Tag Archive for Delhi rape

India’s Daughter is not an act of global solidarity


Film does not probe sexual violence as a systemic issue, opines eminent lawyer Vrinda Grover in her Facebook post

I have seen the documentary film, India’s Daughter. I think we need to take a position of engagement rather than posit it simplistically as a ban or no ban issue, which to my mind is much more convenient but not necessarily a helpful position.

One significant issue here is of rule of law; the fair trial and rights of victim and accused. It is critical to remember that the legal process has not yet concluded, the appeal is pending in the Supreme Court of India.

The other concern is that the film serves to amplify hate speech against women and broadcast misogynist views.

It is quite interesting that NDTV has spent a major part of the last evening discussing the issue of Violence Against Women, including the problems with the criminal justice system , impunity etc. This to my mind is the ONLY unintended positive fallout of the Udwin documentary.

What is terribly misleading in NDTV’s programmes though is the projection that Udwin’s documentary discusses or raises these issues.

In fact the precise problem with the film is that it does not probe sexual violence as a systemic issue; it isolates the 16 December gang rape and the murder accused. It profiles poor Indian men as rapists.

Thus, on the one hand, the film will serve to incite the wrath of the public and very soon cries of death to the rapists will resound, for they now carry the tag of ‘monsters’.

On the other hand, the film will, for many others, particularly men, reinforce that women deserve rape and their lives must be circumscribed by misogynist and patriarchal notions. Either way it is a lose- lose situation for women in India.

Telecasting this film, even as legal proceedings are pending does not advance the cause of women’s rights or the rule of law or the right to a fair trial

I do not subscribe to the government’s stance that the film defames India. India should be ashamed of each and every act of violence against women.

This film is however not an act of global solidarity. March 8th marks the day of struggle for the rights of women. The telecast of this film on that day will provide a platform for the broadcast of hate speech against women on International Women’s Day.

Related reading: Noted activists discuss their concerns over India’s Daughter in a letter to NDTV

India’s Daughter, a point of view


Leslee Udwin’s documentary India’s Daughter relies on emotional narrative but fails to form a coherent understanding of rape culture

By Supriya Madangarli

The past few days the BBC documentary India’s Daughters directed by Leslie Udwin has caused a furor in media, both print and television, as certain segments of the film were released to the public. There were legal questions raised about the film, how did the producer-director get permission to interview the convicts in the case when the matter was sub-judice. With the case under appeal in the Supreme Court, is it legal to show the film to the public?

The film was fought over in the Parliament with the Government’s decision to ban it. I got an opportunity to watch the film on youtube and these are a few comments I would like to make.

a. Watching the rapists and the reconstruction (in my opinion not necessary) was nauseating and gut-wrenching.
b. The pain of the young woman’s parents was heart-rending
c. The quotes of the rapist and his lawyers overwhelmed the narrative.
It evoked a response of fear, agony and anger. But as the film went on, I was disappointed in its attempt to analyse the rapists ‘mind-set’.

A very feeble portrayal of their economic class and deprivation and the environment they lived in, is shown and I am confused of its purpose. The film talks to an ngo director and a prison psychiatrist in an attempt to understand the ‘why’. Why did these men commit the rape? Are we to understand, that the focus of the film is purely and subjectively on only this particular case and it was treated in isolation – that the analysis was only about these men? However, the quotes of ‘mindset’ and ‘cultural values’ sought to link it with society and the ‘mindset’ of the society.

The intersections of caste, class, consumerism, misogyny, patriarchy and other factors that create rape culture have been ignored. This could have been done if the director had talked to those women who have fought for and been instrumental in changing not only Indian laws, but also fought rape culture from the Mathura rape case to Nirbhaya

Even as activist Kavita Krishanan spoke in the film of how the protest movement that raged in the aftermath became not just about the young woman in Delhi but about a collective anger against rape culture, no such analysis is done in the film. There were no in-depth interviews with the women activists in India, instead the film kept talking to a writer/historian from Oxford who gave inputs which one could have got from wikipedia.

There was also no mention of the painstaking work put in by individuals, activists and women and human rights organisations across India who worked within a nearly impossible deadline to give their submissions to the Justice Verma Commission – these submissions were the core of the content that framed the recommendations for the amendment to criminal law.

However, the criticisms aside, there is no call to ban the film. The need is to continue the conversation by talking about the points that were feebly addressed or ignored by the film. If we are to talk about justice to the young woman, then we need to talk not just about her case, but about Manorama Devi, about Soni Sori, about Sister Abhaya, about Nilufer and Asiya, about Khairlanji, about Rohtak, about Bhagana rapes, the rapes in Gujarat and in Muzaffarnagar etc.

Activists call CLA bill historic but slam tenor of its parliamentary debate

Anti rape protest India

Opinions expressed by many of the members of parliament during the debate have exposed their misogynistic attitudes towards women

By Team FI

Women’s rights activists in India, in a press release issued yesterday, have termed the passing of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2013 in Parliament as “historic” and a step forward in the journey for justice for women. Activists, however, stated that the process of its passage in the parliament shows that the degrading attitudes to women persist at the highest levels of legislative decision-making. “With notable and welcome exceptions, the general tenor of debates in Lok Sabha on this Bill has deeply troubled us, as women and as citizens. The nation watched with shame many of our honorable Members of Parliament freely express sentiments that undermined the dignity of all women, unmindful of the gravity of issues of rape and violence,” stated the press release.

Activists felt that the tenor of the parliamentary debates regarding the bill, introduced after the nation witnessed massive protests following the rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi last year, dishonored not only the young woman’s memory but also the public outrage and protests led by the youth of the country.

The activists have acknowledged that there are significant gains for women in the CLA Bill 2013 wrested by the vigorous campaign sustained by women’s rights groups, lawyers and activists from across the country. These include:
• Denting of impunity enjoyed by police and public servants – Section 166A of the CLA Bill fixes a minimum mandatory sentence for dereliction of duty. No prior sanction under 197 (1) CrPC will be required for public servants charged under this Section.

• Expanded definition of rape beyond peno-vaginal penetration.

• Definition of consent and a crucial proviso to Section 375 (Provided that a woman who does not physically resist to the act of penetration shall not be reason only of that fact be regarded as consenting to the sexual activity).

• Inclusion of crimes like forced disrobing, acid attacks and stalking that destroy women’s lives, and can lead to their rape and brutal murders.

• Free, immediate treatment to victims of acid attack and sexual violence to be given by all Health service providers, with penalties for refusal.

However, several of disappointing provisions were also pointed with the demand that the parliament revisit them.
• Widening of the age net for statutory rape to 18 years, when it has stood at 16 years for 3 decades. This it is feared could criminalize young boys, tainting them as rapists for life. Instead, provisions should be made for discussion and education on issues of sexual contact.

• Rape within marriage finds no acknowledgement in the Bill.

• Systemic sexual violence against Dalit and tribal women is not acknowledged as aggravated rape.

• The incomprehensible fact the Bill which clarifies that no sanction for prosecution under 197 (1) CrPC is required for public servants charged with sexual offences, does not have a similar clarification regarding 197 (2) CrPC covering armed forces which has been excluded.

• The Bill defines the victim as ‘woman’. The Parliament needs to recognize the reality and vulnerability of transgenders and men to sexual abuse by other men, and amend the definition of victim to make it ‘person’.

Activists have also demanded that the “Government to take the next step towards comprehensive reforms outlined in the Justice Verma Committee report, and amend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and the Representation of People Act, 1951 to erase immunity and instill accountability across all institutions.”

Strike! Dance! Rise!, One Billion dares to defy violence

One billion rising Feminists India

By OBR-Karnataka

The brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi shocked the collective conscience of the country in a way that no other act of violence against women has in recent times. More such incidents increasingly being reported in the press are slowly but relentlessly revealing the ugly underbelly of modern times and its culture of misogyny that violently discriminates against women denying her dignity and autonomy. And many times her life.

Despite their visibility in public life, women from all classes and communities are facing and living with myriad forms of violence. Apart from rapes and sexual violence including sexual harassment in work places, domestic violence and wife murders, abductions, killing of girl children even before they are born; rapes of women from vulnerable communities in times of caste or communal conflict, or by the military and police in conflict areas be it tribal regions, North East or Kashmir; closer home in Mangalore, young girl molested and brutalised on public television by right wing goons in the name of culture; women from the recently razed EWS quarters in Koramangala beaten, dragged out of homes with their children and made homeless and desolate. This violence has many brutal faces.

But we can hear the wind slowly rising. The leaves rustling in the breeze.

There is a quiet revolution that is brewing. Both globally and locally. There are an increasing number of voices all across the world that are saying: Enough is Enough!

The streets of India and even Bangalore particularly after the horrific incident in Delhi last year have come alive with diverse voices that are beginning to speak out against violence against women. Another such voice is the global call for One Billion Rising. A call that has been initiated by playwright and author Eve Ensler to mark that fifteenth anniversary of ‘V-day’, a Global Movement of Grassroots activists in New York City, on February 14, 2013.

The Call for the Day is STRIKE! DANCE! RISE!

A call that groups all over the world are echoing in their own countries in an act of global solidarity. On February 14,there will be 13, 000 organisations in 190 countries around the world holding noisy, energetic events encouraging “activists, writers ,thinkers, celebrities, women and men to strike, dance and rise”. While in South Asia, across eight countries, more than 300 organisations have come together to launch the campaign in their respective regions, in India the One Billion Rising Campaign is being organised in more than 15 states by a wider spectrum of organisations including women’s groups, Dalit groups, human right activists, writers and artistes.

In Bangalore too, a broad coalition of women’s and human rights groups, concerned individuals, educational institutions and youth/professional/theatre groups are coming together in Cubbon Park, between 2.30 to 7.00p.m on February 14, 2013. We invite all those concerned with what is happening to come together and participate through song, dance, street plays, storytelling, poetry reading, painting…. and contribute to strengthening the incredible web of peaceful resistance that can be woven to make violence against women and indeed the violence of all wars, unthinkable.

Come and dare to defy the culture of violence that is consuming us and care to dream of a culture of peace and solidarity that will sustain and humanise us.

Invitation_One Billion Rising India


By OBR-Delhi

In Delhi a cultural event will be organized on 14 February evening 5pm-8pm at Parliament Street. The program will include the performance of a flash mob of over 100 people, a play on VAW by Asmita Theatre followed by an opening speech by Kamla Bhasin, songs by Vidya Shah, a choreographed dance on VAW by students of Kamla Nehru College, a monologue by Lady Shri Ram College student, a skit by Miranda House students, songs by community women and commitments by eminent activists. The evening will end with songs by Vinay and Charul from Ahmedabad and the lighting of candles to salute the spirit of Nirbhaya. There will also be an exhibition of posters and a performance by the Delhi Drummers group.

During the day on the 14th of Feb. there will be simultaneous programs in each of zone of Delhi. North campus program will be at Miranda with an inter-college street play competition (A music performance) and a rally to board public vehicles and reach Parliament Street. In East Zone, at Seemapuri around 1000 people will assemble at Community Park and pledge against VAW. In West Zone, Anhad (an NGO), IP University, National Law University and Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences are organising a programme in Dwarka. Vrinda Grover will be one of the key speakers. In South Zone; LSR, and Kamla Nehru College Students are organizing a day long program at LSR campus. There will be dance on theme of women empowerment, street play and songs by Indian Music Society.

10-15 organizations are organizing a program at Dilli Haat. Around 250 people from the community, college students and member of Delhi Rising Group will gather there to spread message on ‘Violence against Women’. The program will start at 11:30 am with Flash Mob, street plays and other activities.

The community leaders from 4-5 organisations would march covering eight blocks of Bawana J.J. Colony, singing songs, shouting slogans and spreading the key message of zero tolerance to all forms of violence inflicted against women and girls. A Street Play (15 mins) Sangharshi, produced and directed by the youth collectives would also be performed in three central venues of Bawana J.J. Colony. The play would focus on a woman’s courage to rise in spite of the violence entrenched in all the stages of her life cycle. The event would be followed by a candle light pledge.

One Billion rising delhi

Mumbai Rising
By OBR- Mumbai

Join us on 14th February 2013 from 5.30 to 8.45 pm, at Bandstand Amphitheatre, Bandra , Next to Taj Land’s end. Performances from artistes, singers, dancers, rappers and celebrities including: Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, Rahul Bose, Mita Vashisht, Jhelum Paranjpe, Javed Akhtar, Tarana Raja, Swang Group, Violinist Sunita Bhuyan.

5:30pm – MC Manmeet Kaur representing Hip Hop and collaborating w/d BGirl Amb from Roc Fresh Crew

6pm – Flash dance: People who are going to dance furiously to make a statement of solidarity and protest against the atrocities on women…everyone can join in

6:30pm – An Open drum Circle for everyone (male and female) to partake in and let loose at Sunset. Lead by Aarti Sinha.

Vadodara Rising
By OBR-Vadodara

On 12th February 2013, between 7.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. around 1,000 people of Vadodara participated in Cultural programme to end the violence in Society.

People of Vadodara took pledge to work towards Violence Free, Equitable and Women Friendly Vadodara.

A month long programme like group discussions, Shibirs, rallies, meetings etc were conducted in various localities of Vadodara, the first city level collective programme was organized on 12-2-2013 at Muktanand Garba Ground, Karelibaug, Vadodara between 7.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. It was a programme of cultural expression. The idea was to reclaim the progressive cultural space of Vadodara, known as Sanskari Nagari or Cultural Capital of Gujarat.

The programme had started with the OBR song written by Kamla Bhasin and team, “Ye So Karod Ka Kahena Hinsa ko Ab nahin Sahena…”

A play “Let the daughters Blossom” was staged by adolescent girls from Nirmala Nursing school, Navayard, Vadodara.

A play “Lathi Katha” based on a Ethiopian folk story “A song of Sicky” was presented by activists of Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan).

A dance performance on Bhupen Hazarika’s Song, ‘Ganga tu Baheti hai Kyu … was presented by well known dancer Ms Parul Shah and her group.

United youth organisation and Olakh staged a short Play called “Akhir Kab Tak” questioning the society regarding, why the silence is maintained by the people on various forms of violence on women.

On the whole total 9 poems were recited by women poets and a person from third gender expressing beautifully inner feelings, anguish and desire to cross the boundaries of the society. They were the highlights and had touched the inner soul of the audience.

A beautiful display of posters, slogans, puppets, banners and paintings were made by well known artists of Vadodara, ordinary people, Youth and young girls from slum area.

Overall the presentation of plays, poetry, dance, Garba, Posters, etc, were witnessed and applauded by 1000 strong crowd cutting across all sections of the society. The audience was not just mere spectators but were thoroughly involved throughout the programme.

At the end every one young and old, men and women participated in jagruti garba (Gujarati Folk Dance with feminist songs) presented by Samanvay Musical group .

Earlier we had decided to reach out to at least 10000 people who will take pledge to end violence against women and working towards a ‘Violence Free, Equitable and Women Friendly Vadodara’ but after the experience of yesterdays program we feel that now more than 13000 people will take pledge to end the violence against women.

About 3500 people, students and teachers from several Schools, including Vinay Vidyalay, Surajba Prerana Vidyalay, Geeta Mandir School, Parivar Vidyalay, M.E.S. High School Yakutpura, M.E.S. High School Nagarwada, Shri Narayan Vidyalay, have signed the pledge to end violence after a discussion with the students, on the issue of violence against women, initiated by the activists associated with the campaign along with the teaches.

Schools associated with Navrachana Education Society, Jeevan Sadhna School, Lal Bahadur Shashtri Vidyalay, Mahasrshi Shri Arvind Vidyalay will signed the pledge on 14th February 2013.

Forth Coming Programmes:

14th February 2013

11.00 a.m. people will take pledge where ever they are, in their workplace, or educational institutions.

5.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. – Collective Human Chain with pledge to end violence

Venue: From the Faculty of Fine Arts Opp. Sayaji garden onwards

7.00p.m.- Flash Mob to be performed collectively after the human chain

Venue- Centre Square Mall For Joining the Collective Rising in Vadodara
A human Chain, public demonstration followed by flash mob is organized on 14th February 2013.

Delhiites March in Protest Against Rape

Delhi protest by activists

Individuals and activists from women’s groups, disability groups, and civil rights movements marched in Delhi NCR in a protest against rape

By Team FI

United under the banner of Citizen’s Collective Against Sexual Assault, about 350 people from across Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida, marched from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar on 5th May, 2012, to protest against rape and the negligent and insensitive responses of authorities. “Stop Rapes and Make Delhi NCR a Safer Place for Women” was the message that was delivered to the public and police authorities.

The protesters intended to march from Mandi House to the ITO but the permission was withdrawn by the Delhi Police. The march had to be rerouted to Jantar Mantar. “No, you cannot protest on the streets” – this is the response that members of the Citizens’ Collective got when they went for police permission to the Parliament Street police station a few days ago. Obviously, our ‘duty bearers’ today are absolutely fine with women being raped and sexually assaulted on the streets, but they are not okay with people protesting this. This is the grim reality in Delhi NCR today, “ stated the press release from the Citizens Collective.

The protesters were from women’s groups (including Action India, AIDWA, AIPWA, Jagori, Nirantar, PLD, Saheli, Sama, Stree Adhikar Sangathan), disability groups (The Deaf Way Foundation, Noida Deaf Society, National Association of the Deaf), youth groups (Must Bol and YP Foundation), representatives from other movements (NAPM, NTUI, students groups/unions), citizen groups like Gurgaon Girlcott and residents from across the NCR. The march also attracted passers-by who joined the protesters.

The marchers, most of them dressed in red, carrying banners that read Nazar Teri Buri Aur Parda Mein Karoon?’ and ‘Don’t tell me how to dress, tell them not to rape,’  gathered at Jantar Mantar. The next three hours saw slogans shouted, songs of protest, speeches and a performance of ‘Dastak’ (a nukkad-natak/play by Arvind Gaur’s theatre group Asmita).

”According to media reports, Delhi Police says a woman is raped every 18 hours and molested every 14 hours in Delhi. Delhi Commissioner of Police, B K Gupta accepts that not all rape cases get reported,” stated the press release issued by the organizers. The rally ended with the Joint Commissioner of Police Taj Hussain being presented with a memorandum in the absence of the Delhi Commissioner of Police. JCP Taj promised to follow-up on the demands.  Similar memorandums would be submitted to the Gurgaon and Noida Commissioners of Police.

The Memorandum

The Commissioners of Police (Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida) must publicly condemn the statements made by their respective colleagues. They must clearly convey zero-tolerance of anti-women and gender-insensitive attitudes of their forces. Strict action should be taken against police personnel for making such statements/letting such attitudes affect the course of justice.

All state agencies must stop blaming the victim and shift the responsibility onto the state agencies mandated to protect women’s rights. We demand respect and dignity of all women.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for sexual assault cases (including sexual harassment in public places, domestic violence and rape) must be made available in the public domain so that all citizens are aware of their rights under such circumstances. This information would include the procedures for helpline, PCR, as well as walk-in cases.

There must be 100% response to calls by women and on behalf of the women in distress.

The Police forces must ensure effective and timely response from Delhi Police helplines like 100, 1091, 1096, and other helplines in Gurgaon and Noida. Mechanisms to regularly monitor calls and the subsequent responses should be put to immediate effect.

Immediate and sustainable preventive mechanisms should be designed and adopted by all police forces for coordinated action across state borders.

Police officers should demonstrate greater sensitivity towards all women and girls, and undergo periodic gender training and follow gender sensitive normative standards.