Tag Archive for dalit women

Jisha rape and murder: Women’s network demands action against police officials who refused to file FIR

Jisha-rape-case

statement issued by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS), a nationwide network of women from diverse political and social movements

We, condemn the gruesome incident of heinous rape and murder of a 30-year old law student from Kuruppamapdy, villageVattolippidi Canal Bund near Perumbavoor in Kerala’s Ernakulam district. On the evening of April 28th 2016, her mother, a daily-wage labourer returned home to find her youngest daughters body mutilated, raped and murdered. She was studying for her law exams at home when the incident took place. Her body had 38 injuries, including in the genitals.

We are appalled at the apathy extended towards the family by the State, Administration and the Mainstream Media. Police refused to file First Information Report on the night of April 28th 2016, when, mother of Victim approached them . After five full days of inaction and pressure by Dalit Activists in Kerela FIR was registered. Additionally, the mainstream media’s handling of the case stands in violation of the law that prohibits the use of the name of the victim/survivor in media. However this case saw a parading of the dead victim. Her photos were paraded by mainstream media and circulated. Denying the Dalit women respect and dignity even in Death.

The victims family was a woman headed-household who were continuously harassed by the middle caste/class neighborhood by denying them access to water, and other daily resources. Despite that the family continued to struggle and survive. The daughter soon after getting admission earlier, owing to poor financial conditions , had to give up her studies at one point of time. Later she was determined to pursue her law degree hoping to work towards access to justice for the poor and marginalised.  Her entry into the educational institutions is part of the in-roads / upward social mobility, made by the Dalit-Bahujan community in spaces of higher education that have been historically denied to them. The rape and murder of this student is a retaliation of this occupying of public space by a Dalit woman. Further the community in shunning the incident by putting the blame on the ‘outsider’ the migrant labourer.

This rape is not a stand alone incident in the daily violence meted out on Dalit bodies in their access of public spaces in Kerala . To cite few cases in the recent past , just two days back a Dalit nursing student was raped inVarkala, Thiruvananthapuram and also Chitralekha a Dalit auto riksha driver has been continuously harassed by CPI (M)goons since 2004. The incidence stands in a long list of state apartheid towards the Dalit community. In kerala crime rate  against SCs is 26.8 and that against STs is 27.8 .( the All india crime rate for SCs  is 23.4 and STs is 11.0- NCRB 2014)

Caste based violence and gender based violence don’t work in isolation but are hand-in-glove with each other. They have to be placed in the larger history of violence meted out on the basis of caste and gender. The inter-sectionality works in insidious manner through the bodies of women. We see gender based violence tied with casted based violence both of which are used as tools of violence and discrimination and perpetuated by the State and its machinery. Caste is the underlying reality of the country; hence attempt at looking at gender-based violence minus the caste reality of it is a gross injustice to understanding gender-based violence. As collectives committed towards a non-funded grassroots effort started in November 2009, to put an end to the violence being perpetrated upon our bodies and societies. We are a nationwide network of women from diverse political and social movements comprising of women’s organizations, mass organizations, civil liberty organizations, student and youth organizations, mass movements and individuals. We unequivocally condemn state repression and sexual violence on our women and girls by any perpetrator(s).

We demand
1. Immediate Arrest of the accused involved
2. Speedy trial of the case as per Criminal law Amendment Act 2013 & SC/ST POA Act 1989
3. Competent legal representation of the victim
4. State to provide adequate compensation to the family of the deceased .
5. Independent inquiry by NHRC ,NCW and NCSC  
6. Action against police officials who refused to file an FIR on day of the incident as per S.166a

India’s shame: Dalit rape survivors of Hisar still await justice

violence-against-women-India

Authorities remain indifferent to the ongoing sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi by the four young rape survivors and their families

By Team FI

A candle light protest was organised by students and human rights activists outside the Home Minister’s office in New Delhi on Sunday demanding justice for the four young rape survivors from Hisar, Haryana.

The protest was in solidarity to the ongoing sit-in protest by the four Dalit women, two of whom are minor girls. The women along with their families and neighbours have been protesting at Jantar Mantar from April 18 against the local authority’s indifference and inaction.

In March 2014, the four young girls were kidnapped from their village Bhagana, and raped by five youths belonging to the upper caste Jat community. The girls were left near Bhatinda Railway station in Punjab after the alleged crime. When their families approached their village head ( Sarpanch) for help, and said that they would file an FIR, the Sarpanch informed them about the whereabouts of the girls. The girls allege that when the Sarpanch and his men came and picked the girls, he threatened them to keep quiet about the rape and the identity of the perpetrators.

The villagers alleged that the local authorities including the Superintendent of Police Manisha Chaudhury were not only uncooperative but also intimidating. The families took the girls to the hospital in Hisar for a medical test. Though they reached the hospital at 10 in the morning, it was at 1.30 am the next morning when the tests were finally done and an hour later, the SP took their statements.

The Dalits of Bhagana village are no stranger to violence and abuse by the Jat community what with the ongoing social and economic sanctions imposed on them by the upper caste. This was because the Dalit community had protested against the appropriation of their common lands by the Jats in the village.

For these young women from Hisar, there are no hordes of protestors lining the streets of the country’s capital, no outcry of anguish, and not much show of support except from human rights activists, women’s groups and a few student organisations. There is an alarming increase in the sexual violence against Dalit women in the country and Haryana is achieving notoriety with many cases of sexual violence, assault and honour killings being recorded.

In most cases, the survivors get no assistance from the police or administration. With the perpetrators belonging to the ‘upper’ caste in most cases, the caste dominance combined with poverty and lack of political clout ensure that cases, even if an FIR is filed, do not reach resolution and justice is denied or delayed indefinitely.

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) issued a statement based on their visit and interactions with the rape survivors and their families. FeministsIndia is reproducing the full text of the statement here:

WSS condemns the Sexual Assault of Four Dalit Girls from Village Bhagana, District Hisar, Haryana

In the continuing backlash against Dalit assertion, four young girls of Dalit families (two of whom are minor) from Bhagana village (Hisar district, Haryana) were abducted on 23rd March 2014 and gangraped by 5 Jat boys (3 from Bhagana and 2 from outside of whom one was from Bhiwani). All four girls were then abandoned in the Bhatinda railway station on 23rd March itself. The sarpanch along with the girls’ fathers and brothers reached Bhatinda to bring them back. They were threatened by the head of the village sarpanch who is also the cousin of one of the accused to remain quiet; otherwise they along with their families would suffer dire consequences, even murder.

The context is as follows: In May 2012, 70 Dalit families from Bhagana Village moved with their families, belongings and cattle to the Secretariat, District Magistrate’s office in Hisar to protest against the forceful and unfair land appropriation of their common lands (Shamilat land) by the Jats of the village.
In response to their protests, these Dalits suffered widespread social ostracism and boycotts, including denial of access to water sources by destroying public taps, denial of entry to common land whether for the burial of dead animals, or for children to play games like football etc. Dalits were unable to move around freely or even go out for urination or defecation. Even access to doctors was denied as doctors were from the Jat community, who either refused to treat Dalits or charged higher fees. The sale of products has been refused and they have also been prevented from using public transport.

Despite several complaints to the village panchayat, police officials, the administration paid no heed and allowed such incidents and treatment to escalate. Instead of filing FIRs, the police arrested 45 Dalit protestors and charged 6 with sedition charges though these were later dropped. While some families continued their protests at the secretariat, a few families decided to stay back whether out of fear or due to economic necessity. It is girls from these families who were then abducted and sexually assaulted on 23rd March 2014.

In spite of threats from the Jat community not to take up this case, FIRs were filed on March 25 and the girls underwent medical examination. Cases have been booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 and Sections 363/366/366A/376/120B/328 of the IPC. Copies of these are with the families who have come to Delhi to demand justice and are now at Jantar Mantar. While five of the accused have been arrested, the demand to arrest another seven people remains. In conversation with members of WSS who visited the families at Jantar Mantar, these details were courageously and openly shared. The girls are sitting in protest too, the youngest being 13 and the eldest 18 years. They were going to school (classes 7 to 10) but have dropped out now. Their fathers work as agricultural labourers or engaged in other daily wage work. Other women present said that such sexual violence perpetrated on Dalits by Jats is by no means new but what is new is the reasons why they attacked them in this way. ‘We have no wealth’, one of the women said, ‘so they plunder the little that we have, namely our izzat.’ ‘But we are here in this city to get justice.’

WSS stands in solidarity with their struggle and their courageous battle for justice and dignity.
We demand that:

1. All land be restored to Dalits that is due to them. This includes allotments under the Mahatma Gandhi Vikas Yojana and also the Shamilat land rights.

2. Safe passage and return to the village for Dalits must be provided to ensure that they can live in security and dignity.

3. Survivors of sexual assault must be given the full compensation according to Government of Haryana provisions. Their education which has had to be discontinued must be provided. All threats to them and their families must cease.

4. All false cases lodged in 2012 against Dalit men and women be withdrawn immediately.

5. All the accused Jats including the sarpanch, who have been intimidating and threatening them be arrested and cases taken forwarded.

Kandhamal, no woman’s land?

Kandhamal Orissa

Two minor girls were gang raped and one of them was murdered in Kandhamal last month. Orissa police is yet to take any action while local and state media remain silent

By John Dayal

The gang rape of two teenage Dalit girls in Kandhamal, Orissa and the murder of one of them subsequently during the Dussehra festival in October has created not just panic in their villages, but a sense of disgust among rights activists for the pathetic attitude of police and the State Child Right Commission.

The writer met the surviving victim who is now working as a casual labourer with her parents in Bhubaneswar, capital of Orissa.

The first one, a class VII student of Dadamaha, had gone to witness a ‘yatra’ (play) at nearby Simanbadi village on Thursday night when the youths sexually assaulted her. Sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), Baliguda, Arjun Barik said the girl apparently attempted to raise an alarm, she was tied to a tree and strangulated to death with her scarf. The body was found from the roadside near Masanipada village 26 October.

An autopsy was conducted on the body at Daringbadi public health centre and a case was registered on the basis of an FIR lodged by her father. There have been no arrests so far.

The second girl, a resident of  Ritangia village in Tiangia block, was also 13-year old, and a student of class VIII in a local school. Her father is now a security guard in Bhubaneswar, and the girl lives with relatives to continue her studies. On 27th October, she went to see the Dussehra festivities, which attract a large crowd. On the way home, she was abducted by six men, taken to the nearby forest and raped by all six of them. She collapsed.

She regained consciousness after one of the rapists sprinkled water on her face. One of them put a shirt on her and brought her close to the village. She was found in the marketplace in the morning, and taken to her aunt’s house.

Initially the local police did not help at all. She was brought to Bhubaneswar and taken to the offices of the State Commission for Child Rights. This is where she was subjected to mental torture by those designated to help children in distress. The chairperson was rude and said this was a police matter and that she could not do anything even if she believed the story of the girl.

In the all-woman police station set up for registering crimes against women in an environment friendly to the victims, the office on charge was absent. When Inspector Itti Das came to the office at last, she too was rude, and even more crude. According to the woman social worker who had accompanied the victim to the police station, the woman inspector said “you would not be alive if you had been gang-raped”. The implication was that the girl was covering up, had gone with the rapists of her own accord.

The police filed a report at last, and referred the report to the Raikia police station in Kandhamal. The victim was finally given a medical examination on 3rd November, a full week after her traumatic experience. The medical report has not been given to the police yet.

Activists who are now counseling the girl, who was still in a state of shock when we met her, are aghast at the manner in which the child right chief, a government appointee, and the woman police officer behaved with the young girl.

Surprisingly, the local and state media have chosen not to investigate the story.

John Dayal is an independent journalist and civil rights activist.