”, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had shouted atKamduni women on Monday. Her party toughs ensured they did. When TOI visited the village on Tuesday, the roar of a hundred women the previous day had been replaced by a deadening stillness.

Branded “CPM supporters” and browbeaten by the CM, the women shut up and shut themselves indoors. On Monday, they had rushed to their Didi simply to seek safety in an area where sexual brutality is the order of the day. Mamata’s outburst shocked them. Trinamool Congress‘ scare tactics silenced them.

Party toughs targeted Tumpa Koyal, who had gone eyeball to eyeball with Mamata on Monday, demanding that the Kamduni women be heard. Tumpa was a friend of the rape-murder victim and had studied with her till Class X. She had left her lunch on Monday and run after the CM, pleading to be heard. Mamata turned around and called her a CPM supporter.

On Tuesday, a rough-talking lungi-clad man, who identified himself as gram sabhapati Goutam Naskar, arrived at Tumpa’s doorstep along with seven-eight musclemen and threatened her parents, demanding that she apologize publicly for “insulting our beloved chief minister”.

“Mind it, this is for your own good,” he cautioned.

Luckily, her husband had whisked her away in the dead of night. Naskar then demanded her mobile number. Her parents said they didn’t have it. “You want me to believe that you don’t have your daughter’s contact number?” he thundered, warning everyone around that “party leaders” had started collecting “bio-data on all Kamduni women”.

Tumpa’s parents pleaded with folded hands to spare her, but Naskar shooed them away, saying Tumpa had to “stand in the middle of the village courtyard and confess she had committed a grave mistake”.

“Do you know how easy it is to get hold of someone’s mobile number,” Naskar warned her parents as he walked off.

The village courtyard, which was bustling for the past few days, looked deserted. The lanes were all but empty. The local school couldn’t even muster 30% attendance as the frightened villagers kept their kids indoors. Some women sitting at a tubewell scurried off when TOI tried to talk to them. One of them covered her face with her hands and said: “Don’t ask us anything. We haven’t seen anything, said anything or know anything. We don’t even exist.” The stink of fear was stifling.

It took an hour or so of knocking on doors before they opened up. “We ran after Didi just to tell our problems. We thought she would understand the village women’s fear. Instead, she treated us like dogs,” said Shankari Mondal. “She (Mamata Banerjee) has ruthlessly shattered our confidence. The message is clear to the culprits, they’ll reclaim their territory in a few days. The whole village fears the worst.”

Their fear is understandable, said Debu Mondal, a villager. “The women had lost all hope on the police and local leaders. Yesterday, they lost their last, very deep-rooted hope when Didi cursed them. Where will they go now?”

“We are scared. The whole village is tagged as ‘CPM’. Tell me, do you see a single CPM flag anywhere? This time, only one Left Front candidate could file his nomination in the 12 seats. Trinamool has a clean sweep here. We apprehend her anger will give rise to an evil force. We were only trying to bring some peace and stability in this unfortunate village,” said Poritosh Mondal, a farmer.

Another woman said: “We didn’t go for a movement. Didi was our last refuge. We just wanted to hold her hand but she let us down. We feel helpless. Who do we turn to?” Kamduni primary school headmaster Pradip Mukherjee understood the villagers’ plight. “When the villagers referred to her as ‘Didi’, how can they be in the opposition? The call ‘Didi’ itself is so affectionate and cordial. There must have been some miscommunication,” he said.

Tumpa’s father Probhas, a daily wage worker in a fishery, and her mother Molina were scared even to disclose their identity. “Look at our ramshackle hut. Do you think we work for CPM? My worry is whether I can feed my family the next meal,” said Probhas.

On the way back, we saw a young woman hurrying across the culvert on Bidyadhari canal, looking back now and then. It was just getting dark under a cloudy sky. A group of women armed with a lantern and torch emerged from a bylane and rebuked her for daring to move out alone “so late”. It was only 5.15pm. One of the women said: “Be careful. The times have changed.”

 

NWMI condemns insensitive media coverage of gang rape victim in West Bengal #Vaw


June 17, 2013

The Network of Women in Media, India, an independent forum of media professionals across the country, condemns the recent insensitive media representation of the 20-year-old college student at Barasat, West Bengal, who was recently gang-raped and violently murdered. In papers such as The Telegraph, Protidin and several other newspapers/channels, the victim’s name and her family’s have been freely used. More shockingly, Bangla newspaper Aajkaal  printed not only the victim’s name but also her photo on its front page.

The victim, a 20-year-old college girl, was gangraped and murdered on her way home from college on Friday, June 7, 2013 around 2 pm. Aajkaal printed her photo with related news on June 9.

Publishing her name is a clear violation of the Supreme Court’s order that the identity of a rape victim cannot be disclosed. Such disclosure is prohibited under Section 228A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, as well as the Norms of Journalistic Conduct issued by the Press Council of India (2010). Under the IPC, revealing the identity of a rape victim is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years and shall also be liable to fine.

Section 228 (A to D) of the Indian Penal Code prohibits the disclosure not only of the victim’s name but also of facts that could lead to the identification of the victim, such as the victim’s place of residence, family or friends, university, or work details. This covers victims who are dead, minors and or have “unstable minds”. Even if the name is to be disclosed for welfare or legal reasons, this must be done in writing, only to the appropriate government authority, which does not include the media.

The reasoning for not disclosing the name of a rape victim is that such disclosure would invade the privacy of the victim and may render her open to further harassment and/or indignity. Revealing the identity of a rape victim could also make her (or her family in case she has not survived) vulnerable to pressure to drop the case.

In a context where the incidence of violence against women in West Bengal (and elsewhere) is rising, it is of grave concern that the media is flouting the law of the land as well as norms of ethics laid down by the PCI.

We demand:

1. Immediate pixellation and removal of all identifiers of the rape victim on online portals and the newspapers’ websites.
2. Issuance of a written apology in the newspapers, including their websites.
3. Institution of mechanisms for ensuring increased gender sensitivity while reporting cases of sexual violence. These measures could include, among others: on-the-job training, workshops, and evolving in-house norms for covering gender-based violence.

Sincerely,

Manjira Majumdar, Kolkata
Rajashri Dasgupta, Kolkata
Ranjita Biswas, Kolkata
Anju Munshi, Kolkata
Rina Mukherji, Kolkata
Ammu Joseph, Bangalore
Laxmi Murthy, Bangalore
Gita Aravamudan, Bangalore
Kavin Malar, Chennai
Kavitha Muralidharan, Chennai
Nithila Kanagasabai, Chennai
Jency Samuel, Chennai
R Akhileshwari, Hyderabad
Sandhya Srinivasan, Mumbai
Jyoti Punwani, Mumbai
Geeta Seshu, Mumbai
Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Mumbai
Kalpana Sharma, Mumbai
Sandhya Taksale, Pune
Linda Chhakchhuak, Shillong

 

Men, Women and Other People: Understanding Sexualities #Sundayreading


breaking1

From left to right  ( Nine members of the research team ) – Hasina Khan , Kranti  ,  Shruti, Shalini Mahajan, Smriti Nevatia , Raj, Sabla , Meenu pandey, and Chayanika shah

Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Women Feature Service 

The concept of gender needs to be transformed. That was the central thrust of a recent study entitled, ‘Breaking The Binary’, released by the queer feminist collective, Labia, at an event organised in Mumbai’s well–known SNDT University.

Questioning the male–female binary, the study concluded that there can be no uniformity within these identities. Even when people use the same term like ‘man’, ‘woman’, ’transgender’ to define themselves, their lived realities may differ greatly. Such categories, therefore, should necessarily be less rigid because when the boundaries between them get blurred, individuals are enabled to exert greater agency and choice in moving across them. According to the study, gender needs to be consensual; it needs to get transformed from a hierarchical discrete, binary system to a porous, multiple–gender one.

‘Breaking The Binary’ was based on 50 life history narratives that explored the circumstances and situations of queer PAGFB (Persons Assigned Gender Female at Birth), who were made to, or were expected to, conform to existing social norms pertaining to gender and sexuality.

The research team for the study comprised 11 members, with Chayanika, Raj, Shalini and Smriti from Labia anchoring the work. Explained Chayanika, “Through this study, we looked at the experiences of our subjects within their natal families and while at school. We charted their journeys through intimate relationships and we attempted to understand what happened to them in public spaces, how they were treated by various state agencies, what were their sources of support and refuge when they came under the threat of violence or faced discrimination.”

The people interviewed came from a wide cross–section of society in terms of location, age, caste, class, and religion. These variations were critical, according to Chayanika, as the intention was to reach those living at the intersections of many marginalised identities. But achieving this was difficult, even impossible. As she put it, “The silence and invisibility around individuals who continually transgress gender norms meant that we were able to approach only those individuals who have some contact with queer groups.”

The 50 respondents were spread across north, east, west and south India – living in cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Pune and Thrissur. The representation of individuals living in rural areas was low, but two persons – one from rural Maharashtra and the other from rural Jharkhand – were interviewed, and 11 of the respondents had grown up in rural settings. Of the 50 individuals who participated in the study, 30 were from the dominant castes, 11 people were from the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/Special Backward Classes, three were from Other Backward Classes (OBC) and six identified themselves as Others.

‘Woman’ as a biological category was one of the subjects that figured in the interviews. Persons whose biological sex did not correspond with their psychological sex, were branded as gender “variants”, even though women do not constitute a homogenous category and could belong to many different categories – including a category as unfamiliar as ‘working class lesbian’ or ‘dalit lesbian’.

According to Raj, a member of Labia, “We found that being from an upper class background was no guarantee of privilege. There was a 20–year–old from a business family. Because of family dynamics, she was unable to get the education she had wanted and was forced to support herself by earning small sums of money playing cricket. Another respondent, identified as upper class, was also deprived of a meaningful education.” Clearly, a privileged, upper class background does not protect queer persons, especially if they happen to challenge gender and/or sexuality norms.

The study identified three levels of violence the respondents had faced. The first is at the individual level, where harmful acts are perpetrated against people and property. This can range from taunts to forced marriage and even murder. The second is at the institutional level, where damaging consequences are perpetrated by social institutions with the idea of obstructing the spontaneous expression of human potential – as, for example, when an office denies promotion to an employee on account of sexual orientation. The third is at the structural – cultural – level as, for instance, when religious or political beliefs rule that homosexuality is immoral or illegal.

A woman’s sexual orientation can, among other things, determine her access to resources as well as her social status, according to the study. Women suffer severe material loss when their families desert them and many experience emotional and psychological trauma in their struggle against discrimination and ostracism. Mis–recognition and non–recognition can become a very perverse form of violence as it seeks to naturalise the power enjoyed by dominant groups over non–dominant ones.

For instance, families, friends and teachers could refuse to recognise the need of lesbians to be acknowledged as they are and treated with dignity, leading them to experience a severe loss of self–esteem. This constitutes a form of violence imposed by the majority on a minority. As Shalini, one of study team members, put it, “Every society has its own notion of what is normal and what is assumed to be normal. Going beyond that construct could invite violence on the individual. Many of the respondents felt that the gay rights movement was crucial precisely because people cannot hide behind identities that are not their own. Therefore, just as women defied patriarchy through the women’s rights movement, queer persons defy heteronormativity through the queer rights movement.”

This study, the first of its kind, has helped shed light on how queer persons have addressed the challenges of life and how they continue to search, negotiate, and challenge multiple boundaries. It has attempted to answer some important questions. Where, for instance, are the points at which gender binaries rupture? How are the normative gender lines being reinforced? What situations help to create varied gender identities? Most important of all, the study has helped to capture the experiences of Persons Assigned Gender Female at Birth and their negotiations with families, friends, communities, social structures, as well as the health and legal systems.

The team hopes to take the study forward to highlight areas of concern and conceptualise effective interventions. As one of the team members put it, “We are aiming to convey its insights to the more general category of people, at least those who are interested in taking proactive steps in addressing violence against any human being in any form and also for those who would like to understand the root causes of homophobia. We also want to take it to educational and governmental institutions, so that they can also help usher in change.”

The study was released not just in Mumbai, but in Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Thrissur and Chennai as well. A Hindi translation of it is also on the cards. (WFS)

 

#India – More rapes in Delhi in 2012 than 4 other metros , Mumbai child rapes spike by 20% #Vaw


, TNN | Jun 14, 2013, 01.39 AM IST

More rapes in Delhi in 2012 than 4 other metros put together
The number of rapes in the capital last year (706) was more than those reported in four other metros – Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai (484) – put together.
  • NEW DELHI: Delhi‘s shame continues. The National Crime Records Bureau’s report for 2012, released on Wednesday, iterates through statistics what every woman in the city knows by experience – that it remains the most unsafe for women among 88 important cities of India.

With 5,959 cases of crime against women registered last year, Delhi accounted for a staggering 14.88% of all women-related crimes reported from these 88 cities. No other city even came close to matching Delhi’s notorious record.

Bangalore was a distant second, with a share of 6.18% of all crimes against women in urban India. Next came Kolkata (5.66%) and then Mumbai (4.86%).

No crime reveals Delhi’s violence towards women better than rape. The number of rapes in the capital last year (706) was more than those reported in four other metros — Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai (484) — put together. The staggeringly high figure can’t be explained by the capital’s sprawl. For, the female population of Delhi is 75.76 lakh, lower than Mumbai (85.20 lakh) and not much higher than Kolkata (67.93 lakh).

2,160 kidnap cases of girls registeredAccording to the NCRB figures, Delhi’s share of all crimes committed in the country was 2.83%. Among states and UTs, Bengal leads the pack with a share of 12.67%.

As many as 2,160 kidnapping cases in which women or minor girls were the victims, were registered last year in Delhi. There were 134 dowry deaths and 1,985 cases of cruelty to women by husbands or relatives.

Seeking to downplay the numbers, Delhi Police said statistics did not reveal the actual picture. Senior cops said gave a number of reasons for the rise in crime in Delhi over the past decade. They said rapid growth in the city’s population, socio-economic imbalances and urban anonymity were encouraging deviant behaviour. They said the city’s adverse sex ratio (866/1000) and loosening of social structures were also playing a part in rise of crime.

Among the new initiatives for controlling crimes, the cops said 255 city routes had been identified as being the most frequented by women late in the evening. More than 400 women sub-inspectors and 2,088 women constables were being deployed on these stretches.

Earlier, a document submitted by a Delhi ministry in the assembly had criticized a few rape victims themselves for inadvertently contributing to the low conviction rate in such cases. “Victims sometimes do not support prosecution during trial. At other times, there are compromises made between both parties,” the ministry stated.

45% rise in sexual harassment cases in Mumbai, rapes up by 5%

V Narayan & Sumitra Deb Roy, TNN | Jun 15, 2013, 1

MUMBAI: The city saw a huge 45% rise in sexual harassment cases in 2012, even as incidents of rape and sexual assault also grew, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureaureleased this week. There were 235 cases of sexual harassment in 2012 as compared to 162 in 2011. The rise from 2010 to 2011 was much lower at 17.4%.While rape cases in Mumbai rose at a slower rate of 5% in 2012, the 232 cases put the city second nationally, behind only Delhi, which saw 585 cases. In Maharashtra, Pune also made its way into the hall of shame, recording the sixth most rapes among cities nationally.

Worryingly, both at the Mumbai and state level, most rape victims were aged 14 to 18. Of the 232 victims in Mumbai, around 105 (45%) were from this age group, while at the state level the figure was 609 of 1,294 victims (47%). Shockingly, 11 victims in Mumbai were under 10.

The all-India data released this week showed a 11% rise in sexual assault cases in Mumbai, going from 553 in 2011 to 614 in 2012.

Like in Mumbai, in Maharashtra too there was a huge jump in sexual harassment cases, from 1,071 in 2011 to 1,294 in 2012. This 21% increase contrasted with the 9.2% drop there was in 2011. There were also 8.1% more rapes and 3.6% more sexual assaults in 2012 in the state.

Law enforcers, however, claimed the city was behaving itself, at least when compared to previous years. In their defence, they said the rise in rapes and sexual assaults the previous year was higher, 14% and 16.4% respectively.

The rise in sexual harassment comes as no surprise in a city that saw the deaths of Reuben Fernandez and Keenan Santos, who were stabbed in 2011 in Amboli for protesting against the sexual harassment of women. Beyond city limits, Santosh Vichivara, 19, was stabbed by five boys, including four minors, in December 2012 for protesting against lewd comments passed against a girl.

While former IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y P Singh said increasing urbanization in Maharashtra was to blame for the rise in crime against women, additional commissioner of police (crime) Niket Kaushik said that at least some of the increase was due to more people coming forward to lodge complaints. He also credited prompt registration of FIRs. “Crime is on the rise, but special teams are also being formed to tackle crime,” he said.

Nandita Shah, co-director of NGO Akshara, said more women are shedding inhibitions and coming forward to complain. “Delhi’s Nirbhaya incident took away some element of shame and guilt that women always found themselves surrounded with whenever faced with assault or harassment. But there is no denying that crime is on the rise,” she said. She echoed Singh’s view that rapid urbanization can lead to unfulfilled aspirations.

After 2011 drop, child rapes spike by 20%

V Narayan & Sumitra Deb Roy | TNN

Mumbai: The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2012 report reveals an increase in the number of cases of infanticide, sex selection, abandoning of newborns, rape and murder of children (below 16 years) in Mumbai and Maharashtra. The report shows a 20.5% and 13.3% rise in children raped and murdered in the city over 2011, though rape cases in 2011 dipped by 16.4% against 2010.
The report lists Maharashtra after Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in crimes against children and says children raped in the state increased by 9.5% in 2011 and 2.9% in 2012. A senior cop said murders of children were mostly kidnappings for ransom that went awry. “Extramarital affairs also account for murders. In rare cases, mentally ill people kill their children. To take the life of a child even in rage requires emotional detachment and a deranged mind,” said the officer.
Former IPS officer-turnedlawyer Y P Singh blamed the increase in population, rapid urbanisation and economic growth for the rising crime graph. “The passion of the youth for sex, money and power makes them mostly vulnerable to crime. Most crimes are registered against youths aged between 18 to 35,” he said.
“Infanticide and foeticide are deep-rooted social evils somewhere related to rapid urbanization and growing aspirations,” said Dr A L Sharda, director of NGO Population First. The NGO’s girl child campaign, Laadli, has been working to address the disparity in the sex ratio. “Even people in rural areas prefer smaller families. But the desire for a male child is so dominant even
among the educated that couples could resort to extreme measures,” she said. Sharda said the ratio of the female child per 1,000 population is 62, for the male child it is 72. “By nature, the survival rate of a girl child should be 10 points more than a male child. So, essentially we are talking about missing 20 points,” she said.
Pooja Taparia, founder and CEO of Arpan, an NGO working on child sexual abuse, said, “We are talking about kinds of punishment for rape when we don’t find offenders guilty.”
Elderly admit to abuse by kin N early one in 10 senior citizens in Mumbaiadmitted to being abused, said asurvey released by voluntary organisation HelpAge India on Friday. The survey, which covered 6,748 elders across 24 cities from April 27 to May 17, found nearly four out of 10 admitted that their own sons and daughters-in-law were the perpetrators

One of 10 senior citizens in city abused: Survey

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Mumbai: Octogenarian and Vile Parle resident Anandibai Bendar has no roof over her head in her sunset years, despite owning a house in the western suburbs. She says she has been thrown out by her grandson, who allegedly transferred her home in his name, promising to look after her. She is now pursuing legal options.
Just last week, 93-year-old Anantaiah Shetty from Bangalore was found on the terrace of his building chained by his sons. Nearly one in five senior citizens in urban India admitted to being abused, according to a survey released by voluntary organization HelpAge India on Friday. In the city, one in 10 elders faced such abuse, but nearly 46% did not report it.
The NGO surveyed 6,748 elders over 60 years of age across 24 cities and found that nearly a fifth faced abuse, some as often as daily. Much of the suffering was at the hands of loved ones, with nearly four out of 10 admitting that their sons and daughters-in-law were perpetrators. The actual magnitude of cruelty is likely to be much higher given that seven out of 10 of those interviewed across cities said they did not report the abuse. In metros, 72% of those surveyed said abuse of the elderly was prevalent in society.
“We encourage elders facing abuse to report it,” says Prakash Borgaonkar of Help-Age India, explaining that the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, has criminalized abuse of the elderly and made children liable to look after elderly parents.
Senior citizens in the city can dial 1090, a police helpline. While nearly one in two elderly Mumbaikars had heard of the police helpline, just two in 100 knew about the protective law.
Abuse in tier-II cities was higher; over 60% of elders in places like Madurai and Kanpur faced ill-treatment. It ranged from disrespect and oral abuse to neglect and violence

 

Press Release – Delhi protests against the arrests of peaceful protesters in Kolkata


Protest outside West Bengal govt’s bhawan, Rajiv Bhawan, New Delhi
Photo courtesy: Bijayalaxmi Nanda

June 14th

To,

The Resident Commissioner

West Bengal Bhavan

NEW DELHI

We, members of the Citizen’s Collective against Sexual Assault, women’s groups, progressive groups and concerned citizens from across the country are outraged at the unwarranted arrest of a peaceful gathering of feminist and human rights activists on June 13, 2013. We strongly condemn these arrests. We strongly uphold people’s democratic right to peaceful and non-violent dissent and protest.

The activists were trying to seek an appointment with the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, in order to hand over a letter of protest against the incidents of gang rape and murder of two young girls in Barasat and Nadia. The CM had earlier refused to meet civil society activists at Writers Buildings. Therefore, on June 13, 2013, members of MAITREE Network (a network of women rights groups in West Bengal) decided to gather outside her residence to seek an appointment. They were not even allowed to enter the street leading to the CM’s residence.

When they wanted to hand over a protest letter to the CM, they were told to hand over the letter to the police instead. They rejected this on the ground that it was the CM who was the elected representative and the head of the government. Without any prior warning to disperse, the totally peaceful gathering, modest in size, was suddenly dragged by the police and bundled into police vans. Thirteen activists were arrested and taken to the Lal Bazar Central lock-up. Surely, activists of women’s organisations are not perceived by the WB State Government as a security risk? Especially when they were there to express their concern about the gang rapes of women and girls in the state.Is that an act that threatens the CM or the Government of WB?

The attitude of the West Bengal government with respect to cases of sexual assault and sexual violence against women has, at best, been dismissive. This is evident in the Chief Minister’s response to the statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). It recorded 30,942 incidents of crime against women in West Bengal in 2012 as against 29,133 the year before. The government’s disclaimer was, “The situation in the state has improved and rape incidents have come down considerably”. Even as the state battles the shame of the Barasat and Nadia rape and murders, Bengal has again topped the country in crimes against women, accounting for 12.67% of such cases across India. Further, as the statistics reveal the state also recorded the third highest number of rapes (escaping the second slot by a whisker) while Kolkata registered the highest number of assaults on the ‘modesty’ of women among all the metro cities in the country.

We, the undersigned, condemn the increasing incidents of sexual assault and atrocities on women and girls in West Bengal. We deplore the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in the state and how that is severely affecting the safety and mobility of women, especially high school and college-going girls in suburban and rural areas.

Some zones have become particularly unsafe, like the Barasat belt in North 24 Parganas where an undergraduate student–daughter of a day-labourer–was gangraped and killed on 7 June on her way back from college. Women are being regularly harassed, molested and raped in that area and several such incidents have been reported in the local media in the last two years. But the administration refuses to act. As the panchayat elections are drawing near, activists fear an escalation of violence against women in the state.

We also condemn the way in which women rights and human rights defenders have been treated by the Government, in complete opposition to the democratic principles of the country.

We demand:

  1. Immediate action initiated against the police personnel responsible for their arrests.
  2. That the West Bengal government accept the right of all, regardless of political leanings, to protest peacefully and democratically on important issues.
  3. That the Government, judiciary and law enforcing agencies initiate speedy action and arrest the culprits responsible for cases of atrocities against women, including the latest two cases of rape and murder against the young girls in Barasat and Nadia.
  4. That proper investigation and a fair and unbiased trial be fast tracked that would enable victims and their families to access justice and lead culprits towards due punishment.
  5. Further, steps should be taken to end instances of violence against women in the state, in consultation with the women rights’ and human rights’ groups.

——

Citizens’ Collective against Sexual Assault (CCSA), New Delhi, is a group of individuals and organisations that has come together to protest against the extreme culture of sexual violence against women and girls in Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon. We raise these issues with the public, as well as the administration and the police of Delhi-NCR and work in different ways to stop and prevent sexual harassment against vulnerable groups. CCSA can be contacted at ccsaindia@gmail.com and ccsaindia@ymail.com.

 

Kolkata – ‘Lock-up for protest songs!’ #Vaw


14 Jun 13

A group of women wanting to meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday to tell her how unsafe they feel in Bengal was herded into prison vans and put in the Lalbazar lock-up for several hours.

Police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha justified the move, saying the force could not have taken chances with the chief minister’s Z+ security. Some of those arrested for trying to meet Mamata at her Kalighat residence — they were released on bail around 3.30pm — called the police’s concern over Mamata’s security “misplaced”.

Sarmistha Dutta Gupta, who was in the group, tells Sreecheta Das of Metro what had taken her to Harish Chatterjee Street and how disappointed she felt when the police cracked down on a “peaceful rally”.

Being associated with the feminist movement for over 30 years and taking part in innumerable protests and processions, I used to think I was prepared for every kind of resistance. I was mistaken. I had no idea that participating in a peaceful rally, where the only thing that people do is sing protest songs, could land me in a police lock-up.

I reached the Hazra Road-Harish Chatterjee Street crossing around 8am to submit a memorandum to the chief minister regarding the gruesome gang rape and murder at Barasat and the general safety of women in our state. I joined the group because my conscience told me to. While our protest was against what happened in Barasat on June 7, the scope of our demands went beyond that.

Crimes against women have increased in the past one-and-a-half years. What I find more alarming is that more and more girl students are being targeted. Barasat has earned notoriety for different kinds of crimes against women — from men making lewd remarks and gestures at schoolgirls to Friday’s incident, that area has witnessed everything in the past year.

But the administration doesn’t seem to be perturbed. All that we see are a few arrests following every shocking incident. But there is hardly any follow-up, there is barely any effort to make women feel secure.

The administration doesn’t seem interested in reflecting on why such incidents are repeatedly taking place in a particular area. There are several schools, colleges and a university in Barasat, where many students are first-generation learners. We have interacted with students and teachers and found that there is no electricity in many places, let alone street lamps. Local toughs have been employed as watchmen in large plots of land meant for future commercial purposes.

Local girls say they are petrified of returning home after evening tuitions.

I am also deeply disturbed by the fact that people in the administration did not think it necessary to express their concern or anguish regarding any of the incidents.

Whenever we have sought an appointment with the chief minister, we have been turned down. On Monday, my friends from Maitree (an NGO) had gone to Writers’ Buildings to submit a memorandum to Mamata Banerjee. She did not meet them.

On Thursday morning, there were 30 of us, far fewer than the cops already stationed there when we arrived.

Six of our friends were arrested first, but I started walking towards Hazra with the rest. As we marched, we could see the police following us, some on foot and others on bikes. They blocked our way, pointed at the vans and told us to get inside.

When we said it was our right to stand wherever we wanted to, an officer replied: “Oto kotha jani na…cholun (we don’t know all that…get inside).”

They dragged us into the vans. They did not lathicharge us, but they did display brute force. My friend Swapna’s hand swelled up because of the manner in which she was pulled.

We still don’t know what the charges against us are and we can’t understand how singing songs could be construed as disruption of peace.

The trauma that we underwent would make some sense only when the administration realises that they have to come forward and do their bit to make Calcutta — and Bengal — safe for women.

AS TOLD TO SREECHETA DAS

 

Kolkata gangrape: Peaceful protesters rounded up, Mamata remains silent #Vaw


by  Jun 13, 2013

While West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjeeherself maintains a dismissive silence on the issues of women’s safety plaguing the state and its capital Kolkata, she probably likes people of her state to follow her example and not fret too much about young girls getting raped and killed.

In what is indicative of a similar sentiment, the Kolkata Police today picked up and detained a group of peaceful protesters who had turned up in front of the chief minister’s south Kolkata home to seek assurance of action and also submit a memorandum of demands.

Anuradha Kapoor, who is associated with the civil rights group Maitree, spoke to Firstpostabout her ordeal. She, along with twelve of her colleagues, were picked up by the Kolkata Police from Kalighat and taken to the police headquarters at Lalbazar

Mamata Banerjee. Agencies.

Mamata Banerjee. Agencies.

According to Kapoor, she and her colleagues turned up in front of Mamata Banerjee‘s house in Kalighat, Kolkata seeking an appointment with her. They were stopped at the police barricade in front of the chief minister’s house at around 7.45 am today. They sought an appointment with the CM but were  refused one.

“The police told us that we can’t meet her since there are so many of us. So we said that the rest of us can wait outside while three or four people can go and meet her,” Kapoor said.

However, the police still refused to let them in and the protesters too refused to budge.

“We had placards with us and we were singing songs. The police asked us to make way for vehicles, we did that too. Suddenly, the officer-in-charge of the Kalighat Police station started hollering at the women police constables on duty and asked them to make us leave. In no time, two police vans came and cops started dragging us and herding us into the vans. They rounded some of us up. Then they followed the rest in our group who had already left the spot and were several hundred metres away. They were picked up too and brought to the Lalbazar station,” says Kapoor.

There were 40 activists, of which twelve were picked up and detained at the police headquarters. Till this report was filed, the activists were detained at the Lalbazar police station and were given no information about the charges against them.

“The state of women’s security in terrible. It has been like that for a long time now and we elected a new government for a reason. However, they are in complete denial of the situation and when you protest, this is what you get. We had sought an appointment with the CM at the Writers’ Buildings prior to this. She asked a deputy to inform us that the demands can be forwarded to the police chief and she didn’t meet us,” said Kapoor.

A 20-year-girl was gangraped and killed last Friday and a twelve-year-old suffered the same fate within four days of the other incident. Protests have broken out across the state following that.

 

NTUI condemns the arrest women activists protesting against rape and murder of students #Vaw


An impatient administration that tries to stifle the voice of protests, unmasks itself much more than critics can possibly do. This morning, members of Maitree, a Kolkata based network of women’s group, assembled peacefully outside Mamta Banerjees residence asking for an appointment to submit a letter of protest to the Chief Minister against the two recent cases of gang rape and murder. They had earlier tried to hand over the same at the Writers building on Monday but she had refused to meet the delegation. The grotesque rape,murder and violence against two students in Barasat and KrishnaganjNadia, in the last few days is an ampleindication of the appaling law and order sitution in the state and the administration’s dismal failure to ensure safety and security of women. The members of Maitree wanted to draw the Chief Minister’s personal attentionto this in a bid to ensure her personal intervention in this issue.

Instead of receiving their protest letter, the police arrested 13 women instantly. Anuradha Kapoor, Swapna, Kakali Bhattacharya, Anchita Ghatak, Shyamali Das, Ratnaboli Roy Sharmishtha Dutta Gupta, Shreya Sanghari, Madhura Chakraborty, Shreya Chakraborty, Sudeshna Basu, & Aditi Basu were whisked away to Lalbazar where they are currently detained at the Labazar central lock up. Abir Niyogy who was earlier taken away to Kalighat police station and has been currently transfered to Labazar central lock.

NTUI strongly condems this arrest by the police and demands an immediate and unconditional release of the members of Maitree. We strongly uphold the peoples’ right to dissent and protest. We also call upon theGovernment, judiciary and law enforcing agencies for an immediate arrest of culprits, a proper investigation and a fair and unbiased trial which would enable victims and their families in accessing justice and lead culprits towards due punishment; otherwise this wave of brutality against women would remain endless and unabated.

June 13, 2013

#India -13 Women activists from Maitree arrested for protesting in Kolkata #Vaw #WTFnews


Protests outside Mamata‘s house over report that claims Bengal is unsafest for women

Edited by Surabhi Malik (With Inputs from IANS) | Updated: June 13, 2013

Protests outside Mamata's house over report that claims Bengal is unsafest for women

KolkataWomen activists demonstrated outside Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee‘s residence in Kolkata this morning to protest against a spate of rape cases in the state. They wanted to meet Ms Banerjee and submit a memorandum of demands. But an hour into the protests, police dispersed the women activists and arrested 13 of them.

The protesters, led by Maitree which is an umbrella organisation of women activists, also wanted to meet Mamata to seek her response to a report released by the National Bureau of Crime Records which says West Bengal has the maximum number of crimes against women in the country.

Unable to meet Mamata, the activists left an “open letter” for her asking her why she had not spoken about the two recent and brutal rape and murder cases in the state.

The two incidents happened in quick succession and left Kolkata shocked. Last Friday, at Kamdoni village about 25 km from Kolkata, a 20-year-old college girl was brutally raped and murdered by six men. Three days later, a 13-year-old school student met the same fate at Gede in Nadia district.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says Bengal recorded the highest number of crimes against women for the second year in a row in 2012. The state government however contested the data, claiming its disclaimers were not published.

According to NCRB, Bengal recorded 30,942 cases of crime against women in 2012 – of which 2,046 were rapes, 4,168 kidnapping, 593 dowry deaths and 19,865 cases of cruelty by husband or relatives.

But state Director General of Police Naparajit Mukherjee said rape cases had come down “considerably” in 2012. He attributed the hike in crimes against women to cases registered under Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code, related to cruelty towards a woman by her husband or his relatives.

In 2012, West Bengal recorded 2,046 cases of rape – lower only than Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. In 2011, the state had recorded 29,133 cases of crime against women, 2,317 of these were rapes.