Aurangabad Cop suspended in sexual harassment case #goodnews #Vaw #justice


, TNN | Mar 30, 2013,

AURANGABAD: The state home department has suspended Sandeep Bhajibhakare, one of three senior police officials accused of sexual harassing a woman police constable from the Aurangabad police commissionerate. Bhajibhakare, who was assistant commissioner of police (ACP) (Aurangabad cantonment) when the woman constable levelled charges against him, was recently transferred to Chiplun in Ratnagiri district as deputy superintendent of police (Dy SP).Confirming the suspension, Aurangabad police commissioner Sanjay Kumar said, “The state government suspendedBhajibhakare more than two weeks ago. He has approached the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal against his supension.”

In August 2012, the woman constable had complained to the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission (MSWC) that she had been sexually assaulted by Bhajibhakare and two other ACPs, K S Bahure and Naresh Meghrajani.

Highly-placed police officials said the suspension was based on the findings of the high-level committee that investigated the woman constable’s complaints. The committee was formed after the MSWC directed the Aurangabad police commissionerate to conduct a high-level probe into the matter and submit the findings within a stipulated time. After the inquiry, the findings along with the statements of the complainant and the three accused, and the alleged evidence submitted by the complainant, were sent to the MSWC and the director general of police’s (DGP) office in November.

The woman constable had also approached senior Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe, who took a delegation to the city police commissionerate and demanded immediate action against the three ACPs.

Bhajibhakare was transferred to Chiplun in December last year. Around the same time, on orders issued by the DGP office, Bhajibhakare was also booked under section 509 of the IPC at the Satara police station.

In a reprieve to Bhajibhakare in mid-February this year, the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court quashed a judicial magistrate order to issue process against him under section 376(B) (rape by a public servant with woman in his custody).

 

#India – Padma Shri Laxman Mane is accused of rape #Vaw


Published: Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013,
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Satara (Maharashtra) | Agency: DNA

The Satara police have filed a case of rape against Padma Shri Laxman Mane (in pic) after three women alleged that they were sexually exploited by the former MLC between 2003 and 2010.

“The women work as cooks with the Sharadabai Pawar Ashram Shala in Jakatwadi, Satara district. They approached us on Sunday following which we lodged a formal complaint,” said inspector Shrirang Langhe of the Satara taluka police station. “Mane is working president of the residential school for nomads and de-notified class students. The victims are Dalit married women aged between 30 and 35.”

Langhe said the victims alleged that Mane exploited them after promising to make them permanent employees of the school. “They said he took them to various places, including Pune and Satara, and raped them.” Mane has not been arrested. “We went to his house and places frequented by him. But we have not been able to locate him,” Langhe said.

The writer’s wife Shashitai denied the allegations. “My husband has been implicated by the police. This is an attempt to malign his image. This case has been cooked up to target Mane who is doing good social work. The case has not only defamed us, but also all fans and followers of Laxman Mane,” she said.

Shashitai told DNA that her husband received threatening calls on several occasions. “Laxman Mane took pains to raise the institution and filed criminal cases against several erring staffers over the last six years. Filing this case is part of a conspiracy hatched by his opponents and the women who approached the police have been used by them. Stringent action must be taken against the women who have filed the false case.”

A resident of Karanja village in Satara district, Mane has authored 10 books and is the editor of periodical Band Darwaza. His autobiography Upara, which highlighted problems faced by denotified tribes, has been translated in Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam as well as English and French.

He won the Sahitya Academy Award in 1981 and the Padma Shri in 2009. Mane has been president of the Adivasi Sahitya Sammelan (1989), Asmitadarsh Sahitya Sammelan (1987), Ambedkarwadi Dalit Sahitya Sammelan (2001) and Samatawadi Sahitya Sammelan (2010). He has also been associated with a number of NGOs and was MLC from 1990 to 1996.

@DNA

 

#Pune – MNS workers thrash north Indian parent #WTFnews


PUNE, March 5, 2013, tHE hINDU
A group of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party workers thrashed the father of a north Indian student in Satara on Monday afternoon, alleging that he had forged the age certificate which would get his son admission into the 5th standard of the Sainik School in Satara.

“The outsiders (north Indians) come here with 15-year-old boys and take admission into this prestigious school in 5th standard which is meant for 10-11 year olds. Can we not make out the difference between a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old boy? Some parents complained to us and decided to take appropriate action against them,” Satara MNS chief Ranjit Bhosale told The Hindu.

According to eye witnesses, the victim Mukesh Kumar who hailed from Uttar Pradesh, was accompanying his son for the mandatory medical check up before the admission at the government hospital in Satara, when MNS workers came and conducted an identification parade.

“He (Mr. Kumar) spoke rudely with us, hence we had to tackle him physically,” Mr. Bhosale said.

“Those people pay doctors to give them fake certificates, and then top in sports, academics and our boys are left behind. We do not oppose the 30 per cent reservation for students from other States, but cheating the school has to stop,” he stated.

Asked whether he had complained against the hospital and the school for issuing and accepting fake age certificates, Mr. Bhosale said, “The ones who issue the certificates accept bribe, and some of the school authorities, too, are outsiders.”

However, no police complaint was registered against the MNS workers. There was a police bandobast at the school after the incident.

MNS chief Raj Thackeray said in Mumbai that he was not aware of the incident, adding, “wherever outsiders get opportunities meant for Maharashtrians, we will oppose.”

 

#Maharashtra – Displaced and damned for a generation


Date: 18 February 2013

Koynanagar (Maharashtra), February 15, 2013, The Hindu

Displaced and damned for a generation

Alok Deshpande

A view of the Koyna dam. File photo
PTI A view of the Koyna dam. File photo

First, a dam, then an earthquake and finally a tiger reserve — families in Satara district’s Koyna have been displaced thrice in one generation. In 1960, the people had to move, paving the way for the Koyna dam; in 1967 following the earthquake and then for the Koyna tiger reserve in 1985, says Jagannath Vibhute, an activist of the Shramik Mukti Dal and one of the many farmers displaced by dam projects.

According to him, the people who did not want to leave the area shifted to higher areas to be safe from the dam waters.

“But later the area was announced as the tiger reserve, so they had to relocate themselves again.” Representatives of around 27,000 displaced families in Satara have been on an indefinite Thiyya Andolan (sit-in agitation) at Koynanagar — the site of the first major dam in Maharashtra post-independence, constructed in 1960. Of the 10,000-odd families displaced by this project, as many as 1,500 are yet to be rehabilitated even as around 1,000 have bought new land on their own rather than rely on a red tape-hit bureaucracy. Incidentally, Satara is the home district of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.

Daji Shelar of Shirsingi in Ajara taluk was asked to vacate his village in 1985 because it fell within the proposed tiger reserve. He moved to Sangli district, where “we had to build our home at our own expense. We did not get any of the allowances sanctioned by the government. We are yet to get the promised land from the government.”

Some of the project-affected people who were given land in the forest areas of Thane district cannot make the transition due to opposition from tribals there. After the notification of the tiger reserve, the Forest Department slapped restrictions on the locals, who had been living on forest land for generations.

“It has become difficult for our women to even collect fuel wood for daily use. The department has stopped construction of the only road which connects villages inside the forest area,” said Sitaram Jangam of Waghavale village.

“There was no need to evict locals, as they used to stay in the forest area. Rather, they were the ones who protected the forest for so many years even before it was announced as the forest. They could have helped the government save and protect the forest,” said Mr. Vibhute.

The agitation is not limited to Satara district. Similar sit-ins are in progress at eight more places in Maharashtra, including Kolhapur, Sangli and Ratnagiri.

Around one lakh affected people have contributed to the Thiyya Andolan, which began last week under the leadership of the Shramik Mukti Dal.

Tukaram Mohite, 72, from Umarkanchan, which was displaced for the Wang Dam in the Patan tehsil of Satara district, laments that people do not want to marry off their daughters to young men from his village.

“We are the displaced ones. The land which some of us received from the government is in an arid area, unlike the irrigated land we had earlier. Some did not get any land. Would you want your daughter to marry a landless farmer’s son or someone who does not have irrigated land?” he asked narrating his plight to fellow farmers. The dam, built in 1996-97, displaced 1,800 such families from nine villages.

With a command area spread over 8,000 hectares in two districts, the dam has opened the door to prosperity to many, but the displaced are still fighting for rehabilitation.

“From a high rainfall area, we were thrown into dry areas. What was given to some of us was waste land in the place of the fertile land we earlier had. We having been displaced from one village, the other village never welcomes us. The government has accepted our demands two years ago, but there is no action on the ground,” said Mr. Vibhute.

At a meeting on May 15, 2012 with Bharat Patankar, president of the Shramik Mukti Dal, the Chief Minister accepted all demands of the project-affected people and even set a three-month time frame for action.

But none of the promises has been met and the farmers will agitate until a government resolution is published resolving their problems. Ironically, similar promises were made by the government at an earlier meeting too, on May 5, 2011.

Chavan promises action

At the end of a meeting held here on Wednesday, Mr. Chavan promised Mr. Patankar’s group that a resolution would be issued in the next 15 days.

The major demands are equal rights for women on land, independent gram panchayats for all new settlements which have 500 or more population, issue of BPL ration cards to all project-affected families and allotment of grazing land (gairan) for rehabilitation in case no other land is available.

Mr. Patankar said the recommendations of the government-appointed committee, released eight months ago, for improving the Rehabilitation Act must be accepted immediately.

 

Maharashtra Displaced families stage state-wide Dharna against Koyna Dam


Mumbai, Feb 10, 2013, DHNS:

Thousands of dam evictees and project-affected people (PAP) continued their round-the-clock picketing, called Tiyya Andolan, in the interiors of seven districts of Maharashtra demanding the implementation of their long-pending demands.

The protests have been going on since last Monday, in Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Solapur, Aurangabad, Raigad and Pune.

Speaking to Deccan Herald from Satara where dharna is going on against the Koyna dam, Jagannath Vibhute of Shramik Mukti Dal (SMD) which is spearheading the state-wide Tiyya Andolan, said: “The state government has sent a message after six days that they will take up the issue of displaced families, people and PAP in the Cabinet meeting to be held this week.

Take for example in Satara where nearly 27,000 families have gathered in Koyna Nagar, around the Koyna Dam, the first major man-made reservoir in post-independence Mahrashtra. Thousands of families were displaced in 1960 and several thousands continue to remain in rootless condition.

They have no place to go. They have become homeless in their own homeland.”
Giving details of other places where the picketing is going on simultaneously, Vibhute said on the border of Sangli and Kolhapur districts, around 500 representatives of dam evictees are carrying out Tiyya Andolan near the base of the Warna Dam.

Similar protests are also being carried out near the Gad Nadi Dam in Ratnagiri district, Teen Vira Dam in Raigad district, Tembhapuri Dam in Aurangabad district and Dhamani Dam in Kolhapur district. Affected people in Azra Tehsil (Kolhapur) and at Pandharpur in Solapur district.

The basic demands of the agitators are: Giving equal rights to the daughters in ancestral property of PAP families, independent status to Gram Panchayat (with 500 or more population), free vocational training, below poverty-line ration cards; disbursing of funds to women self-help groups; grazing land (gairan) for PAP rehabilitation and absorption of Tiger Project PAP families in forest development programmes.

Interestingly, these policy-level demands have been twice sanctioned in the meetings held by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in 2011 and 2012; but the government for some strange reason has failed to implement it.

According to Vibhute: “Eight months ago the committee appointed by government to look into the issue submitted its recommendations…but the response of the state is just unfathomable. It just refuses to look at the anguish of the people.”

 

PRESS RELEASE- Newly Married Dalit Couple brutally assaulted #TISS


FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE
NEWLY MARRIED DALIT COUPLE BRUTALLY ASSAULTED
PFA the Fact Sheet and the Detailed Report of the case of Physical Assault of Vaibhav Ghadage, TISS alumnus SW Batch 2010 and his newly wed wife Mohini Ghadage.They were married on the 20th.of January 2013 in Baramati. On the evening of 22nd.January 2013, they were brutally beaten up and left to die by three local goons in Vaibhav’s ancestral village Kulakjai, Maan Taluka, Satara district, Maharashtra.The Ghadge family has lodged an FIR and the police has charge IPC section 394 (robbery) and Section 34(common intent) against the three accused. Vaibhav, with fatal skull injuries and Mohini with injuries all over her body are currently out of danger, although still hospitalized in YNTC, Satara town.
 
Assaulted, near fatally injured, molested, pushed off a cliff and left for dead.
These were definitely not the thoughts that were running through Vaibhav’s and Mohini’s minds before they set out on the evening of January 22, 2013 to their village temple. But these words simply describe what happened to them on that fateful evening, just two days after their much anticipated wedding.
 
The Incident
They were followed by three men on motorcycles as they traveled to the temple situated along the cliffs near Kulakjai Village (Maan Taluka, Satara District, Maharashtra) around 5.30pm. The temple is situated outside the village.  The area is generally deserted. As they finished visiting the temple the three men attacked the newly wedded couple without warning or provocation. Vaibhav and Mohini were taken to edge of the cliffs. There they were beaten repeatedly and assaulted with stones. Mohini was forced by the men to watch as they continued to brutalize Vaibhav. While their phones were taken away, Mohini was forced to hand over all the gold she was wearing. The assaulters then tried to pull her sari off.  She was told that if she did not “cooperate” with them she would have to watch Vaibhav being done to death, and that she would be responsible for that happening. In trying to resist them, she held on to one end of the sari. Vaibhav threw a stone at the one doing this. Following this the man let go of the sari because of which Mohini fell off the cliff from a height of 300 feet and lost consciousness. Thinking her to be dead, they turned their focus completely onto Vaibhav and kept hitting his head with rocks. When it seemed to them that he was passing out to all the injuries, including a serious head injury (later identified as a cracked skull), the three men threw him off the cliff. Believing the couple to be dead, they left the place.
Mohini regained consciousness after about an hour and began climbing up the cliffs. She did this in spite of the serious injuries she had suffered all over her body, in addition to the various internal injuries. Vaibhav, who was slipping in and out of consciousness at that time, was able to call out her a couple of times before passing out completely. This allowed Mohini to find him, who then pulled Vaibhav up to a place of relative safety amongst the cliffs. Upon reaching the top, Mohini was able to make contact with some people living near the temple, with whose help she called her maternal home. They then alerted Vaibhav’s family, who put together a search party to find and rescue him. Vaibhav was found and rescued a couple of hours later and both of them were rushed to the hospital. Vaibhav was admitted to the ICU due the grievous nature of his injuries.
Their condition stabilized only two days after the incident. Vaibhav is at present out of the ICU. Mohini has suffered many internal injuries and is unable to eat solid food to date. An FIR was lodged with the Dahiwada Police Station on January 24, 2013. Statements from Mohini and Vaibhav have been recorded by the police. The police have registered a case of robbery with grievous injury. The couple has identified the perpetrators and one arrest has been made as of January 26, 2013.
 
The Background
While prima facie this incident is being considered as a case of robbery, the magnitude of brutality meted out to Mohini and Vaibhav should force one to examine the larger context of the case in detail. Motive of robbery alone instigating such violence is questionable. Mohini has stated to the police that the men who assaulted them were speaking and laughing to each other before throwing Vaibhav off the cliff. One of them reportedly said, Aata yanchya gharcha dusra gela! (There! One more person of the family is now dead!)” This statement by itself should be seen as one that weakens this case as one of mere robbery. A brief look into the family history will provide further clarity.
Vaibhav’s paternal uncle, Shri Madhukar Ghadage, was murdered in April 2007 over a land dispute with a family belonging to the dominant Mali caste (Kulakjai Village is home to 30 Dalit families, while the rest are Malis). This murder definitely had caste based overtones and the case was registered under the Prevention SC/ST Atrocities Act. Eleven persons were arrested. The prime accused in the murder case, Mr. Bhivaji Kapse, is the maternal cousin of the sitting MLA of Maan, Mr. Jaikumar Gore. Mr. Gore exercises significant clout and influence over government officials in the area. He is known to be close to  Mr Prithviraj Chavan, presently the sitting Chief Minister of Maharashtra. There were many obstructions to the process of investigation in this case which can only be traced back to pressure from higher authorities. Consequently, all the accused were let out on bail by the Sessions Court. The case is presently pending at the High Court with the hearing date yet to be set. Meanwhile all the accused remain to out on bail.
Last year, around October, the farming equipment and fields of the Ghadage family at Kulakjai were sabotaged. This led to the family incurring financial losses. The perpetrators of the farm incident could not be positively identified, though the family has strong suspicions that the family of the prime accused in the murder case is involved.
The prime accused in the Mohini-Vaibhav assault case, Navnath Kapase, is also an accused in the murder of Shri Madhukar Ghadage. He is the son of Bhivaji Kapase (who is the the prime accused in the murder case) and nephew of the MLA, Mr. Jaikumar Gore.
With this background thus established, the alleged motive of robbery in the latest incident of violence on Vaibhav and Mohini comes under serious doubt. The impunity with which Navnath Kapase has dared to commit such a crime while out on bail for murder, should give one further food for thought.
 
Implications
The Ghadage family is in constant fear of further harm befalling them. They are worried about the safety and security of all family members. The social and economic progress of the family has been thwarted at every step. Members of the family are being systematically targeted one after another, at regular intervals. Yesterday it was Shri Madhukar Ghadage and today it is Vaibhav. Tomorrow it could be anyone else in the family. The perpetrators need to get the message that they cannot expect to go scot free for the crimes they commit just because of their upper caste affiliations and the resultant connections in high political places.
 
Action Required
1.      The case is presently been registered under very weak sections in comparison to the nature of crime i.e. sections 394 (robbery) and Section 34 (common intent). Also the caste overtones in the case need to be examined. This incident cannot be considered an event in isolation, but one in a series of actions aimed at systematically disrupting the lives and livelihood of the various members of the Ghadage family in Kulakjai Village.
2.      That this case be brought under the purview of the Prevention of Atrocities Against SC/ST Act.
3.      That the case be registered as one of attempted murder, as the details clearly imply.
4.      It should be ensured that the Investigation Officer and investigation process in the matter of the Mohini-Vaibhav assault is not influenced by politicians.
5.      That the Shri Madhukar Ghadage Murder case pending with the High Court is fast tracked and hearing dates set immediately.
6.      That the bail of all accused in the murder case be cancelled with immediate effect as they are a constant threat to the family, as they have already demonstrated.
7.      That the safety and security of the Ghadage family is ensured at Kulakjai village.
Please contact the following people if you can be of proactive assistance in ensuring justice for this family at the earliest.
Tushar Ghadge – +91 90962 49712 /  +91 75886 96559
Mayank Sinha – +91 80802 67769
The above piece is based on inputs from Tushar Ghadage.

 

Man marries thrice to deal with drought in Maharashtra, India #WTFnews


MARRYING FOR WATER: A 65-year-old Thane villager holds up a photograph of him with his three wives. He says he was forced to marry a third time to keep his family of 13 going through the drought. His first wife, he claimed, was ill and his second too weak to walk one-and-a-half to three km every day to fetch water. That duty’s fallen on Wife No. 3

Hit by drought, rural folks pour into Mumbai, Pune

Madhavi Rajadhyaksha TNN

Sangli/Satara: Open trailers packed with families and cattle have become a common sight along the state’s highways. They are a telling sign of the distress that the drought in 15 districts of the state has brought with it. Truckloads of villagers are migrating from the hinterland to cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolhapur in desperate search for livelihood.
While many officials deny the drought-driven migration, the absence of male heads in rural homes in water-starved parts of the state reveals another reality. A senior official from Satara admits that the district has witnessed 10% more migration this year. Local officials say the low minimum wages of the Centre’s flagship employment guarantee scheme (NREGA) have failed to stem the outflow of potential job-seekers.
In Khatav taluka, Satara, fragmented families are a sorry reality in one home after another. Landowner Adhik Wagh (32) has taken a break from his driver’s job and is on a brief visit to his native village in Katgoon. “We used to have ksheti (fields) of our own and cattle too. With not a drop of rain this year, there is no ksheti or water to give the cattle. I work in Kolhapur as a driver and earn enough to educate my two children,” said Wagh who recently sold his buffalo.
Worse off are farm labourers like Mugathrao Wagh (65), whose work has dried up with the wasting away of successive crops. “My wife, daughter-in-law and I were all farm hands and would earn enough to feed ourselves. We are all sitting at home now, while my son does hamali (labour) in cities and brings home some money,” said Wagh. Sangli collector says many are choosing city over NREGA 
Sangli/Satara: Satara collector N Ramaswami maintained that migration is tough to estimate, admitting that it is “slightly higher than last year” in the light of a dry spell in the district. District-level surveys had shown that 2,000-3,000 more workers had left the district.
The desperation for jobs is no different in neighbouring Sangli. Dhanashree Gaikwad of Pangri village has been playing mother and father to her two toddlers ever since her husband left for the ‘city’ in search of work. “It is tough living apart, but we have no choice,” she says.
Sangli collector Shyam Wardhane said there was enough work for those who were willing, but admitted that villagers often did not opt for employment under NREGA as they thought minimum wages were too low. Ahmednagar collector Sanjeev Kumar also denied droughtdriven migration in his district, though locals stated otherwise.

, TNN | May 16, 2012,

THANE: A man has been forced to marry thrice to deal with the drought in villages here.

Sixty-five-year-old Ramchandra (name changed to protect identity), a resident of Dengalmal village, on a hilltop in Shahapur taluka, said his first wife was ill and cannot go far away to fetch water for the family of 13, while his second wife was weak.

Ramchandra’s family includes three sons, their wives and three grandsons; his three daughters have got married and now live with their husbands.

He said he first married when he was 20 and has six children from her. He married again as his first wife fell sick, hoping that she would take care of the household work. But as she was too weak and could not handle the workload, he went in for the third marriage 10 years back.

He justified his marriages, claiming that in a year, they faced a problem of water scarcity for six months in their village. They have to often traverse one and a half kilometres to a well in a nearby village, and sometime to the Bhatsa river three km away.

Villagers initially opposed his marriages as they suspected that he was doing it for sexual pleasure.

Hussain Shaikh, a villager, said, “Earlier, we opposed his move for a third marriage, but later we realized that whatever he has done was right, as his third wife now takes care of the family’s water arrangements.”

Sakri Shende, a 70-year-old woman from the village who spends nearly five hours in transporting water with her son’s wife, said, “We normally find Ramchandra’s third wife carrying water. Only when she falls sick, other family members come to the well for water.

Immediate Release- India: Hold Police to Account for Sexual and Other Assaults- HRW


Human Rights Watch logo Русский: Логотип Хьюма...

Human Rights Watch logo Русский: Логотип Хьюман Райтс Вотч (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

India: Hold Police to Account for Sexual and Other Assaults
Attacks Show Need for Better Government Response

(Mumbai, May 14, 2012) – Indian officials need to immediately open transparent and impartial criminal investigations into recent cases where police have assaulted women, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch called on the government of India to overhaul its policies and response to women, children, and transgender people who experience violence. The Indian authorities should protect victims from police intimidation and discrimination, and prevent police interference in investigations and post-assault medical treatment, Human Rights Watch said.

Human rights and social activists in India are gathering on May 14, 2012, in SataraMaharashtra state, to peacefully protest the police assault and subsequent treatment of a pregnant sex worker. On the eve of the protest, the organizers learned that the police intended to invoke powers to prevent public disorder under the Bombay Police Act, 1951 to try to prevent the peaceful protest from taking place. In a joint letter with 50 national and international organizations and individual activists, Human Rights Watch urged the Indian prime minister toensure that police officers are held accountable and to create a high-level task force to advise the government on implementing policies, programs, and practices for addressing gender-based violence.

“The state’s response to women who experience violence is often characterized by delay, denial, discrimination, and disregard for women’s dignity,” said Aruna Kashyap, Asia researcher on women’s rights at Human Rights Watch. “The system needs an urgent, substantial overhaul and officials who fail to carry out their duty or engage in discrimination againstthose who experience violence should face consequences.”

Two recent cases of violence involve Anu Mokal and Anjana Ghadge, sex workers who were beaten by the police, and Soni Sori, a tribal woman and government teacher from Chhattisgarh state who was arrested and accused of being a Maoist supporter, and then allegedly tortured and sexually assaulted in police custody. These two cases, which occurred in totally different contexts, underscore the urgent need for independent oversight of the police and the need to eliminate police interference in post-assault healthcare.

On April 2 Mokal and Ghadge, both sex workers, were physically assaulted by a police officer on the street in Satara, and then arrested. Mokal, who was pregnant at the time, told Human Rights Watch that although police officers took her to see a doctor at the civil hospital in Satara, they then refused to allow her to have the medication prescribed by the doctor.A few days after being released from custody, Mokal had a miscarriage.

According to local activists, there is no evidence that the state authorities have taken even the initial step necessary to open a criminal investigation against the police officer accused of beating the women – that is the registration of a first information report (FIR). Neither Mokal nor Ghadge have received copies of an FIR, to which they are entitled under Indian law. In fact, Mokal told Human Rights Watch she has come under pressure to withdraw her complaints. Indian authorities should immediately put in place measures to protect Mokal from retaliation or intimidation to withdraw her complaint. They should consult on appropriate measures with her, the activists who have been supporting her, and her lawyers, said Human Rights Watch.

“That a pregnant woman may have miscarried as the result of a reported police beating is particularly shocking,” K. Srinath Reddy, chairperson of the High-Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage and a signatory to the joint letter, said to Human Rights Watch. “‘Janani Suraksha’ [Safe Motherhood] is a goal of our national health mission and if a pregnant woman has indeed been attacked by a protector of law, it is not only a violation of law, human rights, and personal dignity but an affront to public health.”

Soni Sori alleges that police in Chhattisgarh state sexually assaulted her while she was in custody and pressured her to implicate others of being Maoist sympathizers after her arrest inOctober 2011. According to her lawyers, police interfered with the medical examination and prevented her from getting access to appropriate treatment, and she did not receive adequate follow-up care while she was housed in the Raipur jail. According to media reports, no criminal investigation has been initiated against any police officer in her case.

In their joint letter to Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, groups cited the government’s failure to implement the recommendations of several governmental and expert advisory bodies that address gender-based violence. For instance, in 2011 the Planning Commission Working Group on Women’s Agency and Empowerment recommended that the government consider setting up one-stop crisis centers providing shelter, police, legal, medical, and counseling services to victims of violence. Similarly, the High-Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage and the Working Group on the National Rural Health Mission recommended taking a stronger health system response to gender-based violence.

“It’s appalling that one arm of the government spends millions on women’s health while another can assault and harm women’s health without facing justice,” said Kashyap. “Indiacannot boast about its commitment to women’s health unless it adopts a zero-tolerance policy towards police violence and supports women who dare to stand up to it.”

Human Rights Watch and other groups urged the Indian government to set up a high-level task force to advise the government on an appropriate multi-faceted response to violence, including victim and witness protection. The task force should assist the government in developing protocols and standards for how to respond to violence against women and children, especially sexual assault; to prevent discrimination and improper police interference; and to ensure perpetrators are identified and held accountable. The letter called on the government to ensure that vulnerable groups, in particular sex workers, those living with HIV, people with disabilities, people from transgender communities, and those reporting sexual assault by the police, can access appropriate medical treatment without police interference and in a nondiscriminatory manner.

The high-level task force should operate in a transparent and consultative manner, tapping into local and international good practices and expertise, Human Rights Watch said.

To read more, including Mokal’s first-hand account of police abuse, please see below.

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on women’s rights in India, please visit:

       The March 2007 letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh regarding Sexual Assault Case in Police Custody: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/07/india-letter-prime-minister-manmohan-singh-regarding-sexual-assault-case-police-cust

       The September 2010 report, “Dignity on Trial: India’s Need for Sound Standards for Conducting and Interpreting Forensic Examinations of Rape Survivors”:http://www.hrw.org/reports/2010/09/06/dignity-trial-0

For more information, please contact:

Background

Case of Anu Mokal and Anjana Ghadge
On April 2, 2012, Anu Mokal and Anjana Ghadge were going to a hospital to visit a friend who had recently given birth, when they walked past police vans. Mokal told Human Rights Watch that one of the officers called Ghadge over and without any warning began to beat her as the other police officers watched. According to Mokal, when she tried to intervene and told the police officer that he should not hit Ghadge, an elderly woman, the police officer then turned on her and began to hit her.

Mokal said she pleaded with the officer to stop beating her: “When I fell on the floor and tried holding his leg begging him to stop because I was pregnant, he pushed me away and kicked me.” Mokal said that she and Ghadge were then taken to the police lock-up and falsely accused of soliciting for sex work in a public place, an offence under Indian law.

Mokal said the police took her to the civil hospital in Satara that night.

“I showed the doctor the blue-black marks on my body and told her I was pregnant,” she said.

The doctor wrote out a prescription for medication, but according to Mokal, when she asked one of the police officers who had escorted her there if she could purchase the medication, he took the prescription and ordered her back into the police van. The officers took her back to the police lock-up. Mokal was never handed the prescription back and no immediate medical treatment was provided to her.

Before producing her in court the following day, Mokal said that police station officers and staff dressed in civilian clothes approached her and apologized on behalf of their “saab” (sir) and pressured her not to complain against him “because they were all together and nothing would happen to him.” She also told Human Rights Watch that they told her not to bring this up in court when she was produced.

Mokal and Ghadge appeared in court the next day, were fined 1,200 rupees (US$22) each and then released. Since she was in pain and wanted medication, Mokal went to the Satara civil hospital again with local activists soon after she was released. Mokal’s hospital records, which Human Rights Watch has seen, document that she sustained “contusion” and prescribe pain medication and antibiotics.

Within a couple of days of returning home Mokal began to experience bleeding and miscarried, she told Human Rights Watch.

Mokal and Ghadge submitted a written petition of complaint to the Satara police superintendent soon after they were assaulted.

Mokal was admitted to the hospital in Satara following her miscarriage, and in the initial few days she was there, she said an unknown young woman, dressed in jeans and wearing a full face veil that only revealed her eyes, came to her and asked her what action she was planning to take. Mokal says she told the woman that she “would pursue the case and go up to Delhi if needed.” She also says that the woman asked her to drop the case for money. Mokal says she refused to take any money and the woman left.

After the intervention of local activists, a police officer came and took Mokal’s statement while she was in the hospital, while Ghadge gave a statement to the police on May 12, two days before a planned public protest in Satara.

However, even though police have taken statements by Mokal and Ghadge, and despite inquiries from local activists, it appears as if a “first information report” (FIR) was never registered against the police. Under Indian law, complainants have the right to receive a copy of the FIR as soon as it is registered, and neither Mokal and Ghadge nor any of those assisting them have been provided with a copy.

Case of Soni Sori


Chhattisgarh police arrested and accused Soni Sori, a tribal teacher, of being a sympathizer of Maoist rebels. She alleged that police sexually assaulted and tortured her while she was detained in Chhattisgarh police custody in October 2011. She has since been charged, is on trial for several alleged offences and was in the Raipur jail.

Soni Sori’s lawyers sought an order from the Supreme Court of India, granted on October 20, 2011, for her to have an independent medical examination and treatment. Soni Suri was examined and treated at a Kolkata hospital but she claims that she has not been allowed access to the follow-up medical treatment as prescribed by the hospital while she has been in Raipur jail.

On May 2, almost six months after the first order, the Supreme Court of India issued another order, directing the Chhattisgarh police to take Soni Sori to New Delhi for follow-up medical treatment, where she is now. To date the Chhattisgarh state government has yet to register any FIR and investigate the allegations of torture.

Immediate Release- Solidarity March: Justice for sex worker Mothers


 

PRESS RELEASE

Solidarity March: Justice for sex worker Mothers

Women’s groups and progressive organisations in India are shocked that Ms. Anu Mokal, a pregnant sex worker in Satara, was beaten up by police inspector Dayanand Dhome on April 2, along with her friend Ms. Anjana Ghadge. Three days later, on 5th April, she suffered a miscarriageThe incident occurred on 2nd  April 2012,  around 7.30 pm, when Anu Mokal, who was four months pregnant, and Anjana Ghadge were bringing dinner for their friend who was admitted in the civil hospital. Near the Satara bus stand area, senior Police Inspector Dayanand Dhome accused them of soliciting and when they refuted it abused them and called them liars. Dhome and his subordinates started beating Anu and her friend Anjana. Dhome repeatedly kicked them and said that women like Anu are a ‘shame’. Her pleas that she was four months pregnant fell on deaf ears. Anu and Anjana were detained and put in a lockup. They were eventually released on April 3.

On the following day they were produced before the magistrate and were released after a payment of Rs 1200 fine for soliciting [which they were not doing at that time]. They were taken to the civil hospital by members of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad [VAMP] an organisation that works among sex workers and Anu received medication.  Anu has alleged that Mr. Dhome kicked her because of which she fell down and suffered a miscarriage. Anu has reportedly said that she was going to a hospital to meet her friend, when Mr. Dhome abused her and beat her up, calling women like her a “shame.” Women’s organisations are outraged that even after one month no action has been taken against the policemen who brutally assaulted Anu Mokle.

Anu has filed a complaint against Inspector Dhome and his colleagues with the Satara Superintendent of Police K. M. M. Prasanna. SANGRAM (an organisation that runs the Maharashtra State AIDS Society HIV/AIDS prevention project with women in sex work and sexual minorities in Satara District), has also sent a written complaint to the Home Minister R.R.Patil, SP K.M.M  Prasanna, and the Regional DIG Tukaram Chavhan, demanding that action be taken against Dayanad Dhome and others, but no action has been taken so far. DSP Prasanna told a delegation from VAMP on 30th April that an enquiry has been instituted but he did not commit as to when one can expect its result.

Anu and Anjana are are asking for justice and their right to get a hearing. Anu feels that the miscarriage due to severe beating and the subsequent trauma are not taken seriously because she is a sex worker. In fact, the police had the audacity to tell these women that sex workers cannot be mothers.

Our demands are as follows:

1. The Inquiry in the case is expedited and the report be made public.

2. Inspector Dayanand Dhome be suspended with immediate effect.

3. A grievance committee be set up by the Maharashtra Government, which includes members from the field of sex work, women rights, police, law, so that such incidents are not repeated and whereby victims of assault, false cases and violence get speedy justice.

4. The Maharashtra Government which runs the HIV/AIDS programmes with sex workers have a policy that eliminates police violence against sex workers male/female and transgender.

PL SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION HERE   justice-for-anu-mokal

 

The following action plan has been planned for Monday, the 14th of May 2012

  1. Organisations from Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka,  Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu  have endorsed the march and will participate along with children of sex-workers, and women in sex-work, in Satara on Monday, the 14thof May.
  2. Mitra collective will lead the march to affirm their strong relationship with their mothers who are part of ‘vamp’ the sex-workers’ collective in southern Maharashtra.
  3. March route; Rajwada chowk- Malharpet – DSP office – Powai naka – Collectorate, Satara.
  4. Time 3-6pm.

In solidarity,

Raju Naik

President,

Mitra Sanghatana [Collective of children of sex workers]


Related articles

Sex workers cannot be mothers – says Satara police #WTFnews



Anu Mokal, a pregnant woman was beaten up by Police in Satara, Maharashtra. She was so severely beaten  that she had a miscarriage and lost her baby. No Law in the country allows Police to physically assault a women. This case is worst because male cops have assaulted a female victim.

Her fault, being a sex worker

Actually, i feel very demoralized because if the police had done this to a non sex worker everyone would be up in arms. NO body reacted after it appeared in the papers in Satara, too. When they met me Durga said, if it was a `gharguti’ [wife] woman everyone would protect her womb, [ vanshacha diva – heir] but because it is a sex worker her fetus is not considered sacred or that she has a `vansh’, as a `bad woman’. That is what the police and society think, in any case.- Meena Seshu of SANGRAM
On 2nd April, around 7:30 PM, Anu Mokal accompanied by Anjana Ghadge were taking dinner for her friend Jaya Kamble who was undergoing treatment in the local civil hospital. When they were passing the Satara bus stand area, senior police inspector Dayanand Dhome started yelling at them using abusive language. When they told him that they were only taking food for their friend, he called them liars and without any provocation, Dhome and his subordinates started beating Anu and her friend Anjana Ghadge.

Dhome repeatedly said that women like Anu are a ‘shame’ to him while he continued to kick her. Anu fell down and pleaded that she was four months pregnant but they continued kicking and beating her. She was then forcibly taken to the police station. Anu and Anjana were detained and put in a lockup from where Anu and Anjana were routinely taken to civil hospital for treatment. Anu told the doctor she was pregnant and he prescribed medication, but the police didn’t allow her to buy nor did they give the medication to her.

On 3/4/2012 they were produced before the magistrate and were released after a payment of Rs 1200 fine for an offense not known to them or specified. They were taken to the civil hospital again by members of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad [VAMP], a network of sex workers and Anu received medication.

But on 5/04/2012 night, she suffered a miscarriage. The miscarriage is quite likely to have resulted from the trauma of the thrashing by Dayanand Dhome and his subordinates. She has filed a complaint against Inspector Dhome and his colleagues with the Superintendent of Police K. M. M. Prasanna. However, her complaint and visit to the SP have been in vain.

SANGRAM the organisation that runs the Maharashtra State AIDS Society HIV/AIDS prevention project with women in sex work and sexual minorities in Satara District also sent a written complaint to Home Minister R.R.Patil, DSP Prasanna, Satara and Regional DIG Tukaram Chavhan, demanding that action be taken against Dayanad Dhome and others, but to no avail. DSP Prasanna told a delegation from VAMP on 30/04/2012 that an enquiry is instituted but would not commit as to when we can expect a result.

Anu and Anjana are are asking for justice and their right to get a hearing. Anu feels that the miscarriage due to severe beating and the subsequent trauma are not taken seriously because she is a sex worker. In fact, the police had the audacity to tell these women that sex workers cannot be mothers.

We Demand

1. The Inquiry in the case be expedited and the report be made public

2. Inspector Dayanand Dhome be suspended with immediate effect.

3. A Grievance committee be set up by the Maharashtra Government, which includes members from the field of sex work, women rights, police, law, so that such incidents are not repeated and they get speedy justice.

4. The Maharashtra Government which runs the HIV/AIDS programmes with sex workers have a policy on Police violence against sex workers male/female and transgender.

PLEASE SIGN THE ONLINE PETITION AND SHARE WIDELY

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