#India – Every Move She Makes. They’ll Be Watching Her #moralpolicing #Vaw


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Rising hemlines lead to rising TRPs. Aradhna Wal examines a commercial news industry committed to sleaze, to lechery and to shaming young women

There’s something rotten in the states of  and . And it seems the Kannada and Telugu news channels have identified the problem — girls gone wild, fuelled by alcohol. On 14 May, Karnataka’s leading regional news channel, TV9 Kannada, ran a programme, Olage Serideru Gundu (literally, ‘once alcohol is inside’), a fine assortment of video nasties from across the country, showing the great evils of girls drinking — the ruckus on the street, clothes askew, clashes with cops.

For some years now, the disapproving cultural policing of a class of girls — ones who can afford to go out to drink — has become a staple on regional news in both states. There is massive viewership, particularly of sleazy ‘true crime’ reports, and so editors and programming heads encourage reporters to follow women and young couples, to stake out pubs, nightclubs and make-out spots. A cursory search on YouTube reveals the many news reports with such eye-catching titles as ‘Drunk women causing hulchul’, ‘Drunk women causing hungama’, or ‘How to ban rave parties to save the youth’.

“We show boys too, but a girl being daring on screen instantly catches the viewers’ attention,” says Shreeti Chakraborty, senior producer with a leading Kannada channel. One clip was of an altercation between four female students of NALSAR University of Law and reporters from the Telugu news channel ABN Andhra Jyothy, outside Rain pub in Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills on the night of 11 April. Shruthi, Megha, Prachi and Adwitiya angrily confronted a drunk man filming them on his phone. The confrontation attracted a mob and reporters from ABN. Apparently, the drunk man was a reporter who had telephoned his colleagues. The footage was picked up by other news channels. Several of them branded the girls immoral, drunk and half-naked and even questioned the pub’s licence.

Watching the ABN footage is instructive. The camera pans up and down the women’s bodies. It is exploitative; consent is not an option, probably not even worth a thought. The viewer is implicated by the camera’s roving eye, a fellow voyeur leering at barefoot girls in short dresses. The cameraman follows the girls to their taxi, thrusting his camera through the door, his taunts provoking the girls to shout insults. Their expressions of fury at being cornered were circulated on primetime news as the faces of unacceptable modernity, of aggressive young women out at night, women who must be checked.

One irate senior journalist with a leading Telugu news channel described the girls as “public nuisance”, and launched into a tirade about “minors” getting drunk, abusing reporters and partying late into the night. He blames this “anti-social behaviour” on both NALSAR and the students themselves: “They even shot a promotional video for the ‘daaru party’ on campus. Look at the things they say in that.”

Confronted by this (self ) righteous indignation, the students launched an online campaign on change.org to prove that they had been harassed by the media. They compiled evidence to show that they were neither minors, nor drinking after legal hours (11 pm), and the leaked video that the news channels broadcast was not a promo for the party. Raj Singh, the owner of Rain, has stated that the ages of everyone at the party were checked and the girls left around 11 pm, not past midnight as the reporters alleged.

“The police raided us at 11.45 pm after the incident was over,” says Singh. “At 12.45 am the reporters barged into my club, beat up my security guard and placed bottles on the bars to suggest that the pub was still open.” His decision to stand up for the girls has meant that his pub “has been raided almost nightly by every department imaginable looking for some illegal activity”.

In response, Andhra Pradesh’s Electronic Media Association of Journalists put up a counter petition on change.org, asking for the girls who “assaulted reporters” to be condemned. It garnered over 5,000 signatures. But during routine checks, change.orgtraced the bulk of these signatures to one IP address, proving that most were fake. After they removed those signatures, only 132 were left.

The girls’ determination to stand up for themselves sets them apart in a state where reporters looking to manufacture lurid stories appear to operate without any kind of sanction. “We had to fight back,” says Shruthi Chandrasekaran, one of the girls involved in that now infamous April incident. “What’s happening is just wrong and too many people seem resigned to it. We don’t even know what motivates the media’s malice towards us.”

Andhra Pradesh has some 16 regional news channels. Sevanti Ninan, editor of The Hoot, an online media watchdog, has written about how corporate ownership sets the terms and how the need to be profitable means a redrawing of the lines between public and private. In a market exploding with money and fierce competition, no channel can afford for viewers to switch off. Thus, there’s little distinction between what channels define as eyeball-grabbing reportage and salacious entertainment. News seems to essentially mean reality TV served with an indigestible side dish of hypocritical, moralistic commentary.

GS Rammohan, associate editor with ABN Andhra Jyothy, accepts that TV news has gone insane, driven by ratings and profit. According to the , what sells is sex and crime. “People enjoy watching other people’s private lives on TV,” he says. As long, apparently, as the “other people” are comely young women. The same senior journalist who denounced the NALSAR students stated matter-of-factly that channels look to show beautiful women onscreen as de facto policy. Local media in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, Rammohan says, are similar in this regard. Though Karnataka has six regional news channels as opposed to 16, its crime news coverage is famous for stings, both successful and attempted, on bars in Bengaluru, Mangalore and Manipal. Many of these stings are the work of reporters employed by Suvarna News 24×7 and TV9 Kannada, the two most popular regional news channels in Karnataka. Both blame the other for lowering the tone of the public conversation with leering, tabloid journalism.

Raoof Kadavanad, a crime reporter with a leading English daily in Hyderabad, watches the tactics of TV reporters with some bemusement. He describes how crime reporters seek out couples in public spaces and film them with hidden cameras. The footage is then screened to bolster the argument that the behaviour of young women in the city is deplorable. After the NALSAR incident, TV5 aired a segment about Hyderabad’s nightlife that deplored what was “happening to our sisters and daughters”

In July 2012, Tonic, another pub in Banjara Hills, was raided for having a party long after legal hours. The media filmed the raid, focussing largely on the women in that familiar, creepy style. Depressingly, this behaviour is typical. In January 2012, Suvarna broadcast a ‘sting’ on illegal bars in Bengaluru. The ‘illegality’ of said establishments was, of course, of less concern than filming the girls on their cameras. In 2011, a medical student was photographed at a party in Le Rock Cafe in Bengaluru. Her picture was published in a Kannada newspaper belonging to the Telugu channel Sakshi TV as an example of the malign influence of western culture on the present generation.

The combination of sanctimoniousness and aggression is visible. Girls are hunched over, hiding their faces, surrounded by baying men. The footage is edited insidiously, with strategic blurring implying nudity when a girl is wearing a dress deemed insufficiently modest. Shame is thrust on the girls. “It was terrifying,” remembers Shruthi, “to be chased by this man with a camera, who won’t even let you shut the car door.” Her fear has been felt before by innumerable women running away from cameras, desperately covering their faces with dupattas, scarves or their own hands.

Another popular tactic used by reporters is to wait around with traffic police conducting its weekly drunk-driving tests at various checkpoints around Hyderabad. Every Friday and Saturday night, a small group of reporters armed with lights and cameras film these checks, waiting for women who might be stopped. “Channels use that footage in different packages to say different things for months. People enjoy it,” says ABN Andhra Jyothy’s Rammohan.

In Bengaluru, Ajit Hanamakkanavar, the Crime Bureau Chief of Suvarna, acknowledges that “news has crossed over the line to  and reality TV”. “In the TV business, the remote control is your biggest enemy. No one watches serious, investigative stories,” he adds. The channel has a “legal team at the ready” to deal with accusations of slander and defamation. The reporters are often tipped off about the bar raids by the police. “A commissioner will not be my source,” says Hanamakkanavar, “but a constable will be.” A senior police officer confirmed that the constabulary and reporters often share information.

Both Rammohan and Hanamakkanavar put the blame squarely on upper management. The top brass have cynically turned moral policing into a lucrative business. Many of the reporters, who often come with their own cultural baggage, actually believe they are making a valuable difference, providing a much-needed check to out-of-control youth. It is not enough for them to observe society; they feel the need to become enforcers of a particular, usually imaginary, cultural code. Sampath Kumar, a crime reporter for ABN, earnestly tries to explain how “these people” can be kept in check “through fear of the media and by being made to understand that their behaviour is wrong”. He claims the reporters have the public on their side and that tip-offs come just as often from their audience as from the police.

In Karnataka, there is also a penchant for blaming the outsider, or the ‘foreign hand’ — students and professionals, who flock to cities from other states and countries, and bring money, decadence and loose morals. The pressure to make the money to lead extravagant lifestyles also results in crime, say reporters. Rajesh Rao, the Mangalore crime reporter for TV9 Kannada, says that he’s “seen what goes on in these pubs, what drugs are exchanged. These petticoat parties where girls wear short clothes”. Suresh Kumar Shetty, the Mangalore crime reporter for Suvarna, worries about the effects the “lavish lifestyle” of rich students from outside the state have on locals.

Like Rao, Shetty admits that his channel has attempted to smuggle cameras into popular bars. He once asked two friends of his, who were not reporters, to enter a bar as a couple and film the goings-on. To validate the rightness of the cause, he refers to the tragic suicide of Sneha, an 18-year-old Mangalore girl, in February this year. A drug addict, she reportedly killed herself because she couldn’t afford the next fix. Her parents spoke about a girl who used to top her class at school until she started going to parties in hotels and pubs and was introduced to drugs.

This story fits conveniently into Rao and Shetty’s argument that local youths are tempted into vices they cannot afford and that the media must protect them. Naveen Soorinje, the Mangalore reporter for Kasthuri TV, disagrees. With vehemence. He made national headlines last year after the 23 July 2012 homestay incident in which activists from the Hindu Jagarana Vedike attacked boys and girls at a birthday party. Soorinje’s coverage shed light on what had happened, yet he was named as an accused in the case by the police. Released on bail in March this year, all charges against Soorinje were dropped by the Karnataka government on 14 June. Having consistently reported on cultural policing, he points out when right wing groups such as the Sri Ram Sene go on one of their periodic moral policing jaunts in Mangalore, the media, tipped off by these groups, is close behind. It’s a cosy relationship. The media gets political backing for its own occasional hand-waving about decadent modern culture and the right wing groups get the soapbox and spotlight they so desire. “When the right wing groups are not around,” says Soorinje, “TV channels film young people in pubs and ask ‘what is the Hindu sangathan doing now?’ When TV9 does something, Suvarna tries to catch up by doing something more sensational.”

This role of social responsibility is championed by TV9 Telugu’s executive editor Dinesh Akkula and Input Editor Arvind Yadav. According to them, the story of Telugu media is one of transformation — from a cutthroat business to responsible journalism that is the hallmark of the likes of TV9. “Maturity is coming in slowly,” says Akkula, “we stick to the guidelines recommended by the News Broadcasters Association (NBA). We don’t target specific people or groups, but we show what’s in the public interest.”

In TV9 Telugu’s infamous Planet Romeo sting (February 2011), a reporter posed as a gay man on the site Planet Romeo and befriended other members, eliciting intimate details while recording his conversations. The ‘report’ was broadcast with lots of hand-wringing about how Hyderabad was falling prey to the fashionable gay culture. The conversations were played on TV, revealing identities, personal sexual preferences and histories. Prominent gay rights lawyer Aditya Bandopadhyay filed a complaint and the NBA fined the channel 1 lakh, a piffling sum for a network of TV9’s size.

That appalling piece of reporting shows that it’s not just middle and upper-middle class girls in the firing line, but all manner of easy targets. The Telugu news channel NTV 24×7 once filmed transgenders at an LGBT awareness event held by the NGO Suraksha and then aired that footage in a completely different context, when a man was murdered at a popular cruising spot. TV9 Kannada did a major expose in 2009 on the “Devdasi tradition” among sex workers of Kudligi in Bellary district. The story’s fallout, as documented in a fact-finding report by Vimochana, a women’s organisation, and Nava Jeevana Mahila Okkuta, a Dalit Women’s Collective, was that these sex workers, previously accepted by a wider community, were now ostracised. They had lost their only source of livelihood, couldn’t send their children to school and were shunned by the neighbours. The TV9 journalist, Prakash Noolvi, went on to win the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award in January 2012. “The reporter didn’t hide the faces of these women,” says Akkai Padmashali, the media coordinator of Sangama, an LGBT organisation. “They cheated these women by posing as clients. One had even been visiting them for sex.” She angrily recounts the many times reporters secretly film sex workers to extort money from them.

Activists and intellectuals point to how a large section of society gives legitimacy to the media and other self-appointed moral police. People will be outraged by a girl being beaten up, but will also say that she should not have been out drinking in the first place. Conservatives who might be of completely different backgrounds find common ground when setting limits on women’s behaviour. Shaming is a cultural reality. Madhavi Lata, a scriptwriter and former reporter for NTV, is honest about the fact that truth is often warped to fit viewers’ preconceptions. But even she asks why “these girls give people the chance to say something about them. They could go out for a drink in more decent clothes”.

Hyderabad-based activist Tejaswini Madabhushi recalls media reaction to the 5 January ‘Midnight March’ in the city, an attempt to take back the night from sexual predators and the moral police. “Vernacular news reporters,” says Madabhushi, “kept asking us why we wanted to go out in the night and provoke men like them.”

Pop culture too reflects this attitude. Audiences cheer when Telugu heroes verbally and physically abuse heroines. It’s part of a nationwide acceptance of . Sandhya, a leading gender rights activist in Hyderabad, says people “want to see women as sex objects. Studios call us for panel discussions and pit us against someone from the right wing. We tell them to leave the girls alone and start telling the boys how to behave.” R Akhileshwari, a senior print journalist, points out that it’s “always the woman’s body” that is the locus of censure or dispute. “Why do these channels not look at the liquor shops on the road, where men buy drinks, enjoying a session right there by the roadside?”

Perhaps legal challenges will force TV channels to modify their intrusive behaviour. “It is a violation of privacy,” says Bengaluru-based lawyer Akmal Rizvi. “It can be interpreted as stalking, which comes under Section 354D of the IPC.” One of Hyderabad’s eminent lawyers says, on the condition of anonymity, that some reporters “blackmail people for money by threatening to show their faces on TV”. The NALSAR students cited the reporters’ violations of the NBA’s regulations concerning stings and media ethics. The reporters argue that roads are public areas.

“Moral policing on TV goes back to the ’90s when crime shows started,” says Deepu, a Bengaluru- based documentary filmmaker with Pedestrian Pictures. He reiterates the point that journalists are part of the social fabric that consumes these shows. But the very morality these channels pretend to is hypocritical. “Why would you want to see that picture of the skimpily dressed girl if you are so moral?” asks Nisha Susan, freelance journalist and writer, who began the ‘Pink Chaddi’ campaign in 2009 in response to Sri Ram Sene goons beating up women in a Mangalore pub. Thousands of people around the country responded to her call to send the thugs the aforementioned items of women’s underwear. She adds that each generation must push the boundaries for acceptable female behaviour and be prepared for the inevitable friction.

As of now, vernacular media is working hard to play to its audience’s prejudices. An audience that tunes in repeatedly to be scandalised. Perhaps one day, these channels will be overtaken by their viewers as they’re forced to adapt to changing times. One day, the audience will note the rage on a young girl’s face as she is backed into a corner by a reporter wielding a camera. And then they’ll no longer listen to the reporter’s claims that it is the young girl whose behaviour is immoral.

aradhna@tehelka.com

(Published in Tehelka Magazine, Volume 10 Issue 27, Dated 6 July 2013)

 

#India – Dr Soonawala rape case in Mumbai shows how elite privilege works #Vaw


http://sunday-guardian.com/administrator/iupload/rape-case-final_1371904787.jpg

Illustration by Megha Roy Talukdar | Dev Kabir Malik Design

Police conduct, elite reaction and the manner in which this story was reported illustrate how hard it is for a poor woman to accuse a privileged man of rape in India, writes Richa Kaul Padte
Richa Kaul Padte  22nd Jun 2013
There are many stories within this story, often manufactured, and almost entirely contradictory. Perhaps then we should begin with the story that has been told the least: the story of a 26 year old woman who was allegedly raped by her general practitioner Dr. Rustom Soonawala on 17 May at 6pm at his clinic in Mumbai. The narrative begins clearly enough: on leaving the clinic, she told her husband what had happened. At 10.30 pm the same day, an FIR under Section 376 – rape – was registered at the Khar Police Station. The following morning, two police constables accompanied the survivor and her husband to Soonawala’s residence at Dadar Parsi Colony, where she identified the doctor as her rapist. Here, however, is where the story begins to splinter.

The constables sent the couple back to Khar, and told Soonawala that he must accompany them to the police station. Choosing to travel in his own car (questions around why an immediate arrest wasn’t made or why an accused rapist is permitted his own transportation remain unanswered), Dr. Soonawala revved up his engine with a police constable in the front seat and another in the back, along with two of his sisters. Here is precisely where all coherent narratives disintegrate, because over an hour later, the police officers returned to the station, saying that Soonawala had absconded. One account says that one officer had to leave the car to let a patient inside, and the other got out to prevent Soonawala from escaping. Another suggests that there was only ever one constable involved, who was lured out of the car on the pretext that everyone was getting out — before the car sped away. Any police account, however, raises several burning questions: why was the licence plate of the car not recorded? (‘We forgot,’ say the police) Why was the control room not telephoned with a description of the car to be halted at the next signal? (‘We didn’t think of it,’ they say).

On 11 June, over two weeks after the FIR had been lodged, the still-absconding doctor and accused rapist was granted anticipatory bail. And the shock-horror-anger following last year’s Delhi gang rape was nowhere to be seen.

Speaking at a public meeting organised by the Aam Aadmi Party on 18 June in Mumbai, Justice Suresh Hospet said, ‘This reminds me of what the first CPI Chief Minister of Kerala said: If in a court of law there is a rich, well-dressed, suited and booted person standing on one side, against an ill-clad, starving poor man on the other side, the court has an inherent tendency to lean in favour of the former against the latter. This is exactly what is happening today. It is the rich against the poor.’ As a member of the upstanding Bombay Parsi community, which has always held a position of social and cultural privilege dating back to British Imperialism, Soonawala’s respectability was vouched for from all sides. From a lawyer-community with personal ties to the doctor to medical professionals (‘if this can happen to him it can happen to us': a perverse twist in the logic of vulnerability that normally exists between doctor and patient, says Sujatha Gothoskar from the feminist collective Forum Against the Oppression of Women) to the wider Parsi community, efforts to clear the doctor’s name were aggressive and multi-pronged.

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The crux of the issue here lies not in Soonawala’s guilt or lack thereof, but in the fact that the law was prevented from taking its own course – singularly because of the social and economic standing of the accused.

Activists who had worked with Soonawala to strengthen laws against hawkers alleged that the case was fabricated by the hawker community in an act of vengeance. But the survivor is no hawker. She is a quiet, soft-spoken wife of a tailor from Orissa, with little money and no one to speak for her. In an unprecedented movement of support for a man accused of a crime that recently made every second Indian a feminist, over 300 people attended the first hearing for anticipatory bail in the Mumbai’s Sessions Court, where the victim was heckled from all sides. How does a judiciary rule in the face of such overwhelming, ‘respectable’ support?

he Order issued by the Mumbai High Court judge on 11 June was a regressive about-turn from the strides made by the Ordinance that resulted from the Justice Verma Committee Report. ‘Facts’ like ‘why didn’t she scream?’ and the 5 hour ‘lapse in time’ it took the survivor of a physical, sexual and mental assault to reach the police station took precedence over forensic evidence of semen on the examination table; an appointment book listing only the survivor’s name for the day; and clear police negligence in locating an absconding Soonawala. Other ‘facts’ cited were that the survivor was unsure about the extent of penetration, and that a forensic report dated 20 days after the incident found no traces of male DNA on her vaginal smear —factors that have been dismissed by the Supreme Court in several rape cases where the survivor is accustomed to sexual intercourse. In a note on the subject Justice Hospet writes, ‘In most…rape cases, there is the victim and the accused — and it happens in a closed room, and there are no eye witnesses.’ It comes down to what the judiciary believes. But as the evidence shows, this ‘belief’ does not exist free of classism and privilege. Aam Aadmi Party members Anjali Damania and Preeti Sharma Menon ask, ‘What if the case was reversed? What if a tailor raped a Parsi lady doctor? Would we say that he should get anticipatory bail? No, we’d say, “Arrest him and put him in jail immediately.”‘

Says Sujatha Gothoskar, ‘What [supporters of Soonawala] don’t seem to understand is that this sets such a dangerous precedent with much wider implications than the case itself…Whether you believe her or the doctor, let the law take its own course; let him be arrested.’ The crux of the issue here lies not in Soonawala’s guilt or lack thereof, but in the fact that the law was prevented from taking its own course – singularly because of the social and economic standing of the accused. Now being heard in the Supreme Court, if the current ruling is not overturned, will the Soonawala case be the new litmus test for rape cases of the future? Fast track for poor rapists, bail for the wealthy? The more support in court, harassment of the survivor and reportage from an uncritical media, the better the chance for acquittal?

If the public and media conscience and consciousness were so righteously raised by the aftermath of the Delhi gang rape, the Soonawala case shows the falseness and elitism of that consciousness to begin with. When it’s the tailor, the plumber, the masked villain in the night, the country (as represented by social media, at least) is up in arms against this ‘dishonouring’ and violent act against its women. When the culprit is ‘one of us’, the silence is chilling.

 

#India – Tribal Woman raped in bus, helper arrested #Odisha #Vaw


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Odisha Tribal woman raped in moving bus

PTI : Bhubaneswar/Cuttack, Wed Jun 19 2013, 1

TOP ST

A 25-year-old tribal girl was allegedly raped by the helper of an air-conditioned luxury bus in which she was travelling, police today said. The accused identified as Susanta Hembram has been arrested for allegedly raping the tribal girl, resident of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, in the moving bus on Sunday night when other passengers were fast asleep, they said.

In her complaint, the victim alleged that Hembram raped her in the rear seat of the private bus en route Jagatpur near Cuttack, between 3 to 3.30 am when there were only few passengers and all of them were asleep, City DCP S Praveen Kumar said.

Hembram is believed to be an acquaintance of the victim,who works as a domestic help in Jagatpur, on the outskirts of Cuttack city. The incident came to light when the girl was rescued by some people at Gatiroutpatna, about 5 km from Cuttack on Cuttack-Jagatsinghpur road yesterday.

The Mahila police station of the city after registering a case sent both the accused and the victim for medical examination on the day. A police scientific team is also assisting the city police in investigating the case.

The State Transport Commissioner Surendra Kumar informed that the permit of the passenger bus in which the crime was committed has been cancelled. “It is one of the primary duties of the bus staff to ensure that the passengers boarding the buses travel safely and reach their destinations unharmed,” Kumar said. Meanwhile, the Private Bus Owners’ Association condemning the incident has demanded that stringent punishment should be given to the bus helper and urged the bus owners to ensure that the credentials of the persons are verified properly before they are recruited to perform duties in the buses plying at night.

Delhi High Court- Having sex with woman on false promise of marriage is #Rape #Vaw


PTI : New Delhi, Sun Jun 09 2013,
High courtHaving sex with woman on false promise of marriage is rape: High Court. (Reuters)
Having sexual relations with a woman on false promise of marriage amounts to rape, the Delhi High court has said.”Having sexual relations with a woman against her will or without her consent also amounts to rape under the IPC. If the consent was obtained on a false assurance or promise of marriage, the consent cannot be considered to be full and free and it would be a case of rape,” Justice R V Easwar said.The court made the observation while rejecting anticipatory bail plea of Abhishek Jain in a case lodged by his wife alleging that he had sex with her prior to their

marriage on the promise that he would marry her.

In her complaint, the woman also said that he married her only after she lodged the case with police against him.

“It would prima facie appear that the marriage was gone through only to persuade the complainant to withdraw her complaint of February 25, 2013.

“Immediately after the marriage, the applicant started physically abusing the complainant, apparently, in the hope that she would leave him, but when she filed a complaint, the accused was forced to apply for bail,” the court said.

The woman had filed a complaint in February, 2013 with the Rani Bagh Police Station alleging that on several occasions before the marriage, the applicant (Jain) had raped her after falsely promising to marry her.

However, on March 4, 2013, the applicant and the complainant got married at the Arya Samaj Vivah Mandir, Ghaziabad and the marriage registration was done by the

Registrar, Hindu Marriages, Ghaziabad, the complaint said.

Referring to the contents of the FIR lodged by the woman against her husband, the court said, “The FIR narrates the physical abuse which the complainant had suffered at the hands of the applicant after the marriage…The FIR further narrates that the accused even used to tell the complainant that ‘he had married me (her) only to make me withdraw the complaint.’

“Several instances are narrated in the FIR about threats and physical abuse suffered by the complainant not only from the applicant but also by his family members who had conspired together to cheat her and get her married to him only to make her withdraw the complaint of rape against him.”

 

#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

 

Delhi girl gang-raped in Uttar Pradesh #Vaw


IANS  |  New Delhi  June 13, 2013

A 14-year-old girl was kidnapped and gang-raped by two people in Uttar Pradesh‘s Badaun, police said Thursday. The girl has been rescued and one of the rapists arrested.

The girl went missing from her house at Neb Sarai area since June 5.

Delhi Police managed to rescue her from a house in Badaun area, six days after she made a call to her parents and informed them about her ordeal.

“A team of Delhi Police was sent to area and she was rescued June 12. One person identified as Jarib Ahmad, 28, has been arrested while his relative is on run,” an officer told IANS.

The absconding person, who was known to the girl, had lured her to his native place, and he and Jarib took turns to rape her, the girl told police in her complaint.

 

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 – 14-year-old returning from school gang-raped, strangulated to death #Vaw #WTFnews


 

Dailybhaskar.com | Jun 12, 2013,

Nadia (west Bengal): If you think we have learned a lesson from the Delhi-gang rape of a student in moving bus, then think again. Crime against girls has shown no sign of abetting. Now, a 14-year-old girl was allegedly gang-raped and strangulated to death while she was returning home from school in Nadia district, police said on Tuesday.

 

According to police, the Class VII student had on Monday taken shelter under a railway shed in Gede area as it was raining. Her neighbour, Bimal Sardar, offered to share his umbrella to walk back home.

 

Police said Sardar accompanied by two other associates took her behind a turmeric bush and gang-raped her. They then strangulated her to death. Her body was recovered by the police on Tuesday morning, the officials said. Locals, who had seen the girl with Sardar, handed him over to the police after beating him up.

 

DSP (HQ) Dibyajyoti Das said, “The accused Bimal is now in police custody. He confessed his fault in the interrogation. He also told the names two of his associates, but they are absconding. Police will arrest them soon”. In a separate case in Nadia’s Shantipur area, a woman’s body buried under the ground was spotted by locals on Tuesday. Police said it is being suspected that the woman was raped and then killed.

 (with inputs from PTI)

 

Irish rape victim tries to take her own life in India #Vaw


Indians light candles as they mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, India. The woman's death sparked a wave of protests like this one

Indians light candles as they mourn the death of a gang rape victim in New Delhi, India. The woman‘s death sparked a wave of protests like this one

LUKE BYRNE – 09 JUNE 2013

AN Irish woman, who was allegedly raped by a businessman while working for an aid agency in India, has attempted to take her own life.

It is understood that the 21-year-old woman took a mixture of sleeping pills, painkillers and other drugs.

She was discovered unconscious in her hotel room yesterday by a fellow Irish national who was staying at the same complex.

Sudeshna Lahiri, deputy director of the Calcutta Medical Research Institute, told reporters that the medicines were pumped from the woman’s stomach.

She is expected to make a full recovery.

The woman has claimed she was sexually assaulted after accompanying a man to his home in the Kalighat area of Kolkata on June 1.

She had been celebrating her 21st birthday with friends earlier that night.

Last December, a 23-year-old Indian woman was gang-raped on a bus that was being driven through New Delhi. She died from her injuries two weeks later. The case sparked mass protests and calls for tougher action to combat sex crimes against women.

In March, a 39-year-old Swiss woman was gang-raped as she camped in a remote forest in central India with her boyfriend, while that same month, a 31-year-old British woman was forced to leap from a second-floor hotel balcony to escape an attacker in the city of Agra, home of the Taj Mahal.

The attacks have led to a sharp fall in tourist numbers to India, especially among women. The number of foreigners visiting India is reported to be down 25pc, with the number of women travellers down 35pc.

 

source- http://www.independent.ie

 

Memorandum to Chief Justice of Bombay High Court – Complaint of rape against Dr Rustom Soonawalla #Rape #Vaw


6th June 2013

To

The Chief Justice,

High Court,

Bombay

Reference: Concerns of women’s groups regarding the manner in which the complaint against Dr. Rustom Sonawala is dealt with. (Anticipatory Bail Application No. 578 of 2013)

Sir,

We, the members of women’s groups, organisations and individuals are concerned about developments in the complaint of rape filed against Dr. Rustom Sonawala at Khar Police Station on 17.05.2013.

We have been fighting for the rights of victims in cases of sexual assault in Mumbai and various parts of the country for many decades. In view of the increasing number of cases of sexual assault and brutal rapes, laws regarding rape and sexual assault have been recently amended to bring in stringent punishments. After the Justice Verma Committee report and the recent happenings in the country, we felt that the Courts too were taking the issue of violence against women more seriously and sensitively.

 

Background: A 26 year old woman, who was taking treatment from Dr. Rustom Sonawala since August 2012, filed a complaint of rape against him on the evening of 17th May, 2013. The filing of the first information report as well as the medical examination of the complainant was concluded by 7 am of the 18th of May.

After the complainant and her husband returned home on the same day, 18th May, the police called them to Dadar to identify the doctor, as they had located his whereabouts in Parsi colony.  On locating and identifying the accused doctor, the two police personnel accompanied him in his car, asking the complainant to take a taxi. While the complainant as well as the police personnel reached the Khar police station, the accused Doctor managed to abscond while he was being accompanied by the police.

During protests that were being held against the doctor opposite his clinic, one of the neighbours informed some of the protestors, that the same doctor had also molested their daughter in the past.

This has raises several questions:

1.       Why did the police go to arrest the doctor in a taxi for which the complainant was made to pay and not in a police van?

2.       Why has no action been taken against the concerned police personnel and why have they not been suspended?

3.       Given the complicity of the entire machinery with the accused, how do we ensure a fair trial?

4.       How do we ensure that even the forensic and medical reports are not tampered with?

Further, the accused who had not been arrested and was absconding even after 10 days of the crime, on 29th May, 2013, moved the High Court seeking anticipatory bail, even as his application for anticipatory bail was pending before the Sessions Court at Greater Bombay, Mumbai. In the anticipatory bail application, the accused said through his lawyer that his blood and semen sample may be collected and he be given protection from arrest till the anticipatory bail application is finally decided in the Sessions Court. The victim’s advocate argued that the accused was absconding and in his absence no reliefs should be granted to him.
On 29th May, 2013 the Hon’ble Court passed an order directing the accused to deposit his passport and appear before the Khar Police Station. The Assistant Public Prosecutor was asked whether the court should pass an order of not arresting the accused or she would give an undertaking. The Assistant Public Prosecutor said that she would give an undertaking of not arresting the accused till his anticipatory bail was decided by the Hon’ble Sessions Court. The court asked by when they would do the medical examination and the Assistant Public Prosecutor said that there is no provision in law by which this medical examination can be done prior to arrest.  After her refusal to agree to do the medical test the court said it will hear the matter after vacation, that is, on 11th June, 2013 and till then the accused is protected, as the Assistant Public Prosecutor has given an undertaking regarding the same.

Sec. 54  of the Code of Criminal Procedure allows medical examination of the accused at the instance of the accused, if the examination of his body will afford evidence which will disprove commission by him of any offence or which will establish the commission by any other person of any offence against his body.

But the section is very clear that it is after arrest and that the accused will have to make an application to the Magistrate.

We fear that the Order of the Hon’ble High Court sets a wrong and dangerous precedent in terms of rape matters for many reasons.

The Accused was not present before the court and yet he was granted relief, which is never done, especially in rape matters. The medical evidence of semen, blood, injuries cannot be the sole basis of deciding whether rape was committed.  At present the law defines rape by penetration, [that is, penetration is enough to prove rape,]; nowhere does it say that it has to be coupled with the presence of DNA.

The FIR states that there was penetration; the presence of DNA and other factors is corroborative evidence.

If this order becomes final it not only  means that the rape accused can approach the courts to seek this kind of protection, but it will also mean that cases will be closed on the basis of DNA reports. And given the circumstances related above, one cannot be sure that these reports cannot not doctored or tampered with. DNA test can be evaluated during trial.

This also takes us to the conclusion that if traces of semen are not found, there is no rape. This goes counter to the recent Criminal Amendment Act, 2013.

The current situation also gives the accused the freedom to tamper with the evidence and witnesses considering the fact he was able to connive with police and abscond right in their presence.

The Hon’ble Court before giving relief to the Doctor ought to have considered the fact that the Doctor is a fugitive from Justice.

In fact he has obstructed the legal system by conniving with police personnel. It is obvious that in some way he was able to exercise undue influence on the police and thereby he could go absconding right in presence of the policemen.

The Hon’ble Court instead of granting him relief should have instructed him to first submit himself before the investigating team and also should have directed that a complaint be registered against the Doctor as well as the police for subverting the process by using undue influence.

It is indeed a question before all us citizens and women specifically, whether Justice is the prerogative of rich people only.

It is a worrying thought that this sort of judgment will act as a precedent in future cases. This goes counter to the present ethos after the 16th December 2012 rape case and its aftermath.
We hope you will relook at the judgment and do the needful.

Yours sincerely

Forum Against Oppression of Women, Mumbai

Aawaaz-E-Niswan

Akshara

SAKHYA (women’s guidance cell)

Women Research and Action Group (WRAG)

SNEHA

VACHA

CORO (for literacy)

YUVA

Samajwadi Mahila Sabha

Stree Mukti Sanghatana

Anagha Sarpotdar

Kamayani Bali Mahabal

Address: 29, Bhatia Bhuvan, Babrekar Marg, Off Gokhale Road, Dadar (West), Bombay – 400 028

Email: faowindia@yahoo.co.in

cc- Home Minister R R Patil