Activists booked for clashing with police during protest against rapes in Haryana #Vaw

Deepender Deswal, TNN Oct 16, 2012, 11.06AM IST

ROHTAK: The Rohtak police have registered a case against CPM politburo member Brinda Karat and several other activists in connection with a violent clash with police during a march in Rohtak on Monday to protest the spate of rape incidents in Haryana.

The protest, organized by All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) – the women frontal organisation of CPM, was led by Karat and attended by around 400 activists.

They staged a demonstration at the HUDA ground and then were marching towards the mini-secretariat to submit a memorandum of their demands to the deputy commissioner.

The police, however erected barricades at some distance from the DC office and stopped them from moving ahead. When the protesters tried to force their way, the police resorted to cane charging resulting in injuries to five protesters. The Rohtak SP Vivek Sharma however stated that protesters had attacked the police in which several cops including women police personnels suffered injuries. The injured cops are admitted in the civil hospital, he said.

However, around midnight, the police registered a case under sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 332, 333 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), 427 (mischief), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly) against protests on the complaint of women cell incharge of Rohtak police Sunita Devi.

The police FIR named 12 persons including Karat, AIDWA activists Jagmati Sangwan, Iti Chaudhary, Dimpal, Shahnawaj, Prem Rani and male activists Satvir Singh, Ramesh Laura, Inderjit Singh, Preet Singh, Naresh and Ramniwas as accused besides a number of unidentified accused. The Rohtak police spokesperson Ved Singh Nain said that no arrests could be made so far.

In Haryana, Hundreds Protest State’s Response to Rape #vaw

By NEHA THIRANI, New york  Times. Oct 15, 2012
A protest in Rohtak on Monday condemning the rising incidents of rape and violence against women in Haryana.Mustafa Quraishi/Associated PressA protest in Rohtak on Monday condemning the rising incidents of rape and violence against women in Haryana.

In Haryana, where a number of high-profile rape cases have attracted national attention in recent weeks, 800 protesters took to the streets on Monday to demand better policing and a safer environment for women.

“Women are no longer ready to take this kind of treatment meted out by a patriarchal system and a government that connives with the accused because they are the powerful,” said Shabnam Hashmi, a trustee at Anhad, a human rights group that works in the Mewat region of Haryana.

Several rape cases reported in Haryana in recent weeks have attracted widespread attention for their severity, the fact that the victims were from lower castes than their attackers and a “blame the victim” response from local officials and village councils. Last week a teenage girl committed suicide after being raped, by setting herself on fire, and another victim’s father killed himself after he was shown a video of his daughter being raped.

While activists and local media have repeatedly quoted a figure of 17 rapes in Haryana in the past month, that number is probably low. There were 733 cases of rape reported in Haryana, population 25 million, in 2011, or an average of 61 a month, according to data from the National Crime Records Bureau.

Over the last year, the Haryana government has been criticized for their response a number of high-profile rapes and the state’s seeming inability to protect women. The Haryana spokesman for the Congress Party, Dharambir Goyat, was quoted as saying that he thought 90 percent of rapes were consensual, but he was later rebuked by the party for his statement.

On Monday, the Haryana Congress legislator Sampat Singh said, “Haryana has progressed economically, but it has not developed mentally and intellectually, leading to rising incidences of rape in the state.” Meanwhile, the West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjeesaid that the increase in rapes in India could be attributed to the fact that men and women interact with each other more freely than before.

Monday’s rally was led by the All-India Democratic Women’s Association, who were joined by the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, the National Federation of Indian Women and the Center for Social Research.

Protesters in Rohtak held a public meeting on Monday where activists discussed possible solutions, while the families of rape victims shared their stories. After the meeting, they marched to the district commissioner’s office and submitted a memorandum that demanded the government ensure quick and fair investigations into rape cases, set up fast-track courts to deal with sexual assault and rape cases and create more effective police forces.

“The protest was meant to express our anger and dissatisfaction at the Haryana government who has yet not arrested many rapists, and to pressurize the government to act,” said Ranjana Kumari, director of the Center for Social Research, who attended the protest.

The police attacked the crowd with sticks, she said, which caused a stampede that injured three people. “What was a peaceful meeting suddenly turned violent,” Ms. Kumari said.

In Delhi, the National Federation of Indian Women held a rally in a show of support for women of the Dalit caste, many of whom are victims of rape in Haryana.

“In this country, the biggest challenge for women is to safeguard their right to be born, and from that stage onwards women face all sorts of discrimination,” said Annie Raja, general secretary of the National Federation of Indian Women. “Even though internationally we have a reputation to be a developing country with prospects for economic growth, but for the women of this country, day by day we are living a more frightened life.”

Ms. Raja said that while each successive government promises to put in place new legislation to safeguard women, the government fails to enforce existing laws.

What especially angers women’s rights groups is the local authorities’ penchant for blaming the rapes on the victims. In September, a member of the state’s khap panchayat, a self-appointed council of village heads, said that in order to curb such crimes the marriage age should be lowered to 16, from 18, so that women won’t be tempted to satisfy their sexual urges elsewhere. Balwan Singh Nain, a 48-year-old farmer and khap member, told India Ink, “Women maintain a family’s honor. Not men. If she cannot keep her honor, it is solely her fault.”

Activists contend that the presence of khap panchayats undermines the system of law and order in the state of Haryana. “The problem is not just the numbers of women who are getting raped but the discourse after the rape and the response of the state,” said Kavita Srivastava, national secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, who attended the protest in Rohtak. “The khap panchayats are not just an embarrassment but part of the problem – they are reinforcing the unlawful behavior of these men.”

Those who report rapes often find themselves shunned by the local authorities. In a recent case that came to light on Saturday, a 13-year-old schoolgirl was allegedly raped over a period of four months by a fruit vendor outside her school in Fatehbad, a town in Haryana. When the girl’s mother lodged a complaint against the man, the school authorities reacted by expelling the girl and her two younger sisters. On Sunday, the school authorities said the three sisters had left the school on their own. However, after the girl underwent a medical examination that confirmed that she had been raped, the suspect was arrested.

“The whole attitude of the police is so anti-women,” said Ms. Srivastava. “There is the breakdown of the criminal justice system on one hand and the lack of an enabling environment for women on the other. In this kind of environment there can be no justice.”

On Friday, the Haryana government announced several measures designed to reduce the incidence of crimes against women, including an increase in police patrols in rural areas. The government also opened a 24-hour hotline for women in the police control room in Panchkula district and is planning to set up one in every district.

“The idea is that if any woman calls saying that they have been harassed on the street, at college or elsewhere, we will send police help immediately,” said Meenakshi Sharma, a female constable who answered the women’s hotline in Panchkula, which has yet to receive any calls for help.

Ms. Sharma said that they did not receive any special training for manning the hotline, which is one reason that activists are dubious about the efficacy of such measures. “It is too little and too late,” said Ms. Kumari of the Center for Social Research. “Having a helpline is not enough. There has to be somebody on the other side to provide help. The Haryana police have to become much more effective if it hopes to actually protect these women.”



Haryana khap blames consumption of chinese food for rapes #WTFnews #Vaw


CHANDIGARH: A khap panchayat in Haryana‘s Jind district has blamed consumption of chowmein behind the growing incidents of rapes in the state saying it leads to hormonal imbalance.

“To my understanding, consumption of fast food contributes to such incidents. Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts,” said Jitender Chhatar, a resident of Jind‘s Chhatar village and thua khap panchayat leader.

“You also know the impact of chowmein, which is a spicy food, on our body. Hence, our elders also advised to consume light and nutritious food,” Chhatar added.

Last week, khap panchayats had evoked outrage after Sube Singh, a khap leader, advocated lowering of age of marriage for girls from 18 years to 16 years on the grounds that young girls are vulnerable to rapes and should be married off earlier.

Om Prakash Chautala, leader of Opposition, too backed the khaps’ demand while Congress leaders including Haryana congress chief Phool Chand Mullana and education minister Geeta Bhukkal had stated that growing rape cases were a conspiracy against the state government.

Dharamvir Goyat, another Congress leader, had sparked off a controversy by saying that 90% of the rape cases were consensual.

Former minister and Congress MLA Sampat Singh said on Monday that “lack of intellectual growth” was the reason behind rising crime against women.

“People might have prospered but have not become mature enough to understand their responsibilities towards society and in some cases towards their families even. Generally, families hardly monitor the activities of their children, especially the sons, who are later found to be involved in such acts,” said Sampat.


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October 2012
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