PRESS RELEASE-Police Complaint regardingg burning of houses in Bijapur #Chhattisgarh #mustshare


Police complaint  submitted in the Gangalur police station on 1 February 2013 regarding the burning of houses and destruction of household items in Pidiya village (Bijapur block, Bijapur district) by a large contingent of police force that stayed in the village from 21-23 January 2013.

 

 

Police Station In-charge

Gangalur police station

Gangalur village

Bijapur, Chhattisgarh

 

Friday, 1 February 2013

7.45 pm.

 

Respected Sir,

1.  I am a researcher and honorary professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay. I have spent the last two days visiting Pidiya village (Pidiya panchayat), Bijapur block, Bijapur district.

2. During my visit, I found that a large contingent of police force came to this village on 21 January. From the direction the force came, the villagers estimate that they came from Gangalur and Basaguda police stations. Seeing the forces come, most villagers ran to the forests. Force stayed in the village for two days (21, 22 January). They left on 23 January at around 4 pm.

3. In the duration the police force stayed in the village they burnt houses in 4 hamlets. These hamlets are: Maragudem (8 houses, 9 huts); Pantamuram (1 house, 1 hut); Oyampara (6 houses, 2 huts) and Kuppapara (2 houses, 2 huts). I have seen all the houses. In total, 17 houses and 14 huts were burnt.

4. 19 villagers have suffered losses. In the case of 5 persons only their household belongings were destroyed (or taken). In the case of 14 others their houses were burnt along with all their belongings. These household items included:

(i) Food items (unhusked rice, rice, korsa – lentil, tamarind, chillies, salt, turmeric, roots- tubers,  kutki – lentil, barbatti beans, corn, cumin seeds, channa – gram, tora, etc.)

(ii) Agricultural implements (kulhari – axe, hassia – sickle, rope used to tie cows and  bullocks, the mat on which unhusked rice is threshed, etc.)

(iii) Trees (banana trees, mango and lemon saplings)

(iv) Vessels (large vessels such as aluminium or steel gundis and mud handis; cooking    vessels such as aluminium or steel ganjis, etc.)

(v) Clothes (shirts, lungis, children’s’ clothes, etc.)

(vi) Ornaments (nose-studs, neckalace, anklets)

(vii) Money

I have a list of the total losses of each family.

Besides, 2 goats, 63 hens and 59 eggs were also consumed by the police force during their stay in the village. In one instance, when a woman protested on her hen/s being taken, she was paid Rs. 150 by one policeman.

5. A community-run school was burnt. School related items such as books were also burnt or destroyed. The sheet-roof of the school was broken to bits. Holes were made in the large aluminium cooking pots used to cook food for the children and aluminium, steel and mud containers to store water and other things rendering them useless.

In Pidiya, I also met the teacher of a similar community-run ashram school in neighbouring Tumnar village. From him I learnt that the school building as well as items had also been burnt and destroyed by the police force on 21 January, 9.30 am.

6. On 23 January when the police force left the village they took two villagers with them. One of them, a person named Aandha of Idiumpara, was released on 26 January when his family members went to the police station to enquire about him. But nothing was known of the second person, Aavlam Sannu, until this evening. His wife and two other female members of the extended family had come with me today and they were informed [by the ASI] that Aavlam Sannu had been sent to Dantewada prison. He said that the Bijapur police station had sent the information only that morning.

7.  I believe that burning of houses in villages, destroying food and other household items of the public, and other action taken by the police force as elucidated above is against the law. That is why I am writing this complaint. Please admit this as an FIR or register one as per procedure.

Many thanks,

 

Bela Bhatia

Honorary Professor

Tata Institute of Social Sciences

V.N. Purav Marg

Deonar, Bombay – 400 088.

 

[Residential address and telephone numbers were provided on request.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Details contained in Annexure 1 were submitted to the police station the following morning (2 February) on request.

 

 

Annexure 1

 

Names of those whose house/s and huts were burnt with household items

Hamlet Name House Hut
1. Maragudem 1. Aavlam Pandru 2 3
2. Oyam Lakhmu 1
3. Aavlam Lakhmu 1
4. Aavlam Budru 1 3
5. Aavlam Aaiti 1 1
6. Aavlam Podiye (w/o Mangu) 1 1
7. Aavlam Lakhmi 1 1
2. Pantamuram 8. Lekham Sukku 1 1
3. Oyampara 9. Oyam Gubral 2 1
10. Oyam Budhu 1
11. Oyam Chaitu 1 1
12. Oyam Ungu (w/o Lakmu) 2
4. Kuppapara 13. Sodi Hungal 1 1
14. Sodi Mangu 1 1
Total 14 17 14

 

 

Names of those whose household items were destroyed (or taken)

Hamlet Name
1. Pantamuram 1. Lekham Budru
2. Aavlam Kova
3. Lakhmu
2. Oyampara 4. Oyam Bhimal
3. Gaitapara 5. Oyika Mangu
Total 5

 

Total affected persons: 19

Names of those who lost ornaments and money

Hamlet Name Item
1. Ornaments Gaitapara 1. Oyika Mangu Nose-studs (3 pairs)
Silver anklets (1 pair)
2. -na- Necklace
2. Money Oyampara 1. Oyam Gubral Rs.

3000

Maragudem 2. Aavlam Aaiti 2000
3. Aavlam Pandru   300
4. Lekham Budru   300
5. Lekham Sukku   150
Total                                                        5,750

 

The Media must be part of the solution, not the porblme- -NWMI #Vaw #Womenrights



 
Network of Women in Media, India Calls for More Sensitive Coverage of Violence against Women 

The Network of Women in Media, India, celebrating its 10th anniversary at a national convention attended by

about 80 media women from across the country, discussed various aspects of the theme, ‘Women, Violence
and the Media,’ over a weekend meeting in Mumbai (1-3 February 2013). A public
meeting on 2 February 2013 focussed on how the news media can better report
issues of women, violence and public space.

Taking note of the public outrage over, and media coverage of, the recent
brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, the NWMI expresses
grave concern over the increasing incidence of violence against girls and women
all across India, in public as well as private spaces.  As women journalists we believe it is
important to recognise that the Delhi case exposed only the tip of the iceberg
of gender violence, much of which does not receive adequate media or public
attention.

We appreciate the fact that the media responded to the gang-rape in Delhi and
the public outcry that followed with prominent and largely sympathetic
coverage.

However, we recognise that media coverage is often a double-edged
sword.  On the positive side, it
increases public awareness about such crimes and puts pressure on the
authorities to take action. On the negative side, incessant coverage of certain
cases, particularly sensationalised cases of sexual violence, can obscure the
widespread prevalence of many different forms of daily violence against women
all over the country.  Unless it is
balanced and sensitively handled, such coverage can also be voyeuristic and
titillating;  it can increase the sense
of vulnerability and insecurity among girls and women (including survivors of
such violence), and lead to restrictions on their freedom and rights.

In addition, some of the media coverage in the immediate aftermath of the
gang-rape in Delhi provoked and amplified strident calls for harsher
punishments for such crimes – capital punishment, chemical castration, and so
on – despite the fact that most women’s groups with long experience in dealing
with gender violence have consistently cautioned against such kneejerk
reactions that could worsen the situation.

We recall the thousands of girls and women all over the country who have been
physically, sexually, psychologically abused and injured or killed. As
journalists we urge the media to pay due attention to sexual violence perpetrated
on Dalits and Adivasis, as well as women in militarised zones, where security
forces are granted impunity by law.

We renew our commitment to working towards ensuring that media coverage of
violence against women is more sensitive and nuanced, enabling victims and
survivors to get justice in an environment where women feel safe and can
exercise their right to equal citizenship.

The Network of Women in
Media, India
Mumbai, 3 February 2013

 

Justice Verma report adds to sex workers’ fears #Vaw #Womenrights


Published: Monday, Feb 4, 2013, 4:30 IST 

By Yogesh Pawar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The ordinance on sexual violence against women has fallen foul with organisations working with sex workers across the country who fear that the harassment and persecution faced by women in sex work even of their own volition will only increase because of the way the Justice Vermacommission conflates trafficking and those who consent to sex work.

“It was never the mandate of the Verma commission to say or do anything about trafficking. First they went and extended their brief. To make it worse, the newly worded Section 370 of the VermaCommission, which has been accepted in totality by the ordinance, will only enhance criminalisation of people in sex work since it does not differentiate between ‘coercive prostitution’ and prostitution; nor does it talk about the “exploitation of prostitution,” said MeenaSeshu of National Network of Sex Workers.

According to her, the Verma Commission has wrongly interpreted the internationally recognised and existing explanation of exploitation (under the UN Protocol, 2000), which states, “Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation.” If the section is accepted, it would go against the commitment made by India which is a signatory to the Protocol and has ratified the UN Protocol in 2011.

“The inclusion of voluntary and consenting sex workers into the definition of exploitation puts back the struggle waged by sex worker communities across India to ensure dignity. This interpretation contradicts the Supreme Court which has upheld the rights of women in sex work observing that Article 21 grants them a right to live with dignity,” she added.

While agreeing that safeguards to prevent harassment and persecution need to be in place, others like Priti Patkar of Prerana, which has been working with communities in the red light areas ofMumbai since 1986, feel there was some scope for hope too. “If the government starts talking in paradigms of exploitation then the logical corollary to that will be the right to protection and rehabilitation. While enforcing the ordinance the government should work out the modalities for that too.”

 

Why the Govt’s Ordinance is an Eyewash and a Mockery of the Justice Verma Recommendations


Bekhauf Azaadi Campaign

The UPA Govt, in a Cabinet meeting held on 1 February, has introduced an ordinance that it claims will address the most urgent concerns on sexual violence. In fact, the Government has been completely reluctant to acknowledge and implement the Justice Verma Committee recommendations: the PM refused to accept it from Justuce Verma, the Ministry of Home Affairs removed it from their website, the Govt never adopted any transparent process of discussion to decide the way forward on implementing the recommendations, rather they said Justice Verma ‘exceeded his brief’. Now, they claim that their ordinance has ‘implemented’ the Justice Verma recommendations. Is this true?

The fact is that the Government’s ordinance is a mockery of the letter and spirit of the Justice Verma recommendations.

Why? Let us take a closer look.

The Justice Verma report radically redefined the way in which sexual violence is understood, because it firmly called for safeguarding women’s autonomy – including her sexual autonomy. This means that sexual violence should be understood as any sexual contact that is forced on a woman unless she has explicitly said or indicated ‘Yes’ to it. It is irrelevant whether she is married or not, or whether the perpetrator is a policeman, judge, magistrate, public servant, politician, or army officer: the accused/perpetrator cannot enjoy impunity in any case! The ordinance completely mocks this basic principle.

 

The ordinance is nothing but the Govt’s old discredited Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2012 with some extra window dressing. What’s WRONG with this ordinance?

 

  • Rejecting Justice Verma’s recommendations to ensure gender-specificity (male) of the perpetrator of rape and gender-neutrality for victims, the ordinance makes rape a ‘gender-neutral’ crime. This means that a man can accuse a woman of rape!!
  • The ordinance criminalises consensual sexual activity between 16-18 years; such sexual activity, even by consent, will automatically be seen as rape. This will give a handle to the moral-policing brigades and communities who harass inter-caste and inter-religious friendships and relationships, by branding young boys as ‘rapists.’ See what is happening in Mangalore now: Bajrang Dal and Durga Vahini brigades have been entering ice-cream parlours, rounding up teenage couples and handing them over to the police; the Chhattisgarh police in Bhilai is doing the same. Such forces will get a handle to use the rape law against boyfriends.
  • The ordinance refuses to include marital rape in the rape law – and it continues to give a lesser punishment for rape of a separated wife by a husband. The Govt’s press release about the ordinance shamelessly says that “Verma criminalises marital non-consensual sexual intercourse” but the Govt will not do so! So, according to the Govt, not every ‘non-consensual’ sexual act is rape; a husband is allowed to force sex on his wife! Even if the wife is separated from her husband, the law will be ‘understanding’ and ‘lenient’ towards him if he rapes her, since she was ‘once his wife’! This means that the ordinance continues to see the wife as the husband’s sexual property, rather than as a person is her own right, with the same right to say YES and NO to sex as any unmarried woman! We know domestic violence is common in marriage: can’t the husband who batters his wife, also rape his wife?! Our govt is saying he will have the right to rape his wife!
  • The ordinance rejects Justice Verma’s recommendation of the principle of ‘command responsibility’ in case of custodial rape by police or army: i.e the principle that a superior officer will be held responsible if a junior officer commits rape or sexual assault. This principle is crucial if one considers the manifold cases of custodial rape like that of Soni Sori – where a senior officer Ankit Garg ordered his juniors to sexually torture her; or a case like Kunan Poshpora, where an entire village of women in Kashmir was gang-raped by the Army – something that could not have taken place without the awareness and blessings, even orders, of higher officers!
  • The ordinance fails to include sexual violence in the context of caste/communal massacres in the category of ‘aggravated sexual assault’ – as recommended by Justice Verma report (p 220).
  •  The ordinance rejects the Justice Verma’s recommendation that no sanction be required to prosecute judges/magistrates/public servants who are accused of sexual violence; and similarly that the AFSPA be amended to do away with the requirement for sanction to prosecute an army officer accused of sexual violence. Justice Verma’s argument was clear: no army officer nor any judge or public servant can claim to have raped in the course of his duty! The ordinance, by rejecting Justice Verma’s recommendations, ensures impunity for powerful rapists.Similarly the ordinance makes no move to implement the electoral reforms called for by Justice Verma, specifically against candidates and elected representatives accused of serious sexual offences.
  • The ordinance introduces death penalty in the rarest of the rare cases of rape. This is a deliberate red herring. For one thing, death sentence is already a possibility in cases where rape is compounded with murder. By introducing it in the rape law, even Congress leader and advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, speaking on NDTV, expressed the ‘personal opinion’ that this would further lower the conviction rate because it would deter the court from sentencing! Currently, let us remember that the Courts are reluctant even to give the minimum 7 year sentence for rape, and keep finding excuses to reduce it to as low as 3! Will the same Courts not become even more reluctant to convict, if conviction will mean death? 
  • The Justice Verma report recommended imprisonment for 5 years for a policeman who failed to follow the law (i.e registering FIRs or proper investigation); the ordinance admits for a jail term of just one year for this offence.
  • The ordinance completely ignores the recommendations of changes in medico-legal protocol, including prohibition of the two-finger test and ensuring rape crisis centres and proper medical care and examination of rape survivors; as well as police reform, public transport and other measures. 

 

The ordnance makes of mockery of all those recommendations of the Justice Verma committee that actually reflected the idea of protecting women’s autonomy: be it a 16-year old girl who has sexual contact with her boyfriend to a married woman who says no to her husband, the ordnance just fails to accept a woman’s own autonomy and consent as crucial to deciding if rape occurred or not! The ordnance continues to make excuses for certain powerful perpetrators of rape: it continues to ensure that certain institutions of power (marriage/police/army/judges/magistrates/public servants/politicians) remain protected from prosecution for rape.

We refuse to accept this eyewash! We demand full implementation of the Justice Verma Committee Report!

We can defeat the Govt’s ploy to dilute and subvert the JVC recommendations only by being on the streets and continuing to fight! 

Bekhauf Azaadi has called for a protest against the ordinance and demanding implementation of JVC on 4 Feb at 2 pm at Jantar Mantar. Please do join. There will be several other protest and campaign actions in the days to come, please do join each of them, and make sure the Govt does not get away with betraying our movement and the JVC Report.

 

#India -Make gender sensitivity part of police appraisal #Vaw #womenrights


RAPE

VijaitaSingh : New Delhi, Mon Feb 04 2013, 02:32 hrs

A high-level meeting headed by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth last month cleared a series of measures to check cases of crime against women in the wake of the Delhi gangrape incident, including adding ‘gender sensitivity’ as an index of assessment in the annual appraisal report of police officers.

These measures will be in addition to the ones proposed in the ordinance, passed on Sunday, to strengthen laws to help fight sexual crimes against women.

At the meeting, it was decided that the Union Home Ministry and Telecom Ministry would draw up a concept note on creating a countrywide emergency number on the lines of the US (911) and UK (999) by the end of February. Any distress call to this number would be seamlessly transferred to the department concerned without harassment to the caller.

The 181 emergency number, a women’s helpline launched by the Delhi government last month, will also be made operational throughout the country.

Officials from other departments, such as the Delhi Police, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and HRD Ministry, also attended the meeting, which touched upon a spectrum of issues that have come under focus following the gangrape. The Delhi Police asked for an additional 370 PCR vans, which was okayed immediately.

Among the measures cleared:

* The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to put up names, photographs and details of sexual offenders on its website.

* Surprise checks at police stations to check how effectively officials are dealing with complaints related to women.

* The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to review the Motor Vehicle Act and come up with suggestions on curtains and tinted glasses in luxury buses. The Delhi government to come up with a notification banning tinted glasses in buses by the end of February. This order to be sent to other states.

* The Home Ministry to come up with a protocol on “100 per cent verification” of all bus drivers, cleaners and helpers. It was decided that there should be a defined time frame for this, beyond which no bus without this should be allowed to ply.

* Quantum of fines levied for violation of permit conditions be hiked and repeat offenders should have their permits cancelled.

* The Home Ministry should ask all states to hold major recruitment drives for women police personnel.

* There should be at least some PCR vans with a woman constable each. These vans should be deployed outside malls, marketplaces, colleges, cinema halls.

* More buses for women and installation of GPS in all public buses.

 

#India-Betel vineyards destroyed for #Posco #Vaw


PRAFULLA DAS, The Hindu , Feb 4,2013

People of Dhinkia and Nuagaon blocking the road to Posco project site in Jagatsingpur district on Sunday. Photo: Lingaraj Panda
The HinduPeople of Dhinkia and Nuagaon blocking the road to Posco project site in Jagatsingpur district on Sunday. Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti to intensify agitation if land acquisition continues

“There was heavy fog when we found the police reaching Batatikira. They beat me up and other men, women and children,” said Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti member Manorama Khatua, referring to a lathi charge on agitating villagers on Sunday, when land acquisition for the Posco steel project resumed here.

Since January 14, hundreds of villagers had been agitating peacefully, forming a human chain, at Batatikira against further acquisition of land. On Sunday, demolition of vineyards and felling of trees here were stopped after hundreds came out to oppose the administration’s move to acquire more land. However, a senior administration official claimed that 80 per cent of the residents of Gobindpur supported land acquisition. During the day, 12 betel vines belonging to those who had given their consent for land acquisition were destroyed and they were paid compensation by cheque, the official said. The Collector and Jagatsinghpur Superintendent of Police were present at the spot. Samiti leader Abhay Sahu countered the administration’s claim saying that actually 80 per cent of the people were against handing over their land.

Millions of betel leaves were crushed as the vineyards came crashing down under tractors. Many growers who oppose the land acquisition drive stood mute, even as a few villagers accepted the compensation. Administration officials, who came back from Gobindpur after the Sangram Samiti demanded immediate withdrawal of police from the area, told The Hindu that land acquisition will continue.

 

#Haryana: Khap panchayat forces couple to live as siblings #WTFnews #Vaw


HARYANA, Posted on Feb 03, 2013 at 10:05pm IST

Hisar: A Khap panchayat in Haryana‘s Hisar district has reportedly forced a couple to live as siblings. The couple has been married for over a year. Their families alleged harassment and extortion by the village head.

The families claimed that the police did not register their complaint despite several visits to the police station.

Khap panchayats are notorious for their bizarre orders and rulings, inviting even the wrath of the Supreme Court, that in April 2011 declared them illegal.

 

#India -‘It is an insult to women’s cricket to be treated this way’ #Vaw #Gender


Interview by Abhishek Purohit

January 29, 2013

Diana Edulji, a former India captain and one of the pioneering woman cricketers from the country, represented India between 1976 and 1993. Years after her retirement, she and Shanta Rangaswamy are among the most widely known names in Indian women’s cricket. Edulji has served on the BCCI‘s women’s committee and has also been manager of the Indian women’s team in 2009. She currently works for Indian Railways, which has played a very important role in supporting women’s cricket over the last three decades. Edulji spoke to ESPNcricinfo on the eve of the 2013 ICC Women’s World Cup.
Jhulan Goswami prepares to send down a delivery, India v Pakistan, ACC Women's T20 Asia Cup, Guangzhou, October 28, 2012

Diana Edulji: “The selectors get the maximum [money in Indian Women’s cricket], then come the match referees and then the players” © Andy Campbell/UTPMEDIA
Enlarge

What has actually changed on the ground after the BCCI has come into women’s cricket?
Initially everybody was happy with the merger in 2006, when we requested Mr Sharad Pawar, who was then the president of the board. Earlier the women’s association did not have funds, the players did not have good facilities. [After the merger], domestic players started getting more money, they travelled better, stayed in good hotels and got good grounds to play on. But I think that was just the beginning, and that was it. It was a dream, and then the bubble burst. I am not too happy with the situation at the moment.

The BCCI is running women’s cricket because they have to run it, since the ICC is now running both men’s and women’s cricket.

I would say it is an insult to women’s cricket to be treated this way. There is no cricket. Domestic cricket comprises only one T20 tournament and one 50-over tournament. There are no longer-format matches and no Test matches. I cannot understand why we cannot play one Test match at least during a bilateral series. If Australia and England can play the Ashes, why can’t India play Tests?

When I was on the [women’s] committee, I had an argument with Mr [Shashank] Manohar and Mr Srinivasan. I asked them why we couldn’t play the longer version. When we went to England in 2006, we won a Test series.

The T20 mindset, where you go and hit from the first ball, is not going to help. There is a little bit [of long-form cricket] at Under-19 level, nothing at the Under-16 level. So how is the game going to develop?

The team can have one or two Tests. You don’t have to have seven ODIs or five T20s for the women. You bifurcate the full series, see how many days a team can play, and then work out a schedule. It is not necessary to play only 50-over or 20-over cricket.

Compared to the times you grew up in, what incentive does a young girl have to play the game today in India?
When we started playing, we had nothing. We were paying from our pocket. When I went to the World Cup in 1982, each girl had to pay Rs 10,000 to go to New Zealand. We put it in the papers, and Mr Antulay, the Maharashtra chief minister, came to the rescue of the four Maharashtrian players: myself, Vrinda Bhagat, Anjali [Pendharkar] and Shubhangi [Kulkarni]. He signed a cheque and told us, “You all will go.”

There was a tin shed here [at the Western Railways ground in Mahalaxmi, Mumbai] where there is now a hostel. The Indian team have slept there on tables. They have travelled unreserved in a train from Mumbai to Delhi. Compared to that, what these girls [points to the Western Railways side practising nearby] have got at the moment is absolutely five-star treatment.

But where is the game? Where is the dedication? What we played was total, absolute enjoyment. Even my own team here are not enjoying the game. They are playing because they have got jobs [with Railways] and they are satisfied.

I have been telling the girls that they must not be satisfied with the breadcrumbs thrown at them. Jhulan [Goswami]Mithali [Raj], nobody can throw them out of the team. They have got their backing with their performances. If they demand something, it has to be heard. But they are satisfied.

The board has kept us away because it knows that they are not going to say anything. They threw Shanta [Rangaswamy] out, they threw me out, now Shubhangi is out because Mr Pawar is not there.

All those who are pushing for women’s cricket have been put on the back burner, so there is nobody to present the players’ cases. The people who are in the committee at the moment are all “yes girls”. How many meetings does the BCCI women’s committee have? One in a year, just before the general body meeting. The next year, the committee changes.

Players should be getting the maximum. In women’s cricket, it is the other way round. The selectors get the maximum, then come the match referees and then the players. So how are you going to get girls into cricket?

And what is the domestic match fee? Rs 2500. Where are you going to eat if you stay in a four-star hotel? The fee for T20 is Rs 1250.

When you have a World Cup shifted from a ground to accommodate a Ranji game, what does that say?
It is an absolute disgrace. And why are we having it [the World Cup] only in one centre? Promote it in the smaller areas. When we played in the late 1970s, in Patna, in Jamshedpur, we used to have 30,000 people watching. When we won the Test against West Indies, the scenes were unbelievable. Even at the Eden Gardens, in 1975, the pavilion side was packed with spectators. Maybe people came out of curiosity, but at least crowds came to see the match. Who is coming today?

I am happy with the advertisements that ESPN is doing now on women’s cricket. Like: who is the first person to make an ODI double-hundred? It is a woman. Why is Sachin [Tendulkar] getting credit for the double-hundred? It has to be Belinda Clark [who made a double in 1997].

Now that the BCCI is running cricket, it shouldn’t be that they should run only men’s cricket. They should be happy with the women’s cricket too.

Where are the photos of the women’s team captains in the BCCI office? Why are there only photos of male cricketers? There was not a single ladies’ toilet in the old BCCI office till I went and fought for it.

What about the one-time benefit? Srinivasan has just refused. What have we asked for? We are not asking to be paid at the same level as men’s cricket. All we have asked is that women cricketers who have played between one and ten Test matches should get Rs 10 lakh (approximately US$18,000); those who have played between ten and 20 Tests can get Rs 20 lakh ($36,000).

But when Mr Srinivasan took over as president of the board, he said, “Why should we give you money? What have you all done?”

Mithali has said that India women’s matches must be televised to create visibility. I may be boasting, but when I go to movies or restaurants, I am still recognised. But I am sure if Mithali is with me, she won’t be recognised. It is sad. I still feel nice when someone comes up to me and introduces me to their children. Why shouldn’t these girls get the recognition? Jhulan is a Padma Shri winner – she’s an Arjuna awardee, so is Mithali. Why can’t more articles be written about them?

“What is the domestic match fee? Rs 2500. Where are you going to eat if you stay in a four-star hotel?”

I guess the media also has to be blamed for failing to cover women’s cricket adequately?
Yes. I have been after Arnab [Goswami], Rajdeep [Sardesai], Barkha [Dutt], especially for this one-time benefit. Even the National Commission for Women took it up. What happened? Nothing.

Look at the pension for women cricketers. We are getting Rs 15,000 as pension. Fair enough. But the pension is given only to cricketers who have played five Tests and more. Why? What about people who have played less than five Tests? Suddenly the ICC said some matches have been declared unofficial. Why? We played as India, we went abroad as India. The government gave a sanction for India. Just because the English or Australians said we sent an U-19 or an U-21 team? The International Women’s Cricket Council did not recognise it, so the ICC did not, too. But did you take us or our board into confidence, asking: have you played official series? [Edulji is referring to three series between 1975 and the mid-80s, which included a tour by an Australian women’s team to India in 1975 and a tour to England by the Indian women in 1981.] If a [male] domestic cricketer can get a pension, why not [a woman] who has played even one Test? They get Rs 5000. I cannot understand this logic at all.

What do you think motivates people like you, Jhulan, Mithali and the others to keep going?
It is just the love of the game, even in these circumstances. I was driving and on Marine Drive I saw this whole bunch of red t-shirts coming. I realised it was the India women’s team. They were walking from the hotel to the Wankhede. I stopped my car, and the way they greeted me, I felt nice, but I also felt that this is the Indian national team, and they are walking on the street? And where are they playing? Police Gymkhana, Hindu Gymkhana, Bombay Gymkhana? Would any men cricketers play there?

When I went as the manager for the England tour in 2009, it was cold and we had no warm clothing. I rang up Nike and also informed BCCI that we would need jumpers. I was told, “It is not in the budget.” I said, I don’t care. That is the first time they got jumpers. I am told that, at times, they are even given used kits, left over by men. The sizes don’t match, patches are put [to hide the names]. Is this the way you treat them? This mindset has to change.

I think the media has to have the guts, otherwise women’s cricket will die in a few years. Tell me, where are the back-ups? Where are the U-19 players? I have asked for the Under-19 squad to be given at least one tour. Why will that player come on to the ground? She will pick up another sport, like hockey or squash.

How does a woman make a living out of cricket in these times of inflation?
She can’t. Unless you really click, like Jhulan or Mithali. The only positive is the Railways. Players get a permanent job there. In spite of that, the board is anti-Railway. They won’t let players get an NOC.

What is your match fee? How are you going to survive on it? At least in the Railways, players start with a minimum salary of Rs 15,000-Rs18,000, if they get a Group C job. They also get free medical care and free travel for life.

The Indian Railways is the lifeline of Indian women’s cricket. Air India closed down once the BCCI came in, because they were not an affiliated unit. We were lucky we were affiliated, as we play Ranji. So Railways got an entry, while Air India did not. Services do not have a women’s team. So it is just one organisation.

Sport is on the decline in the Railways too. Jobs are not easy to get.

What about the grassroots level? The Ministry is talking about the core group – those who are shining at Asian or Commonwealth level – so is the Railways. But where did they come up from? You have to give them the support at the grassroots for them to come up.

Belinda Clark looks on ahead of a game against England, Somerset, September 2, 2005

Belinda Clark, the first player in history to hit a double-century in ODIs, is now a part of Cricket Australia’s Centre for Excellence © Getty Images
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Are there any decent players on the horizon? What after Jhulan and Mithali go?
No, because there’s hardly anything happening at the Under-19 and Under-16 levels. It just shows that they are not interested in letting it go further. Look at the set-up in Australia and England. It is so professional.

The ECB have arranged jobs as coaches for their women players…
Yes. And Belinda [Clark] is at Cricket Australia’s Centre for Excellence. They are being respected, their achievements are being recognised.

Do you think the women’s game can be made marketable?
Why not? Anything is marketable. During the IPL I was watching a game with Mr [Lalit] Modi and Mr Pawar and suggested that a five-over game for the women could be held, to promote women’s cricket; an international team could come over; you could mix the Indian players with the internationals and have one match during the semi-finals and one during the final. What is wrong in that? You can do anything if you want to. But if you don’t want to, then all sorts of excuses come forward.

Why is the Indian women’s team not allowed to wear the Sahara logo? Why does the men’s team wear the logo? Sahara pays the BCCI, a share comes to the men. It doesn’t come down to the women. Sahara is the BCCI sponsor. It hasn’t said, “Don’t sponsor the women.” Think about it.

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

 

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