Immediate Release-Women’s Organisations Condemn the Arrest of Paraplegic woman in Jaipur


Dharna at the Vidhan Sabha on 1st March, 2012

Women’s Organisations Condemn the Arrest Of Seema who Is 80% Disabled And Hold A Protest Outside The Vidhan Sabha.
Probably the First Case in the State where a Person Leading a Completely Paralytic Life Has Been Arrested. It Is Very Clear That That The Rajasthan Police And Home Department HAVE DONE THIS TO SAVE THE POLICEMAN WHO WAS HER SEXUAL HARASSER
Cases Of Murder Victim Sonu and Soni Sodi, victim of sexual torture by Chhattisgarh police also Raised.
Kavita Srivastava And Others Put In List Of Persons Prohibited From Entering The Vidhan Sabha

Jaipur,

1st March, 2012

Under the leadership of Dr Pawan Surana, Ex chair of the State Women’s Commission women’s organisation with representation from trade unions protested outside the Vidhan Sabha against the arrest of Seema a parpaplegic in an abduction and conspiracy case. As is well known Seema is herself a victim of sexual torture by the Pratap Nagar police station SHO and other constables who are presently lodged in Jail and the trial is underway. ( FIR no 51/2011). Probably in the history of Indian Criminal justice system a paraplegic of this sort was never arrested and the Rajasthan police has made history.

According to the groups the arrest of Seema in the Hina case (50/2011), is part of the design to prevent the witnesses of Seema in the sexual torture case to give their statements against the SHO and his colleagues. They also have been arrested as conspirators in the case and are lodged in the same jail where Ram Niwas vishnoi is. The main agenda of the arrest of the police has been to discredit Seema and her witnesses and save Ram niwas Vishnoi.

Women’s groups were of the opinion that while Hina’s case may be genuine and they have sympathies with her, but her parents had grudgingly got her to meet senior leaders of the movement just once. After that she was never available.

They comdemned Ashok Gehlot for this move by the police, which was said was being done under orders of the Rajashan High Court. . They were of the opinion that incase it was such, then why did they not rush to the Supreme Court, as they did in the Reservation case and got relief.

They could have done it in Seema’s case too if they cared for the dignity of the disabled. According to PUCL Vice President Radha Kant Saxena the National Jail reforms expert said that the Ashok Gehlot Government and the Rajsathan police had made history by arresting a paralytic.Women’s groups have decided to go to all authorities against this.

The assembly also raised the issue of the case of the murder of domestic worker Sonu where the police refused to respond to the missing report of the parents and the husband and instead said that Bengali women like to have sex with other men and that she would return in a few days. The family and the members of the domestic workers union ran around urging the police to respond. Finally, eight days later the body of Sonu was found close to the SP office. The manner in which the police had handled this situation was taken up strongly with the senior police officials and an SP was appointed to investigate the allegations. Her case was also taken up strongly.

When a delegation from the dharna tried to go into the Vidhan Sabha to meet the Chief Minister they were told that all the people could go but Kavita Srivastava as she was in the prohibited list of persons from entering the Vidhan Sabha. The entire group condemned the Ashok Gehlot Government and decided that they would not go into the Vidhan Sabha. From informal sources we were told that other activists were also put on this list of those prohibited people. The assembly has decided to attack this clipping of democratic rights.

The meeting concluded with a resolve to call a meeting of all activists urgently and build a movement for the justice of Seema. They also decided that they would build a campaign against this list prohibiting people from entering the VIDHAN SABHA

We are,

The speakers at the Meeting were Dr. Pawan Surana, ex chairperson State Women’s Commission, Mewa Bharti, Rajasthan Domestic Workers Union, REnuka PAmecha, Women’s Rehabilitation group, Prem Krishan Sharma and Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, Harkesh, Construction and General Worker’s Union, Mukesh and LAxman, Suchana evam Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan, Manju from CFAR, Hemlata, Jagriti Mahila Manch, Jaipur, Akshay from the Right to food and Resource Centre, Sunita a domestic worker,

Kavita SRivastava..

WTF Jaipur – Paraplegic woman arrested for ‘kidnap’ and ‘sexual abuse’


Jaipur: In a shocking and bizarre incident in Jaipur, the police have arrested a 21-year-old paraplegic woman over charges of abuse. The police claim the woman is involved in the kidnapping and sexual abuse of another woman.

What is shocking is that the 21-year old herself is allegedly a victim of sexual abuse by three Rajasthan policemen.

Her parents alleged that she was being falsely implicated in another case so that the three arrested policemen could walk free.

She lost both her legs after she jumped in front of a train in January 2011, upset over allegedly being beaten and sexually humiliated by the policemen.

The woman is now at Jaipur’s SMS Hospital after being sent to judicial custody. Her father, who is a police constable himself, claimed she needed constant help and attention.

But police have said that they responded to the Rajasthan High Court‘s order seeking arrest of all accused in the other woman’s sexual abuse case.

Watch Ibn Video here

 

Hurrah- Political Prisoner Liliany Obando is released!-


Trade unionist and political prisoner Liliany Obando was released on Thursday 1 March 2012 from the prison where she had been held for almost 4 years on charges of “rebellion”.

Liliany was arrested in 2008 while serving as the Human Rights Coordinator for FENSUAGRO, Colombia‘s largest organization of peasant farmers and farm workers unions. She was arrested while finishing a report about the more than 1,500 Fensuagro members who had been killed by the Colombian military and paramilitary troops over its first 30 years of existence. However, all is not settled regarding Liliany’s case.

The court process has not been suspended and she still could be sent back to jail. When asked how she was feeling about the news of her release, Liliany said, “I have mixed emotions. I want to leave, but I don’t want to leave the other political prisoners behind. We have to keep working until all the political prisoners are free.” This victory was only possible through the united efforts of workers internationally who fought tirelessly for Liliany ‘s release. The struggle must continue for all political prisoners everywhere.

Background 

Liliany Obando  is a documentary filmmaker, the single mother of two children, ages 16 and six, and at the time of her arrest she was a sociology graduate student at the National University. A week before that, she published a report documenting the killing from 1976 on of 1,500 members of the Fensuagro agricultural workers’ union. Obando served as Fensuagro’s human rights director. She had recently toured Australia, Canada and Europe seeking support for Fensuagro’s educational and advocacy work. Along the way, she gained international recognition both as a spokesperson for the rights of women and rural families and as a critic of repression in Colombia.

Fensuagro, with 80,000 members, is the largest peasant and farm worker union in Colombia. Half its members are landless peasants, 30 percent small landowners, 20 percent sharecroppers and 43 percent women. For decades, conflict over land has been center stage in Colombia. Industrial scale agriculture, mining, oil extraction and hydroelectric projects are well ensconced. Multinational mining corporations, for example, hold concessions applying to 40 percent of Colombian land. Those in charge are on guard against the landless, small farmers and agricultural workers who fight for their rights, many of them African-descended or indigenous. The 1928 massacre by the Colombian army of 3,000 banana workers near Santa Marta set the tone. Liliany Obando, unsurprisingly, was targeted.

Obando describes herself as a communist and survivor of the Patriotic Union massacre. She told an interviewer: “My work has to do with bringing human rights tools and legal material to peasant communities …That’s what disturbs governments, all of them: the fact that there are people out there defending the human rights of the most vulnerable populations.” In prison she advocated for fellow political prisoners, often protesting prisoner mistreatment.

The Colombian regime came across a tool for rounding up or intimidating enemies. On March 1, 2008, its military, relying on U.S. intelligence, decimated a FARC encampment in Ecuador. In the process, troops seized computers belonging to FARC leader Raul Reyes, killed in the attack. Within days, the government took information allegedly derived from Reyes’ email communications to intensify repression that ensnared Liliany Obando. A year later, police functionary Ronald Coy, who handled the seized computer files, testified in court that the alleged material appeared in word documents, not emails, and was thus susceptible to manipulation.

In mid-May, 2011, the Colombian Supreme Judicial Court invalidated prosecution of ex-parliamentarian Wilson Borja, ruling that the government failed to demonstrate a legally valid chain of custody for the disputed computers files. Later, that decision led to the release of political prisoner Miguel Angel Beltran and withdrawal of an extradition request aimed at Chilean communist Manuel Oblate, both charged with supporting the FARC. Liliany Obando and other witch-hunt victims remain in custody.

Judicial proceedings in her case are glacially slow. Ever since prosecutors closed their investigation in April 2009, Obando’s trial has revolved around infrequent public hearings. Yet the legally authorized time period for such hearings elapsed in April 2011, and under Colombian law, Obando should have been released. Nevertheless the court, seconded by an appeals judge, ruled that prolongation of the public hearing phase of her trial was “just and reasonable.” A habeas corpus plea filed on Obando’s behalf was denied in early August. The decision is being appealed.

Reportedly, hearings were delayed by the failure of court authorities to enable witnesses, particularly in Canada, to testify or submit evidence on Obando’s behalf. Her lawyers count on such material to show that Fensuagro, not the FARC, was recipient of funds raised in Canada, also to clarify interviews she gave in Canada and emails she exchanged with her hosts. Failure of a prosecution witness to show up prompted the calling off of at least one hearing.

Meanwhile, repression continues in Colombia, unabated during the first year of President Juan Manuel Santos‘ presidency. In Putumayo, police recently arrested four Fensuagro members accused of “rebellion, narcotrafficking and terrorism.” In Sucre, two Fensuagro unionists recently received death threats. Nationwide, one person has been killed every three days during Santos’ first year, according to Justice for Colombia.org.

 

Upper caste boys kill boy from lower caste for ‘topping class’


Chandigarh, Indian Express

In yet another caste related crime, a topper of an engineering college in Hisar district of Haryana, belonging to backward caste, was shot dead in broad daylight by his classmates – all from Jat community. The assailants pumped four bullets in the boy’s body from point blank range outside the college, leaving him dead on the spot. The police were conducting raids to nab the assailants.

The incident took place at around 9.30 am outside Kalpana Chawla Institute of Engineering and Technology. The only son of his parents, Pradeep (22), a topper of the mechanical engineering branch of the college, was stopped by two of his classmates Rajkumar and Kalyan, both belonging to Jat community.

“While Rajkumar was riding the motorbike, Kalyan, who was sitting pillion fired six rounds at Pradeep from a country-made revolver. Four bullets hit Pradeep. He was rushed to the hospital, but was declared dead on arrival,” said Ombir Singh, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Hisar, who is leading the Special Investigation Team, constituted to nab the two absconding accused. While Kalyan belongs to Panihar village, Rajkumar is from Seeshwala village in Hisar.

Pradeeep’s body, after the post mortem, was handed over to parents who performed the last rites in the evening, the DSP added.

According to the police, Pradeep – who belongs to backward caste Khati (carpenter) – was a topper in the college and the two accused were nursing a grudge against him.

Read more here

Call for Written Submission to CEDAW Committee


United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

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Inviting Written Submissions – The Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) Asia Pacific Regional Consultation for the Proposed General Recommendation on Human Rights of Women in Situations of Conflict and Post Conflict

Dear Friends,

CEDAW Committee’s Asia Pacific Regional Consultation for the Proposed General Recommendation on Human Rights of Women in Situations of Conflict and Post-conflict is scheduled to be held on 27-28 March 2012, In Bangkok (Thailand)

This is a call for national and regional level women’s rights groups, NGOs and networks in the Asia Pacific actively engaged in protecting women’s rights during conflict and in peace-building and reconstruction processes during the post-conflict & transition settings to submit Written Submissions to the CEDAW Committee’s Working Group organising the CEDAW Committee’s Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on the Proposed General Recommendation on Human Rights of Women in Situations of Conflict and Post-conflict on 27-28 March 2012 in Bangkok.

The CEDAW Committee pursuant to its mandate on elaboration of the nature and scope of State Obligations on realisation of women’s human rights in conflict and post-conflict settings based on the CEDAW framework have called for a consultation for this region. The Consultation is aimed to assist the CEDAW Committee in developing provisions of its General Recommendation on Women in Conflict and Post-conflict situations, in light of the diversity of conflicts and diversity of experiences and issues faced by women in realisation of their human rights in CEDAW and recognised in other international human rights treaties.

The organisation of this Consultation of the Committee is being supported by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of the Women (UN Women) and the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). International Women’s Rights Action Watch (IWRAW) Asia Pacific is assisting the Committee, the UN Women and the OHCHR in organisation of this Consultation in Asia Pacific. As space for participation at the Consultation is limited, the CEDAW Committee welcomes and urges additional written inputs from women’s human rights groups and peace advocates who are not able to be physically present to be submitted.

The CEDAW Committee’s Working Group on the Proposed General Recommendation on Human Rights of Women in Situations of Conflict and Post Conflict presented the Concept Note of the General Recommendation on the Day of General Discussion held on 18 July 2011 (in conjunction with the Committee’s 49th Review Session in New York). The purpose of the General Recommendation is to provide appropriate and authoritative guidance to State Parties on the measures to be adopted to ensure full compliance with their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil women’s human rights during times of armed conflict and in all peace-building processes, which includes the immediate aftermath of conflict and long term post-conflict reconstruction. The rationale of the CEDAW Committee to organise regional consultations for the proposed General Recommendation is to highlight the impact of conflict on women in the region and focus on the context specific priorities as well as women’s priority concerns in the post-conflict context, e.g. impact of conflict on women from minority communities, and bring the regional perspective to the four thematic areas covered in the Concept Note on the General Recommendation, namely, Access to Justice, Women’s Participation in Peace-building Processes, Violence against Women and Women’s Economic Opportunities in the post-conflict settings, as well as other relevant thematic areas.

We would like to encourage national level groups and organisations involved in addressing the impact of conflict and post-conflict & transitions settings on recognition, exercise, access and realisation of women’s human rights as envisioned in the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) submitting their written submissions:

Illustrating the challenging realities of women both as victims, as active member of conflict (women combatants) and as agents of change in post-conflict peace-building and reconstruction processes;

Describing the actions, non-action and omissions on the part of State and its agencies resulted in aggravating the negative impact of on-going conflict and post-conflict situations on women and girls in exercise and protection of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights;

Identifying gaps and challenges in drawing accountability of State as well as non-state & private actors including private militia & armed groups under the humanitarian and international human rights law, in particular CEDAW;

Providing recommendations to the CEDAW Committee’s Working Group on elaboration of the nature and scope of State Obligation to protect women’s human rights in situations of conflict and post-conflict, and scope of authoritative mandate of CEDAW to the women’s realities in these contexts

The Written Submissions must be prepared in English and must be precise and specific on the factual as well as theoretical/conceptual framework details. It will be useful to include 1-2 case studies on different and distinct roles played by women in situations of conflict and post-conflict to substantiate the recommendation put forward to the CEDAW Committee for the Proposed General Recommendation.

Preferably the Written Submissions should not be more than 10 pages including the annexures. We would welcome soft copies of analytical research papers, reports and studies that your organisation and/or network would like to share with the CEDAW Committee’s Working Group on the Proposed General Recommendation on Human Rights of Women in Situations of Conflict and Post-conflict to build its understanding on the specificities of conflict and post-conflict settings from the region to be addressed in the proposed General Recommendation to ensure women’s human rights under CEDAW are fully and equally realised and protected.

Please find attached an Outline to guide you in preparation of the Written Submission. Attached with this email are the Concept Note and Summary Report of the Day of General Discussion organised by the CEDAW Committee on the Proposed General Recommendation on Human Rights of Women in Situations of Conflict and Post-conflict.

Please send us your Written Submissions at iwraw_ap@yahoo.com or iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org by 25 March 2012 (16 hrs. Bangkok Time)

For further inquiries, please feel free to write to Gauri Bhopatkar (Programme Officer, IWRAW Asia Pacific) at iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org or gauri.bhopatkar@gmail.com

IWRAW Asia Pacific

10-2, Jalan Bangsar Utama 9

59000 Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia

Tel: (603) 2282 2255

Fax: (603) 2283 2552

Email: iwraw-ap@iwraw-ap.org / iwraw_ap@yahoo.com

Website: http://www.iwraw-ap.org

Another harrowing airport experience for Anjlee, a disability rights worker


March 2, 2012 – Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar, Hindu

Ms. Agarwal, a disability rights worker, was carted around on a luggage trolley at Delhi T3

Disability rights activist Anjlee Agarwal of Samarthyam, who was last week “literally thrown off a flight” in Raipur for objecting to the non-availability of an aisle chair, again had a harrowing experience with an airline. This time it was at Delhi’s swanky T3 terminal that Ms. Agarwal found herself being carted around on a luggage trolley with no side support as the Air India staff could not get her an aisle chair.

Narrating her experience, Ms. Agarwal, who was recently part of a major access audit for government buildings in Delhi, said she had to undergo the humiliation of being transported in a luggage trolley on Thursday while returning to Delhi from Mumbai via Air India flight AI 660.

At Mumbai, Ms. Agarwal said she had requested the Air India crew to get her an aisle chair while de-boarding at the T3 airport in New Delhi. However, when the flight reached the Delhi airport, the aisle chair was not there to help her de-board.

Request not met

“I had to wait for 20 minutes and finally, after lot of hue and cry, I got to see a luggage trolley for transferring me from the aircraft seat. I was carried in the luggage trolley chair which had just two wheels instead of four and also did not possess an armrest for side support,” she said.

Lamenting that this was the state of affairs at T3 in Delhi, which is supposed to be a “world class airport”, Ms. Agarwal said she had a harrowing time being hauled around on the luggage trolley. “I was not able to balance myself on the narrow seat, my feet were dangling and I kept asking for another aisle chair to be given to me while being carried to the aircraft gate.”

She said she lost her balance several times, as she has limb girdle muscular dystrophy. Apart from this, she “also felt extremely embarrassed and insulted as 12 to 13 persons [both the crew and ground staff] looked at me with pity!”

Due to such mishandling, Ms. Agarwal said she had to be physically shifted four times at the airport. “I was transferred again from the luggage trolley to another wheelchair at the aircraft gate. Then on reaching the conveyer belt [luggage belt], I got my wheelchair and was transferred onto it. Finally, I was transferred from my wheelchair to the taxi.”

Describing the experience as “very exhausting, disgraceful, scary and unsafe,” the rights activist said it was unfortunate that “still people with disabilities are seen as luggage and are discriminated against”.

Incidentally, this is the third major case of harassment to disabled passengers that has come to light within the past fortnight. Earlier in February, a SpiceJet pilot had forced Jeeja Ghosh, head of advocacy and disability studies at the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy at Kolkata off a Goa-bound flight because he was “abnormal” and was not accompanied by help.

In view of such repeated incidents, Ms. Agarwal and Samarthyam have urged the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to come up with recommendations on handling persons with disability and to take immediate action against all airlines that are insulting disabled passengers and violating the policy rules.

Indemnity bond

“We want training of all ground staff, pilot and crew for transferring and handling persons with disabilities,” she said, demanding that people with disabilities should also not be made to sign an indemnity bond as it is discriminatory, since it does not cover people with hidden illnesses.

Among other things, the rights group has also demanded that aisle chairs should be made available in all aircraft for wheelchair users and all persons with disabilities should be allotted front and aisle seats, if requested.

Illegal mining case: Janardhan Reddy sent to CBI custody, journlaists attacked by lawyers


Bangalore: Amid tight security, former Karnataka Tourism Minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy was on Friday produced before a special CBI court in Bangalore which remanded him to CBI custody till March 12 in connection with an illegal mining case.

Reddy and 20 others are facing charges for their alleged involvement in illegal mining, over which the CBI had filed an FIR against them in October last.

Reddy was brought to Bangalore in the early hours of Friday by CBI personnel from Hyderabad and later escorted into the court.

Associated Mining Corporation (AMC) and Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMC) owned by Reddy and his wife Aruna Lakshmi have been facing probe over charges of illegal mining. Additional Civil and Sessions Court judge BM Angadi remanded Reddy to custody after CBI moved an application in this regard.

Former minister and Congress leader V Muniyappa and few other officials are the other accused in the case.

The city civil court complex, where the CBI court is located, witnessed trouble following an altercation between a section of advocates and media persons over filming of the events that followed production of Reddy before the court.

A camera person was injured when some advocates attacked few regional channel camera crew following which media persons staged a protest at the court premises.

Lawyers reportedly threw stones and bottles at journalists accusing the media of showing them in a bad light. They even manhandled the police who tried to controlled the situation.

Expressing displeasure over the attack on media persons, Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda has asked Law Minister S Suresh Kumar to look into the issue.

IBNLIVE

 

Death Toll up to 7 in Riots over Water Tanker Killing in Mumbai


Mar 2, 2012-The driver of the water tanker, Suresh Salve succumbed to his injuries in hospital, as the death toll in the ‘water tanker riot’ rose to 7. Harish Malvade, the guard who fired the first shot killing Pradeep Amre, the 11 year old boy from the local slum, is fighting for his life even as the police waits to question him. Sources say the gun was unlicensed.

The riot apparently broke out as the people from the slum tried to stop the tanker and ask for water. The driver tried to force the tanker through the crowd, injuring some people, and riot broke out. The driver was pulled out and almost beaten to death.

Meanwhile the parents of the boy, Pradeep Amre are leading a morcha of over a 100 slum dwellers demanding an investigation into why a thirsty young school boy was shot for trying to steal a water from the tanker. The Mumbai police are trying to bring the situation under control as the riots threaten to spread to other parts of Mumbai. The water situation continues to be precarious and water tankers are being brought in to Mumbai, but are often unable to get to their destination as they are waylaid by armed gangs.

This is the 3rd day of no piped water supply in Mumbai.

More here

 

450 families live 1km from Kudankulam


Govt panel refuses to accept violation of AERB guidelines; says nobody resides within 2km of the nuclear plant

Gangadhar S Patil l Mumbai, DNA

If one were to believe the government, no one lives within 2km of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). However, when DNA visited the site, it found that a thriving township with 450 housing units had come up 1km from the plant boundary, in violation of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) guidelines.
A 15-member expert committee set up by the government last November said in its report that there is no habitation within 2km of the plant boundary. But CASA Nagar, a project to rehabilitate survivors of the 2004 tsunami, is a kilometre from the boundary.

The township was planned and built in 2006 and about 2,000 people are already living there. These people lived in Idinthakarai and other nearby villages earlier.
As per AERB guidelines, only natural growth of population is permitted in the sterilised zone (a 5km radius around the plant). Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) officials say no rules were violated for setting up CASA Nagar. “Natural growth of population in the sterilised zone is not a mandatory condition, but a desirable condition,” they said. The NPCIL also said the township was not a result of mass migration or industrial activity and that studies have proved that there is no effect of radiation from a nuclear plant on people living around it.

But Ravi Kumar, an activist from Kudankulam village, pointed out that the township could just as well have been built elsewhere outside the sterilisation zone. This would have prevented the needless exposure of women and children to stack emission. In case of a radiological emergency, they will have to be evacuated immediately.
“The expert committee ignored the 2,000 people of CASA Nagar and presented a wrong picture, based on the 2001 census, saying there is no population within 2km of the plant,” he said.
Land for the township was allotted by the Tamil Nadu government and “there was no objection or instruction from NPCIL regarding the location of the township”, said an official with CASA, a non-governmental organisation.

The central government, however, defends itself citing a 1991 Tamil Nadu government order (GO). The GO says only industrial growth in the sterilisation zone is prohibited and there is no restriction on the growth of population.
Since CASA Nagar was only to resettle people from Idinthakarai village, the GO does not prevent it, the expert committee’s latest report argued.
The GO, however, appears to violate conditions laid down by the AERB while clearing KKNPP. “Suitable legislative and administrative control measures should be taken through state authorities to prevent increase in population within the sterilised zone beyond natural growth,” the AERB had said. DNA has a copy of the document.
“It is the responsibility of NPCIL to forbid any such unnatural settlement so close to the plant… AERB should have objected to the construction of the township, which was built five years after excavation for KKNPP began,” said Dr Pugazhendhi, a member of the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy

In India, a ‘Blame the Victim’ Mentality


English: Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Baner...

By NILANJANA S. ROY

“She has two children, and so far as I know, she is separated from her husband,” Mr. Mitra said on a national television show. “What was she doing at a nightclub so late at night?”

The woman had reported being raped in a moving car by a group of men, two of whom she had met at the nightclub. Over the next week, the news media would excoriate Mr. Mitra, the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and the police for their apparent willingness to discredit her. The men in the Kolkata case have since been arrested.

But Mr. Mitra’s willingness to suggest that the woman’s presence at a nightclub was in some way an invitation to rape, or Ms. Banerjee’s initial insistence that the victim’s story was a “fabrication,” was hardly new. In 2011, the chief of the Delhi police, B.K. Gupta, suggested that women should take their “brother or driver” along if they wanted to be out late at night.

Also last year, Dinesh Reddy, director general of the police in the state of Andhra Pradesh, said: “Fashionable dresses worn by women, even in rural areas, are among the factors leading to an increase in rape cases. The police have no control over this matter.”

The Karnataka state minister for women and child welfare, C.C. Patil, had expressed similar views, suggesting that women who work in information technology firms and call centers “ought to know how much skin to cover when leaving such workplaces.” (Mr. Patil recently resigned after he and some colleagues were discovered watching pornography on their cellphones during a session of the state legislative assembly.)

“If the woman victim can be held responsible for her dress or the late hours at which she is out, it is easier for officials to say that rape happens to women of bad character and loose morals,” said a female police officer in Delhi who asked not to be identified because she could be suspended for criticizing her department. “But that is not the reality of rape in India. Poor women are at the greatest risk of being raped. Also, most rapists are known to the victim. Dress and character have nothing to do with it.”

Data from the National Crime Records Bureau on crimes against women for 2010 record that victims knew their attackers in 97.3 percent of reported rapes.

Even accepting that the bureau defines “known to the victim” in the broadest sense, to include remote acquaintances, the figures are revealing. Parents and other close family members were involved in 1.3 percent of the cases, other relatives were involved in 6.2 percent and neighbors in 36.2 percent. As many Indian women are aware, home and neighborhood are by no means safe spaces.

For women in the state of Madhya Pradesh, caste is a far more significant factor than what clothes they wear. According to figures cited in the state assembly, 1,217 gang rapes were reported between 2003 and 2007. About 672 of the victims were from the disadvantaged Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, reflecting a statewide pattern of violence directed by upper castes against lower castes.

Read more here

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