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Archives for : Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault- Woman Journalist Seeks Police Protection #Vaw


Tuesday, 02 September 2014 | PNS | DEHRADUN/Pauri | in Dehradun

A woman journalist — who had registered a case of sexual assault against the former Pauri MLA and the Pauri municipality chairperson Yashpal Singh Rawat ‘Benam’ — has sought security from the Pauri Police on Monday.

Taking cognisance of zero FIR lodged in Dalanwala Police Station by the woman journalist against Benam on Saturday, the Pauri Police have registered a case against him in the women police station, Srinagar on Monday, said Pauri Superintendent of Police Ajay Joshi while talking to The Pioneer. The SP has deputed a constable for her security in response to the lady’s appeal.

Meanwhile, police have recorded the complainant’s statement under Section 161 of CrPC on Monday. Her statement will be recorded under section 164 of CrPC before the magistrate on Tuesday, he added.

SP Joshi said the women police station incharge Jeeto Kamboj has been appointed as investigating officer of the case. Kamboj met the woman complainant on Monday.

While talking to The Pioneer, sub-inspector Kamboj said that the complainant had narrated the incident and provided some evidences related to the case too. Her statement was recorded section 161 of CrPC on Monday. Moreover, her statement will be recorded before the magistrate under section 164 of CrPC on Tuesday.

After completion of the investigation of the evidences as provided by the woman complainant over the case, chairman Benam will be also asked to record his statement on the incident.

While talking to The Pioneer, Benam denied that his voice was matching with the male voice found on the audio record the lady had presented to the police. Visibly anguished,  Benam said, “I have no option but to fight the case in the court.” Benam reiterated that one of the journalists of a daily newspaper had hatched a conspiracy to defame him.

 It should be mentioned here that a woman journalist working in a monthly magazine has registered a zero FIR in Dalanwala police station on August 30 wherein she alleged that Benam had attempted to sexually molest her on August 23, 2014 when she had met him seeking payment for some advertisements. An advertisement related to municipality was printed in the magazine on the eve of Independence Day. Taking cognizance of this, a case under sections 294, 354, 376, 511 and 506 of IPC was registered against the chairman in the Dalanwala Police Station on Saturday.

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Silence of IOA and mystery of two Indians at Glasgow #Vaw

By Boria Majumdar, | 6 Aug, 2014, ET

Imagine this: Two British Olympic officials arrested by Delhi Police on false charges. They’re kept in custody for 48 hours. Their reputations are sullied and the incident causes serious national embarrassment to Britain. And then they are released without any explanation.

Would the British Olympic Association have kept quiet? Would this not have become a serious diplomatic issue? Would the already maligned Indian Police not be taken to task if such a case happened? In Glasgow, however, nothing was said about the Scottish Police who, if indeed they had arrested the two Indians without substantial evidence, need to explain a lot.

And yet, neither the Indian Olympic Association nor the two gentlemen concerned who were arrested and released – both mysteriously – have said a word about the police. This ought to have been a case based on hard facts. It is a yes-or- no case. Was Mehta inebriated? Did he hit a car and cause injury to anyone?

Was Virender Malik involved in any sort of indecent behaviour with the receptionist at the hotel he was staying? Malik’s case – of alleged sexual assault or molestation – is far more serious offence.

Had Malik not been involved in any such action why was the charge filed against him? And if he was involved, then why was the charge dropped? Why did the Wrestling Federation of India suspend him even after Glasgow Police dropped charges against him?

In fact, why are they so keen to conduct their own investigation? With no real statement of intent for thcoming from the Indian Olympic Association or the Indian High Commission, a number of questions are still buzzing about like flies.

Was it the Indian High Commission that got into the act and got the two men cleared to stave off national embarrassment? If they are innocent, why is the IOA not taking action against Glasgow Police?

If they aren’t innocent and a case of back-channel diplomatic negotiations save their skins, it’s an ugly side of patriotism that has reared its head. What is damning for our intelligence, for our pride, is that we may never know what happened in Glasgow involving two sports officials.

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Press Release – NHRC orders Inquiry ordered into sexual assault case in Haryana Jail #Vaw




In a matter of sexual assault case wherein two women prisoners alleged that Deputy Superintendent of Nimika Jail, Haryana had sexual assaulted them and an appeal was filed by Ravi Nitesh, President of Mission Bhartiyam with National Human Rights Commission in May 2013, continuous inquiries were done by NHRC and various reports were asked from Haryana jail officials in this regard.


Now, in the recent development in the case, the commission on 5 June 2014 has again directed to Principal Secretary, Government of Haryana to conduct a CBCID inquiry in this regard and submit a report within eight weeks.


Interestingly, the local administration report in response to first notice of NHRC for submission of report was being made with conclusion that no sexual assault took place, however the commission itself rejected to accept the conclusion as it as and told that statement of victims do not reject the probability of sexual assault within the jail premises as no one else can be witness there.The Commission also therefore asked with Principal secretary, Govt of Haryana to have a CBCID inquiry.


The case was registered by Ravi Nitesh and NHRC allotted case no 3396/7/3/2013-AR in this regard. The commission in its directive clarify that:


“Shri Ravi Nitesh, a human rights activist, in his complaint dated 16.05.2013, has alleged that two woman prisoners at Nimika Jail, Faridabad were sexually assaulted by the Dy. Superintendent of the Jail. The incident was reported by them to the Chief Judicial Magistrate on his official visit to Jail. Thereafter, the victims were allegedly beaten and tortured by the jail officials as to why did they convey the incident to the Chief Judicial Magistrate. The complainant has requested intervention of the Commission. Pursuant to the direction of the Commission, the DG, Prisons, Haryana has sent a report dated 9.7.2013. As per report, the enquiry conducted by Addl. IG, Prisons, Haryana revealed that the allegations of physical torture of the lady prisoners by the Dy. Superintendent were false. An FIR No. 139 dated 14.5.2013 was also registered at P.S., Ballabhgarh regarding the alleged incident of sexual assault by the Dy. Superintendent. After investigation, the allegations were found false and final report is to be submitted. During enquiry, only this possibility came out that the prisoners Nirmal Bhatia and Anita might have been abused and beaten by the lady warder Sangita and Sumitra as a mobile charger was recovered from the possession of the lady prisoner Anita but the allegation of sexual exploitation was found to be false. Pursuant to the directions of the Commission, the jail officials have sent a copy of FIR No.139 dated 14.05.2013, copies of the statements of victims recorded u/s 161 Cr.P.C., medical examination of the alleged victims, etc. Having considered the FIR, statements of the victims recorded u/s 161 Cr.P.C. and other documents, the Commission notes that the possibility of commission of offences in the jail premises by the Dy. Superintendent cannot be ruled out in view of the statements of the victims, who are the only witnesses of the occurrence. In the jail premises, no outsider is expected to witness the occurrence. Let the Principal Secretary, Government of Haryana, Department of Home be asked to get the case FIR No.139 dated 14.05.2013, P.S. Ballabhgarh registered in connection with sexual assault on the two woman prisoners by the Deputy Superintendent of Nimika Jail, Faridabad in the jail premises, investigated through the CBCID and send within eight weeks a report in this matter. ”


We, at Mission Bhartiyam, are hopeful that such cases be solved with proper, in-depth inquiries as women in jails are also vulnerable to these crimes because of the unavailability of any reporting/monitoring system. We are hopeful that NHRC will give an impartial decision and will investigate the inquiry report as well to avoid any loophole.


NHRC Link:


For futher information, mail at or call 9958907799

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Press Release – Civil Society condemns police action and sexual assault against peaceful demonstration of Dalits of Bhagana in Delhi

We condemn police action and sexual assault against peaceful demonstration of Dalits of Bhagana in Delhi

We express shock and dismay at the mindset and functioning of the government and the state machinery towards rape survivors and their families and sympathizers.

Families of four minor rape survivors and the girls themselves belonging to a Dalit community from Bhagana village, Haryana, have been sitting in a peaceful dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi since early April. The community has been denied justice and the dominant Jat community hounded them out completely, by not allowing daily survival requirements as access to water, common lands or the market or a doctor.

In May 2012, the Dalit community of the village came to the Hisar Secretariat with their families and cattle, and started an indefinite dharna in front of the District Collector’s office. In continuation of the social boycott, four minor girls were attacked when they had gone out to relieve themselves on the night of 23 March 2014.

Instead of considering their demands, the state and central government on early morning June 4th clamped down on the peaceful protestors in a clearly planned manner in Hisar and Delhi simultaneously.

On the same afternoon when the Bhagana protestors (including the families of the rape survivors and the girls themselves and representatives of women’s organisations, Dalit organisations and students’ organisations) went to the Parliament Street Police Station, Delhi to present a memorandum asking to be allowed to stay in Jantar Mantar since they had nowhere else to go, the police responded in the most crude and unlawful manner.

The mothers of two of the rape survivors were leading the group. Women police were directed to sexually assault the protestors. Using undue force and targeting the women by grabbing their private parts and pushing their hands into the anal region, the mothers of the survivors and several women activists were attacked. At one point a senior police officer came out and shouted out – “Are ye aise nahi manenge – lathi ghusao.” Batons were then thrust at the women’s private parts.

It is shocking to see that the police has used sexual assault to deal with demonstrators. The police had removed identification badges and engaged in a totally unacceptable crime.

We demand strong, immediate and exemplary action against personnel accused in this incident. This incident makes it clear that the new government has to take steps beyond tokenism in well publicized rape cases and ensure lawful conduct of its functionaries.

The Bhagana families have no place to go and it is no concession to allow them to stay at Jantar Mantar for another ten days. They have to be offered livelihood and adequate security and the investigation in the rape cases has to proceed seriously and till then they cannot be asked to leave.


Anil Trivedi, Perin Daji, Chinmay Mishra, Sister Rosali, Jawahar Dassani, Ajay Lagoo, Ashok Dubey, Alok Khare, Kailash Limbodia,  Kamayani Bali Mahabal and Belu George, Jayashree, Subhadra Kharpade, Sarika Srivastava and Kalpana Mehta from Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

Contact Sarika Srivastava; 9589862420

Belu George; 76970162113

Kalpana Mehta; 9425056985


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India’s Feudal Rapists #Vaw


WHEN a distressed father is reporting his daughter’s disappearance to a policeman in India, there are some questions he doesn’t want to hear. “What is your caste?” is one of them. Yet, the father, Sohan Lal, said this was the first thing the police asked him last Tuesday, when he begged them for help. After revealing his low-caste background as a Shakya, Mr. Lal said the officers mocked him and refused to lift a finger.

Hours later, Mr. Lal’s daughter, 12, and a female cousin, 14, were found hanging by their scarves from a mango tree in Katra Saadatganj, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. They had been raped. His daughter had last been seen with a group of brothers from the Yadav caste, which is the dominant caste in the village.

Our understanding of their deaths will be incomplete until we recognize the role of the caste system in India’s rape crisis.

For much of India’s history the lower castes, especially the Dalits (once known as untouchables), have been routinely raped by the landowning upper castes. Better legal protections, urbanization and social mobility have helped reduce caste-based discrimination, but not enough. Dalit women are still the most likely to be victims of gang rapes. An analysis of Uttar Pradesh’s crime statistics for 2007 by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties showed that 90 percent of rape victims in 2007 were Dalit women.

Since December 2012, when a 23-year-old woman from the Kurmi caste, another low caste, died after being gang raped and attacked with an iron rod by five men in a moving bus, India has been undergoing a process of soul searching. Yet the caste system has not been mentioned enough in the debate. While attacks against Western tourists and women in urban centers have attracted a great deal of attention, rapes of lower-caste women routinely fail to provoke an outcry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for example, has yet to condemn the rape and murder in Katra Saadatganj.

It is no surprise that the caste system, and the unequal society it produces, leads to moral blind spots that hide rapes from public view. Caste historically determined where you lived, what you did, whom you married, even what you ate. In many villages, those rules are still in place, decades after caste discrimination was banned.

Much of the caste-based sexual violence emerges out of a feudal sense of entitlement among some upper-caste men. “You have not really experienced the land until you have experienced the Dalit women” is a popular saying among the landowning Jats, a politically powerful group that, despite being relatively low caste themselves, are above the Dalits.

Though upper-caste men are rarely imprisoned for raping Dalits, they have a widely accepted defense at their disposal, should they ever need one: They would never touch a lower-caste woman for fear of being “polluted.” In one famous 1995 case, a Dalit woman’s allegations of gang rape were dismissed by a judge who claimed that “an upper-caste man could not have defiled himself by raping a lower-caste woman.”

Caste discrimination is exacerbated by corrupt and inefficient governance, which encourages people to seek political power through caste allegiances. Caste bias seems to have been at work in the Katra Saadatganj case. One need only look at the names of the accused brothers (Pappu Yadav, Awadhesh Yadav and Urvesh Yadav) and that of the head of the police station (Ram Vilas Yadav) for evidence that they belonged to the same caste. Two more police constables involved are also Yadavs.

When the police and judiciary cannot be relied on to resolve disputes, rape often becomes a means of retribution. This has been apparent in Hindu-Muslim riots as well as in intercaste conflict. “Rape is a weapon to silence the assertions of the community. A way to teach us a lesson. To show us, including our men, that they are helpless and cannot protect their own women,” said Asha Kowtal, a Dalit activist.

Such thinking seems to have been at work in March, in the state of Haryana, when four lower-caste girls were gang-raped and dumped on a train station platform more than 100 miles from their homes. There is evidence that a conflict between Dalits and Jats precipitated the attack. According to the Indian newspaper Mint, a land dispute led Jats to declare “a social and economic boycott against the Dalits,” perhaps culminating in the gang rape.

We will never be able to address India’s rape crisis if we remain blind to the machinations of caste discrimination. In the past, it has taken gruesome cases of violence to ensure coverage of rape. Indeed, perhaps the only reason the Katra Saadatganj hangings attracted attention was that grisly photographs of the dangling bodies were published in Indian newspapers and circulated on social media, despite complaints by Dalit activists that this was disrespectful.

But we cannot rely on the shock value of particularly horrific cases to lead to change; we need structural solutions. The government should start by amending the 1989 Prevention of Atrocities Act, which is designed to address caste-based violence. The conviction rate under the act is notoriously low — according to a 2012 report, more than half of all cases are closed before they reach the courts. In the case of Mr. Lal’s daughter and her cousin, the police did not register the crime under the act at all. Amendment proposals that would ensure crucial witness protection, more legal support and special courts are sitting in Parliament right now, awaiting approval.

There is no doubt that it was wrong for the police to ask Mr. Lal about caste. But for the rest of us, when it comes to understanding India’s rape crisis, not talking about caste is just as bad.

Amana Fontanella-Khan is the author of “Pink Sari Revolution.”

A version of this op-ed appears in print on June 5, 2014, on page A27 of the New York edition with the headline: India’s Feudal Rapists.

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Open letter on Harvard’s failure to properly address sexual assault on campus #Vaw

Sexual Assault: Our Harvard Can Do Better


This post is an open letter written and co-signed by a group of over 150 Harvard alumni, including Nancy Lima Taylor, Kaveri Indira Ph.D, Kevin Shawn Hsu, and myself. In this letter, we address our concerns about Harvard’s failure to properly address sexual assault on campus, both in the case described in a first-person survivor account published in the Harvard Crimson last month, and in the broader systemic context. We also submitted this letter for publication in the Harvard Crimson, but the Crimson turned down our letter for publication citing, “too much discussion of sexual assault in their pages recently.”

Dear President Faust, Dean Pfister and Title IX Coordinator Mia Karvonides,

As alumni of Harvard University, we are deeply concerned that Harvard is failing to properly address sexual assault at the College and its graduate and professional schools. We are deeply disappointed to learn that survivors were pushed to the point of filing a complaint with the United States Department of Education after Harvard University failed them by dismissing claims, neglecting to provide safe accommodations and refusing to pursue disciplinary cases against aggressors. This represents a tremendous failure of leadership at all levels of Harvard University.

Although we acknowledge that women are not the only victims of sexual assault, the majority of victims are women. It is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. have been sexually assaulted, while that number may go as high as 1 in 4 for women college graduates. As such, universities have a particular responsibility to combat sexual assault in every way possible. This is a matter of both personal safety and equal opportunity for women. It appears to us that Harvard is in violation of Title IX both in practice and in the spirit of the law: Women cannot be equals in a community that protects their attackers instead of them.

Moreover, it is disconcerting to learn that students have been sidelined from the conversation. Although nearly all Harvard community members who are victims of sexual assaults on or near campus are students, Harvard has not adequately included students in the conversation about how to make this campus safe for everyone. The University’s commitment to survivors cannot be taken seriously as long as it continues to silence them and treat them like a danger to the institution, threatening them with a trip to the administrative board if they go public with their stories.

Survivors are not a liability, and we are deeply disappointed in our alma mater for treating them as such. It is inappropriate for House masters to recommend that students forgive and move on. It is inappropriate for residential deans to suggest that students are overestimating the enormity of the violation they have experienced. It is outrageous that someone must face their attacker several times a day or be isolated in a new residential house. FBI statistics tell us that false reports of sexual assault are rarer than other crimes. Yet, the university is willing to sacrifice its reputation to protect rapists from highly infrequent false accusations instead of protecting victims. Harvard, we are ashamed of you.

It’s clear that the majority of the student body agrees it’s time for reform. 85 percent of undergraduates voted in support of making Harvard a “Yes Means Yes” campus, demanding the administration do the right thing when it comes to requiring affirmative consent. The onus should no longer be on potential victims to avoid being attacked: We must teach people of all genders that consent is not optional, but mandatory, and the absence of “no” is not the equivalent to a “yes.”

As alumni, we stand in solidarity with the Our Harvard Can Do Better Campaign and reiterate its key demands to dismantle Harvard’s rape culture:

  1. Harvard must commit to becoming an affirmative consent university, and must also clarify a “mental incapacitation” definition that clearly identifies the point at which an individual is unable to consent under the influence.
  2. The Ad Board must adhere to Title IX standards to provide an expedient decision-making process for survivors.
  3. Standardize the informal process through which survivors can seek academic, residential, and extracurricular accommodations.
  4. Expand Office of Sexual Assault and Prevention Resources budget to include the necessary resources to properly educate the campus.
  5. Offer comprehensive and inclusive sexual assault prevention/response training to all students, every year.
  6. Require University employees, including faculty, residential staff and administrators, to undergo mandatory, regular, and thorough training about Title IX. Harvard must clearly explain to employees and students the purpose of Title IX and the Title IX coordinator.
  7. Harvard must make transparent and easily accessible to students consolidated data about sexual assaults at the College and University.
  8. Student voices should be a key component of any administration-formed advisory committees. Advisory committees must not force students to choose between their studies and their safety, and should also accommodate opportunities for student dialogue outside official committee meetings.

We have no reason to believe that President Faust’s newly-commissioned Task Force will be any different than previous ones, which have yet to demonstrate any substantive policy change to address sexual assault. This is the third working group in little over a year. Swift action is necessary, not increased bureaucracy.

We look forward to hearing that the Harvard administration has recognized the error in its judgment and is working both to make substantive changes and also toward reconciliation with the survivors it has treated so shamefully. They deserve an apology as well as our thanks for pushing this community to be better. We fully expect Harvard to cooperate with the Department of Education when it opens an investigation in response to the complaint that has been filed.

We hope students know that they are not alone in the Harvard community: Alumni from all over the world are standing with them.

We will be watching and withholding donations until we know our Harvard is doing better.

Thank you for your consideration,

Lee-Sean Huang ’02-’03, Nancy Lima Taylor ’02-’03, Kaveri Indira Ph.D. ’09, Kevin Shawn Hsu M.P.H. ’10, and 150 Harvard Alumni


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WSS Statement on the Suicide of Dr Khurshid Anwar, Director ISD

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) would like to place on record its views on the recent suicide of Dr. Khurshid Anwar, Director Institute for Social Democracy, a Delhi-based NGO. Dr Anwar had been accused of rape by a 25-year old woman in September 2013. He committed suicide on 18 December 2013, following a campaign against him on social media and TV channels and the lodging of an FIR just a day before his death.
We are dismayed and deeply concerned at the content and tone of the discussions on Dr Anwar’s death in social media and in various public forums, where aspersions have been cast on the complainant. Questions have also been raised about the role of feminists who have stood by the complainant and upheld the feminist principles evolved in the course of the long and ongoing struggle against sexual violence in our patriarchal and misogynistic society.
Being part of the same struggle, we in WSS:
• Extend our support and solidarity to the complainant. We are keen to stand by the complainant in this crucial period.
• Know that sexual harassment of employees at the workplace and in social spaces by those at the top level of institutions is an ongoing phenomenon. It is a very difficult step for a woman to bring up charges of sexual assault against those who occupy a senior position in the organization.
• Recognize that the suicide is a human tragedy that has shocked and affected all of us. However, we strongly condemn the manner in which this tragedy is being exploited by those who claim to be fighting for justice on his side.
• Realize that with the suicide, the alleged crime cannot be investigated and will not be able to reach its logical conclusion. At this point, it is important to ensure that the complainant is not maligned in light of grief on the death of the accused.
• Believe that all our lives and acts – public and private – can and should be open to scrutiny when the rights and space of another person is impinged upon. Being open in this way enables us all to continue to be part of a more egalitarian society that we are striving for.
• Condemn the hostile social media campaign being directed at the complainant, as much as we condemn the social media campaign that was conducted against the accused. We would like to underline the need for restraint and a sense of responsibility while commenting on such issues, especially when our comments can have grave impacts on others. Certain processes should be demanded rather than mud-slinging on individuals.
• Are concerned that some progressive intellectuals have chosen to brand the complainant as a conspirator and vilify women’s rights activists for participating in the ‘media trial’ of the accused. While the coverage of the case by the India TV was undoubtedly sensationalized and irresponsible, the complainant cannot be faulted for accepting whatever avenues were available to her in the media. It has been a long and tough struggle to have voices of women complainants find any space in the media. It needs to be understood that the complainant sought help and was guided by people.
• Find attempts to pillory and silence such voices both disturbing and avoidable. We should all instead create an atmosphere where the pursuit for justice in the interest of the complainant is not deflected.
• Acknowledge that an attempt to carry out a process of free and fair enquiry was made by the Board of Trustees of ISD in vain. We believe that members of NGO governing boards should actively uphold the values they believe in and make sure they are not compromised at any stage. We call on all trustees and members of governing bodies to play a proactive role in such matters. Senior management needs to create a safe space for women to report sexual violations and be assured of justice.
• Share our anger on violations happening within the ‘progressive’ circles, by individuals who are otherwise respected for their work. We have seen this as it has happened in our lives and lives of others who have come to us for support and continue to do so, that perpetrators of sexual assault can be people working with us, known to us.
• Reiterate that the progressive and secular credentials of any offender cannot be advanced as proof that they cannot indulge in violative and unwelcome sexual behaviour. As activists, we should not dither from taking a principled stand, regardless of the nature of our relationship with the accused. Sexual violence needs to be seen for what it is, and the crime cannot be diluted or tempered based on other aspects of the alleged perpetrator’s life.
• Are concerned that the persecution of the complainant in this case, unless actively resisted by the activist community, will dissuade women in such situations from registering their complaints.
• Encourage women to open up and speak more. Appeal to women at large to file complaints without any hesitation or fear of the consequences.
• Resolve to deal with such consequences as and when they come up as we perceive it to be part of the same large and tough struggle to bring offenders to book. In this case too, the complainant should be supported and provided opportunities to be able to move forward in life.
On behalf of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression
– Kalpana Mehta, Shivani Taneja, Uma Chakravarti, Ranjana Padhi
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Soni Sori will take legal action against S P Ankit Garg who sexually assaulted her in prison


Express News Service | New Delhi | February 9, 2014 12:40 am
Sori said there were many tribal women in Chhattisgarh jails who are sexually harassed by jailers on a daily basis.

Tribal school teacher Soni Sori, who was recently granted bail by the Supreme Court, on Saturday said she would take legal action against police officer Ankit Garg, who allegedly tortured and sexually assaulted her in jail.

Sori, who was jailed for alleged Maoist links, said ever since the December 16, 2012, Delhi gangrape, police action against those accused of sexual assault had become prompt.  “But even though what was done to me is nothing short of rape, it prompted no action. Instead, my tormentor was given an award. Does this mean the law is different for tribals?” she said. Garg was given the Police Medal for Gallantry for leading a counterinsurgency operation in Chhattisgarh.

Sori said there were many tribal women in Chhattisgarh jails who are sexually harassed by jailers on a daily basis.  “I will return home and work for these women, try and lend them my voice and highlight their problems… I came across women who were raped, tortured — all because they were alleged Maoists,” she said.

Sori’s nephew, journalist and tribal activist Lingaram Kodopi, who was also granted bail, said, “In our home, democracy isn’t working.  The police wants us dead because people like me and Sori who dare to speak up are in the way of their war.”
Activist Arundhati Roy, who also attended the press conference, said, “When a judge harasses an intern or when Tarun Tejpal allegedly molested a girl, they’re sent to jail. But if you rape or harass an adivasi, you get awarded.” AAP leader Prashant Bhushan, also present at the event, said corruption was forcing “poor tribals to take up arms”.

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Sex workers protest rising violence against women

MAKING A POINT: A six-day conference of sex workers, organised by the Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee, was inaugurated in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish.
The HinduMAKING A POINT: A six-day conference of sex workers, organised by the Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee, was inaugurated in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish.

Conference to discuss trafficking, infanticide, among other issues

A six-day conference of sex workers began here on Wednesday with participants taking a pledge to protest violence, particularly sexual assault, against women.

“Women have been subjected to all kinds of violence in the past. But, in recent times, sexual assault on women has increased in the State [West Bengal] and in the country. We condemn such acts and are trying to build a synergy among different sections of society, including sex workers, to protest against such acts,” Bharti Dey, general secretary of Durbar Mahila Samanway Committee, a sex workers’ collective, told The Hindu after the inauguration of the event.

Sex workers plan to participate in discussions on issues concerning their well-being as well as those relating to trafficking of minors and pension to old sex workers.

“The movement of sex workers has become successful because they have learned to recognise themselves as ‘workers,’ like people of any other profession. Today, they have been integrated into other larger campaigns such as Pension Parishad,” Samarjit Jana, adviser, DMSC, said.

While there is a growing demand for pension to workers in the unorganised sector, it is the sex workers who need it the most as the number of years they work is short, Poornima Chikarmane, a Pune-based activist said, adding that the conference would try to increase awareness on the subject. Activists pointed out that after a certain age, sex workers are left at the mercy of others in the profession.

Issues like female infanticide, pre-natal sex determination, and child marriage will also be discussed at the gathering. There will be a special focus on health-related issues, particularly prevention of diseases like AIDS, organisers said.

The theme of this year’s festival, which is expected to draw about 12,000 representatives, is“Pratibade Nari Partirode Nari” (protests by women, prevention by women).


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#India – The appalling reasons for rape #Vaw

Ranjona Banerji, Mid- day

Tarun Tejpal is stuck in jail somewhere in Goa and we’ve forgotten all about him


Tarun Tejpal is stuck in jail somewhere in Goa and we’ve forgotten all about him. And have we also forgotten all about the outrage, pain and distress we felt about the woman Tejpal is accused of assaulting? Or after that horrific Delhi gang-rape? Or the Shakti Mills cases in Mumbai? Or the Danish tourist in Delhi? Or the Swiss woman gang-raped in the Madhya Pradesh countryside?

There’s no skirting this issue: There is no prevention mantra to protect us from rape. These crimes happen everywhere. But we cannot give up either. Uncomfortable matters cannot be swept under the carpet 

Maybe it is too much and your mind shuts off after some time. Here are three recent cases to make your stomach churn. The young Esther Anuhya, whose charred body was found in the Kanjurmarg area of Mumbai, was raped by persons unknown when she got off a train at Kurla station.

The young woman in the Birbhum district of West Bengal who was gang-raped as a public spectacle on the orders of the elders of her village. And a Dalit teenager being threatened by being stripped naked in public by members of the Gujjar community around Ajmer if she does not withdraw a molestation charge against one of them.

So rape as opportunity, rape as punishment and entertainment and assault as a threat. This is not a gender-based argument. It is not a man versus woman argument. It should not be an argument at all. It is about setting some standards for ourselves where certain behaviour is unacceptable and punishable.

The Birbhum case is perhaps the most horrific of recent times. A village council decided that a woman be gang-raped for having a relationship with a man from a different community. The rape was done in public, on a platform, and people were urged to join in. The family was apparently unable to pay the fine of either Rs 25,000 or Rs 50,000 — apparently, this is the cost of falling in love with the wrong person in India.

What sort of society do we live in where village ‘elders’ can get away with decisions like this? The khap panchayats of Haryana and UP got into trouble for their own cruel, arcane customs which usually involved honour killings and rightly so. But this is Bengal, not Haryana, and a Bengal which takes great pride in its history of social reform. Well, so much for that. Bengal today, with due apologies to Gopal Krishna Gokhale, seems to be lawless and brutal.

People often tend to speak of villages as idyllic little retreats from the horrors of city life. Dr BR Ambedkar called them the cesspools of India while Mahatma Gandhi idealised them. However, the problem lies with the people whether they live in cities or villages. Inhumanity and brutality are not area specific.

One thing seems certain. You cannot stop rape and assault. There is no prevention mantra. These crimes happen everywhere. But you cannot give up either. You can, for instance, stop the kind of thing that happened in Bengal. Or the threats by the Gujjars to the Dalit girl in Ajmer. If the areas around Kurla station and Shakti Mills were better policed, then at least three women would have been spared their ordeals and one would still be alive.

Unfortunately, tied in with such assaults on women — as well as the assaults on young boys by Catholic priests for instance — is a social need to sweep uncomfortable matters under the carpet. If you do not talk about it, you hope the issue will go away. Of course it doesn’t. The less you talk about it, the more it happens, the worse it gets.

Those who believe in the status quo are the biggest offenders here and the most dangerous. What sort of a society condones women being assaulted and young boys being sodomised for instance? What does it say about ourselves that we think a certain kind of behaviour is tolerable as long as we don’t have to think about it?

The other horrifying problem remains the need to deflect attention from the horror of the crime by blaming the victim. The latest rape case is about a 15-month toddler in Delhi. Now how are we going to blame her?

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