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The protesters intended to march from Mandi House to the ITO but the permission was withdrawn by the Delhi Police.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 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.