#Shame #India- rape will go on- #delhigangrape #Vaw #Torture

TEHELKA INVESTIGATION: The rapes will go on

G Vishnu , Tehelka

Abhishek Bhalla

December 19, 2012, Issue 15 Volume 9

In a two-week long investigation, Abhishek Bhalla and G Vishnu spoke to more than 30 senior cops in the Delhi-NCR region. More than half had shockingly ugly views on rape victims. This is the face of law exposed. How can the system effect justice through men like these?

She asked for it.
It’s all about money.
They have made it a business.
It is consensual most of the time.

Illustration: Anand NaoremIllustration: Anand Naorem

THIS IS how policemen — keepers of the law and protectors of innocent — view rape in the Delhi– National Capital Region (NCR). Although generalising is fraught with hazards, this is one generalisation that can be made. There’s evidence to support this.

A month ago, the outrageous apathy of our police towards rape victims was in full display when the Noida Police revealed the identity of a minor girl who was brutally gang-raped in a moving car. If that was not enough, the Noida Superintendent of Police cast aspersions on the girl’s character at a press conference. Besides the fact that, by doing so, the police flagrantly violated the law of the land — Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code defines the disclosure of the identity of rape victims as an offence punishable by up to two years of imprisonment — it also gave a peek into the minds of the police and how they see the raped and the rapist.
Often been called the rape capital of India, the Delhi-NCR region has thrown up numerous such instances of police apathy in rape cases. When asked to explain the rising instances of rape, the cops have invariably blamed the women, an array of extraneous factors or resorted to specious arguments instead of looking inwards and focussing on police reforms. The most disturbing aspect of this is the rank misogyny that underlies it.A few weeks later, the Gurgaon Police outraged civil society by proposing a blanket curfew on working women in the city after 8 pm without prior permission from the Labour Department. This was the first reaction by the police after the report of a brutal gang-rape of a pub employee by six men. The police made no statement about the rapists. Later, however, the police put out a statement asserting they had been misquoted by the media.

Here is a quick reckoner. In 2010, as many as 414 rape cases were reported in Delhi, the highest among 35 major cities in the country. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the conviction rate in rape cases in the capital was a dismal 34.6 percent. In case after case, courts have been acquitting the accused because of flawed first information reports (FIRs), erroneous procedures in collating medical evidence and shoddy investigation. Lawyers and women rights activists have continually been flagging the deep prejudice prevalent in the police against women in general and rape victims in particular, as the single biggest reason for the repeated failure of justice.

But instead of addressing core issues like poor conviction rates, under-reporting of rape cases by victims (studies indicate that for every reported case of rape, more than 50 go unreported), the lack of faith between the victim and the police and the insensitivity of the police personnel towards women, our police and ministers want to ban late-night work shifts or keep women away from unconventional jobs like bartenders.

Sunil Kumar  SHO, Ghazipur, Delhi-NCRSunil Kumar SHO, Ghazipur, Delhi-NCR

Sunil Kumar 

SHO, Ghazipur, Delhi-NCR

‘Go to a pub in Greater Kailash, South Delhi, where there’s free entry for girls. You’ll find those who want to do ‘it’ for a thousand rupees. They’ll drink and also have sex with you. But the day someone uses force, it’s rape’

Rajan Bhagat Additional DCP PRO, Delhi PoliceRajan Bhagat Additional DCP PRO, Delhi Police

‘There is sensitisation at the induction level as well as specialised courses on the job. The objective is to handle women in crisis. In these courses, officers are apprised with latest court orders’

Rajan Bhagat
Additional DCP PRO, Delhi Police

HAVE WE created a system that instills fear in the heart of offenders, promotes deterrence and ensures that offenders get exemplary punishment? While we may have excellent statutes to deal with crimes against women, do we also have the police machinery to implement the law in its letter and spirit? Are police stations of the NCR being manned by professional and efficient police officers who can deliver justice to hapless women turning up at their doors?

TEHELKA decided to investigate the conduct and approach of Station House Officers (SHOs) and their deputies who are in charge of police stations in the NCR. These cops are the first point of contact for any victim of sexual assault when they have to lodge a complaint. The objective was to find out if there was any latent bias among the police personnel towards rape victims.

In a two-week long investigation, TEHELKA undercover reporters posing as research scholars, visited 23 stations across the NCR and spoke to more than 30 policemen with experience of 20-30 years. The reporters did not make misogynistic comments or incite the policemen to say or do something they wouldn’t have otherwise said or done. The line of inquiry was to be completely neutral and non-partisan. And what we came back with was shocking.

Our two week long investigation reveals that the NCR, which houses some of the leading industries from around the world and where lakhs of women work alongside men, is policed by the cops with a 19th century mindset.

Every time a rape accused gets away due to shoddy investigations, it reinforces the cops’ belief: she had asked for it

Seventeen senior cops of over a dozen police stations across Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad were caught on spy camera blaming everything from fashionable or revealing clothes to having boyfriends to visiting pubs to consuming alcohol to working alongside men as the main reasons for instances of rape. ‘It’s always the woman who is at fault’ was in essence the argument offered by a majority of the cops. Many of them believe that genuine rape victims never approach the police and those who do are basically extortionists or have loose moral values. Others believe that the women from Northeast could never be victims of forced sex as they are invariably involved in the flesh trade. Even more shockingly, some of them are of the view that if a woman has consensual sex with one man, then she shouldn’t complain if his friends also join in. If a woman is doing late hours at the office then she had it coming… and the arguments keep coming.

IF THE police personnel are to be believed, everything from co-education to migration to cities to being independent and assertive and holding unconventional jobs are reasons for the rise in rape incidents across NCR. So mind-numbing are these admissions that one cannot help but wonder about the plight of the rape victims in mofussil towns and villages if the police in and around the capital is so deeply prejudiced. The TEHELKA expose warrants an urgent soul-searching at the highest levels of the police administration and demands immediate corrective steps in the police training and investigation.

Sample what Sunil Kumar, SHO, Ghazipur, East Delhi, had to say. “Go to a pub in South Delhi. Go to Greater Kailash where there is free entry for girls. Jinhone 1,000 rupaiye mein wo karna hai wo wahan jati hain. Daru bhi peeti hai aur aap ke saath sex bhi karti hai… Jis din koi thok dega rape ho jayega. (In these places you’ll find girls who want to do ‘it’ for Rs 1,000. They will drink and also have sex with you. The day somebody uses force, it becomes rape).”

THE FARCE Rajpal Yadav Add’l SHO, Sector 29, Gurgaon  ‘Girls from Darjeeling and Nepal have come here for business purposes. They go with men for money, but if the money isn’t enough, it becomes rape’THE FARCE: Rajpal Yadav Add’l SHO, Sector 29, Gurgaon ‘Girls from Darjeeling and Nepal have come here for business purposes. They go with men for money, but if the money isn’t enough, it becomes rape’

Sub-Inspector Arjun Singh, SHO Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida, also pins the blame on the victim. “Ladkiya ek seemit daire main, seemit kapdon main nahi niklengi… to apne aap khichaon ho jata hai.Wo khichaon bhi aggressive kar deta hai ki kar do bas (If girls don’t stay within their boundaries, if they don’t wear appropriate clothes, then naturally there is attraction. This attraction makes men aggressive, prompting them to just do it).”

There’s also ethnic bias against those from the Northeast. Try RajpalYadav, Additional SHO of Sector 29, Gurgaon: “Yahan pe Darjeeling aur Nepal tak ki ladkiyan business purpose se aye hai… wo jaate bhade pe hain. Baad mein paisa nahi mila to rape case bata diya jata hai (Girls from Darjeeling and Nepal have come here for business purposes. They go with men for money. Later, when the money is not sufficient, it becomes a rape).”

In the two-week long investigation, TEHELKA undercover reporters visited five police stations in Gurgaon, six in Noida, four in Ghaziabad, two in Faridabad and six in Delhi. Out of the 30 policemen TEHELKA spoke to, 17 were extremely prejudiced, misogynist and shockingly insensitive towards rape victims. Five scored well on the enlightenment card.

DESPITE THE Noida Police facing flak for lewd comments about the victim and her family, Ram Kumar Malik, the investigating officer for the case of the girl raped by Class X students is unrepentant. TEHELKA captured Sub-Inspector Malik on camera brazenly pinning the blame yet again on the victim alone: “Is case mein jo real baat hai, ladki vodka peene ki habitual hai. Usne vodka party mangi, Rs 6,000 mein book ho gai. Physical relation ke liye 6,000 mange. Baad mein mukadma likha diya. Yeh real baat hai. Mere pass uske CDR call detail ka record hai; unka purana relation hai (The real issue here is that the girl is a habitual vodka drinker and had asked for a vodka party. She then demanded Rs 6,000 for sex. When the money wasn’t paid, she registered a rape complaint. I have her call records that establish she had a relationship with one of the accused).” Pointless to ask him how having a consensual relationship with one boy could warrant a girl being raped by 4 other boys.

Malik then turns his guns on the family and character of the girl: “Is ladki ki ma ka pehle hi divorce ho gaya. Aur wo ek Yadavji ke saath beth gayi. Uski umar 48 hai, admi 28 saal ka. Saath mein do ladkiyan. Behekna to tei ho gaya. Nahi ho gaya? (The girl’s mother is divorced. She’s living with another man from the Yadav community. She’s 48 whereas the man is 28. It’s inevitable the two daughters will be wayward, isn’t it?)

“Ab jab 48 saal ki ma, 28 saal ke purush ke saath so rahi hai, do jawan ladkiyan dekh rahi hain, unko bhi zaroorat hogi. Sex is like hunger,” he continues. (Now when two young girls watch their 48-year-old mother sleeping with a 28-year-old man, even they’ll be aroused. Sex is like hunger).”

Blaming the victim, however, is not limited to Malik. The attitude was generic and TEHELKA found many more subscribers in the system.

Digest what Jangsher Singh, SHO of the DLF Phase-2 Police Station, who is investigating the recent rape case of the 23-year-old pub worker, says:“Isme kuch nahi hai. Chote chote bacche the… Do baar ladki ne baat ki ladkon se. Compromise karna hai toh compromise karlo. Ladki ne khud bol diya… money toh hai hi yaar. Money ke saath sauda kiya jaata hai (This case is nothing. They were young kids. The girl spoke twice to the boys about striking a ‘compromise’. It’s all about money. It’s only with money deals are stuck).”

Jangsher makes it plain there was more than a hint of consensual sex in the Gurgaon gang-rape: “Cooperation hai. Bahut kam hai main manta hoon; one ya two percent jisme nahi hota…Consent main hi hua yeh (The girls cooperate. I believe it’s very rare that there will be no cooperation… This case too had the girl’s consent).”

Ram Kumar Malik Sub-Inspector and Investigating officer of a rape case in Noida PoliceRam Kumar Malik, Sub-Inspector and Investigating officer of a rape case in Noida Police

Ram Kumar Malik

Sub-Inspector and Investigating officer of a rape case in Noida Police

‘When two young girls see their 48-year-old divorced mother sleeping with a 28-year-old man, they’ll go wayward only. Even they’ll be aroused’

KK Sindhu Police Commissioner, GurgaonKK Sindhu Police Commissioner, Gurgaon

‘Gender sensitivity is part of training and in cases involving women, the issue is always handled by a female officer. In any case, women victims come to us with male family members’

KK Sindhu
Police Commissioner, Gurgaon

DISTURBINGLY, IN an endlessly frightening reiteration, the Gurgaon gang-rape case appears in the conversation of the Gurgaon Police only as a leitmotif of the girl’s culpability. TEHELKA captured conversations with the SHO as well as the additional SHO of Sector-29 Police Station, who otherwise have nothing to do with the ongoing investigation. Commenting on the girl’s character, SHO Jagdish Prasad said: “In the recent DLF case, the girl is 27-years-old, the boys are 18 to 20-years-old. They are kids. She was dancing with these kids in the bar… I am telling you she induced them… The girl came and gave her phone number to them.”

The big question that comes out of this is: if the police in the Delhi metropolitan area — with its exposure to modern idioms and supposed sensitivity to individual rights — nurtures such a mindset, what about the average cop in the hinterland? The thought is terrifying: is rape India’s most under-reported crime? Does anybody seriously believe that less than 25,000 women get raped in India each year?

The explanation for gang-rapes is bizarre. She must have been friendly with at least one of the rapists, goes the refrain

The officers TEHELKA encountered do not fulfil the basic standards of policing, which requires officers to investigate a case without any cultural, class or gender bias. Rather, the contrary seems true. Empathy for a rape victim seems an impossible ask. But in its place, there isn’t even neutrality. Everywhere, the dominant belief was that the woman was in the wrong and had invited assault upon herself. TEHELKA’s investigation, then, is not about individual viewpoints. It reveals a damagingly contorted psyche.

CAN YOU dress for rape? A great number of policemen believe that what a woman wears is one of the reasons for rape. A conservatively dressed woman is safe, but if her clothes are “suggestive”, then she’s asking for it. This is the norm.

Agar koi bhi bacche ko kisi ladki ka shareer kapdon ke andar se dikhega to usme uttejna paida hogi…Ladkiya jo hai unko yahan tak yahan tak (he gestures to mean that women should cover their entire body, then carries on speaking)… Skirt pehenti hai. Blouse dalti hai; poora nahi dalti hai. Dupatta nahi dalti. Apne aapko dikhawa karti hai. Baccha uske taraf akarshit hota hai (If a girl is wearing transparent clothes it will encourage lewd thoughts in any kid. Girls wear short skirts. They wear a blouse that leaves nothing to the imagination. They don’t wear dupattas. They flaunt their bodies. The kid naturally gets attracted to her),” says Satbir Singh, Additional SHO of Sector 31 Police Station, Faridabad.

Making a general sociological observation, Sub-Inspector Arjun Singh, SHO of Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida, also said: “Yeh (girl) itne kapde pehni hui hai; wo isiliye taaki log “mujhse akarshit ho aur mere saath kuch na kuch kare”. Isiliye ho jaati hai(She is dressed in a manner that people get attracted to her. In fact, she wants them to do something to her.)”

DO RAPES really happen? Many policemen are not even sure. Recognition of a crime as heinous as rape is something the police in the NCR do not appear to have come to terms with. Policeman after policeman insisted “real rape” cases were rare.

TEHELKA asked Yogender Singh Tomar, Additional SHO, Sector 39, Noida, if it was easy for a rape victim to approach the police. His answer left us shocked: “Aasaan nahi hota uske liye. Bezzati se sabhi darti hai. Akhbaar baazi se bhi darti hai. Asliyat main wahin aati hai jo dhande main lipt hoti hai (It’s never easy for the victim. Everyone is scared of humiliation. Everyone’s wary of media and society. In reality, the ones who complain are only those who have turned rape into a business).”

Sub-Inspector Roop Lal of Sector 40, Gurgaon, goes to the extent of making a distinction between a genuine and a fake rape. “Main rape cases, only 10 percent. Bilkul jo zabardasti rape hota hai, 10 percent. Baaki ke toh… (Only 10 percent of rape cases actually involve force; only 10 percent are genuine. The rest is…).” He leaves his sentence incomplete. It’s not difficult to understand what he wanted to say.

Roop Lal’s crudity is mirrored by other fellow officers. Two senior cops, Rajender Singh, Additional SHO of Old Faridabad Police Station, and Ramesh Kumar, senior sub inspector, are convinced rape cases generally involve consensual sex: “Hote hain par 70 percent aise hain, ki pehle sehmati ho gayi. Uske baad kisi ne dekh liya ya, usne paise dene se mana kar diya, toh woh balatkar ho gaya (There are cases but 70 percent involve consensual sex. Only if someone sees, or the money is denied, it gets turned into rape).”

From the point of view of cops, this begs the question: do rapes really happen? Again, bewildering as it may sound, 17 of the 30 policemen were convinced they rarely do.

Consider young Sub-Inspector Manoj Rawat of Noida’s Sector 24 Police Station.

Kya NCR mein rape hote hain? Akhbar mein nahi, fact pe aa jao. NCR mein har cheez mutual understanding se hoti hai. Mera personal view, one ya two percent NCR mein rape hote hain… Apas ki understanding hai, nahi ban paya, jahan 2 tha, wahan 3 ho gaye (Are there any rapes in NCR? Go by facts and not by what newspapers say. Everything in NCR happens with mutual understanding. My personal view is that there are one or two percent rape cases in NCR. If the understanding falls through, the exaggeration begins. Two becomes three).”

When it comes to gang-rapes, the explanation is even more bizarre. While the policemen admit that force is used, again the blame is pinned on the victim. She must have been friendly with at least one of the perpetrators goes the refrain.

Dharamveer Singh, Additional SHO at Indirapuram Police Station in Ghaziabad, said: “Bahut kum, minimum hota hai. Rare hota hai ki ek ladki ko 10 ladke zabardasti pakad le… car mein bhi koi innocent ladki nahi gayi hai. Wahi gayi jo kisi ladke ke saath sambandhit zaroor hai (It’s very rare that a girl is forcefully picked up by 10 boys. A girl who gets into a car with boys is never innocent. If she does, she definitely has a relationship with at least one of them).”

There is a sweeping consensus in listing ‘indecent’ clothing as a primary cause for rape, followed closely by ‘behaviour’

Roop Lal of Sector 40, Gurgaon, sought to find a rationale to the occurrence of gang-rape: “Jaise hum log baithe hai, zyaada daaru pee li. Chalte peeli. Behnchodh, phekh saala, phir to aise hi hoga. Raat bhar rakh li. Uska jawab kya degi wo apne gharwalon ko, ki jo ek ghante ke liye keh kar gayi hai, aur poori night main kahan gayi thi. To maa-baap to poochenge, bhai bhi poochega. Jinka samaaj hai woh to poochte hai (Say we are sitting and had one drink too many while on the move… it’s obvious that it’ll happen. Keep her for the entire night. What will she tell her parents? She was supposed to be away for an hour and has ended up being out the entire night. Parents will question, so will her brother. Society will ask questions.”

RK Sisodia, Additional SHO of Sector 20 Noida Police Station, had an entirely different opinion on the authenticity of rape cases. He was the only one to say that very few rape cases in NCR are false or questionable in nature. It was almost a surprise to hear him.

SEVERAL POLICE officers believe it’s a woman’s behaviour that is a prime reason and if it were not for “provocation” from her end, rapes wouldn’t happen.

When asked about sensitisation in the police, Inspector Sunil Kumar of Delhi Police shrugged away the query, saying rape is anyway the girl’s fault, particularly if she is a ‘Delhi girl’: “If a girl living in Delhi doesn’t want this trauma she will not encourage it. Suppose you are two people and I am a girl dating you both. I am flirting with one person and ignoring you, then after I see you jealous, I come to you. Then one day when he (the other person) is drunk, he might come with two-three friends and ask me to join him. I will then go with him with my wish. In a fit of vindictiveness, he will try to have sex with me, with or without my wish. But first, it is my fault because I courted disaster. No rape can happen in Delhi without the girl’s provocation.

Kumar had painted a scenario a script writer of a soap opera would find hard to concoct. Yet he believed — absolutely believed — this was everyday reality in large sections of Delhi society. Indeed, it appears as though there is almost a sweeping consensus in listing a woman’s “indecent” clothing as a primary cause for rape, followed closely by her “behaviour”, ranging from what they deemed promiscuous to just plain assertiveness. It’s almost as if a woman wearing a sari or a salwar kameez is never raped – though empirical evidence clearly suggests otherwise.

Sub-Inspector Roop Lal in Gurgaon even asked if women didn’t have a mind of their own. He explained his hypothesis: “Birthday ke sambandh main party do… aur woh akeli ladki hai, un teeno ke saath jaa rahi hai, aur dekh rahi hai ki saale daaru bhi pee rahe hai saath main. To yeh bilkul ladies ko pata hai is baat ka, ki kya hoga. Jab wo khud hi party karne lagi hai, to wo rape nahi keh sakte. Rape kaise kahoge? Daaru ke sang unke saath baith rahi hai… to dimag to tere main bhi hai, jab tu chatra hai kisliye party mang rahi hai, kisliye inke saath jaa rahi hai? (If a girl asks for a birthday party and is alone with 2-3 boys and sees they are drinking, she knows what is likely to happen. When she herself goes for such a party, she can’t complain of rape. How can you call it rape if she is sitting and drinking with them? You are a student and have brain of your own. Why are you going out with them?)”

IT’S ALL about money.” If this is not enough to shock you, a majority of the policemen said rape is used as a blackmailing tool to extort money. More than 17 officers spoke about a supposedly dirty nexus of money, mal-intent, compromises and sex.

Arjun Singh SHO, Surajpur Police Station, Greater NoidaArjun Singh, SHO, Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida

Arjun Singh
SHO, Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida

‘If girls don’t stay within their boundaries, if they don’t wear appropriate clothes, then naturally there is attraction. This attraction makes men aggressive, prompting them to just do it (rape)’

Praveen kumar SSP, NoidaPraveen Kumar, SSP, Noida

‘Although a module on gender issues for new recruits exists, there are no training programmes. Public-police ratio has to increase only then can we spare them for courses in gender sensitivity’

Praveen kumar SSP, Noida

Satbir Singh, Additional SHO of Sector 31 Police Station, Faridabad has completed 27 years in service and investigated around 20 rape cases. He believes half of all rape charges were false. He was unapologetic about questioning the intent of rape victims when they came to file complaints: “One lakh. Two lakh. Fifty lakh. Logon ko ye pata chal gaya hai ki ye achcha paisa kamaane ka dhanda hai… business hai. Income source dhoond liya hai logon ne. Aam baat hai… kharcha nahi hota. Money nahi hote.Gharwale kharch ke liye paise nahi dete.Wo phir razabandi se kaam chalta hai(People have understood this is a lucrative trade for women; it’s business. They’ve found an income source. It’s common; you’re short of money, your parents don’t give you money to spend. You make compromises).”

THE FARCE Satbir Singh Add’l SHO, Sector-31 Police Station, Faridabad  ‘If a girl wears revealing clothes, it will encourage lewd thoughts in any kid. They wear short skirts, blouse, they don’t wear dupattas, they flaunt their bodies. The kid naturally will get attracted to her’THE FARCE Satbir Singh Add’l SHO, Sector-31 Police Station, Faridabad ‘If a girl wears revealing clothes, it will encourage lewd thoughts in any kid. They wear short skirts, blouse, they don’t wear dupattas, they flaunt their bodies. The kid naturally will get attracted to her’

Vijay Kumar, a young sub-inspector working under Satbir Singh, also shares similar views. Amazingly, so does Rajbala, a young lady investigating officer at the station. “90 percent to aise hi hote hai…” she said, as SHO Satbir talks about money being the biggest factor behind rape cases.

Sector 29 Police Station, as it’s SHO Jagdish Prasad points out, registered 10 rape cases from 2005-2010. Conviction happened in two of them. Here too, it’s troubling to see two young, 20-something English-speaking Sub-Inspectors, Naveen and Vipin, have deep prejudices against independent women. “It’s all for enjoyment,” said Vipin at one point, supporting his senior’s argument.

This kind of gender stereotyping is not limited to the outskirts of the NCR. In the heart of Delhi, Inspector Sunil Kumar, SHO of Ghazipur Police Station was similarly judgmental: “Someone will say I will give you Rs 1,000 or Rs 2,000 but afterwards they give Rs 500. Then it becomes rape. And no one in the world will listen to me. I might say she asked for Rs 1,000, I gave Rs 500. But our law says very clearly — if a girl says she was raped then she was raped. No excuses there. It is final.” His tone was sympathetic — to the person charged with rape.

Apart from a general suspicion towards any woman who complains of rape, the class bias was unmistakable in several stations — the argument being insensitive enough to be seen as condoning the act. Rape victims from poor backgrounds are looking for money, and the ones from affluent families are simply wayward and easy: it’s all so neat.

Oonche gharon ki ladkiyan hain; jinke saath setting hoti hai uske saath chali jati hai, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 rupiyo ke liye (These girls are from affluent families; they go with anyone who they have a setting with for money),” said Additional Sub-Inspector Vikas Kumar of Sector 29 Police Station in Gurgaon. His colleague and Additional SHO of the station, Rajpal Yadav also had his reasoning for rape cases involving women from affluent classes; “Sharaab bhi peeti hain ladkiyan… log fayda toh uthainge hi. Hookah bar, smack, ganja, nasha, tambakoo (These girls tend to drink… people will naturally take advantage. They do everything from hookah bars to smack to ganja and tobacco).”

When it comes to victims from economically backward families, the comments get cruder. For instance, Yoginder Singh Tomar of Noida believed rapes happened only among lower castes and lower classes: “Upper caste toh nahi aati. Upper caste ki to mukkadma hi darj nahi hota. Aata hi nahi koi. Hota hi nahi hai. Ab hota hoga toh humaare paas nahi aa rahe hai (Upper caste people never file rape complaints. Rape never happens there. If it happens, it never comes to us).”

THE BAGGAGE of cultural prejudice a policeman carries to the police station is not only unprofessional but also dangerous as it ensures a bias from the very onset of an investigation. This invariably leads to loopholes in the probe and becomes a road-block in deliverance of justice. If investigators are to be believed, their experience of rape cases has given them an understanding that everything from co-education to alcohol, films and comfortable relationships are prime reasons for rape.

Yahan log bahar se aaye hain… Filmon main dekh rahe hai. Bilkul nangapan saa aagaya hai yahan par. Filmon ko dekh kar yeh sab ho raha hai; nashe ki aadat pad gayi hai. Bahar se aye hue hain woh apne culture koh jo Indian culture hai usko chhod rahe hain (People have come from outside. They watch films and get influenced. There is complete nudity; people have taken to alcohol. Also, outsiders, from outside NCR, have forgotten Indian culture),” is Sub-Inspector Rajpal Yadav’s rationale for rapes.

How can such a police force discharge its constitutional duty of prosecuting sex offenders successfully?

HOWEVER, IN Delhi, TEHELKA found that of the six stations it visited, three had police officers who were professional and sensitised towards cases of violence against women. Additional SHO, Inspector Thakeshwar Singh of Sangam Vihar Police Station, pointed out there were compromises between the victim’s side and the perpetrator’s side but not necessarily due to money: “There’s social stigma attached to a rape victim, making it difficult for her to tirelessly pursue the case.”

THE FARCE Yogender Singh Tomar  Add’l SHO, Sector 39 Police Station, Noida  ‘It’s never easy for the victim. Everyone is scared of humiliation. Everyone’s wary of media and society. In reality, the ones who complain are those who have made rape a business’  THE FARCE Yogender Singh Tomar Add’l SHO, Sector 39 Police Station, Noida ‘It’s never easy for the victim. Everyone is scared of humiliation. Everyone’s wary of media and society. In reality, the ones who complain are those who have made rape a business’

The Delhi Police insists it has a gender sensitivity programme in place. There is a rape crisis intervention centre in every district and a women’s help desk in every police station. “There is sensitisation at the induction level as well as promotional and specialised courses on the job. The objective is to handle women in crisis. In these courses officers are apprised with latest court orders,” said Additional DCP Rajan Bhagat, PRO Delhi Police.

Yet inside these police stations and behind those nice-sounding phrases is a much harsher reality. The lack of training and sensitisation is evident. Praveen Kumar, SSP Noida, felt there was need for sensitisation at the working level. “Although there is a module on gender issues for new recruits, there are no training programmes for people in service. There is training at the induction level but not at short intervals since there is shortage of manpower. If those policemen are sent for training who would man the police posts? Public-police ratio has to increase only then can we spare them for courses in gender sensitivity,” he said.

However, Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon, KK Sindhu felt there was no real need for sensitisation as all cases related to women were handled by ladies. The Gurgaon Police chief was of the opinion that women were usually accompanied by men if they had to visit a police station. “Women are inseparable from family in an Indian set-up. There is always a male accompanying them to a police station. Gender sensitivity is part of training and, in cases involving women, the issue is always handled by a woman investigating officer.”

GIVEN THAT these extremely disturbing attitudes exist in agencies that are meant for the protection of harassed women, it comes as little surprise that rapes continue unabated. Six rape cases were reported from different parts of the NCR during the two weeks TEHELKA reporters were out in the field meeting policemen. While the men in uniform have a spectrum of reasons to rationalise rise in rape occurrence, there is little acknowledgment of the fact that perhaps better policing and instilling a fear of the law among the perpetrators could make women feel that much safer.

This prejudice breeds a vicious cycle. It makes investigation slothful and lackadaisical and as a result the conviction rate in rape cases is appallingly low. This, in turn, allows potential sex criminals to get away with anything, even an open-and-shut case of rape. And each time this happens, to the average policeman it only reinforces what he thinks he already knows: “She asked for it.”

Abhishek Bhalla is a Senior Special Correspondent with Tehelka.

G Vishnu is a Correspondent with Tehelka.


#Vedanta vs the government: Just a lovers’ tiff? #tribalrights

by  Dec 19, 2012


Earlier this month Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) announced it was closing its Lanjigarh refinery in Odisha.

VAL’s chief executive officer told the Hindustan Times, “Despite out concerted efforts over the past three months to ensure sustainable supplies of bauxite for our refinery in Lanjigarh, we have not been able to find any solution.”

The company said in a press release that the closure would affect 7,000 people directly or indirectly. Vedanta says the state government is not keeping its promise to provide bauxite linkage to the refinery.

“The bogey of job losses is meant to blackmail the central and state government and influence the court,” social activist Prafulla Samantara told HT. According to Business Standard,  the state government has started the process of identifying prospective alternative bauxite deposits for Vedanta now that  Niyamgiri is out of bounds.

Does that mean Vedanta, whose mining practices have long been the target of activists, is in big trouble? Or that the activists have won?

Not so fast. An Open Magazine article (worth reading in its entirety here) says the government versus Vedanta case is a lot murkier than it would seem from the tit-for-tat press releases and official statements.

In nine cases out of 10, Big Business gets its way. And the perception is that when it does not, it’s not because the government was on its toes, but because it was embarrassed into doing its job.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest did withdraw its clearance for bauxite mining in Niyamgiri after an international campaign against it. The ministry also came down on Vedanta for violating ecological norms and expanding the refinery without an environmental clearance.

But, says Open, “no explanation was offered for the ease with which the MoEF let the project go ahead in the first place.”

That story is the real story that gets people up in arms about how much a Walmart spends lobbying India to get into the market. It’s not that the lobbying is illegal but the sense is that the company-politician nexus is a juggernaut that will ride roughshod over everything else. A Vedanta setback is just a temporary blip. In nine cases out of 10, Big Business gets its way. And the perception is that when it does not, it’s not because the government was on its toes, but because it was embarrassed into doing its job.

So it’s a little hard to take at face value the current scuffle between Vedanta and the Odisha state government as anything but a lovers’ tiff. Odisha is demanding that Sterlite Energy Ltd (SEL), a Vedanta company, deposit its contribution to the Odisha Environment Management Fund immediately, writes Business Standard. Meanwhile Vedanta is applying the screws on the Odisha government for not paying Rs 744 crore dues for power supply from SEL.

Despite all the bad press, Vedanta is happy to play the good Samaritan. On World AIDS day on 1 December, it kicked off an AIDS awareness campaign at Jharsuguda. At Lanjigarh itself it held a free camp for cleft lip and palate surgery. “This is a noble initiative,” Dr Mukesh Kumar, the president and COO of VAL, said. “Vedanta hospital will continue to serve the people of the region.” The Vedanta Foundation and the Odisha state government just signed an MoU for an e-Shiksha project that will help students in tribal areas get LED Pico projectors with memory and backup.

But Open Magazine says that’s not enough. Its reporter found  that the company has tried to build consensus through blank pieces of paper. It claims 3,000 villagers have supported their project. Open found a video that showed residents of the village being asked to put their thumb impressions on blank sheets of paper at a meeting organised by the local Block Development Officer, the village Sarpanch, Tehsildar and Vedanta’s law officer.

In a situation where the state politicians and police are in bed with the company (and the centre is acting partly because an opposition party is in power in Odisha) anyone who speaks out does so very much at his own peril. The local journalist who took that video says he fears every day he will be branded a Maoist and thrown into jail. People fighting for compensation or refusing to give up their land have had dacoity charges slapped on them already.

That’s easy to imagine happening because as Arundhati Roy explained in Outlook, the collusion between a company like Vedanta and powers that be is deep and entrenched.  P Chidambaram was a non-executive director of Vedanta till he became the finance minister in 2004.

What are we to make of the fact that, when activists from Orissa filed a case against Vedanta in the Supreme Court, citing its violations of government guidelines and pointing out that the Norwegian Pension Fund had withdrawn its investment from the company alleging gross environmental damage and human rights violations committed by the company, Justice Kapadia suggested that Vedanta be substituted with Sterlite, a sister company of the same group? He then blithely announced in an open court that he too had shares in Sterlite.

This is not just a jholawallah critique from the Arundhati Roys of the world. Even Ratan Tatais speaking out about crony capitalism. As Gurcharan Das points out in his new book India Grows At Night:

Indubitably the 1991 reforms have unleased business enterprise and this has done a lot of good in lifting the millions out of poverty and into the middle class. But it has also given greater freedom to ‘robber barons’, as it did in the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century… Because many sectors of the economy have not yet been reformed India has increasingly moved to a disturbing situation where large business groups enjoy excessive power.”

Vedanta complains the media is biased against it and never presents its side of the story.  The story of Vedanta deserves attention not because it’s about tribal lands or that the Dongria Kondh people regard the hills as their living gods.  It’s because when the state is weak and corruptible, every company just assumes that it pays to be a robber baron.

In a video obtained by Open when asked by an engineer if they had taken permission to raise the heights of certain embankments, a company rep airily says the company rarely does that. Work is done first and permission taken later.

That about sums it all up.


IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Jaipur Protests against #Delhigangrape



Against the  Brutal GANG Rape in a Delhi BUS and

AGAINST THE Growing Violence AGAINST Women in the Country  


PROTESTORS express outrage against this brutality and  demand



19th December, 2012


Today Jaipur too witnessed outrage against the Delhi Gang Rape on its streets. More than three hundred people, inlcuding two hundred College students mostly girls gathered  at the Gandhi Statue Circle, with placards and posters, demanding “Justice for the Delhi Survior of gang rape and also ” Enough is Enough, stop violence against women now”.  The students came from more than a dozen National Law Colleges of the country who are interns with the PUCL and also from the Kanoria Girls College. There were a large number of students from Muslim Girls School and also from the Rajasthan University.

Along with  students there were more than a hundred persons from various progressive organisations including PUCL, Women’s Rehabilitation Group, Dalit Adhikar Network, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, IRADA, Jamait Islami Hind, Shikshit Rozgar Kendra PRabhanhak Samiti, DAGAR, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, RTI Manch, Mahila SAlah Evam Suraksha Kendra, Rajasthan Smagra Sewa Sangh, Action Aid, Rajasthan University Women’s Assocation. The protestors were pleasantly surprised to see several Physio Therapists from the All India Physiotherapist Association who came in solidairty as the victim in Delhi was a Physioterapist.

The message of the protest was very clearly articulated by the girls that they didnot  want to be in an India which was so insecure. It was not a place for women and girls to live in if cities would be so hostile towards the free movement of girls and women. There were slogans against Sheila Diksiht, Delhi  Police, ManMohan Singh and Shide for not providing a safe and secure space for women. Speakers also spoke of how it was the same in Rajasthan. There were so many instances of abduction and rape in cities and villages of Rajasthan and there was no justice in sight. There was a demand that short cut, populist solutions were not what they were looking for but a comprehensive intervention on all fronts which ensured that there would be ZERO tolerance towards Violence against women. The people also felt that the culture within the Police and the Judiciary was still adverse towards the women who still blamed the girl for sexual violence.

A Card with a message wishing the Delhi gangrape survivor a Speedy REcovery was also passed around for signatures.

The PROTEST ENDED WITH A MARCH WITH CANDLES demanding Justice for the Delhi survivor and an end to Violence Against women . This protest is being looked upon as a beginning of the Anti Rape Movement in the City with yet another protest being planned on the 21st December, 2012 involving several other colleges and different organisations including all the Para medics.

Kavita Srivastava, (General Secretary, PUCL Rajasthan)

Contact: 09351562965, 01412594131


Unique ID is dangerous for you; it should be scrapped #Aadhaar

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Dec 18, 2012, The First Post


By Yogi Aggarwal

The government’s controversial scheme of giving a unique 12-digit identification (ID) number to identify a resident (and not necessarily a citizen) of this country got a massive leg up with the announcement of the direct cash transfers programme. The UID is the technology anchor of the programme, the first of many to come.  It is to be linked to payments under MGNREGA, subsidised foodgrain under the public distribution system (PDS), and many others.

Some news reports on the UID, or the Aadhaar scheme, indicate which way it may be leading us. The Hindustan Times of 28 November states: “The Delhi government is considering making UID numbers mandatory for all public services from next year.”  A report from Nagpur dated 4 December says: “The state government has made it clear to all schools that unless all staff and students are enrolled in the Unique identification scheme, no salaries will be paid from next financial year.” The Hindu reported on 20 November: “A government order says that school children who are not enrolled in the Aadhaar scheme by 31 March 2013 will not be given benefits, including scholarships, grants, and various certificates.”

This is only the beginning of the story. Even though UID is not currently mandatory, it is increasingly being made so and banks, the labour ministry and even the railways are planning to incorporate it to provide services. An approach paper on privacy done for the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) says: “As more and more agencies of the government sign on to the UID project, the UID number will become the common thread that links all those databases together … There is tremendous scope for… commercial exploitation of this information without the consent/knowledge of the individual.”

The dangers of the state using the UID to collate information from different databases such as those of banks, the tax authorities, hospitals, passport offices, driving licences and others are increasing. In December 2009, the National Intelligence Grid (Natgrid), established within the home ministry, will funnel information about us from 21 databases to 11 security agencies. In April 2011, rules framed under the Information Technology Act explained that those holding “sensitive personal data,”  which includes “physical, physiological and mental health condition”, “sexual orientation”, “biometric information” and so on would be are required to share it with the government when asked.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCoF), chaired by Yashwant  Sinha, in its December 2011 report on the UID had several objections to the scheme. While the committee “categorically conveyed their unacceptability of the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010,” it was damning when it said that, “The UID scheme has been conceptualised with no clarity of purpose and leaving many things to be sorted out during the course of its implementation; and is being implemented in a directionless way with a lot of confusion.”

The SCoF raises serious questions about the government beginning Aadhaar enrolments without parliament’s approval of the Bill, and comes down heavily on the government for proceeding without the “enactment of a national data protection law” – an essential prerequisite “for any law that deals with large-scale collection of information from individuals and its linkages across separate databases.”

The report also questions the use of biometrics to prove the unique identity of individuals. It notes that “the scheme is full of uncertainty in technology” and is built upon “untested, unreliable technology.” It notes that under Indian conditions, where most people, especially farmers, do manual work which scars or damages fingerprints, the “estimated failure of biometrics is expected to be as high as 15 percent”. So instead of a foolproof method of verifying a person’s uniqueness, it becomes a dangerous sham.

The SCoF report states that “there are lessons to be learnt from the global experience” which the ministry has “ignored completely”. The UK shelved its identity cards project for a number of reasons, including the huge costs involved, untested and unsafe technology, and risk to security of citizens. It adds that the London School of Economics report on the UK Identity Project inter-alia states that “…..identity systems may create a range of new and unforeseen problems……the risk of failure in the current proposals is, therefore, magnified to the point where the scheme should be regarded as a potential danger to the public interest and to the legal rights of individuals”.

In the US, though there is no comparable identity scheme, the social security number (SSN) plays a similar role. Until the early 2000s, it was closely guarded by the state and employers. Then the SSNs of individuals were exposed to a wide array of private players, which identity thieves used to access bank accounts, credit accounts, utilities records and other sources of personal information. In 2006, the Government Accountability Office noted that “over a one-year period, nearly 10 million people — or 4.6 percent of the adult US population — discovered that they were victims of some form of identity theft, translating into estimated losses exceeding $50 billion.”

In India, the dangers are manifold. The UIDAI has subcontracted its entire enrolment process to private companies, unlike the census, which is usually conducted by government employees. Thousands of private agents, acting as enrollers, data-collectors, and data-transporters, will have the potential to make a quick buck by selling UID data in electronic form to market players. This is especially risky, since information about biometric details, bank account numbers, and telephone numbers of potential customers can have a huge market demand.

The dangers of the state using the UID to collate information from different databases such as those of banks, the tax authorities, hospitals, passport offices, driving licences and others are increasing. PTI

As the government rushes ahead with plans to make the UID more ubiquitous, pushing ahead with its spread, the opposition to it is also growing. On 28 November 2012, civil rights activists issued a statement demanding that “the project be halted, a feasibility study be done covering all aspects of this issue, experts be tasked with studying its constitutionality, the law on privacy be urgently worked on (this will affect matters way beyond the UID project), a cost- benefit analysis be done and a public, informed debate be conducted before any such major change be brought in.”

This statement was issued by luminaries including former Supreme Court Justice VR Krishna Iyer, historian Romila Thapar, NAC member Aruna Roy, Upendra Baxi, jurist and former vice-chancellor of the Universities of Surat and Delhi, and many others. They raised 10 questions about the UID.

These included: (1) the need for UID, when 15 other identity proofs exist; (2) why Indian citizens should be profiled based on biometric data when even prisoners are not; (3) how the UID project poses a threat to the privacy rights of citizens; (4) the implications of an extraordinary dependence on corporations, many of them companies with close links to foreign intelligence agencies;  (5) linking of UID with voter ID, land titles, National Intelligence Grid, National Population Register (NPR), National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), etc, as an assault on the rights of citizens; (6) the lack of guarantees on the use of the database for communal and ethnic targeting of minorities and political dissidents.

With the parliamentary committee having rubbished the UID scheme and shown how it is inimical to national interest and individual privacy, the government should drop the idea instead of continuing with its folly.



#DelhigangRape accused now charged with attempt to murder

13 policemen will face trial for charges of gang rape in the case of Vakapalli tribal women  #Rape #Vaw

Edited by Abhinav Bhatt | Updated: December 19, 2012 , NDTV

New Delhi The accused in the gang-rape of a medical student in New Delhi on Sunday have now been charged with attempt to murder by the Delhi Police.
Here are the latest developments in the case:
  1. The Delhi Police last night added three more sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the accused. The fresh sections against the accused are 307 (attempt to murder), 201 (destruction of evidence) and 390 (robbery).
  2. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi paid a visit to the Safdurjung Hospital, where she met the 23-year-old victim late on Tuesday night. Earlier, she phoned and wrote to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. She pushed for a strict punishment for the guilty. (Read full text of Sonia Gandhi’s letters)
  3. In Parliament, angry opposition leaders asked the government to explain what it’s doing to protect women in an increasingly unsafe capital. Sushma Swaraj, BJP leader, said the death sentence must be introduced for rapists. Samajwadi Party MP and actor Jaya Bachchan broke down while discussing the case. (See special feature: Who said what)
  4. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said that he will ask for the case to be fast-tracked with daily court hearings. He said a special committee has been set up in his ministry to come up with guidelines to offer better protection for women. More policemen will patrol the roads at night, he said. (Read: Angry MPs ask govt for tough action, more security)
  5. The victim of Sunday’s gang-rape is in hospital in critical condition on a ventilator support system. Her male friend who tried to protect her on the bus but was beaten on the head with an iron rod has been discharged from hospital. (Read)
  6. The National Human Rights Commission or NHRC has issued notices to the Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar and Home Secretary RK Singh in connection with the gang-rape. The commission said, “Such acts are grave violation of human rights. The incident has raised the issue of declining public confidence in the law and order machinery in the city, especially, in its capacity to ensure safety of women.” The officials have been asked to submit a report to the commission in two weeks. (Read)
  7. A man in Delhi approached the police on Tuesday claiming that he was travelling on the same bus barely an hour before the gang-rape, and was robbed of Rs. 8000 by the men on board before being made to get off the vehicle near the IIT campus in South Delhi.
  8. The four people arrested include Ram Singh, the driver of the privately-operated bus and his brother. Ram Singh has refused to participate in an identification parade. (Read)
  9. Two other men are missing; police teams are searching for them in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan, said Delhi’s police commissioner Neeraj Kumar. (Read: How police cracked Delhi gang-rape case)
  10. Police sources say that when the woman and her friend boarded the bus, the attackers began harassing her about being out at night with a man. Her friend intervened and they began beating him with a rod. She tried to protect him and the men on the bus decided she “should be punished,” said a senior police source. (Read)



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