#India – Crucial lessons from decades of campaigns by women’s groups on Rape Law #Vaw #Sexualharassment


From Mathura to Bhanwari

RAPE

EPW- Vol – XLVIII No. 23, June 08, 2013 | Laxmi Murthy

The recent law on sexual harassment at the workplace rides on the back of decades of campaigns by women’s groups, starting with the rape law in the famous “Mathura case” to the guidelines on sexual harassment arising from the fight by Bhanwari Devi to punish the men who gangraped her for opposing child marriage. Unfortunately, lawmakers have failed to heed some of the crucial lessons that can be drawn from these struggles.

Laxmi Murthy (laxmim@himalmag.com) is consulting editor, Himal Southasian, Kathmandu, and director, Hri Institute for Southasian Research and Exchange.

Mathura, the 16-year-old adivasi girl whose gang-rape in police custody in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, triggered a nation-wide campaign against rape and demands for reform in criminal law, would be 56 years old this year. Bhanwari Devi, whose gang-rape by upper-caste men in Bhateri village of Rajasthan caused immense outrage and provided the impetus for a significant ruling against sexual harassment at the workplace, is also 56 years old.

Both these icons of the women’s movement might not have benefited directly from the campaigns to reform the law dealing with rape. Mathura had faded into obscurity, having got married and was getting on with her life, completely unaware that one of the pillars of Indian democracy – the Supreme Court of India – was being challenged on her behalf. In 1980, she was in her 20s when journalists from the national media descended on her village to interview the young woman whose case had been the driving force behind changes in the rape law. Not much was heard about her after that.

Yet, the “Mathura case”1 has gone down in the annals of feminist history as a watershed in challenging patriarchal notions of the judiciary. Though she had been raped in 1972, the case came into the public domain in 1979 when, for the first time ever, there was a questioning of the judgment of the apex court which overturned the Bombay High Court conviction of the policemen, on grounds that the complainant was “habituated to sex”. Moreover, the acquittal took into consideration the fact that Mathura had not “raised any alarm for help” and the “absence of any injuries or signs of struggle” on her body. Thus began a significant debate about “consent” and “submission”, and the notion that while consent involves submission, the converse is not necessarily true.

Pointing out inadequacies not only in the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, but in the judicial proceedings, four professors of law condemned the attitude of the judges in the Mathura case and questioned the “extraordinary decision sacrificing human rights in the Indian law and the Constitution”. The letter emphasised the social context, “the young victim’s low socio-economic status, lack of knowledge of legal rights and lack of access to legal services, and the fear complex which haunts the poor and the exploited in Indian police stations”. The letter raised fundamental questions: “Must illiterate, labouring, politically mute Mathuras of India be condemned to their pre-constitutional Indian fate?…Nothing short of protection of human rights and constitutionalism is at stake”.2

Placing the crime of rape firmly in the context of power relationships and gender inequality led to major reform in the law relating to rape in 1983, when the concept of “custodial” rape was introduced and the “burden of proof” in these cases was shifted on to the accused, provision for in camera trials was introduced and the law prohibited the disclosure of the identity of the victim, and punishments were made more stringent.

No Real Change

Yet, about 10 years after these amendments, the situation had not changed significantly. In 1992, Bhanwari Devi, asathin (village level worker) in the Women’s Development Programme in Rajasthan, was gang-raped by five upper-caste men for having the temerity to stop them from conducting child marriages. As a women’s rights activist, Bhanwari was aware of the procedural requirements to report a rape, and battled indifferent medical personnel in Jaipur, 55 km away, and biased policemen at every step. It was only 52 hours after the rape that the mandatory medical examination was conducted. The law took its own sluggish course. A charge sheet was filed a year later, and in 1995, a sessions court acquitted the men on the ground that “upper-caste men could not have raped a dalit woman”. The judiciary also could not believe that an uncle and nephew could rape the same woman. The impunity of the family and caste system remained intact.

By 2007, two of the accused had died while the appeal languished in the high court. Like Mathura, Bhanwari’s life goes on. However, she has been transformed into an icon for struggling women all over the country, receiving accolades and recognition as a symbol of resistance. While the rape case has not been won, Bhanwari’s spirit of resistance is a winner through all the tribulations of dealing with the gargantuan legal machinery that has come to represent that elusive concept called “justice”. At public meetings earlier this year in Mangalore and Bangalore to mark International Women’s Day, Bhanwari’s dynamism mesmerised the audience, igniting hope that women need not be victims alone. “Only justice can fill my belly, not awards,” she declared, forefronting what for the women’s movement has been one of the most difficult struggles – to reconcile societal notions of justice and reparation with individual trauma.

While the rape case drags on, Bhanwari’s experience provided the impetus for a radical change in jurisprudence in the law on sexual harassment. This new approach which firmly embedded the concept of sexual harassment in the framework of constitutional guarantees of rights rather than notions of propriety, modesty or honour, emerged from the judicial recognition of the precarious position of women workers, especially those in rural settings. In response to a writ petition filed by women’s groups, the highest court in the land issued the Vishaka Guidelines on Sexual Harassment at the Workplace in 1997. The Supreme Court held,

sexual harassment at the workplace is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the Right to Equality as well as Article 19 which guarantees the Right to Practise any Profession, trade or business. Since the right to work depends on the availability of a safe working environment, and the Right to Life (Article 21) means a life with dignity, the hazards posed by sexual harassment need to be removed for these rights to have any meaning.

Indeed, it is ironic that one of the most radical conceptions of ensuring the right of women workers to a safe working environment emerged out of the experience of a worker in the insecure work arrangement within the Women’s Development Programme of Rajasthan – one that the government has categorically denied is employment at all. This is particularly paradoxical, given that this programme was an outcome of the mobilisation of the late 1970s following the publication in 1975 of “Towards Equality, Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in India (CSWI)”3authored by stalwarts in women’s studies like Phulrenu Guha, Lotika Sarkar and Vina Majumdar. Following on from this realisation, the Sixth Five-Year Plan (1980-85),4 which for the first time included a chapter on Women and Development stated,

A low rate of literacy and low economic status stress the need for greater attention to the economic advancement of women. Improvement in the socio-economic status of women would depend on a large extent on the social change in the value system, attitudes and social structure prevailing in the country.

It was to redress the situation that benefits of development in post-Independence India had not reached the vast majority of women in rural areas that the Mahila Vikas Abhikaran, or the Women’s Development Project (WDP) of Rajasthan was set up in 1984. According to the Policy Document of the Project,5

Most government schemes in which the involvement of the family in the process of development is essential, have grievously suffered due to women’s isolation. This is true not only of programmes of child welfare – in which women’s involvement is well-accepted – but also those of dairy development, social forestry, IRDP, agricultural production, etc. Indeed women’s development is one of the most critical challenges for Rajasthan.

Catalyst for Change

The WDP undoubtedly acted as a catalyst for change in rural Rajasthan, and its close association with the women’s movement in the early days contributed to a radical understanding of women’s empowerment, an understanding that began to have a life of its own. The village women’s meetings (jajams) evolved as unique forums to raise women’s issues, and women began breaking out of the shackles of traditional bondage and raised hitherto taboo subjects. They began to take part in the jati (caste) panchayat, protested against domestic and other forms of violence, demanded property and other rights, etc. The information that was shared about government schemes related to health, education, public distribution, wages and measurements in famine works, minimum wages, land records, property and other legal rights became a tool to challenge social and gender inequities. Women began to be aware of their rights and soon began to spot prevalent corrupt practices and together with the Sathins raised their voices against exploitation.

Initially they had the support of WDP, but with time, women’s power that had been unleashed at the grass roots began to upset prevailing hierarchies. This then led the state to start exercising its authority and control women’s assertions. There was growing discontent and the contradictions that were built into the programme from the very beginning began to effect cleavages that had no internal remedy. As the sathin became increasingly aware of the exploitative nature of her employment and the blatant inequalities in the salary structure within the hierarchy of WDP, the ironies of the situation surfaced.6

With the stated aim of empowering rural women through “communication of information, education and training and to enable them to recognise and improve their social and economic status”, the sathins’ job was to act as a bridge between the government and the masses, essentially, implementing and making any number of government schemes palatable. They worked, and continue to work, in precarious conditions, for a monthly pittance of Rs 1,600, which was raised from Rs 200 in the 1990s, after dogged campaigning by the Mahila Vikas Abhikaran Sathin Karamchari Sangh (the WDP Sathin Union). The poor wages and job insecurity were compounded by the challenges of the work itself.

The task of “consciousness raising” or preventing “social evils” like dowry, sex selection and child marriage can be extremely hazardous, especially at the village level with deeply entrenched feudal, caste and patriarchal structures. Bhanwari was raped while attempting to overturn exactly these sorts of practices, in her own community. It takes immense courage to enter the homes of neighbours, relatives and friends, and demand that they go against prevailing customs and stop child marriage or refuse to take dowry. Needless to say, there is no job security, no benefits, no welfare measures or even basic infrastructure like transport, and no support at all from their employers – the government – while doing this risky work. The unsafe working conditions of the majority of women workers in the unorganised sector is a larger and more complex question, but the legislation that emerged from Bhanwari Devi’s struggle for a safe working environment is one step towards ensuring the rights of women workers.

Sexual Harassment Law

The Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, which was signed into law on 22 April, is a significant civil remedy that recognises women’s right to a safe work environment free of sexual harassment. The onus is on the employer, who is responsible for ensuring such an environment and is to be held liable in case of any violations. While the public sector and private sector are covered, the law also includes other work places, including the sphere of paid domestic work. Additionally, the broad definition of “employee” encompasses a range of work situations including the informal/unorganised sector:

employee means a person employed at a workplace for any work on regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wage basis either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with, or without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name.

The challenge, of course, is in the implementation. Quite apart from the debatable legality of conferring powers of a civil court on “Internal Complaints Committees”, the proper functioning of these bodies in the organised sector and “Local Complaints Committees” depends largely on their composition. The requirement of women members as well as members “familiar with issues related to sexual harassment” is crucial for a sensitive handling of cases, since sexual harassment at the workplace must be viewed within the framework of unequal power relations within the workplace, where women at lower rungs are more vulnerable.

Indeed, the major flaw of the new law is the provision to penalise women for making “false and malicious complaints”. It is this provision, Section 14, which succeeds in pulling the rug from under the feet of any woman who plucks up the courage to complain about sexual harassment. The Indian Penal Code (Section 211) already contains a provision to protect citizens from false complaints. Therefore, the inclusion of a specific clause such as this in a law primarily meant to ensure women’s rights must be viewed with disquiet. Despite years of complaints and submissions by women’s groups demanding that this provision be dropped, the new law includes it and thereby undercuts itself.

As the Report of the Justice Verma Committee7 observes,

We think that such a provision is a completely abusive provision and is intended to nullify the objective of the law. We think that these ‘red-rag’ provisions ought not to be permitted to be introduced and they show very little thought.

Despite such a strong recommendation, the Act contains this misogynist provision which can only serve to further victimise women. Over-compensating for “misuse”, even before the law can be used, is merely writing the script for its own nemesis.

Notes

Tuka Ram and Anr vs State of Maharashtra on 15 September 1978: 1979 AIR 185, 1979 SCR (1) 810.

2 Baxi U, Lotika Sarkar, Raghunath Kelkar and Vasudha Dhagamwar, “An Open Letter to the Chief Justice of India”, SCC Journal, Vol 4, p 17, 1979.

3 Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, 1975.

4 Planning Commission, Government of India 1981.

5 Policy Document, Women’s Development Project, Rajasthan, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Government of Rajasthan, May 1984.

6 A Sawhny and Kiran Dubey, “Justice, the State and Sathins’ Struggle”, EPW, 36(16), 21 April 2001.

7 Report of the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law, chaired by Justice J S Verma, with Justice Leila Seth and Gopal Subramaniam as members. The report was submitted on 23 January 2013.

 

 

#India – When will we civilize our cops ?


Our cops continue to brutalize those they are meant to protect—the weak and the vulnerable
G. Sampath, livemint.com
First Published: Thu, May 16 2013. 04 26 PM IST
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Moral policing will continue to trump civilized policing, and we will continue to editorialize about police excesses, calling for—what else—police reforms. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
So it’s happened again. Another woman was assaulted by cops who, as exemplified by the iconic Delhi Police, are determined to be with you, for you, always, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. According to media reports, this time it’s a young girl whose crime was to be found drinking with a male friend inside a car. So the Sahibabad police, which, like all supposedly overworked and understaffed police forces in India loves to do overtime as moral police, detained the hardened criminals and repeatedly slapped the woman around for good measure.
The police’s justification for picking them up was that they were in a compromising state. And their justification for assaulting the girl, a resident of Jafrabad in north-east Delhi, was that she was drunk and abusive. Given these two factors, they had logically concluded that she was a sex worker. And sex workers, as we all know, deserve to be beaten up on sight.
This episode comes in the wake of a number of other such recent incidents: on 18 April, a girl protesting the rape of a five-year-old was slapped four times by an assistant commissioner of the Delhi Police and the whole incident was caught on camera; also in April, a 65-year-old grandmother protesting against police inaction in the case of her granddaughter’s rape was thrashed by cops in Aligarh; on 3 March, a 19-year-old Dalit girl was beaten up by cops in Tarn Taran when she went to them with a sexual harassment complaint; also in March, protesting female school teachers were brutally lathi-charged by the Patna police. The list goes on and on.
Last month, the Supreme Court came down severely on the police’s excesses. “Even an animal won’t do what the police officers are doing every day in different parts of the country,” noted a disgusted apex court. Calling such behaviour “an insult to the country”, it went on to ask the Uttar Pradesh government “Is your government left without shame?” On available evidence, the answer would be “yes”, for the Sahibabad police station does fall under the purview of the Uttar Pradesh government.
So, how do we humanize the animals in uniform such that they inspire respect and trust in the average citizen rather than fear and loathing? We all know the answer to this one: Police reforms, of course! And we’ve known this since when exactly?
A comprehensive review of the Indian police system noted that “the police force throughout the country is in a most unsatisfactory condition, that abuses are common everywhere, that this involves great injury to the people and discredit to the government, and that radical reforms are urgently necessary”. These lines are from the report prepared by the Indian Police Commission of 1902-03. Oh well, we can’t expect things to change overnight, can we? It’s been only 110 years.
And so our cops continue to brutalize those they are meant to protect—the weak, the vulnerable, women, minorities, tribals, homosexuals and the poor.
In its landmark 2006 ruling in the Prakash Singh case, the apex court had directed the setting up of three state-level institutions to make the police accountable to the citizenry rather than the party in power: a State Security Commission to lay down policies and monitor performance, a Police Establishment Board to insulate postings and transfers from political interference, and a Police Complaints Authority at the district and state level where any citizen can lodge a complaint if a cop misbehaves. Apart from these, the Union government was supposed to come up with a Model Police Act that would serve as a template for state governments across the country.
Sounds great.
But you guessed it: while a few states have partially (and grudgingly) complied with the court directives, most have not, and the Model Police Bill is gathering dust in a forgotten corner of North Block.
Committee after committee—Gore Committee on Police Training (1971-73), Ribeiro Committee on Police Reforms (1998), Padmanabhaiah Committee on Police Reforms (2000), Group of Ministers on National Security (2000-01), Malimath Committee on Reforms of Criminal Justice System (2001-03), to name a few—has done all the research needed to be done and we know everything that we need to know about how to fix the rot in our policing system. The question is: Will we ever do it? Does anybody think India will implement police reforms by May 2113?
In a paper published in 1979, the Bureau of Police Research and Development warned of the “inherent danger of making the police a tool for subverting the process of law, promoting the growth of authoritarianism, and shaking the very foundations of democracy.” We crossed this point some 1,000km ago, in my opinion. So, good luck to our democracy.
In the meantime, young girls will continue to be slapped around by cops, moral policing will continue to trump civilized policing, and we will continue to editorialize about police excesses, calling for—what else—police reforms.

 

ANGUISH of A MOTHER about the insensitivity of POLICE, MEDIA and society in getting justice to her daughter, a survivor of CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE


CHILDRAPE

Suja Jones Mazurier:

“I cannot bear this anymore. He is getting support everywhere and I am faced with suspicion or isolation from everyone: Police, close friends, NGOs, public, media and most importantly even my own lawyers and activists.

He is making derogatory statements without a sense of guilt of the crime that he has committed on my daughter for such a long period. Himself, his mother and father are speaking against me and portraying him as an angel. Media that states they have to get his version whenever they contact me, fails to enquire me on the statements that are being made by him against me and others. Nobody wants to speak out for me. Why? I am unable to find answers.

I am amazed to see that the same media that is shouting hoarse on atrocities being committed on women, fails to even hear me when I shout that my child, a very young daughter was continuously raped and sodomised by my husband. Whatever happens in the court, his version is promptly reported, without even bothering to ask me my version. In all the rape cases that we are getting reports in the media, no version of the accused is presented. They are screened, I ask this question to media. If getting the version of the other side is essential, why don’t all of you go talk to Nirbhaya’s rapists? Why? Is it because they are not white, European, charming, handsome good speakers? Or is it because she is dead her death speaks the truth automatically? Is death the only way to prove one is right? What is the use of the evidence then? Just burn it all and sentence Suja to death. That is better.

Just give my children to him and his parents who are supporting him so closely when I have no one NONE with me. If you have doubts about my case please don’t pretend to support me. Just back off or go add to Pascal’s ever growing line of supporters. I cannot bear one more look of suspicion, one more question “But why did you…? Why did you not…?” I did what I had to. I took my child to the doctors. They gave their reports, several doctors from several institutions with several reports. If these don’t count then what is the use of fighting?

The French Consulate supports him, receiving from him secret correspondence that maligns me while at the same time refusing to listen to what I have to say pretending to be ‘neutral’. They take into account Pascal’s ‘confidential letter’ and refuse to return my children’s passports to me that they took away under the pretext of ‘getting their VISAs renewed’ (They promised to return them to me once this was done). The French Consul admitted to calling the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore requesting him not to arrest Pascal in the early stages. Then he tells me, “The Indian Police should not have listened to me since this was an unofficial request.’

I visited the office of the Investigation officer along with my advocate on two occasions to get the second DNA report from the Investigative Officer. The first time he asked us to change our application letter stating that it ought to have been addressed to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), I change the address it to DCP, on receiving the same, he said it ought to have been addressed to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). I change the address again and present it to him. He says that my request cannot be considered. Being the complainant I requested him to at least allow me to see the report. I was refused. He said that I should come through the proper channel!!!!!!! Why? Now I understand why…The report shows that the swabs tested were not my daughter’s. (Pascal said that in his interview to Headlines Today)

They have made known the contents of that report to the accused and he has used it to his benefit on National television claiming that the swabs did not belong to either him or that of my daughter.

So actually in India, everything works to the advantage of the accused, no matter what the nature of his crime or his nationality – 1) He got the swabs of my daughter switched with the help of the police so that his sperm would not be found

2) He shouts that he is innocent based on the first DNA report that shows some other man’s sperm, claiming that it ‘exonerates him’.

3) When the second DNA report is revealed to him by the police , he realizes that the truth of the swabs being switched will get revealed. So he shouts that the Baptist Hospital doctors gave someone else’s swabs to the police.

4) He threatens certain sections of the media (both Indian and French) that have been reporting the story objectively so far into silence.

5) On national television he gives veiled threats to me and all ‘organizations supporting me’. He repeatedly defends the police and says that they are ‘not being allowed to do their job properly’( because I speak out and make written complaints each time they harass me and even my daughter).

And what are the police, the institutions doing for the victim? ‘It is sub-judice we cannot …’or ‘We are invegtigating into it.’ Or the press that says ‘We cannot report your case since there is nothing new, it is not a big enough story’ etc. In this melee everyone seems to have forgotten the suffering that my daughter has undergone at the hands of my husband. When all the doctors’ reports speak volumes. He is able to claim ‘innocence’. When the police refuse to produce the evidence against him that is available, when they fail to conduct the investigation the way it ought to have been, when the police are all claiming him to be not necessarily guilty and when they throw aspersions against me, put words into my statement and the statements of the witnesses that help him, he has every reason to be very happy with the investigation, he has great respect for the police and the system for very good reasons.

I am exhausted. When the time comes I will be forced to give up my children to the ‘nice white man who has his good white parents and the French Consulate and the Indian police and more to support him. After all it is true that I am alone. I have no one. It is more difficult for me to bring up my three children alone than for him Even at any time if he is convicted the whole society …’societies’ – French and Indian will only look at him and his parents with sympathy and me with contempt.

I should never have been born. I should never have gotten married or had children. I should have been killed at birth. This level of suspicion and isolation on someone who is trying to find justice for her daughter who was raped and sodomized by her own manipulative, cunning, handsome, charming, intelligent father is not just unfair, it is criminal. And why? Because the GREAT ONE opens his mouth. When HE opens his mouth all the evidence against him is automatically eliminated.It is easy for me now to see how and why women do not come out when such things happen in their homes. It is easy for me to see why women are driven to take their lives.

The criminal is not just Pascal. It is the whole society and the institutions who gather behind him or decide to ‘be neutral’ and not take sides or pretend to support me but are actually very skeptic in spite of the evidence against him.

Suja Jones Mazurier”

http://www.facebook.com/suja.jonesmazurier

 

J&K hockey coach arrested for allegedly molesting Punjab players #Vaw


JAMMU AND KASHMIR, Updated Jan 14, 2013 at 02:36pm IST

Hyderabad: The coach of Jammu and Kashmir Under-20 women’s hockey team Angad Singh has been arrested for alleged molestation attempt. The Cyberabad police have arrested coach Angad Singh on a complaint filed by Punjab players.

Members of the Punjab team complained that the coach tried to molest them on a train to Hyderabad where they are participating in the ongoing Women’s U-20 nationals.

A case has been registered against the coach under Section 354 and 506.

 

Poem on the diktat of #Delhi police chief #Delhigangrape #Vaw #moralpolicing


ढीली पोलीस या दिल्ली पोलीस

ढीली पोलीस का फरमान आया है ,
दिल्ली से समाचार पत्रो मे ,
वक्तव्य छपवाया है ,

अपनी बहादुरी , बोधिकता
का मिला जुला असर ,
बताया है …

दिल्ली की बिटिया रानी को ,
स्कूल , कालेज को जाने को ,
इक भयानक खोफ़ बताया है..

एक पोस्टर चिपकाया  है ,
बिटिया सीधा घर जाओ ,
ऐसा ऑर्डर लिखवाया है …

भाई! अपना पेट दुरुस्त करो ,
गाड़ी मे इज़्ज़त का ,
पेट्रोल भरो,
थोड़ा थोड़ा गश्त करो ,

ऐसा फरमान कब छपवओगे ,
ढीली पोलीस से,
दिल्ली पोलीस कब बन कर दिखाओगे ,
क्या कभी ,
with you , for you , always ,
का अनुवाद ,
सही सही समझ पाओगे ?

@राहुल योगी देवेश्वर

 

So what about ‘RAPIST’ HIP HOP? #honeysingh #vaw


Honey Singh’s brazenly pornographic and abusive anti-women songs glorifying rape and violence against women has evoked little protest

Hardnews Bureau Delhi

Raat ko nikali naari 

hui gadi pe savaari 

par voh raat usko pad gayi bhari. 

Peeche se aaya main 

utari uski saari 

kachchi phadi 

lungi gaadi 

aur g***d maari. 

Kyunki main………. 

Kyunki main………. 

Kyunki main hoon ek balatkari 

Kyunki main………. 

Kyunki main………. 

Kyunki main hoon balatkari

These lyrics are infamously integral to an equally infamous song by popular Punjabi hip hop star Yo Yo Honey Singh who has attained a cult status in recent times, especially among drunken men and youngsters blasting his music inside swanky cars in Delhi and other cities of north India. Such is his popularity that his songs are repeatedly being played by radio stations (not the above song), Bollywood producers are queuing outside his office, Anyurag Kashyap plans to make a movie about him and many prominent nightclubs play his vulgar, offensive and disgusting songs laced with crude masculine profanities and sexist abuse and violence directed at women.

Hence, while thousands of young girls and boys in Delhi and all over India are protesting against the brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi, many others are dancing on the tunes of this new obscene king of Indian hip hop music celebrating his highly obscene and anti-women ‘Jat machismo’.

Recently, his pictures were splashed across prominent newspapers inviting readers to join him at this year’s New Year bash in a big ticket show. His shows are often sold out. And though his lyrics are primarily in Punjabi, his appeal transcends linguistic and class boundaries.

His ardent supporters say that he represents their filthy fantasies and speaks their language since his profanities are directed at allegedly women who have either cheated on their boyfriends or dumped them. Indeed, this could be yet another chauvinist construct or a figment of perverse male imagination 

Incidentally, Honey Singh tops 2012 Youtube views. He also has several pages on facebook dedicated to him. Surprisingly, many women fans are happy to declare that they are his hardcore supporters. Overall, he has close to 16 lakh fans on the social networking platform. Pictures of celebrities proudly posing with Singh are posted on his fan pages. Following the big picture high moral ground ‘marketing trend’, some of them perhaps have come out openly against the rape as well.

His ardent supporters say that he represents their filthy fantasies and speaks their language since his profanities are directed at allegedly women who have either cheated on their boyfriends or dumped them. Indeed, this could be yet another chauvinist construct or a figment of perverse male imagination. Walk through the posh by lanes of South and West Delhi in Delhi, especially in the night, and you can hear one of his particularly most vulgar and repulsive songs (ch….) being played again and again in full blast, especially when girls are around.

The compulsive choice of such perverse songs instigating sex violence against women and glorifying their physical and mental degradation clearly reflects the mindset of these youngsters. The sick irony is that some of them might be present at these protest sites in Delhi ogling at women, even signing self righteous petitions or holding feminist placards.

It may sound strange, but there have been no mention of these filthy songs degrading women, literally glorifying sexual assault and rape, in the mainstream media. Civil society and women’s groups have ignored their crudely misogynistic content. The media largely choose to write eulogies on this third rate, cheap and desperately morbid hip hop star, how he has gained a cult status and made hip hop popular in India.

The compulsive choice of such perverse songs instigating sex violence against women and glorifying their physical and mental degradation clearly reflects the mindset of these youngsters. The sick irony is that some of them might be present at these protest sites in Delhi ogling at women, even signing self righteous petitions or holding feminist placards

Says an activist, “There have been very few protests on his brazenly pornographic lyrics or demands to ban his songs or put him behind bars. Once he is punished, will he be able to yet again proclaim so proudly that he is a balatkaari and will the celebrities and media still chase him? (rapist).