Women and human rights groups condemn the brutal abduction and attack on the team members of Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiative (AALI) and their continued harassment at the hands of the perpetrators who are still at large
By Team FI
Women’s rights groups in India have issued a press statement on Tuesday condemning the attack on the Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiative (AALI), a feminist legal advocacy and resource group based in Lucknow, India. The attack led by Ashish Shukla, a BSP leader from Amethi (Uttar Pradesh) was allegedly in retaliation for the help provided by AALI to a 19-yearold girl who was being sexually abused at home. AALI had followed all appropriate legal procedures and provided her safe shelter as per her wishes.
On the evening of 27th October 2013, the AALI office was attacked around 5.00pm, when the BSP leader Ashish Shukla, his wife Uma Shukla, son Akarsh Shukla along with 40‐50 men, barged into the premises – the house of a retired High Court judge where the organisation is based and beat up the caretaker and his wife. AALI’s office was also ransacked, property was damaged and documents were taken away. The attackers included members of the young girl’s family.
The mob then beat‐up two women AALI members, dragged them by the hair and took them to Khatu Shyam Mandir (Old Hyderabad Colony), where they were confined, badly beaten up and mauled for 45 minutes. When the team member refused to gave away information about the sexual assault survivor’s whereabouts, she was threatened with rape and murder.
In the meanwhile, the other team members got to know about the incident and managed to trace the girls. The activists were rescued by Mahanagar police and some of the perpetrators were arrested. An FIR regarding the incident was lodged the same evening at Mahanagar PS along with written statements by the two AALI team members. The next day on 28th October 2013, when the AALI team members accompanied the girl to record her statement before the Magistrate, they were again physically and verbally abused by the relatives of the survivor, including her mother, at Civil Court premises.
Women’s rights and human rights groups including Sanatkada, Humsafar, Sahayog, MASVAW, AIDWA, AIPWA, Vanangana, Saanjhi, Duniya, AALI, Nirantar, Suraksha, Oxfam, Saksham, DAG, Action Aid, Mahila Federation, Mahila Samakhya, UNICEF, Plan India, Upvan, Vayam, and Breakthrough have demanded that the police conduct proper and prompt investigation in the case of attack against the staff members of AALI and arrest the perpetrators immediately. “It is shocking to see the way muscle power and violence is being used that too in the State capital and in civil court premises. We strongly condemn this blatant display of power and use of brute force against women’s human rights defenders,” the press release stated.
As of now, the main perpetrators (named in the FIR and statements of girls) are still at large and one of the arrested has already been released on bail.