Chandigarh: 5 year old girl sexually assaulted, slapped and threatened by the driver of the private cab. #VAW #WTfnews


CHILDRAPE

Jan 20, 2013   Sector 22, Chandigarh

Abuse, maps4aid.com

Action Taken: Sub-inspector Amarjeet Singh said a case of assault, molestation and threatening had been registered and the accused, Pawan, had been apprehended. The case was registered at the Sector 17 police station. Pawan, who is married, will be produced in the dist
Description:

A five-year-old student at a private school in Sector 22 was sexually assaulted, slapped and threatened by the driver of the private cab who was dropping her home from school at around 12pm on Saturday.

The accused, Pawan Kumar, 26, of Nayagaon village near Chandigarh has been arrested. A family member of the victim told TOI, “At around noon, my niece came home crying loudly. When I asked what happened, she told me about her horrific experience.”

According to the relative, the regular cab driver Sharwan Singh, had gone to Ludhiana to attend a family function and he had given the charge of ferrying children to and from school to Pawan. A medical examination of the victim, who fell sick and is traumatized, was conducted at GMH-16.

The victim and five other children used to go to school in Sector 22 together. The turn of the victim came in the end. In her statement to the police and family members, the child said that the driver committed the crime, after which he slapped and threatened her. The statement of the child was recorded in the presence of her family members and women cops.

Source: TNN | Jan 20, 2013

Oxfam says world’s 100 richest people could end #poverty #mustshare


 
UK-based charity says the world’s 100 richest people earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty four times over.
 

The world’s richest one percent have seen their income increase by 60 percent in the last 20 years [EPA]
The world’s 100 richest people earned enough money last year to end world extreme poverty four times over, according to a new report released by international rights group and charity Oxfam.

The $240 billion net income of the world’s 100 richest billionaires would have ended poverty four times over, according to the London-based group’s report released on Saturday.

The group has called on world leaders to commit to reducing inequality to the levels it was at in 1990, and to curb income extremes on both sides of the spectrum.

The release of the report was timed to coincide with the holding of the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.

The group says that the world’s richest one percent have seen their income increase by 60 percent in the last 20 years, with the latest world financial crisis only serving to hasten, rather than hinder, the process.

“We sometimes talk about the ‘have-nots’ and the ‘haves’ – well, we’re talking about the ‘have-lots’. […] We’re anti-poverty agency. We focus on poverty, we work with the poorest people around the world. You don’t normally hear us talking about wealth. But it’s gotten so out of control between rich and poor that one of the obstacles to solving extreme poverty is now extreme wealth,” Ben Phillips, a campaign director at Oxfam, told Al Jazeera.

‘Global new deal’

“We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true,” said Jeremy Hobbs, an executive director at Oxfam.

“Concentration of resources in the hands of the top one per cent depresses economic activity and makes life harder for everyone else – particularly those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

“In a world where even basic resources such as land and water are increasingly scarce, we cannot afford to concentrate assets in the hands of a few and leave the many to struggle over what’s left.”

Hobbs said that “a global new deal” is required, encompassing a wide array of issues, from tax havens to employment laws, in order to address income inequality.

Closing tax havens, the group said, could yield an additional $189bn in additional tax revenues. According to Oxfam’s figures, as much as $32 trillion is currently stored in tax havens.

In a statement, Oxfam warned that “extreme wealth and income is not only unethical it is also economically inefficient, politically corrosive, socially divisive and environmentally destructive.”

 

Wait for justice continues for #Mumbai riot victims


ALOK DESHPANDE, The Hindu, Jan 19,2012

 20 years after the communal riots in Mumbai, the families of the victims continue their wait for justice. The recent revelation in front of the Bombay High Court have made it sure that the wait will continue for few more years.

The high court on Friday rejected the writ petition filed by Akhtari Tahir Hasan Wagle, demanding an FIR to be filed against the eight policemen from the Mumbai police who allegedly shot and killed her 16 years old son Shahnawaz and asking investigation in to this case of alleged murder. The reason was startling for her and for husband. The Maharashtra state government told the court that, a similar writ petition demanding ‘justice’ has already been filed in the supreme court and the joint affidavit already has Wagle’s name in it. Ironically, neither Akhtari nor her husband Tahir were aware of any such pending case in supreme court as according to them it was the first time that they had approached any court for justice. But according to the affidavits provided to the high court, justice for their son has been pending in the Supreme Court for last 15 years, since 1998.

In 1998, an NGO named Action Committee for Implementation of Shrikrishna Report had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court asking court to direct state government to implement Shrikrishna Committee report on Bombay riots. The general secretary of the committee is current Minority Affairs Minister of Maharashtra and Congress MLA from Mumbai Arif Naseem Khan. Subsequently two other writ petitions demanding justice to riot victims were filed by Human Rights Union of Supreme Court Lawyers (542/1998) and All India Jamiat Ulema E Hind (164/1999).

The matter remained without any progress for nine years. Nine years later in 2007, Mr. Khan filed a joint affidavit for all writ petitions in the Supreme Court, following the directions from court. In the affidavit he mentioned Wagle’s case as an example of denial of justice to riot victims along with four other cases. None of the family members of Waghle were aware of it. Ever since then the case hasn’t moved an inch and has even closed the chances of the victims’ family to approach any other court as it happened on Friday.

A division bench of justices AS Oka and AM Bhangale rejected the writ petition on the grounds that the case is already pending in front of the Supreme Court. Wagle’s counsel Ejaj Naqvi argued that the present writ petition has been filed by Wagle’s mother and she has no knowledge of earlier any affidavit and hence the petition should be admitted. However, the court remained firm with its decision.

“I never asked him (Mr. Khan) to fight case for me in the court. He should have at least informed us when he mentioned my son’s name in the affidavit,” said Tahir Wagle, Shahnawaz’s father, while speaking with The Hindu.

“If we had been informed before then we would not have approached high court. But the writ petition on the Supreme Court is pending from last 15 years and there is no sign of justice to Shahnawaz. The people who approached the Supreme Court should have ensured that hearings take place regularly. It seems that even they have forgotten about the case,” said Mr. Naqvi, while speaking with The Hindu.

When contacted, Mr. Khan denied of any charges of negligence from his side. “We filed the affidavit in 2007 to prove home ministry’s claims of Action Taken Report (ATR) wrong. The matter is sub-judice and we are providing necessary legal aid for the speedy verdict of the case,” he told The Hindu.

Meanwhile, the family of Shahnawaz who had approached the high court with a hope to get justice has no option but to remain quite. “Now we can’t even fight our son’s case. That’s what we are being told. We have no option but to wait,” said Mr. Wagle.

 

#Chhattisgarh: Abduction of Adivasi Women by A. P Police #Vaw #tribalrights


January 19, 2013

A four-member fact-finding team of the Human Rights Forum (HRF) to Nimmalagudem village on January 16, 2013 was told by tribal residents that two women of the village — Madvi Parvathi, (aged 21, wife of Madvi Bhaskar) and a minor Kovasi Somidi, (aged 15, daughter of Kovasi Idma and Kovasi Aite) were forcibly taken away by policemen from Andhra Pradesh at about 7 am on January 12, 2013 from the village itself. Their whereabouts are not known till date. According to Parvathi’s mother Punam Jogamma and her husband Bhaskar, Parvathi is also pregnant.

Nimmalagudem, with about 30 tribal households, is in Konta block of Sukma district, Chattisgarh. It is located only about 3 km from the Andhra Pradesh border. Residents, who are all farmers, said a huge police party from AP consisting of over 100 personnel, including the Greyhounds, came to the village at daybreak on January 12. On seeing the police from a distance, most men fled into the forest in the opposite direction. The policemen began abusing and beating up residents including several women and children. Among those beaten up were Sodi Devi, a 10 year-old girl and a 12-year old boy Madvi Venkatesh. The boy lost three teeth as a result.

The policemen then picked up a farmer Podium Chukkaiah and his minor son (aged about 11) P Bhimaiah as well as Parvathi, Somidi and another woman Madkam Saramma. Their hands were tied and they were taken to a spot about half a kilometre away from the village below a hillock where there were remnants of a camp set up earlier by the Maoists. Accusing the four as well as the entire village of providing food and help to the Maoists, they beat them with their hands and sticks. Bhimaiah was slapped repeatedly.

Several women including Parvathi’s mother Jogamma, her aunt Punam Somamma, Somidi’s mother Aite followed the policemen pleading with them to not harm their daughters. The policemen instead abused and also beat up the three women and even kicked them. Aite and Jogamma tried to give some water to Parvathi and Somidi but the policemen did not allow it.

Soon after, the police partially disrobed Parvathi and Somidi and forcibly took the two away with them. They let go of Saramma, Chukkaiah and Bhimaiah. Chukkaiah was bedridden for two days from the beatings and is now better. Over a week after they were abducted by the AP police, there is still no trace of Parvathi and Somidi.

The incident was reported in the Telugu media after the tribals went to Cherla, a mandal headquarters in Khammam district of AP, and narrated the events to local reporters. When contacted by reporters, police officials have kept denying knowledge of the whole thing.

On January 16, Nimmalagudem villagers again walked to Cherla and met the Bhadrachaslam sub-collector Narayana Bharat Gupta. They told him what had happened on January 12 and pleaded with to help them locate their daughters. They told him that every-time there was movement of Maoists in the area or any incident involving the Maoists, the Andhra police were targeting Nimmalagudem and harassing them. Gupta promised to take up the matter with higher officials. Two days have gone by and there is no word about the women.

Fax messages have been sent to the Chief Justice of the AP High Court as well as the Chattisgarh CJ seeking their intervention.
An appeal was made by HRF through the media to immediately set the two women free and handed over to their families.

Members of the HRF fact-finding team:
1. VS Krishna (HRF State general secretary)
2. SK Khadar Babu (HRF Khammam district president)
3. D Adinarayana (HRF Khammam district general secretary)
4. N Amar (HRF Nalgonda district vice-president)

 

PRESS RELEASE- #Mumbai-Police Act as Agents of Builders Against People


Relay Fast to Begin at Ambewadi Golibar, Mumbai

State Government and People’s Commission Enquiry Continues in SRA Corruption

GBGB Supports the Struggle of Slumdwellers in Bangalore against Evictions at EWS Quarters

Mumbai, January 20 : On the first day of the New Year, Mumbai witnessed a storm of people marching the streets for land and housing rights. A renewed struggle against Land Scam involving corrupt builders, illegal demolition and impeachment of housing rights began when thousands of poor belonging to slums across Mumbai, gathered at Govandi and Golibar to start their long march on foot to demand implementation of Rajeev Awas Yojana as self- development towards right to shelter, and to fight against atrocities faced by them.

 

The march reached VT station on 02 Jan, 2013, there was heavy deployment of rapid action force and police, who had surrounded the whole VT area, Azad Maidan and blocked most roads going towards Mantralaya. It was quite ironical as this was a march that was marching on the Gandhian path of non-violent protest. After much negotiation with authorities at Mantralaya and police, the marchers finally reached AzadMaidan.

 

On 5th January, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan started a relay fast for 24 hours to demand land and housing rights, at 1 pm by 30 representatives of various slums as well as middle class localities across Mumbai participating in the fast while more than 5,000 people continued their sit-in throughout the day at Azad Maidan in Mumbai.

 

Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan withdrew its 10 days long agitation, after having received certain concrete promises and directions for investigations in the issues related to of corruption in respect of housing rights and land scams throughout Mumbai. The State Government has agreed to conduct an enquiry through the Principal Secretary, Housing into SRA projects in 6 localities- Golibar, Ambedkar Nagar, Mulund, Ramnagar-Ghatkopar, Chandivali, Sion-koliwada and Indira-nagar Jogeshwari, defining the modus operandis involving all stakeholders and holding public hearings.

The State has also taken and conveyed a firm decision to take RAY ahead and Mandala RAY project proposal to the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

 

While the Andolan was going on, all the things were moving on the right path. However, within a few days of withdrawal of the agitation and announcement of inquiry in the 6 SRA projects having approval on fraudulency and involving irregularities and illegalities, the harassment of the people have been started by the henchmen of developers under the tight police protection. Few examples of this harassment are cutting of public water supply and locking the doors of fencing compound just to block the way of local residents of Sion Koliwada. No cognizance was taken by Police and MCGM Authorities for this.

 

In Golibar, Ambewadi, on 18 Jan, 2013, developer with help of his 70-80 henchmen entered to fence the demolished area where the henchmen started assaulting the women with stone and bamboos to vacate the place. These women were badly assaulted and were admitted in hospital as they were severely injured. Nirmal Nagar Police Station has not taken any cognizance of the matter and was playing pro-builder role. On contrary, FIR has been registered in the favour of the developer’s henchmen and against the people who have raised their voice against the injustice. Demolition ride is still going on in different parts of slums.

 

Protesting against all the above mentioned injustice and harassment, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan with various slums as well as middle class localities across Mumbai has decided to continue and even intensify the struggle by starting Relay Fast today at 3pm, at Ambewadi Golibar, Mumbai, to reach out on the deaf ears of Government Authorities for our rights and justice.

 

Even though the Apex Authorities are issuing the orders of certain investigations but the sub-ordinates are least bothered to implement and follow the directions given by their Senior Authorities.

 

The struggle of Mumbai’s slum dwellers and those affected by corruption in Slum Rehabilitation and Re-development, continues at Ambewadi Golibar, Mumbai. We also stand in solidarity with the slumdwellers of Bangalore who are facing evictions and police repression at EWS quarters at Ejipura by BBMP. We demand that illegal demolitions by state will be resisted at all costs and we will stand in solidarity wherever homes will be demolished across the country.

 

Andolan demands that Maharashtra Government takes firm and concrete decisions, investigates into corruption and irregularities as well as Government should also carry out inquiry on Police Administration & Authorities for providing police protection to private bodies and for not even taking cognizance of the effected people and until then, people are determined to continue.

 

Sumit Wajale, Sandeep Yeole, Ajit bhau, Dattaram Tandel, Sushant Gumre, Madhuri Shivkar

9892143242

 

India’s Narendra Modi and the Tale of Two Rapes #Vaw


Narendra Modi at a BJP rally

 

By Shikha Dalmia Jan 17, 2013 9:12 PM GMT+0530

 

 

One of the most obscene moments after the death of the gang-rape victim in New Delhi was a tweet by Narendra Modi, the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, offering regret and condolences to the dead woman’s family.

Modi, who has quelled restive minorities by allowing attackers to subject women to unspeakable horrors, has done more than any man to numb his prudish country to sexual violence. Yet he was elected to a third term last month and is the presumptive front-runner of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the main Hindu opposition party, for prime minister in next year’s national elections.

So long as Indians keep rewarding politicos such as Modi, the country’s collective outrage after the New Delhi case won’t change the culture that makes such atrocities common in India.

The attack on the 23-year-old physiotherapy student was depraved. Five men and a teenager in a private bus are accused of kidnapping, beating, raping and violating her with an iron rod — and then dumping her and her semi-conscious boyfriend on a highway, where they also allegedly tried to run her over. But as monstrous as this crime was, consider what happened in Gujarat in February 2002, a few months after Modi assumed office.

Organized bands of well-armed Hindus — some from groups tied to Modi’s party — fanned across the state seeking revenge against Muslims for allegedly burning a train full of Hindu pilgrims a few weeks earlier. The Hindu rioters systematically sought out and destroyed Muslim homes and businesses, killing more than 1,000 people.

Extreme Violence

Muslim women were singled out. According to many Indian and foreign sources, including a Human Rights Watch account and a report by an international research team called “Threatened Existence: A Feminist Analysis of the Genocide in Gujarat,” women were stripped, gang-raped, often publicly, and in almost all cases then burned or hacked to death.

The reason the violence reached such extremes was that the state police stood back and didn’t intervene to stop the Hindu attacks and even told victims that it couldn’t protect them. As if the bloodletting wasn’t horrific enough, Modi subsequently dismantled the shelters constructed by private organizations for dispossessed Muslims, calling them “child-breeding centers.”

Compared with the New Delhi rape, which has triggered a protest movement in India calling for the castration and execution of the suspects, the Gujarat rapes and pogrom elicited barely a whimper. Many Hindus either deny that the horror even occurred or, if they accept it, claim it wasn’t as grisly as news accounts suggest. And if they believe the accounts, they say Muslims had it coming. Fewer than 100 out of the thousands accused — among them only one state minister and one Bharatiya Janata Party leader — were convicted, and that was a decade later. Modi himself was exonerated.

Whatever public disgust there was against him has dissipated, given the stellar economic growth that Gujarat has seen on his watch. Business leaders and corporations, from India and overseas, turn a blind eye to Modi’s role in allowing the bloodshed, and praise his economic stewardship. His business backers have already managed to get the U.K. government to reverse its long-standing ban on him and to give him a visa. Now they are trying to persuade the U.S. government to follow suit.

What accounts for the wide gulf in the Indian public response to the single crime in New Delhi and the mass crimes in Gujarat?

On a positive side, attitudes toward women have evolved considerably since the Gujarat atrocity 11 years ago. Indian women’s aspirations and opportunities have increased, especially in big cities, and they are demanding that the governing classes keep pace and create an environment in which they are free to move around safely.

Changed Attitudes

After the New Delhi attack, any politician or even religious guru — no matter how revered — who suggested that women need to circumscribe their lives and choices for their own protection was condemned and lampooned, something scarcely imaginable when I was growing up in New Delhi (in a Hindu household) in the 1970s.

But the darker reality is that the young woman’s rape and murder outraged the country’s Hindu urban middle class because it was a random and senseless act that could have just as easily victimized their daughters. Not so with attacks on the Muslim women in Gujarat. The premeditated and programmatic violence against them meant that the broader Hindu majority was insulated from it. If the New Delhi woman’s fate made every Indian feel more vulnerable, the attack on the Muslim women made Hindus feel more secure.

There are other reasons for India’s apathy toward Modi’s misdeeds. India is a democracy and has its share of human-rights activists and watchdog groups keeping an eye on government brutality. Yet the public at large has little appreciation of the dangers associated with overly muscular government. Indians complain constantly about government dysfunction and corruption. Yet they have little compunction about giving draconian powers to their rulers in the name of security. The upshot, tragically, is that Indians care less about state-fueled rape than when perpetrated by individuals.

The scale of the sexual violence in Gujarat was unprecedented in India. But smaller episodes are a matter of routine. The Indian army has been accused of using rape as a weapon to crush secessionist movements in Kashmir and Manipur. After one particularly heinous case eight years ago, Manipuri women stripped naked and stormed the army headquarters with placards plaintively protesting: “Indian Army Rapes Us.”

Tolerating sexual violence for any purpose erodes the overall stigma against it, opening a moral space where hoodlums can run amok. The lack of national outrage against the mass rapes perpetrated under Modi reduces their true cruelty, breaking down the psychological walls that would at least prevent nonsociopaths from going on a rampage. Hindus who turn a blind eye to the rape of Muslim women can’t ultimately protect their own.

How India can restore moral boundaries is a difficult issue, but it certainly won’t be solved by electing Modi to higher office — even if he were Adam Smith himself. Protesters shouldn’t just seek justice against the six accused in New Delhi. Modi, too, has much to atone.

(Shikha Dalmia is a contributor to Bloomberg View and a Detroit-based senior analyst at Reason Foundation. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer of this article: Shikha Dalmia in Detroit at shikhadalmia62@gmail.com.

 

 

 

#India-Male-female equality is against nature, says Sunni scholar #Vaw #WTFnews


By , TNN | Jan 20, 2013, 12.54 AM IST

 

KOZHIKODE: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has got an unexpected supporter in KeralaSunni scholar and general secretary of All India Sunni Jam-Iyyathul UlemaKanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musaliyar, has come out with a statement supporting Bhagwat’s remarks on the role of women in the Indian society.

On an interview published in the Friday edition of Siraj, the mouthpiece of ‘Kanthapuram’ faction of Sunnis, he said, “The demand for male-female equality is against nature. Man and woman have different faculties and different responsibilities.”

According to the Sunni leader, the problem is with the perception that men and women can be equal. Arguing that feminism is a western concept, he said, “When we accept ideas from outside, we need to consider whether they are acceptable to our society.”

Kanthapuram, who established Markazu Ssquafathi Ssunniyya after he came out of the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulema, a body of Sunni scholars, in 1989, is perceived to be close to the Left. He was in the news recently after his detractors alleged that his move to build a mosque in Kozhikode to house a holy relic of the Prophet was aimed at exploiting religious beliefs for commercial gain.

Supporting Bhagwat, Kanthapuram said, “He has shown the space that should be occupied by women in society. Though I do not agree with his entire statement, the basic issue he raised needs to be discussed.”

Referring to the debate over the relationship between dress women wear and attacks on them, Kanthapuram said the slogan raised by protesters in Delhi was unacceptable. “‘Don’t speak about our dress, tell others not to attack us’ was their slogan. It amounts to saying that we will keep our houses open, but you stop stealing.”

Claiming that atrocities against women are less in Arab countries, Kanthapuram said it was because there are strict restrictions for women in those places. “The restrictions have not posed any hardship for the women in those countries…But here it is a free-for-all situation. Unlimited freedom is the basis of our problems,” he said.

“Strong punishment for perpetrators of violence against women alone may not suffice in solving the issue; equally important is avoiding situations that lead to such crimes,” Kanthapuram said.

Times View

All religious fundamentalists are birds of a feather when it comes to, well, fundamental issues like women’s rights. However, it was shocking that someone like Kanthapuram, whose Markaz movement has for the past 30 years stressed on education as the hallmark of social progress, should speak so patronisingly about women. Both his logic and idiom belong to some nomadic or Neanderthal past and would be laughable were it not a scary reminder of how such thoughts not only exist but are so freely expressed. Since ‘unlimited freedom’ seems to be the fundamentalists’ main grouse, should there be a ban on the gender equivalent of flat-earth theory as well? Mr Kanthapuram, any thoughts?

 

#Pakistan-Jinnah wanted ‘Mussalmans’ to enter film industry #Sundayreading


By Tughral Yamin / Photo: Tughral Yamin

Published: January 20, 2013

KARACHI

Where successive Pakistani governments have subjected the country’s once prosperous film industry to official neglect, a recently discovered letter penned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah reveals the country’s founder gave seminal importance to the industry.

“I am in receipt of your letter of December 30th 1944, and I wish more Mussalmans would enter into this realm of film industry, and I shall always be glad to do all I can to help it. I have noted that Mr Mahboob is producing a historical picture “Humayun”, and if I have an opportunity of seeing it I might be able to express my opinion about it, but generally I do wish that more Mussalmans would enter this line, as there is plenty of scope for them in the film industry,” reads the Quaid’s letter, dated January 6, 1945.

The type-written letter clearly bears his personal monogram and is neatly signed by his own hand.

The letter was written in response to a letter by Mohammad Masud, then a young political activist, who sought the Quaid’s opinion on the role of Indian Muslims in the sub-continent’s film industry.

Now in his 80s, Masud resides in Karachi with his grandchildren. While he has never been particularly talkative, many an eager ear has been mesmerised by his narration of pre-partition experiences. From his youth to his old age, Masud has also cultivated a penchant for writing letters to the country’s leaders, past and present. The Quaid was among the few who got back to him.

Pakistani film industry today is exemplified by mustachioed men with ‘gandasas’ staring down plus-sized women as they dance.

Cinemas themselves are dominated by Bollywood and Hollywood. The industry has been on the verge of demise ever since the separation of East Pakistan (and with it, its film industry), and the advent of the VCR.

The state, meanwhile, has had bigger concerns, leaving an industry, which once provided much revenue and was a means of promoting a ‘softer image’, in shambles. No government has tried to restore Pakistani cinema to its former glory – the state does not even acknowledge it as an industry. Similarly, little official attention has been given to film education – not a single state-funded film school exists in the country.

Quaid’s letter could not have been uncovered at a more apt time. It shows the level of enthusiasm a person who represented the entire Muslim population of India at the time possessed, even as he replied to someone as inconsequential as a young admirer – that too at a time when the entire region was embroiled in a crisis much graver than cultivating a film industry.

Masud still pens letters to the country’s present day leaders, often reminding them of their duty to the nation. Most never bother to reply. Only Jinnah had the courtesy and the vision to respond to each letter he received. One can only wish we could have another leader like that.

The author is the nephew of Mohammad Masud and a retired brigadier who teaches strategy at the National Defence University, Islamabad

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2013.

#India – Hidden spaces- Invisible workers #Vaw #Justice


KALPANA SHARMA, The Hindu , Jan 19,2013

Invisible world. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

The HinduInvisible world. Photo: K.V. Srinivasan

TOPICS


The issue of violence perpetrated on domestic workers, largely women, remains mostly invisible and unaddressed.

The many conversations on violence against women that began on December 16 remain incomplete. We discuss the visible. We rarely mention the invisible or less visible, the violence inside closed doors, in private spaces, away from the public sphere. By this I don’t just mean the violence by family members. That is, in any case, shrouded in several impenetrable layers of silence. Apart from this, there is another form of violence, one that is largely accepted. Often the perpetrators of the violence can be women, even those who have themselves been at the receiving end of domestic violence.

This is the insidious form of violence that millions of domestic workers suffer each day in the homes where they work. It consists not just of physical or sexual attacks but of a lack of dignity, of lack of basic rights and of the absence of recognition that they deserve a fair wage for the work they do. We need to condemn and combat this hidden violence as much as we have now begun to talk about the violence on our streets.

This column has repeatedly taken up the cause of domestic workers because it is one of those under-the-radar issues that is somehow not addressed. The majority of domestic workers worldwide are women. In India, the official data puts their numbers at just seven million when it is evident that the actual number is many times more, closer to 90 million. And this figure does not take into account the children who are illegally employed for domestic work.

Worldwide, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), an estimated 53 million people are employed in people’s homes. Over 80 per cent are women. Admittedly, this too is an underestimation. A new ILO report points out that, despite international attention being paid to the issue, little is being done. In 2011, after many years of campaigning by organisations that represented domestic workers, the ILO passed the Domestic Workers Convention (No 189). Yet two years later, the Convention has still not come into force because only a handful of governments — the Philippines, Uruguay and Mauritius — have ratified it. The Philippines has gone a step further by promulgating its own law on domestic workers giving them the same rights as other workers. Not so most other countries, including India, which is among the list of countries yet to ratify this convention.

Why is such a convention or a national law specifically addressing the problems facing domestic workers needed? Precisely because of their invisibility. They work under individually negotiated contracts, have no job security and can be fired at will. There is no regulation about their working hours or minimum wage. Nor do the women get the benefits of sick leave, maternity leave or a weekly day off. Their vulnerability is exacerbated by the fact that they are not organised and, therefore, cannot resort to any kind of collective bargaining. A law would at least inform them of their rights and would make it clear to employers that, even if they continue to exploit them as they do today, they are wilfully breaking the law.

The ILO report titled “Domestic workers across the world: Global and regional statistics and the extent of legal protection” brings out several disturbing statistics. For instance, more than half the domestic workers around the world have no limitation on the normal weekly hours of work, or get a weekly off, or get paid get paid a minimum wage. An estimated 15.6 million women working as domestics do not get maternity leave or cash benefits.

The central government has drafted a policy for domestic workers, one that will ensure that they come under the ambit of existing laws that relate to the rights of workers — such as the Minimum Wages Act, the Trade Union Act, Payment of Wages Act, Workers’ Compensation Act, Maternity Benefits Act, Contract Labour Act and Equal Remuneration Act. Karnataka was the first state to fix minimum wages for domestic workers, to accept that they were entitled to a weekly off and to ban children less than 14 years of age working as domestic workers. Of course, the implementation of this policy is another story but at least a beginning has been made.

There are many layers to the issue of violence against women. But as women’s groups have been repeatedly emphasising over the past weeks, several simple interventions can be made. I would suggest that one such step could be to implement a policy for domestic workers. Even though domestic workers now come under the ambit of the law on sexual harassment at workplace, as long as they continue to work as isolated, atomised individuals without other rights granted to workers in general, they will remain vulnerable to all forms of violence and exploitation.

If we can deal with these dark spaces in our society, where there is little value for the rights of the people who do thankless work, perhaps then we will be better placed to talk about the more visible forms of abuse and assault that have dominated public discussion and debat

#India- Girl gets ‘fate of #Delhigangrape’ threat- #WTFNEWS #Vaw


 #India- Chastity, Virginity, Marriageability, and Rape Sentencing #Vaw  #Justice #mustread
PTI
Allahabad, January 19, 2013

A student of the Allahabad University allegedly sent an e-mail to a classmate he was infatuated with, threatening her that she will meet “the same fate as the victim of the Delhi gang-rape” if she spurned his advances, a varsity official today said. Chairperson of the University’s Women’s

Advisory Board Ranjana Kakkar told reporters in Allahabad that a girl student approached her with a complaint about the offensive e-mail she had received a few days earlier. 

“Needless to say, we are all shocked at the depravity that seems to have permeated among those privileged to have good education,” Kakkar said, adding the identity of both students would not be revealed.

The girl in her complaint alleged that a classmate threatened her in the e-mail that she would “meet the same fate as the victim of the Delhi gang-rape” if she spurned his advances.

“We are mulling over meting out a punishment to the boy that sets an example and deters others from behaving with their female classmates in an improper manner,” she said, adding that the boy student would be given a chance to “redeem” himself.

 

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