(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 20, 2013
A Broad Platform Expresses
Solidarity with Rape Survivors
A public protest at Jantar Mantar by a broad platform comprising of national women’s organisations and groups expressed solidarity with rape survivors from Haryana on January 13. The meeting highlighted the complete lack of follow up in the concerned cases by the state government. Testimonies from the survivors and their families have been presented over the course of the three day solidarity meeting held from January 13-15. The national women’s organisations including AIDWA, AIDMAM, JMS Delhi, YWCA, CBCI Women, GOS, Saheli, Prabhat Tara, Himmat, NFIW, BGVS Samata, etc, extended support to rape survivors, and resolved to carry forward the fight for justice.
On January 15, women’s representatives along with the survivors and their families met the home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and demanded that the government ensure accountability and all the police officials who have not been doing their duty must be punished. The home minister told the representatives that he would speak with the state governments regarding the cases.
Brinda Karat, leader of the women’s movement and ex Rajya Sabha MP said on the basis of the cases we have been hearing here for three days, it has become clear that merely saying that rapists should be hanged is not enough. She said, “We demand the government make a comprehensive policy to provide rehabilitation for the victims and families. It is very unfortunate that the home minister did not make any positive assurances to the victims today. We want the government to take full responsibility for the children of working class mothers and ensure their safety.”
Addressing the gathering on January 15, Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary, AIDWA welcomed the statement of Supreme Court which took a serious note of the so-called cultural organisations like khap panchayats who try to impose ban on women on using mobile phones etc.
Ayesha from BGVS mentioned that it was very important that the issues around rehabilitation of rape victims were discussed as it would provide relief to the victims who have to fight a long struggle to get justice.
Neelima Dahiya, retired professor, MDU, Rohtak, said she was saddened by the fact that even the basic rights of women have yet not been given to them. And our energies are still being invested in fighting for attaining these basic rights.
Kirti Singh, lawyer, Supreme
Court said after hearing the cases here, it looked like
there was no rule of
law in Haryana and
Dr Brijesh and Moloyshree Hashmi from Jan Natya Manch extended their support to the women’s organisations and read out several poems.
Savita Malik, secretary, Haryana AIDWA said that in all the cases, the organisation has been providing assistance; it has been noted that there was extreme insensitivity being shown at the level of the police and government doctors who are invariably trying to destroy the evidence and make their fight for justice even more difficult. Such people need to be held accountable for their lapses.
Inderjeet, secretary, CPI(M) Haryana, spoke about the case where a girl was gang-raped and when her mother protested she too was not only gang-raped but murdered. While outrageous crimes like dowry death are increasing in number we don’t see as many people on the streets. And when women’s organisations go on the streets, the police gets violent. Women must assert themselves rather than be submissive.
Padmini from JWP and Rachpal from NFIW also spoke.
A singing squad from Gurgaon sang, “Women of this country will no longer bear the oppression and injustice.” Vimal Gautam, a young JWP member recited a poem.
On the second day of the protest on January 14, it was highlighted that there was a complete lack of institutionalised provisions for the rehabilitation of rape survivors. As the testimonies of two minor sexual assault survivors from Haryana were heard by hundreds of women and representatives from National Commission for Child Rights at Jantar Mantar, it became clear that rape and sexual violence is only the beginning of trauma. The survivors are forced to undergo various medical and legal procedures while facing social, psychological, financial and physical hardships. The protest meeting noted that not only were the survivors denied justice by the law enforcement machinery but were deprived of any support in the form of decent rehabilitation. It was addressed by Brinda Karat, Jagmati Sangwan, Anupama Sachdev from All India Insurance Employees Association, Indu Agnihorti, Director, Shanta Sinha from National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Ranjana Kumari from Centre of Social Research and Shubha, intellectual from Haryana
On the first day of the meeting on January 13, attended by more than a hundred women, the testimony of four rape survivors was recounted. The protest meeting noted that not only were the survivors denied justice by the law enforcement machinery but were deprived of support in the form of decent rehabilitation, which was crucial for them to fight their case. It was addressed by Brinda Karat , Prem Choudhry, sociologist, Jagmati Sangwan, Jyotsna Chatterjee of the Joint Women’s Programme, Rashpal Kaur of National Federation of Indian Women, Sarla James from Guild of Service, Vimal Thorat from the All India Dalit Mahila Adhikaar Manch and Deepa from Samta.
Case details of rape survivors who spoke
(Names of survivors have been changed)
Place: Garhi Moholla, Rohtak.
Accused: Residents of the same area.
In this case, the 16 year old rape survivor was taken by three of her female relatives and abducted by the accused who took her to a secluded industrial site where she was raped. It appears that the accused tried to settle scores of a family dispute by raping her.
A six year old girl who belongs to a very poor background was playing outside her house when one of the accused who lives in the neighbourhood offered her a toffee and took her to his room. Here he had invited another accused and both raped the girl. The victim’s father found the child bleeding and contacted the police. In this case, the police played a very negative role and instead of providing the girl with some medical assistance immediately, in fact prolonged the process.
Place: Jind, village Pillukhera
The railway quarter rape case
Ramrati, who belongs to a backward caste was at home on September 2012 when at 3.30 pm, three men entered her home forcibly asking for her husband’s phone number. As she went inside to get the phone number they followed her and locked the door. They threatened her with a pistol and raped her one after the other. Her daughter who was out playing returned home and finding the door locked raised an alarm. The rapists escaped. Ramrati took a neighbour and went to the nearest police station. The SHO asked her neighbour to leave and the survivor was not satisfied with the statement that the police had recorded. Later on she gave a statement to the magistrate.
The accused comprise of one dalit youth and two men from the jat community from the same village as the rape survivor. The survivor and her family have received no support from the village community. Despite meeting the collector, no compensation as yet has been given to her.
Place: Rohtak, village Ajayab
On November 28, Shanti who belongs to the Dhanak caste (SC) was raped by five people. She is an agricultural worker and her husband is a driver. On the night of the incident, she was fast asleep with her four children and her husband was away on duty. The main door had a weak lock. At 1.30 am, three people entered her house and forcibly took her away where two others were already present. Each one of them took turns to rape her. When her youngest son began crying for milk, the rapists left her and ran away. Shanti could recognise three of them. Of the five accused, two are still absconding. Shanti’s medical was done by the police but she was not given medical treatment and the lady doctors were very insensitive. The sarpanch of the village maintained a neutral stand on the matter and did not give any support. The JMS met the SP and demanded rehabilitation, counselling as well as arrest of the remaining accused. Finally Shanti managed to get some financial relief under the SC/ST act. No other form of long term rehabilitation or compensation has been given despite the urgent need for the same. There is still a lot of pressure on her to compromise and withdraw the cases.
Place: Sonepat, village Banwasa
Nineteen year old Kiran from the Dhanak community was staying at her parents house when she was misled and gangraped. She was taken to Gohana town by an acquaintance who said that Kiran’s husband wanted to talk to her. As Kiran knew the acquaintance, a woman, she did not hesitate to go. When she reached the designated place, she found a few men waiting in a vehicle and they assured here that they would take her. They chloroformed her and took her into nearby fields and raped her. Of the four rapists, one of them belonged to a backward caste and the others were dalits. For several days, the copy of the FIR was not given to Kiran and her family. The village panchayat also put a lot of pressure on her family to remove the name of the accomplice woman. It is notable that not a single person from the administration has visited the victim of gang rape or even given any relief. The Janwadi Mahila Samiti helped the family with some provisions but no help has come from the government. Kiran’s in laws too have become hostile and are reluctant to take her back. She stays with her family.
These were some of the testimonies exposing the Haryana government’s insensitivity and non serious attitude, leading to denial of justice to the rape survivors.
Asha (Name Changed)
Raped by her landlord. Was living in the house for ten months when the landlord told her to lock the gate outside; when she went to lock up he forced her inside his house and raped her. Now the accused is under arrest but there are a lot of threats to the victim and her daughter.
Place: Jind, Roop Nagar colony
A four year old victim was abducted and raped. When the victim was rushed to the police station, the police officials washed her in cold water to destroy the evidence. No medical assistance was provided to the victim in the government hospital. While the victim was still bleeding profusely she was taken to a private hospital by her parents. Eventually pressure was built up on the police and FIR was registered. The police also tried to warn the private hospital against treating the victim. In this case police played a very negative role. No government assistance has been provided to the family yet while the family has spent lakhs of rupees on treatment of the child. The child is still under mental and physical trauma.
Place: Dabra, Hissar (Haryana)
On September 19, 2012, 12 boys from the same village abducted and raped a twelfth class student while returning from school and made MMS of the incident. After days of the incident, she told her parents about it. As the family belongs to the dalit community, they thought that there was no hope of any justice. Meanwhile, the MMS was released on the internet by the accused. In such scenario, the father of the victim committed suicide. The mother and daughter are living under constant threat in police protection.
The girl was gang-raped and her body was kept in the morgue without even informing the family. After days, the family saw the body. The police officials kept threatening the family of the victim against the consequences if they take the case forward. The mother of the victim is scared of retaliation. She is still receiving threats from the accused through police. The family has not received any permanent assistance other than some money.
Place: Kalsi, Karnal
On September 3, 2012, three people abducted a girl from dalit family and raped her. The girl did not tell anyone in the family. She was going to school when she was abducted and raped in the car. Later she was thrown next to her village. One woman from the same village, who was involved with the rapists tried to destroy the evidence by changing the victim’s clothes. Later the mother of the girl was also raped. The accused were arrested after two months of the incident. The father of the victim is scared for his life.