#Punjabgangrape – Rape survivor battles to put pieces of life together #Vaw


rape

Jupinderjit Singh/TNS

Bathinda, February 25
Four months ago, she was brutally raped by seven men who made a video-film on her and chopped off her hair.The 14-year-old, a class VIII student, has not had the courage to return to school since then. Her two younger siblings did not go to school for a month after the sordid incident. The victim’s family has decided to sell their small piece of land and migrate.

Across the village fields is the house of Manpreet Singh,22, the key accused. His father Gurjeet Singh, 54, and his elder brother Charanjeet Singh, 56, are co-accused in the case along with four others. Shinder Singh, 50, Gurjeet Singh’s brother, is the only one left at home to tend to the fields and the cattle. “Shoot us but don’t call my brothers and nephew rapists,” he says. Showing documents pertaining to a civil suit, Shinder Singh claimed: “We have been framed. The girl’s father had sold us a piece of land some years ago. When the price of the plot went up, he sought more money but we refused.”

An FIR was filed on October 20, 2012, alleging that Manpreet Singh and his friend Raju had forcibly taken the girl to a room 150 metres from her house and raped her . The victim’s further alleged that on October 14, the two called her up, asking her to meet them outside her house. They promised to delete the video-clip on her.

However, the two, who were accompanied by five others, took her away and raped her again. They cut off her hair and dumped her outside her house.

The Deputy Commmissioner said there was no scheme under which the victim could be rehabilitated. The Senior Superintendent of Police said the police had acted immediately on receiving the complaint and booked the accused.

LIVES SHATTERED

  • Traumatised, she has not dared to return to school
  • Her two younger siblings did not go to school for a month
  • The family has decided to sell land and shift out

 

 

Oxford exploitation trial: Man ‘prepared 12 year old girl for #gangrape’ #Vaw #WTfnews


Court sketch of defendantsThe nine men, from Berkshire and Oxfordshire, are accused of sexually exploiting six girls, aged between 11 and 15

A teenager has told the Old Bailey a man carried out a brutal sexual assault to “prepare” her to be gang-raped.

The girl, who was 12 at the time, said Mohammed Karrar used sex toys and numbing cream used by dentists during the incident at an Oxford flat.

Sobbing during her evidence, she said five or six men then came to the flat and all raped her on the kitchen table.

Mr Karrar is one of nine men who deny a total of 51 offences including rape and trafficking from 2004 to 2012.

The latest witness was asked if the attack had caused discomfort and uttered the word “much” in reply, before breaking down in tears.

She said the men who attacked her drank alcohol and took drugs before taking it in turns to rape her.

Men ‘swarmed around’

“I just wanted it to stop,” she said.

But she told the court the men produced a gag to stop her cries.

She also said Mr Karrar and his brother Bassam took her to sex parties in Wycombe where groups of men would “swarm around” her.

As many as 10 men would come to the parties, she said, playing out sexual fantasies including handcuffing her, horse whipping her and dripping hot wax on her.

“Forgive me,” she said. “I feel stupid.

“At the time I thought he (Mohammed Karrar) loved me.”

The trial is now expected to last until May. .

The defendants, all in custody, are:

  • Kamar Jamil, 27, formerly of Aldrich Road, Oxford
  • Akhtar Dogar, 32, of Tawney Street, Oxford; and his brother Anjum Dogar, 30, of Tawney Street, Oxford
  • Assad Hussain, 32, of Ashurst Way, Oxford
  • Mohammed Karrar, 38, of Kames Close, Oxford; and his brother Bassam Karrar, 33, of Hundred Acres Close, Oxford
  • Mohammed Hussain, 24, of Horspath Road, Oxford
  • Zeeshan Ahmed, 27, of Palmer Road, Oxford
  • Bilal Ahmed, 26, of Suffolk Road, Maidenhead

 

#Delhi-Dial 9818099012 for women-related complaints #mustshare #Vaw


9818099012. This is the mobile number for Sudhir Yadav, the nodal officer appointed to deal with women-related complaints in Delhi. Being the first ever helpline under the direct monitoring of a senior police officer, it means quick results (hopefully).

Source: Deccan Herald

 

PRESS RELEASE-#India- Don’t allow Govt to ram through land acquisition bill


 

CAMPAIGN FOR SURVIVAL AND DIGNITY

Contact: Q-1 Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi. Ph: 9873657844, forestcampaign@gmail.com

 

25.02.2013

To:

Smt. Meira Kumar

Hon’ble Speaker of the Lok Sabha

Lok Sabha, New Delhi

Sub: The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill – request that the same may be sent to a Standing Committee as it has been extensively modified after being tabled in Parliament, depriving the public and in particular affected communities of any possibility of comment

Dear Madam,

We are a national platform of adivasi and forest dwellers’ organisations from ten States. We write to bring to your notice that the government is seeking to ensure the swift passage of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill and we understand that it may attempt to do so in the next day or two. In this context we wish to draw the following to your attention:

  • The government reportedly intends to move more than 150 amendments to the original Bill.
  • As per the amendments tabled in Parliament in December, these include many areas which were never addressed by either the Standing Committee’s report or the original Bill.
  • In particular, we are dismayed to find that the amendments contain several provisions that adversely affect the rights of Scheduled Tribes and forest dwellers, and in particular permit the destruction of community forests on the payment of arbitrary cash compensation as well as undermining the powers of local bodies under the Forest Rights Act and the PESA Act. Many of these provisions were not in the original Bill and were certainly not recommended by the Standing Committee. Further, they also violate international law.

In light of the fact that the tribals and forest dwellers of this country have been the worst-hit victims of decades of illegal, brutal and inhuman displacement at the hands of the statebasic respect for their democratic rights demands that this Bill be referred to a parliamentary committee for a full review. The government cannot be permitted to use its majority to simply ram through legislations while making a mockery of parliamentary procedures and public consultation. This would be a tremendous disservice to the people of this country and in particular an injustice to those who have already suffered as a result of the callousness of the state.

We trust you will not permit this government to bypass democracy in order to perpetrate one more historical injustice against the tribals and forest dwellers of this country.

Sincerely,

(On behalf of the Convening Collective)

 

__._,_.___

Srilanka Bans Birth Control Surgery to Protect Dwindling Sinhala Race #Vaw


Govt Bans LRT on Women and Vasectomy on Men After Bodhu Bala Sena Protested Against Birth Control to Protect Dwindling Sinhala Race

24 February 2013, 6:10 am

By Chrishanthi Christopher

Last week the government sent out a communiqué to all government hospitals and private institutions banning all irreversible family planning methods that control birth.

Following the ban Maternity Hospitals and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that do Ligation and Resection of Tubes (LRT) on women and Vasectomy on men shelved their plans and struck off all scheduled procedures from the hospital registers. This follows an announcement by the government that the procedures should not be carried out on women and men unless it is done for medical purposes.

Maternity Hospitals, Gynaecology Units of Base Hospitals and NGOs dealing with population control came under deep shock. They say that the government’s call comes without any warning.

Health Ministry, Secretary, Dr. Nihal Jayatilake said that the procedure hitherto being done on men and women should not be carried out unless it is for a medical reason. He refused to explain the reasons for the ban but stressed that none of the NGOs are allowed to carry out any permanent birth control methods. “This is government policy,” he said.

Ironically this call come at time when the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), a movement claiming to be protecting Sinhala culture and values called on the government to put an end to all irreversible methods of birth control claiming that the Sinhala nation is dwindling.

Against their will

They say that women and men of the productive age group are pushed into accepting the procedure against their will by certain NGOs who have vested interests. The BBS General Secretary, Gala Boda Atte Gnanasara Thera told Ceylon Today that the Sinhala women who go to the hospitals to give birth are unwittingly opting for the procedure. He blamed the midwives and attendants in the hospitals for misleading young mothers who come there for confinement. “They are trained to advocate the procedure to young mothers. We are against this type of behaviour. Our women are misled or pushed into believing that they should not have more than two children,” he said.

Gnanasara Thera said that the Family Planning Law of 1973 is outdated and cannot be applied today. The Act states that women in the age group of 26 years and above are eligible for family planning “Those days men and women got married early and they had many children at that age. But now they start life at 30 years,” he said.

“The government has got to intervene and ban the procedure before it is too late. There is a conspiracy, our Sinhala population is declining,” Gnanasara Thera added.

He claimed that in the Tamil populated areas, the doctors inform the women and men of the repercussions of the surgical procedures and do not advocate it till they are over 40 years.

Government has to intervene

Pointing a finger at the NGO Marie Stope International, he said that funding for the birth control procedures are done by them. In addition he says that illegal abortions are also being carried out by the institution. “They have a sinister aim behind it,” he said.

However, the Family Health Bureau and the Family Health associations who are in collaboration with Marie Stope International and help it perform the sterilization procedures say that it is totally wrong to say that the mothers and fathers are pushed into this. “It is a misconception. It is purely voluntary and only if they opt for the procedure the surgery is done,” Family Health Chief Dr. Deepthi Perera said.

“Now even we are trying to revise the age limit for this procedure. We are thinking of raising the age limit to 35 and above,” she said.

However, critics argue that the ban will only put older women at risk and drive them to illegal abortion. It is reasoned out that with the ban the older women who have teenage or adult children and would like to have an LRT procedure would be deprived. They maintain that women with grown up children would like to have a permanent method of contraception.

In such instances when and if they get pregnant they would not like to get help from the family planning units and would be pushed to other resources. Most often than not they will seek the help of illegal abortion clinics that would charge them exorbitantly and even put their lives in danger.

It is also argued that abortion parlours which would mushroom and quacks and half baked doctors would perform abortions on mothers most often using makeshift theatres and often not following sterilization methods that could turn aseptic and put the mothers at risk or even kill them.

The Family Health Association (FPA), also a family planning organization has shelved all its scheduled LRT procedures until further notice.

“It is banned, we cannot challenge the government’s decision … the repercussions would be unplanned pregnancies,” said a doctor at the FPA who wished to be anonymous.

“We use to do around 30 procedures once a month and now everything has to be cancelled,” the doctor said.

The Human Rights Commission welcomed the move and said that it is the right to life. Its Chairman Prathiba Mahanamahewa said according to the Human Rights Declaration of 1948 and the Political Rights Convention, everybody has a right to life.

“It is an individual right and this is another issue,” he said.

The Colombo Archbishop’s House also expressed its pleasure for the move to ban the birth control methods. “We believe that birth control and abortions are sinful and we welcome the move,” Fr. Benedict Joseph of the Archbishop’s House told Ceylon Today.

“The ban opens up for birth and it is in keeping with the teaching of the church,” he said.

LRT

LRT is a simple procedure done under local anaesthesia and is performed in a theatre for 20 to 30 minutes. The patient goes home the same day. The procedure will not have any effect on the menstrual cycle of the women.

Vasectomy

Male sterilization or vasectomy is a minor surgery taking only 10 to 15 minutes, also done under local anaesthesia. Post surgery there will be no effect on the sexuality or quality or quantity of the ejaculatory fluid of the person.
COURTESY:CEYLON TODAY

Media Release: Bail Granted for Indian Journalist, but Worries Persist Over Political Pressures


Media Release: India

February 25, 2013

Bail Granted for Indian Journalist, but Worries Persist Over Political
Pressures

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the grant of bail
to senior journalist
http://asiapacific.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-deeply-concerned-over-criminal-c
harges-against-indian-investigative-reporter> K.K. Shahina, in the southern
Indian state of Karnataka after a hearing in a district court on 22
February.

Shahina, who currently works for Open magazine in the state of Kerala, south
of Karnataka, faces charges of criminal intimidation of witnesses following
a story she wrote for the weekly magazine Tehelka. The story which appeared
in December 2010 cast doubt on the charges of terrorism brought against a
prominent Islamic cleric from Kerala state.

Facing the possibility of arrest since January 2011, Shahina was granted
anticipatory bail by the Karnataka High Court in July 2011. Following
summons issued after charges were formally laid against her in January this
year, Shahina appeared before a court in Somwarpet in Kodagu district of
Karnataka, to renew her bail.

IFJ sources indicate that the courtroom where the bail hearing was scheduled
was besieged by activists of the right-wing political group, the Bajrang
Dal, on 22 February, just as Shahina made her appearance.

Shahina and friends, who accompanied her to the hearing, were reportedly
threatened by the Bajrang Dal activists who also insisted that a
cameraperson show them the visuals he had recorded, to ensure that they
could not be identified in public.

The IFJ joins partners in India in urging the authorities in Karnataka state
to ensure that conditions for a fair trial are maintained.

“We see this prosecution as an effort to silence fair and independent
reporting through legal injunction and harassment”, said the IFJ
Asia-Pacific.

“If the victimisation of a journalist is further compounded by an atmosphere
of fear and intimidation created in the environs of the courtroom hearing
her case, then we fear the likely chilling effect this could have on free
and fair reporting”.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on  +612 9333 0950

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/ifjasiapacific>
@ifjasiapacific

 

Saudi cleric terms women Shura Members prostitutes; receives flak #Vaw


Monday February 25, 2013 10:26:16 AM, Agencies

 

For the first time, women will represent 10 percent of the 150 seats of the Saudi Shura, or consultative council, in the coming legislative term, Xinhua reported.> A controversial Saudi cleric used Twitter to publicly insult the recently-appointed female members of the Shura Council. He however received strong backlash from Saudi nationals who called for action against him terming the statement as ‘moral crime’ and un-Islamic.

Dubai: A controversial Saudi cleric used Twitter to publicly insult the recently-appointed female members of the Shura Council. He however received strong backlash from Saudi nationals who called for action against him terming the statement as ‘moral crime’ and un-Islamic.

Derogatory terms such as “prostitutes” and “the filth of society” were used to describe the female academics and technocrats who were sworn into the Council a few days after a highly-acclaimed Royal Decree was issued by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Al Arabiya reported Sunday.

The tweets quickly became widely-spread through the social media network and rapidly developed their own hash-tags; however, many Saudi tweeps condemned the attack on the female Shura members, especially since they came from figures who are supposed to preach tolerance, compassion and respect, the report added.

Among the clerics who resorted to insults was member of the Islamic Ministry for Da’wah, Guidance and Endowments, Ahmed Al-Abedul-Qader expressed his discontent of women partaking a role in the Shura Council over his Tweeter account, “They thought they can mock the mufti by giving these ‘prostitutes’ legitimacy to be in power. I am not an imposter, and imposters do not fool me. For how long will the forts of virtues be torn down?”, according to Al Arabiya.

Following angry reactions by Twitter users, Qader said: “We have heard and read many insults against (God) as well as mockery against the prophet, prayer be upon him, and none of those defending (these female) members was angered.”

For his part, Dr. Saleh al-Sugair, a former teaching assistant at King Saud University slammed the assignment of female members at the council and tweeted: “The insolent (women) wearing make-up at the Shura Council represent the society? God, no. They are the filth of society.”

His tweet reads: “The fools of the Shura council, these immodest women represent the society? I swear by God’s name they do not. They are society’s scum, garbage.”

This wasn’t the first controversial statement al-Sugair، who is not a cleric but a medical doctor known for extreme religious views.

Last year, he called for a complete separation in medical colleges between male students and female students.

He spoke on what appeared to be a religious program saying “ why do you need to employ females when we have unemployed males who are providing for their families” and he added “what is the point of having a male doctor with a female secretary?”

He insisted that there is no need to have female receptionists in hospitals and especially in male sections.

Sugair has over 40 thousand followers on twitter and is known for advocating against women employment, women driving, and women treating male patients.

However, the backlash to the recent statements regarding the Shura Council appointees was severe.

Author Maha al-Shahri tweeted: “(These statements) are a moral crime. The government has to set laws to (teach) them and their likes (morals).”

Doctor Abdelrahman al-Sobeyhi tweeted: “Every disease has a medicine to heal it except stupidity.”

Another user, Ali Abdelrahman, wrote: “This is ignorance that does not belong to Islam.”

“The problem is that they think they have immunity from God!” another twitter user said.

A royal decree last month amended two articles in the council’s statute introducing a 20 percent quota for women in the country’s Shura Council, and the king appointed 30 women to join the consultative assembly.

The council was sworn in last week.

The assembly, whose members are appointed by the king – and until recently were exclusively male – works as the formal advisory body of Saudi Arabia. It can propose draft laws which would be presented to the king, who, in turn, would either pass or reject them.

Previously, the European Union has welcomed Saudi King Abdullah’s recent decree allowing women to be members of in the kingdom’s Shura Council for the first time as a major development in the direction of women empowerment.

“We welcome the announcement made by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Friday Jan. 11 to appoint 30 women to the country’s previously all-male Shura Council,” according to statement by Nabila Massrali, a spokesperson for the European Commission.

 

‘Soorinje can’t be allowed to go unless innocents are freed’


STAFF REPORTER, The Hindu

Chief Minister yet to sign order on Soorinje’s release

There was no progress made in reporter Naveen Soorinje’s case at Monday’s Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar.

A resolution to drop the criminal charges against Soorinje of Kasturi Newz24 was passed by the Cabinet during its last meeting on January 31. But the resolution has not yet been signed by Mr. Shettar as a result of which Soorinje continues to be in jail.

While Mr. Shettar once again told journalists that he would sign the Cabinet resolution and facilitate Soorinje’s release, he did not commit to a deadline.

Meanwhile, a senior Minister told reporters after Monday’s Cabinet meeting that there is “pressure” from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the case.

“There is a demand from them [RSS] that the State should also withdraw cases against the other accused in the case,” the Minister said on the condition of anonymity.

Speaking from Mangalore, MLA J. Krishna Palemar said, “There are other innocents in the case. We cannot allow Soorinje’s release unless they too are released.”

Charges

Soorinje has been in jail since November 7, 2012 on the charge of colluding with the Hindu Jagaran Vedike group that attacked boys and girls celebrating a birthday at a homestay in Mangalore on July 28, 2012.

Journalists, who are fighting for Soorinje’s release, have said that Soorinje was a victim of political machinations. It is the official position of the Karnataka Union of Working Journalists as well as the Editors’ Guild of India that Soorinje should have been made a witness in the case as it was footage shot by his cameraman that helped the police identify and arrest the attackers.

 

#India – Crossing the Lakshman rekha- moral policing #Vaw


 

 

VIKHAR AHMED SAYEED – Recently in Mangalore, Outlook

 

 

The attack on a homestay in Mangalore clearly shows that Hindutva ideologues define the moral and cultural boundaries in coastal Karnataka.

 

 

 

BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT 

Naveen Soorinje, the journalist who was arrested in connection with the attack on a homestay, being taken to a court in Mangalore in November 2012. 

The visiting hours at the Mangalore Sub-Jail are between 11-30 a.m, and 1 p.m. Visitors of undertrials gather around the imposing jail gate ahead of time as a guard usually checks the contents of their stainless steel lunch boxes before they are allowed inside. Soon, the motley group of relatives, friends and the odd journalist is led to either of the two wards where undertrials are lodged. A double-grilled window separates the visitor from the undertrial. Within minutes of reaching the enclosure, there is a cacophony of voices as the visitors jostle to find a convenient spot.

As this reporter heads for the window, a dishevelled Naveen Soorinje saunters in on the other side of it. The 28-year-old journalist has lost some weight since his arrest but he is upbeat. As is evident from his name, Soorinje is not a Muslim, but is lodged in the Muslim ward. “If I were in the Hindu ward, I would have been killed. There are many people there whom I’ve exposed through my work,” he says with a smile.

Soorinje, a journalist with Kasturi News, a 24-hour Kannada news channel, was arrested on November 7, 2012 when he was named in a charge sheet filed by the Mangalore police following the incidents that took place at Morning Mist Homestay. On July 28, 2012, a mob of 25 to 30 activists of the Hindu Jagran Vedike (HJV) led by 34-year-old Subhash Padil barged into the homestay and beat up a group of young men and women gathered there for a birthday party.

Videos of the attack, which are available online, show that the girls are manhandled, their dresses are ripped and they are slapped hard by HJV activists. A young man is stripped of his shirt and dragged by his hair across the room and pounded by a group of attackers.

The videos, which were played on loop on local and national news channels for a couple of days, drew nationwide condemnation. The ugly scene the Hindu right-wing elements created was recorded by some local journalists.

There were two other journalists at the venue apart from Soorinje, Rajesh Srinivas of TV 9, a well-known Kannada news channel, and Sharan Raj of Sahaya TV, a local news channel reportedly close to the Hindu right-wing. According to Soorinje’s testimony, he received a tip-off about the raid and tried to contact the police as soon as he realised that an attack was under way. However, his presence had irked the police who, Soorinje said, wanted to teach him a lesson.

Subsequently, charges were filed against the attackers as well as Soorinje and Sharan Raj (it remains a mystery why charges were not filed against Srinivas). Raj is in the Hindu ward of the jail. Strangely, the attackers and the journalists were charged under the same sections of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) pertaining to rioting, criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and outraging the modesty of a woman.

Subhash Padil is known to play the moral vigilante of the Hindutva forces in Mangalore city. He was one of the members of the group that attacked women in Amnesia Pub on January 24, 2009. He has had stints in the Bajrang Dal and the Sri Rama Sene.

“I have no remorse for what I did. Yes, I led the group that attacked the girls at the homestay but do you know what they were up to? They were drinking beer and you know what that leads to…,” Padil shouted from across the grilled window of the jail. He added: “How does a girl celebrate a birthday party? Do you go to a remote location with boys and drink beer? We don’t have any problem if you sit with your family and have a quiet dinner but going to parties and drinking and smoking…. Is that any way to celebrate a birthday? It is because of our actions that the girls at the homestay were saved from getting dishonoured. We have ensured that such immoral activities have come down in Mangalore.”

The attacks on Amnesia Pub and the home stay are just two of the many incidents that have taken place in the coastal Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka in the past few years.

It is clear from the fiery rhetoric of people like Padil that the moral and cultural boundaries in the area are defined by Hindutva ideologues and anyone who breaches that boundary is a target of their foot soldiers. Women especially should be very careful about stepping out of the confines of the cultural Hindu rashtra, and if a woman is “spoilt”, then the family is dishonoured. Getting “corrupted” by “modernity” and by befriending Muslim men (love jehad) is the easiest way in which Hindu women in Dakshina Kannada can overstep the Lakshman rekha drawn by the Sangh Parivar.


The police escort youth who were attacked by pro-Hindutva activists at a party at Padil on the outskirts of Mangalore in July 2012. 

Sample some of the incidents that have occurred in the recent past as reported in the local media:

On January 30, a fracas broke out between a mixed-sex group of young people who were smoking at Rock Cafe in Mangalore and members of the Bajrang Dal and the Durga Vahini. The police, who arrived with the Hindutva brigade, took the youngsters to the police station and summoned their parents. On December 19, 2012, a Muslim boy and a Hindu girl were assaulted by activists at the Shibaroor temple festival near Mangalore. On December 15, a four-member gang assaulted a Muslim boy who was speaking to a Hindu girl in Bajpe in Mangalore. On November 7, a couple of youngsters in Kundapur in Udupi district was targeted. It later turned out that they were siblings. On November 2, activists of a Hindutva group brought a young woman to the Puttur police station alleging that she was engaged in immoral activities with a boy from a different community.

In a report brought out by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties-Karnataka (PUCL-K) and the Forum Against Atrocities on Women, Mangalore (FAAWM) after the homestay attack, 300 major and minor moral policing events between 1998 and July 2012 in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts have been recorded.

Suresh Bhat Bakrabail of the Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum, who has catalogued every reported event of moral policing, said: “The situation for young people in Mangalore is extremely scary as the youth are not able to mix freely.”

Postgraduate students at the Mass Communication and Media Studies Centre of St. Aloysius College expressed their views in a discussion with this journalist. “We are careful not to go out of the campus with friends of the opposite sex. We usually meet in groups and ensure that we do not stay out late,” said a first-year male student who did not want to be named. A girl student added: “We are apprehensive and make sure that we do not attract attention when we go out.” All the students had minor incidents to report about how people they knew were warned about public behaviour by self-appointed moral guardians.

Distinct Culture

Separated from the hinterland by the Western Ghats, the coastal belt of Karnataka has developed its own distinct culture. Dakshina Kannada district was part of the Madras Presidency during the colonial years.

The two dominant castes of Karnataka, the Lingayats and the Vokkaligas, have a minuscule presence in the region. The Muslims living in the coastal district, known as Bearys, are distinct from their counterparts elsewhere in the State. There is a historic Catholic Christian presence along the coast. The numerically strong Hindu castes of the region include the Billavas, the Moggaveeras and the Bunts, while Brahmins also have a significant presence.

The dominant languages of the region are Tulu and Konkani although Kannada is spoken and understood widely. Interestingly, Dakshina Kannada has the highest literacy rate in Karnataka, marginally ahead of Bangalore.

 

When migration to countries around the Persian Gulf began in the late 1960s, the Bearys took advantage of the economic opportunities that unfolded, and the funds they repatriated caused a fundamental change in the caste-based economy of the region. Non-Muslim migrants to other parts of India also caused the coastal belt to be flush with funds. Mangalore’s communal polarisation started with the riots that followed the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992.

Recognising the presence of important religious institutions and the changes in the economy, the Sangh Parivar constituents began to systematically work in the region from the 1980s, making it a Hindutva laboratory. Their efforts paid off when coastal Karnataka emerged as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s electoral bastion in the 1990s.

Muslims, who constitute 22 per cent of the population in Dakshina Kannada, have also been influenced by the identity politics of Muslim groups from northern Kerala in the past decade, and there are reported incidents of Muslims doing counter moral policing. The area has emerged as a communal tinderbox with slow self-segregation among the communities as well. Distinct Hindu, Muslim and Christian residential areas are emerging.

The district was once known as the most progressive part of Karnataka, but Hindutva forces have overrun it now. Jagadish Shenava, an advocate and the district working president of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), articulates this aggression when he says: “We are very strong here and the situation has gone beyond normal. No Muslim boys and Hindu girls in the area can meet without causing a communal riot. Our next target is Manipal as it is the hub of illegal activities like pubbing.”

It is in this background that the role of the media needs to be examined. There are only a handful of Kannada newspapers such as Karavali Ale (Coastal Wave) and Vaartha Bharathi that are waging a relentless battle against the excesses of the Sangh Parivar. Employees of Karavali Ale were targeted recently after the newspaper published an article that linked a senior leader of the HJV with drug supply in the region.

The journalist community in the region, for the most part, has either been silent on or collaborated with the gradual communalisation of the region. Soorinje’s work has had an impact in the media. About his reportage of the homestay incident, he says: “The July 28 incident in Mangalore is not a stray incident. Such events occur here every week. If I had not shot the visuals, the police would not have accepted the fact that the assault had happened. This has been the case in many such incidents in the past.”

The journalist community in Bangalore rallied around Soorinje. Some journalists even went on a three-day hunger strike in January demanding his release. This forced the State Cabinet to withdraw all charges against Soorinje on January 31 but he continues to remain in jail. On February 6, a public interest petition was filed against the withdrawal of the cases against Soorinje, prolonging his incarceration.

Shahbag: Story of two hangings; differences in their dynamics #deathpenalty


 

The name Shahbag will not evoke much recognition from the Indian pretenders to ‘global citizenship’. Dhaka is the city many Indians believe that ‘they’ liberated in 1971. Shahbag is one of the main street intersections of Dhaka where the events taking place as I write may have historic consequences. If you walk from the Science Lab intersection in Dhaka and hear passionate slogans from the young and old shaking the ground beneath your feet, you are at Shahbag.

After the 1971 Liberation war of Bangladesh, the governments of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh reached a tripartite agreement. One of the despicable results of this was the granting of clemency to some of the worst perpetrators of crimes against humanity in the last millennium. Some Bengali collaborators of the Pakistan forces indulged in mass-murders and rapes that have few parallels in recent memory. They have never faced the judicial process, until now.

The International War Crimes tribunal in Bangladesh has been pursuing some of the biggest leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Razakar, Al-Shams and Al-Badr militia — a process that has stupendous public support. One of the most hated of these characters, Kader Mollah, has been handed a life sentence and not a death sentence. This resulted in a protest assembly started by a bloggers and online activist network that was quickly joined by progressive and left-wing student organisations.

The result has been an unprecedented mass assembly that has been going on almost continuously since February 5 with people from all walks of life joining in. If the Anna protests in Delhi were a stove-flame, Shahbag is a veritable volcano. It was briefly called off after February 21 only to start again a day later.

As I stand in Shahbag, soaking in this immense human energy, I cannot help compare this to another such urban assembly I was recently witness to, where too, calls for hanging (something I am personallyopposed to, under any circumstance) were the primary chant. These were the India Gate protests after the Delhi rape and murder case. At India Gate, Kavita Krishnan and others tried their best to inject sanity into the folks demands for death and castration. There the political was trying to reason with the expressly ‘apolitical’. Here in Shahbag, from the very outset, it was very political. However, it was not partisan. The difference showed. In Shahbag, the politicised students and youth mood that bordered on uber-nationalism was blood-lust was interrogated, at the square itself, by mass chants, that challenged simplistic understandings of nation, nationalism and revenge.

The slogan Tumi ke, ami ke, Bangali, Bangali (Who are you, who am I? Bengali, Bengali) was often changed to Chakma, Marma, Bangali to include other ethnicities in the state of Bangladesh. The former two ethnic groups were involved in a long-armed insurrection with the government. This is not easy, especially in a nation-state formed primarily on the basis of an exclusivist ethno-linguistic nationalism.

Imagine saying the K-word or the N-word as different from ‘Indian’ in the Delhi chants. But Dhaka could, and they could precisely because Shahbag is political. The media covers Shahbag, it does not dictate it. It does not repeat the word ‘apolitical’ like a ghost-busting mantra as those in Delhi studios did as soon as the ‘Damini’ protests started. In Shahbag, it was demanded that whole organisations that were involved in rapes and murders be banned. In the Indian Union, can we even dare to name the organisations and agencies to which the highest numbers of alleged rapists are affiliated?

The amateur flash-in-the-pan nature of Delhi protests showed when it was all but broken but a Lathi-charge. The brutal murder of one of the organisers of the Shahbag protests, blogger Rajeeb Haidar, only strengthened the resolve of the square. In Shahbag, the government is trying hard to appropriate the movement for justice.

At the India Gate, the Delhi Police meted out instant justice of another kind. Shahbag is also a call for a different political direction — the youth wanting to resolve issues that happened before their birth. This bursts the myth that today’s young only react when things affect them directly. The hip metro youth of India, are still sadly, in a state of political infancy in this regard.

I stood mesmerised by the slogan-chanting figure of Bangladesh Chhatro Union’s Lucky Akhtar, who has now been nicknamed ‘slogankanya’ by Shahbag itself. Lucky has been hospitalised multiple times, once after being pushed by ruling party operatives keen to capture the stage.

Whenever Lucky led the sloganeering, it was hard to separate the aesthetic from the political. And why should one? In this assembly for justice against crimes that also includes innumerable rapes, there were thousands who were there not as somebody’s mother, daughter or sister, but as politically inspired women. And it matters. And that showed.

 

ARTICLE URL: http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column_shahbag-story-of-two-hangings-differences-in-their-dynamics_1803256

 

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