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The horror of Hathras and the culture of normalising rape

Sex is a biological fact but rape is neither biological nor natural and it is most often not an act of sexual gratification, despite being an extreme form of sexual aggression.

27 Oct 2020

hathras gang rape

We may in due time find a cure for the deadly Coronavirus but the epidemic of rape in India remains incurable. It has only generated a herd immunity in acting against such heinous crime to the point of rape toleration. As almost all women go through some form of sexual harassment in their lives, most cases go unreported to save some abstract honour of the victim which also disgraces and discredits the entire family. It takes the most gory and brutal rapes for the country to come out it of its somnambulance. According to the NCRB data[1], there has been a steady increase in the crime against women with 87 women raped in a single day and one woman raped in every 16 minutes. The horrifying details of violence against women get worse in the case of Dalit women where even filing an FIR is a challenging task. Sadly, it took the gruesome gangrape of Nirbhaya in 2012, in Delhi for the Country to come out in the streets. A nation-wide stir led to the revision of the rape laws in India under Justice Verma Committee Report’s recommendation[2] to redefine ‘rape’ in order to address the existing legal lacunas by broadening the existing flawed understanding of rape. It also included acid attack, sexual harassment, use of criminal force on a woman with an intent to disrobe, trafficking, voyeurism and stalking as part of sexual assaults with stringent punishments. The fact that these widespread crimes against women were legally unrecognised (especially stalking and voyeurism) as sexual assault shows the apathy and the normalising culture of rape in our country.

 

Katju1

Image: Screengrab from Markandey Katju’s Facebook wall

 

As the unfortunate tragedy of Hathras gang rape captured the media glare with the politicians pouring  in and social media buzzing it. Mr Markandey Katju, the former Supreme Court judge of India and the Chairman of the Press Council of India with a long-standing judiciary service made a Facebook Post[3] in all seriousness stating that the rapes in the country are due to the rising unemployment. He further relates the rising number of unemployed male youth of our country with the uncontrollable sexual urges are bound to increase the rapes because they are unable to marry. Before I point out the falsity and the utter farcicality of the argument posed by the most respected judge of our country who may have decided the fate of many rape victims, it’s important to analyse the façade of condemnation of rape which is stated in the first and the last line, while the major part of the post negates the condemnation as it goes on to build an argument that validates caste ridden patriarchy in naturalising the sexual urges of men (and not women) in the form of rape.

The argument posed by Mr Katju is not just flawed but damaging at various levels. Firstly, it promotes a false understanding of rape as a socio-economic phenomenon, thereby absolving men of their crime. If rape is a by-product of a systemic failure of governance in the form of unemployment then it’s understandable for men to rape women for their ‘natural’ urges (not to forget to mention that ‘natural’ is concomitant to ‘good’ in common parlance). What is natural is seldom resisted. Additionally, unemployment rarely impedes marriage for men as most men usually inherit some sort of property or land. Contrastingly, lack of dowry does make many women unmarriageable. Secondly, for Mr Katju, male sexual urges and desires are ‘natural’ like food, it’s interesting how he speaks of sex and food in the same breath while ostensibly condemning the rape.  By equating sex with food, he again normalises the rape culture by re-enforcing male entitlement to female sexuality and bodily claims and not surprisingly in both motif of food and sex, women are conspicuously present by their absence as objects, in most cases preparing food and bed for men. Without distinguishing between sex and rape, Mr Katju almost uses the terms interchangeably further intensifying the rape culture.

While sex is a natural urge in both men, women and people with different sexual orientation, its imperative to disengage sex with rape. Sex is a biological fact but rape is neither biological nor natural and it is most often not an act of sexual gratification, despite being an extreme form of sexual aggression. Rape is an act of cultural and sexual domination. Rape is forced, non-consensual and a complex act. Men can rape for variety of reason, for sex, to seek revenge, to punish, to put women in their place or to show them their ‘aukaat’, for jealousy, to display their power or lack of it, to besmirch the family name, rape is a perfect punishment. Also very often rape is accompanied by bodily mutilation and violent attacks indicating the male power and control in marking their territory. The Hathras gangrape of a Dalit girl by upper caste men followed by unlawful and undignified cremation of her body is embodiment of the noxious interplay of caste and patriarchy to maintain the status quo. Mr Katju’s take on rape here is not only unacceptable but is a dangerous trend as it advertently or inadvertently shifts the discourse on rape to unemployment in an attempt to channelise our anger and outrage into more electorally beneficial issues because as he implies rapes are too mundane (“Numerous rapes have been taking place daily since decades”) Hathras gangrape is a cruel reminder of the upper caste well-oiled machinery that makes raping Dalit women acceptable by easily undermining the legal and social hurdles. Blaming it on unemployment is compounding to the travesty of justice.

 Furthermore, the belief that married women cannot be raped comes from deeply entrenched patriarchal belief that women are men’s property hence the question of consent does not arise in marriage. Historically rape has been a ‘property crime’ not against women, the victim but the husband or the father because raped women were akin to ‘damaged goods’ and hence their owners should be compensated.  If as Mr Katju prescribes marriage to control rapes then why do we have married men raping women inside and outside marriages[4]. Surely Justice J.S Verma, who headed the Verma Committee in the aftermath of national outpouring and outrage against Nirbhaya rape in 2012 did not agree with Mr Katju as he  considered marriage as “not a valid” defence against rape. Hence the Justice Verma Committee maintained that the “relationship between the accused and the complainant is not relevant to the enquiry into whether the complainant consented to the sexual activity and the fact that the accused and the victim are married or in another intimate relationship may not be regarded as a mitigating factor justifying lower sentences for rape.”

Preposterous as it may sound, when there is burglary or theft in our house, do we look for reason for justification of the theft, exploring the socio-economic status of the burglar or lamenting his unemployed and now presumably unmarried state, then why is the prevalence of rape to be blamed on rising unemployment?  It is precisely this mindset that fails to recognise rape as an individual crime on female sexual autonomy and bodily sovereignty that leads to the normalisation of rape.

 

katju

 

katju3

While Mr Katju is trolled for his post which he described as a ‘twitter storm’ he remained undeterred and put several such post reiterating his condemnation of the rape with more justifications and dismissing women’s sexual urge with the ignominy of forced pregnancies. In other words, women don’t rape men due to fear of pregnancy and also because men are physically difficult to overpower. Unwittingly, Mr Katju points out to the core and crux of rape, and that is, the brazen and most often brutal display of power, violence and aggression which goes without impunity and let’s not forget Mr Katju condemns rape.

 

*Amina Hussain teaches at the University, Lucknow. She writes on gender issues.

References:

The horror of Hathras and the culture of normalising rape

Sex is a biological fact but rape is neither biological nor natural and it is most often not an act of sexual gratification, despite being an extreme form of sexual aggression.

hathras gang rape

We may in due time find a cure for the deadly Coronavirus but the epidemic of rape in India remains incurable. It has only generated a herd immunity in acting against such heinous crime to the point of rape toleration. As almost all women go through some form of sexual harassment in their lives, most cases go unreported to save some abstract honour of the victim which also disgraces and discredits the entire family. It takes the most gory and brutal rapes for the country to come out it of its somnambulance. According to the NCRB data[1], there has been a steady increase in the crime against women with 87 women raped in a single day and one woman raped in every 16 minutes. The horrifying details of violence against women get worse in the case of Dalit women where even filing an FIR is a challenging task. Sadly, it took the gruesome gangrape of Nirbhaya in 2012, in Delhi for the Country to come out in the streets. A nation-wide stir led to the revision of the rape laws in India under Justice Verma Committee Report’s recommendation[2] to redefine ‘rape’ in order to address the existing legal lacunas by broadening the existing flawed understanding of rape. It also included acid attack, sexual harassment, use of criminal force on a woman with an intent to disrobe, trafficking, voyeurism and stalking as part of sexual assaults with stringent punishments. The fact that these widespread crimes against women were legally unrecognised (especially stalking and voyeurism) as sexual assault shows the apathy and the normalising culture of rape in our country.

 

Katju1

Image: Screengrab from Markandey Katju’s Facebook wall

 

As the unfortunate tragedy of Hathras gang rape captured the media glare with the politicians pouring  in and social media buzzing it. Mr Markandey Katju, the former Supreme Court judge of India and the Chairman of the Press Council of India with a long-standing judiciary service made a Facebook Post[3] in all seriousness stating that the rapes in the country are due to the rising unemployment. He further relates the rising number of unemployed male youth of our country with the uncontrollable sexual urges are bound to increase the rapes because they are unable to marry. Before I point out the falsity and the utter farcicality of the argument posed by the most respected judge of our country who may have decided the fate of many rape victims, it’s important to analyse the façade of condemnation of rape which is stated in the first and the last line, while the major part of the post negates the condemnation as it goes on to build an argument that validates caste ridden patriarchy in naturalising the sexual urges of men (and not women) in the form of rape.

The argument posed by Mr Katju is not just flawed but damaging at various levels. Firstly, it promotes a false understanding of rape as a socio-economic phenomenon, thereby absolving men of their crime. If rape is a by-product of a systemic failure of governance in the form of unemployment then it’s understandable for men to rape women for their ‘natural’ urges (not to forget to mention that ‘natural’ is concomitant to ‘good’ in common parlance). What is natural is seldom resisted. Additionally, unemployment rarely impedes marriage for men as most men usually inherit some sort of property or land. Contrastingly, lack of dowry does make many women unmarriageable. Secondly, for Mr Katju, male sexual urges and desires are ‘natural’ like food, it’s interesting how he speaks of sex and food in the same breath while ostensibly condemning the rape.  By equating sex with food, he again normalises the rape culture by re-enforcing male entitlement to female sexuality and bodily claims and not surprisingly in both motif of food and sex, women are conspicuously present by their absence as objects, in most cases preparing food and bed for men. Without distinguishing between sex and rape, Mr Katju almost uses the terms interchangeably further intensifying the rape culture.

While sex is a natural urge in both men, women and people with different sexual orientation, its imperative to disengage sex with rape. Sex is a biological fact but rape is neither biological nor natural and it is most often not an act of sexual gratification, despite being an extreme form of sexual aggression. Rape is an act of cultural and sexual domination. Rape is forced, non-consensual and a complex act. Men can rape for variety of reason, for sex, to seek revenge, to punish, to put women in their place or to show them their ‘aukaat’, for jealousy, to display their power or lack of it, to besmirch the family name, rape is a perfect punishment. Also very often rape is accompanied by bodily mutilation and violent attacks indicating the male power and control in marking their territory. The Hathras gangrape of a Dalit girl by upper caste men followed by unlawful and undignified cremation of her body is embodiment of the noxious interplay of caste and patriarchy to maintain the status quo. Mr Katju’s take on rape here is not only unacceptable but is a dangerous trend as it advertently or inadvertently shifts the discourse on rape to unemployment in an attempt to channelise our anger and outrage into more electorally beneficial issues because as he implies rapes are too mundane (“Numerous rapes have been taking place daily since decades”) Hathras gangrape is a cruel reminder of the upper caste well-oiled machinery that makes raping Dalit women acceptable by easily undermining the legal and social hurdles. Blaming it on unemployment is compounding to the travesty of justice.

 Furthermore, the belief that married women cannot be raped comes from deeply entrenched patriarchal belief that women are men’s property hence the question of consent does not arise in marriage. Historically rape has been a ‘property crime’ not against women, the victim but the husband or the father because raped women were akin to ‘damaged goods’ and hence their owners should be compensated.  If as Mr Katju prescribes marriage to control rapes then why do we have married men raping women inside and outside marriages[4]. Surely Justice J.S Verma, who headed the Verma Committee in the aftermath of national outpouring and outrage against Nirbhaya rape in 2012 did not agree with Mr Katju as he  considered marriage as “not a valid” defence against rape. Hence the Justice Verma Committee maintained that the “relationship between the accused and the complainant is not relevant to the enquiry into whether the complainant consented to the sexual activity and the fact that the accused and the victim are married or in another intimate relationship may not be regarded as a mitigating factor justifying lower sentences for rape.”

Preposterous as it may sound, when there is burglary or theft in our house, do we look for reason for justification of the theft, exploring the socio-economic status of the burglar or lamenting his unemployed and now presumably unmarried state, then why is the prevalence of rape to be blamed on rising unemployment?  It is precisely this mindset that fails to recognise rape as an individual crime on female sexual autonomy and bodily sovereignty that leads to the normalisation of rape.

 

katju

 

katju3

While Mr Katju is trolled for his post which he described as a ‘twitter storm’ he remained undeterred and put several such post reiterating his condemnation of the rape with more justifications and dismissing women’s sexual urge with the ignominy of forced pregnancies. In other words, women don’t rape men due to fear of pregnancy and also because men are physically difficult to overpower. Unwittingly, Mr Katju points out to the core and crux of rape, and that is, the brazen and most often brutal display of power, violence and aggression which goes without impunity and let’s not forget Mr Katju condemns rape.

 

*Amina Hussain teaches at the University, Lucknow. She writes on gender issues.

References:

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More horror in UP: Dalit teen stalked, molested and shot dead!

The Class XI student was returning from school when the three men had allegedly molested her, later they followed her home and shot her in the head 

26 Oct 2020

Dalit WOmen
Image: Hindustan Times

Just before the festive weekend commenced for many parts of India, culminating the nine sacred days of Navratri, worshiping the nine forms of the Goddess yet another distressing news of crime against a woman was reported in Uttar Pradesh. This time too, the victim was a  Dalit teenager. 

According to a news report in The Telegraph, the Dalit teenager was shot “five times in the head and killed” allegedly by three youths who she had stood up to for molesting her. The horrific crime took place in Premnagar in Firozabad district,in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. The report stated how the teen, a class 11 student, was returning from school when the three men — identified as Manish Yadav, Sopali Yadav and Gaurav Chak — allegedly molested her.

“She had told us about the incident after returning home. At night, we were walking on the terrace after dinner when the youths came on a motorbike, entered our house and shot my daughter. We rushed downstairs and found her lying in a pool of blood. The trio ran away on seeing us,” the father of the 16-year-old girl told police on Saturday, stated the news report.

The victim’s father told the police that the men had “been molesting and harassing girls in the area for the past several months. Residents know these are criminals, so they avoid lodging a police complaint,” the said. His daughter, just a teenage schoolgirl, had bravely protested when the trio attacked her. According to the father the men had misbehaved with his daughter in the past also and he  had told the police about it. “But I had never imagined that they would kill my daughter for standing up to them,” he added. Sachindra Patel, the senior superintendent of police, told the media that Manish and Sopali had been arrested. The police said that the killers had pumped five bullets into the girl’s head, killing her on the spot.

It is not known yet if the police had any information about the molestation and harassment allegations against the accused at all, during daily patrols in the area or even during the awareness drives that were conducted across Uttar Pradesh during ‘mission Shakti’ launched by Chief Minister Adityanath during Navratri. The horrific list of crimes against women, especialy Dalit women seems to be at an all time high in October:

 

October 21, Mahoba: Teenager alleges gangrape

The incident took place on Wednesday night when the 19-year-old was returning home after attending an aarti of Goddess Durga, as a part of the nine-day festival. She alleged that she was abducted and raped by the three accused, news reports stated that the police confirmed this. The 19-year-old was allegedly gang-raped by three men after attending a Navratri event in Panwadi area of Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba. Superintendent of Police Arun Kumar Shrivastava told the media: “The case of rape has come to the fore in Panwadi area. The accused took her to a secluded place behind her house and raped her. The Police have acted promptly and all the three accused have been arrested.” The teen was also sent for a medical examination and investigations continue.

 

October 16, Jaunpur: 15-year-old girl, allegedly raped in a paddy field 

The incident was reported from the Sikarara area of eastern Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Jaunpur district in the evening, stated news reports. According to the police, the accused were on the run. The girl was allegedly attacked when she was returning home after buying medicines from a local market. “Her family members have informed that the youths caught her while she was returning home from a medical store, which is located on the outskirts of the village,” a police officer was quoted by news reports. The teenager confided in her parents, who filed a complaint at the local police station. Angad Prasad Tiwari, station house officer (SHO) of the police station, told the media that a first information report (FIR) has been filed under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

 

October 14, Barabanki: Teenage Dalit girl’s body found in paddy field

The victim’s family suspect rape as they found the half-naked body of their teenage daughter on  night of October 14, 2020, in a paddy field where she had gone to work. The Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki police found her the tied-up and half-naked body of a teenage Dalit girl in the village paddy field. The area is only 40 km from the state capital Lucknow. Media reports quoted Superintendent of Police RS Gautam saying that an initial probe suggested that the girl was strangled by her own shirt. The family members alleged that her semi-naked condition suggested sexual assault too. Gautam said the girl was missing, after she left home to cut paddy crops. The family found her body in the field while searching for her on the same night. The incident occurred in Tipri village within Satrikh police station limits. Police and the administration did not share the post-mortem report but sought the opinion of doctors, who carried out the post-mortem examination, regarding the possibility of rape.

 

October 13, Gonda: Three Dalit sisters, minors, attacked in their sleep with acid

Three Dalit sisters, all of them minors, were attacked with acid while they were asleep inside their residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. It was a tweet by the Gonda police that made the incident public. The oldest of the three, aged 17, had 35 per cent burn injuries, while the other two, aged 12 and 8, escaped with 25 per cent and 5 percent burn injuries, respectively. The family members told police that at around 2 A.M, all the three sisters came running downstairs, howling in pain. Their father initially thought the burn injuries were from a gas cylinder, but later realised it was an acid attack. The girls’ parents recently fixed the marriage of their eldest daughter, a high school passout.  She received the maximum burn injuries out of the three girls. The family does not suspect anyone so far, SP Pandey said, adding that the attacker must be from the same locality as it’s a small town. 

 

October 11, Jhansi: Teen alleges rape on college campus 

A class 10 student alleged that she was raped by a college student, robbed and filmed by around a dozen more. The 17-year-old girl complained to the police that she was raped on Sunday, allegedly by a student of a Jhansi college. She alleged that the assault took place in  the college campus even as preliminary exams 2020 were underway for the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Civil Services (PCS). According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the girl, a class 10 student, alleged in her police complaint that “around a dozen students of the college forcibly took her inside the campus”. She alleged that while one of them assaulted her, and many others filmed an objectionable video. The teenager added that the accused also thrashed the boy she had gone to meet, and threatened to to “make the video viral if she revealed the incident to anyone.” A news report stated that the college principal said the accused were second year students, and that the institute was cooperating with the police in establishing the identity of other students involved in the incident.

 

October 11, Chitrakoot: 15-yr-old Dalit ‘gangrape victim’ takes her own life

In a gruesome case of gendered assault, her family members have alleged after her death that she was raped by three men in a forest area on October 8, the UP police said. The Dalit teenager, who was allegedly raped by three men, ended her life by hanging herself in the Chitrakoot district of Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, police officials stated. The Superintendent of Police (SP), Chitrakoot Ankit Mittal publicly stated that the 15-year-old girl hanged herself in her house in the Manikpur area on Tuesday. It was after the girl’s death, her family members alleged that she was raped by three men in a forest area on October 8, the officer said. On the basis of a complaint from the victim’s family members, a former village head’s son Kishan Upadhyay and two others were arrested under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Mittal said. 

As mentioned earlier, these are the crimes against women which have been placed on record, and reported, there may be many more which remain unreported. 


 

Related:

Uttar Pradesh: 19-year-old woman allegedly gang-raped when returning from Navratri 

UP CM launches ‘Mission Shakti’ a day after another teenager alleges rape

UP police personnel physically assault woman in her own house!

Allahabad HC quashes Rape FIR as parties “settle” dispute by getting married

Ghaziabad: BJP MLA forcibly closes meat shops

 

More horror in UP: Dalit teen stalked, molested and shot dead!

The Class XI student was returning from school when the three men had allegedly molested her, later they followed her home and shot her in the head 

Dalit WOmen
Image: Hindustan Times

Just before the festive weekend commenced for many parts of India, culminating the nine sacred days of Navratri, worshiping the nine forms of the Goddess yet another distressing news of crime against a woman was reported in Uttar Pradesh. This time too, the victim was a  Dalit teenager. 

According to a news report in The Telegraph, the Dalit teenager was shot “five times in the head and killed” allegedly by three youths who she had stood up to for molesting her. The horrific crime took place in Premnagar in Firozabad district,in Uttar Pradesh on Friday. The report stated how the teen, a class 11 student, was returning from school when the three men — identified as Manish Yadav, Sopali Yadav and Gaurav Chak — allegedly molested her.

“She had told us about the incident after returning home. At night, we were walking on the terrace after dinner when the youths came on a motorbike, entered our house and shot my daughter. We rushed downstairs and found her lying in a pool of blood. The trio ran away on seeing us,” the father of the 16-year-old girl told police on Saturday, stated the news report.

The victim’s father told the police that the men had “been molesting and harassing girls in the area for the past several months. Residents know these are criminals, so they avoid lodging a police complaint,” the said. His daughter, just a teenage schoolgirl, had bravely protested when the trio attacked her. According to the father the men had misbehaved with his daughter in the past also and he  had told the police about it. “But I had never imagined that they would kill my daughter for standing up to them,” he added. Sachindra Patel, the senior superintendent of police, told the media that Manish and Sopali had been arrested. The police said that the killers had pumped five bullets into the girl’s head, killing her on the spot.

It is not known yet if the police had any information about the molestation and harassment allegations against the accused at all, during daily patrols in the area or even during the awareness drives that were conducted across Uttar Pradesh during ‘mission Shakti’ launched by Chief Minister Adityanath during Navratri. The horrific list of crimes against women, especialy Dalit women seems to be at an all time high in October:

 

October 21, Mahoba: Teenager alleges gangrape

The incident took place on Wednesday night when the 19-year-old was returning home after attending an aarti of Goddess Durga, as a part of the nine-day festival. She alleged that she was abducted and raped by the three accused, news reports stated that the police confirmed this. The 19-year-old was allegedly gang-raped by three men after attending a Navratri event in Panwadi area of Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba. Superintendent of Police Arun Kumar Shrivastava told the media: “The case of rape has come to the fore in Panwadi area. The accused took her to a secluded place behind her house and raped her. The Police have acted promptly and all the three accused have been arrested.” The teen was also sent for a medical examination and investigations continue.

 

October 16, Jaunpur: 15-year-old girl, allegedly raped in a paddy field 

The incident was reported from the Sikarara area of eastern Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Jaunpur district in the evening, stated news reports. According to the police, the accused were on the run. The girl was allegedly attacked when she was returning home after buying medicines from a local market. “Her family members have informed that the youths caught her while she was returning home from a medical store, which is located on the outskirts of the village,” a police officer was quoted by news reports. The teenager confided in her parents, who filed a complaint at the local police station. Angad Prasad Tiwari, station house officer (SHO) of the police station, told the media that a first information report (FIR) has been filed under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

 

October 14, Barabanki: Teenage Dalit girl’s body found in paddy field

The victim’s family suspect rape as they found the half-naked body of their teenage daughter on  night of October 14, 2020, in a paddy field where she had gone to work. The Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki police found her the tied-up and half-naked body of a teenage Dalit girl in the village paddy field. The area is only 40 km from the state capital Lucknow. Media reports quoted Superintendent of Police RS Gautam saying that an initial probe suggested that the girl was strangled by her own shirt. The family members alleged that her semi-naked condition suggested sexual assault too. Gautam said the girl was missing, after she left home to cut paddy crops. The family found her body in the field while searching for her on the same night. The incident occurred in Tipri village within Satrikh police station limits. Police and the administration did not share the post-mortem report but sought the opinion of doctors, who carried out the post-mortem examination, regarding the possibility of rape.

 

October 13, Gonda: Three Dalit sisters, minors, attacked in their sleep with acid

Three Dalit sisters, all of them minors, were attacked with acid while they were asleep inside their residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. It was a tweet by the Gonda police that made the incident public. The oldest of the three, aged 17, had 35 per cent burn injuries, while the other two, aged 12 and 8, escaped with 25 per cent and 5 percent burn injuries, respectively. The family members told police that at around 2 A.M, all the three sisters came running downstairs, howling in pain. Their father initially thought the burn injuries were from a gas cylinder, but later realised it was an acid attack. The girls’ parents recently fixed the marriage of their eldest daughter, a high school passout.  She received the maximum burn injuries out of the three girls. The family does not suspect anyone so far, SP Pandey said, adding that the attacker must be from the same locality as it’s a small town. 

 

October 11, Jhansi: Teen alleges rape on college campus 

A class 10 student alleged that she was raped by a college student, robbed and filmed by around a dozen more. The 17-year-old girl complained to the police that she was raped on Sunday, allegedly by a student of a Jhansi college. She alleged that the assault took place in  the college campus even as preliminary exams 2020 were underway for the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Civil Services (PCS). According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the girl, a class 10 student, alleged in her police complaint that “around a dozen students of the college forcibly took her inside the campus”. She alleged that while one of them assaulted her, and many others filmed an objectionable video. The teenager added that the accused also thrashed the boy she had gone to meet, and threatened to to “make the video viral if she revealed the incident to anyone.” A news report stated that the college principal said the accused were second year students, and that the institute was cooperating with the police in establishing the identity of other students involved in the incident.

 

October 11, Chitrakoot: 15-yr-old Dalit ‘gangrape victim’ takes her own life

In a gruesome case of gendered assault, her family members have alleged after her death that she was raped by three men in a forest area on October 8, the UP police said. The Dalit teenager, who was allegedly raped by three men, ended her life by hanging herself in the Chitrakoot district of Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, police officials stated. The Superintendent of Police (SP), Chitrakoot Ankit Mittal publicly stated that the 15-year-old girl hanged herself in her house in the Manikpur area on Tuesday. It was after the girl’s death, her family members alleged that she was raped by three men in a forest area on October 8, the officer said. On the basis of a complaint from the victim’s family members, a former village head’s son Kishan Upadhyay and two others were arrested under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Mittal said. 

As mentioned earlier, these are the crimes against women which have been placed on record, and reported, there may be many more which remain unreported. 


 

Related:

Uttar Pradesh: 19-year-old woman allegedly gang-raped when returning from Navratri 

UP CM launches ‘Mission Shakti’ a day after another teenager alleges rape

UP police personnel physically assault woman in her own house!

Allahabad HC quashes Rape FIR as parties “settle” dispute by getting married

Ghaziabad: BJP MLA forcibly closes meat shops

 

Related Articles


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Death Penalty for Rape: Karnataka HC

Observing that an attack on anybody’s daughter is an attack on ‘our own daughter’, the division bench made this suggestion keeping in mind the issue of women’s safety, to curb this menace in the society, as rape is a ‘crime against the entire society’ and not just the victim.

24 Oct 2020

rape

On October 21, 2020 the Karnataka High Court through its Division Bench of Justices B Veerappa and K Natrajan have recommended an amendment to section 376D of the Indian Penal Code to provide Capital Punishment for the offence of gang-rape in the case of Ramu and Ors v State of Karnataka (Crl. App. No. 246 of 2014). Advocate A.V. Raghavendra appeared for the appellants and Advocate Vijayakumar Majage represented the Respondent State.

The Division Bench noted that that although the Indian Penal Code was enacted by the Act 45 of 1860, women do not feel safe at the hands of rapists/violators of law even after the lapse of 74 years of independence. They said, "We hereby recommend the Legislature/Central Government to further amend the provisions of Section 376D of Indian Penal Code – Gang rape into capital punishment in addition to the existing provision for imprisonment of life and with fine on par with the provisions of Section 376AB and 376DB of Indian Penal Code keeping in view of definition of 'Woman' under Section 10 of Indian Penal Code in order to curb the menace of 'gang rape' in the society at large."

It added that “Rape is not only an offence against victim girl, but a crime against the entire society. It is a crime against basic human rights and also violates the most cherished fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

They expressed their concern by remarking that even after enacting stringent laws, women safety continues to remain a concerning issue. “We hope and trust that the increasing gender sensitivity is crucial to enhance women's safety. The safety of women is not a guarantee despite the stringent amended law is placed after Nirbhaya's case. It is high time for the Home Department, State Legal Services Authorities, Woman Organisations, and Prints and Electronic Media to start conducting awareness programmes for the general public”, they said.

The Bench also quoted Mahatma Gandhi and said, “We want to send a strong message to the society by reminding ourselves, the famous quote of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, immediately after independence that, The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night that day we can say that India has achieved independence.” They continued to express their anguish by addressing themselves as “societal parents”. They noted, “If our concern for the society of girls/women can be summed up in one sentence that an attack on anybody’s daughter is an attack on our own daughter.”

The court went further, “A child should be taught to respect women in the society in the same way as he is taught to respect men. Gender equality should be made a part of the school curriculum. The school teachers and parents should be trained, not only to conduct regular personality-building and skill enhancing exercise, but also to keep a watch on the actual behavioural pattern of the children so as to make them gender sensitised. The educational institutions, government institutions, the employers and all concerned must take steps to create awareness with regard to gender sensitisation and to respect women.”

The Division Bench also recommended some reforms in the society though television and other digital mediums. “Banners and placards in the public transport vehicles like autos, taxis and buses, etc. must be ensured. Use of streetlights, illuminated bus-stops and extra police patrol during odd hours must be ensured", the bench said. Police/Security guards must be posted at dark and lonely places like parks, streets, etc. CCTV cameras have to be installed in important places. Mobile apps for immediate assistance of women should be introduced and effectively maintained. Apart from effective implementation of the various legislation protecting women, change in the mindset of the society at large and creating awareness in the public on gender justice, would go a long way to combat violence against women”, said the Bench.

Background

The Hon’ble Karnataka High court was hearing an appeal filed by the appellants/co accused against the impugned judgment passed by the trial court awarding them life imprisonment for gang rape, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, kidnapping, mischief, criminal intimidation under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. It was alleged by the Prosecutrix that on October 13, 2012 near a road which is situated between Bangalore University Main Building and National Law School of India University, the victim and her friend were talking to each other in a parked car belonging when all the accused persons--Ramu, Shivanna, Maddura, Eleyaiah, Eeraiah, Raja, and Dodda Eeraiah, surrounded the said car holding deadly weapons like iron rods, see-saws, long knives, draggers and rope in their hands. It was further submitted that they forcibly opened the left front door of the car and dragged the victim girl into the forest area and forcibly committed gang rape.

The court further noted that, “The accused persons have acted like deadly beasts in the forest. It was, as if the wild animals were hunting their helpless prey like a rabbit for satiating their sex hunger. In the present case, these accused persons have hunted victim girl in order to satisfy their desire of lust and have gang raped simultaneously one after another and some of them twice and thrice, which is barbaric against a human being, who are worse than cruel animals, and cannot be tolerated. It is a solitary incident of a ghastly crime, which has raised a question mark on the safety of all.”

While upholding the Trial Court’s decision, the Karnataka High Court also emphasized on the appropriate punishment. “Justice demands that the Courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that the Courts reflect public abhorrence. The Court must not only keep in view the rights of the criminal, but also the rights of the victim of the crime and the society at large while considering the imposition of appropriate punishment”, the Bench said.

It also added that the “Victim, who had come to India from Kathmandu, Nepal and joined the Law College with so many dreams and because of the ghastly incident in her life by the accused persons, she has discontinued her studies and has gone back to her native place cursing our country (India) with all frustration.” They opined on strict punishment and said that, “Since the reputation of the Country is at stake, no leniency can be shown to the accused persons. Any misplaced sympathy to the accused comes in the way of upholding dignity of the court, majesty of law, traditions and cultures right from our ancient times.”

The Bench justified the punishment imposed by taking cognizance of the traumatic incident the prosecutrix was subject to. “The damage caused by accused persons is immense, irreparable and cannot be retractable and the victim has to suffer throughout her life. Therefore, the appellants-accused are not entitled for any leniency.”

Finally, the court concluded by appreciating the courage of the prosecutrix to come forward with her account of the incident that happened in 2012 and appealed to the general Indian public to support rape survivors to ensure them a life of dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The order can be read here:

 

Related:

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/allahabad-hc-quashes-rape-fir-parties-settle-dispute-getting-married

https://sabrangindia.in/article/women-lawyers-move-sc-against-madhya-pradesh-hc-rakhi-bail-order  

Death Penalty for Rape: Karnataka HC

Observing that an attack on anybody’s daughter is an attack on ‘our own daughter’, the division bench made this suggestion keeping in mind the issue of women’s safety, to curb this menace in the society, as rape is a ‘crime against the entire society’ and not just the victim.

rape

On October 21, 2020 the Karnataka High Court through its Division Bench of Justices B Veerappa and K Natrajan have recommended an amendment to section 376D of the Indian Penal Code to provide Capital Punishment for the offence of gang-rape in the case of Ramu and Ors v State of Karnataka (Crl. App. No. 246 of 2014). Advocate A.V. Raghavendra appeared for the appellants and Advocate Vijayakumar Majage represented the Respondent State.

The Division Bench noted that that although the Indian Penal Code was enacted by the Act 45 of 1860, women do not feel safe at the hands of rapists/violators of law even after the lapse of 74 years of independence. They said, "We hereby recommend the Legislature/Central Government to further amend the provisions of Section 376D of Indian Penal Code – Gang rape into capital punishment in addition to the existing provision for imprisonment of life and with fine on par with the provisions of Section 376AB and 376DB of Indian Penal Code keeping in view of definition of 'Woman' under Section 10 of Indian Penal Code in order to curb the menace of 'gang rape' in the society at large."

It added that “Rape is not only an offence against victim girl, but a crime against the entire society. It is a crime against basic human rights and also violates the most cherished fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

They expressed their concern by remarking that even after enacting stringent laws, women safety continues to remain a concerning issue. “We hope and trust that the increasing gender sensitivity is crucial to enhance women's safety. The safety of women is not a guarantee despite the stringent amended law is placed after Nirbhaya's case. It is high time for the Home Department, State Legal Services Authorities, Woman Organisations, and Prints and Electronic Media to start conducting awareness programmes for the general public”, they said.

The Bench also quoted Mahatma Gandhi and said, “We want to send a strong message to the society by reminding ourselves, the famous quote of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, immediately after independence that, The day a woman can walk freely on the roads at night that day we can say that India has achieved independence.” They continued to express their anguish by addressing themselves as “societal parents”. They noted, “If our concern for the society of girls/women can be summed up in one sentence that an attack on anybody’s daughter is an attack on our own daughter.”

The court went further, “A child should be taught to respect women in the society in the same way as he is taught to respect men. Gender equality should be made a part of the school curriculum. The school teachers and parents should be trained, not only to conduct regular personality-building and skill enhancing exercise, but also to keep a watch on the actual behavioural pattern of the children so as to make them gender sensitised. The educational institutions, government institutions, the employers and all concerned must take steps to create awareness with regard to gender sensitisation and to respect women.”

The Division Bench also recommended some reforms in the society though television and other digital mediums. “Banners and placards in the public transport vehicles like autos, taxis and buses, etc. must be ensured. Use of streetlights, illuminated bus-stops and extra police patrol during odd hours must be ensured", the bench said. Police/Security guards must be posted at dark and lonely places like parks, streets, etc. CCTV cameras have to be installed in important places. Mobile apps for immediate assistance of women should be introduced and effectively maintained. Apart from effective implementation of the various legislation protecting women, change in the mindset of the society at large and creating awareness in the public on gender justice, would go a long way to combat violence against women”, said the Bench.

Background

The Hon’ble Karnataka High court was hearing an appeal filed by the appellants/co accused against the impugned judgment passed by the trial court awarding them life imprisonment for gang rape, voluntarily causing grievous hurt, kidnapping, mischief, criminal intimidation under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code. It was alleged by the Prosecutrix that on October 13, 2012 near a road which is situated between Bangalore University Main Building and National Law School of India University, the victim and her friend were talking to each other in a parked car belonging when all the accused persons--Ramu, Shivanna, Maddura, Eleyaiah, Eeraiah, Raja, and Dodda Eeraiah, surrounded the said car holding deadly weapons like iron rods, see-saws, long knives, draggers and rope in their hands. It was further submitted that they forcibly opened the left front door of the car and dragged the victim girl into the forest area and forcibly committed gang rape.

The court further noted that, “The accused persons have acted like deadly beasts in the forest. It was, as if the wild animals were hunting their helpless prey like a rabbit for satiating their sex hunger. In the present case, these accused persons have hunted victim girl in order to satisfy their desire of lust and have gang raped simultaneously one after another and some of them twice and thrice, which is barbaric against a human being, who are worse than cruel animals, and cannot be tolerated. It is a solitary incident of a ghastly crime, which has raised a question mark on the safety of all.”

While upholding the Trial Court’s decision, the Karnataka High Court also emphasized on the appropriate punishment. “Justice demands that the Courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that the Courts reflect public abhorrence. The Court must not only keep in view the rights of the criminal, but also the rights of the victim of the crime and the society at large while considering the imposition of appropriate punishment”, the Bench said.

It also added that the “Victim, who had come to India from Kathmandu, Nepal and joined the Law College with so many dreams and because of the ghastly incident in her life by the accused persons, she has discontinued her studies and has gone back to her native place cursing our country (India) with all frustration.” They opined on strict punishment and said that, “Since the reputation of the Country is at stake, no leniency can be shown to the accused persons. Any misplaced sympathy to the accused comes in the way of upholding dignity of the court, majesty of law, traditions and cultures right from our ancient times.”

The Bench justified the punishment imposed by taking cognizance of the traumatic incident the prosecutrix was subject to. “The damage caused by accused persons is immense, irreparable and cannot be retractable and the victim has to suffer throughout her life. Therefore, the appellants-accused are not entitled for any leniency.”

Finally, the court concluded by appreciating the courage of the prosecutrix to come forward with her account of the incident that happened in 2012 and appealed to the general Indian public to support rape survivors to ensure them a life of dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The order can be read here:

 

Related:

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/allahabad-hc-quashes-rape-fir-parties-settle-dispute-getting-married

https://sabrangindia.in/article/women-lawyers-move-sc-against-madhya-pradesh-hc-rakhi-bail-order  

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Medical corroboration in rape cases not pre-requisite, bail denied to accused: MP HC

The Single Bench has held that delay in filing FIR by the victim is no ground to throw away the prosecutrix’s case and that medical corroboration is not an absolute necessity while assessing gang rape cases.

24 Oct 2020

MP High Court

On October 16, 2020 Justice Akhil Kumar Srivastava of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that medical corroboration of the victim’s statement in a case of gang rape is not absolutely necessary. The order was passed in Harishchandra vs State of Madhya Pradesh (CRA No. 3608 of 2020).  Ms. Savita Choudhary represented the appellant/accused whereas Shri Anuj Singh, appeared for the State. There was no representation present in court for the complainant.

“After hearing learned counsel for both the parties and the entire material available in the PDF format and the fact that it is a case of gang rape and delay in lodging the FIR in rape cases is no ground to discard entire prosecution case and it is also not necessary that medically it should be corroborated and looking to the statement of prosecutrix recorded under section 164 of Cr.P.C. and other material available in PDF form and considering the entire material on merit, this Court is of the view that it is not a fit case in which appellant- Harishchandra may be released on bail under Section 439 of Cr.P.C. filed under Section 14-A of (POA) Act, hence, the appeal is hereby dismissed”, the Single Bench noted.

Justice Srivastava observed this while hearing an appeal filed under section 14A of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (that allows appeal to a higher court) against the order of a lower court on June 9, 2020 passed by the Special Judge, S.C./S.T Act, Jabalpur, whereby it had refused to grant bail to the accused.

Background

The accused was charged for kidnapping, inducing her to into marriage, wrongful confinement, administering intoxicating drugs, criminal intimidation, repeated rape under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST Act and has been in custody in Jabalpur since September 6, 2018.

It was submitted by the Prosecution, that a missing report was filed by the uncle of the complainant and subsequently an FIR under the aforementioned sections against the accused and other co accused in 2018 at the Police Station Ghamapur District, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The counsel of the accused (Harishchandra), submitted that he has been in jail since September 2018 and the trial is still pending. Further it was alleged that he is innocent and that there is no direct or indirect allegation against him in this crime. There was a delay in lodging an FIR for which no explanation has been furnished was also argued. It was also submitted that the prosecutrix had gotten married to the accused and for which an affidavit sworn by her was filed with the bail application. Hence, there is no likelihood of his absconding and tampering with the evidence and should be granted bail.

But the counsel appearing for the State vehemently opposed the bail application and prayed for rejection of this appeal on the ground that it is a matter of gang rape and in her statement recorded under section 164 of Cr.PC, the prosecutrix had clearly stated against the appellant.

But the court denied the benefit of bail to the accused and dismissed his appeal.

With respect to medical corroboration in sexual assault cases, there have been some significant rulings. In B.C Deva vs State of Karnataka (2007) 12 SCC 122, the Division Bench of Justices R.V Raveendran and Lokeshwar Singh Panta of the Supreme Court had held that even though the medical evidence does not reveal any instance of forced sexual activity, the trustworthy oral testimony of the victim can be accepted by the court. In this case the victim’s oral testimony about being sexually assaulted was corroborated by her mother, father and two eye witnesses even though the medical reports did not reveal any signs of sexual intercourse. The court noted that, “Though, the report of the Gynaecologist pertaining to the medical examination of the prosecutrix does not disclose any evidence of sexual intercourse, yet even in the absence of any corroboration of medical evidence, the oral testimony of the prosecutrix, which is found to be cogent, reliable, convincing and trustworthy has to be accepted.” Since the clothes of the accused and the victim was collected the next day of the incident, the court observed that the medical report cannot be given any importance because the clothes of the accused was taken into possession by the police on the next day of the incident and that there was no evidence to show that he handed over the same clothes to the police, which he was wearing on the day of incident. “The possibility of absence of seminal stains on petticoat of the prosecutrix which she was wearing at the time of the incident, could not be ruled out due to the fact that the petticoat got drenched in the water and the seminal stains might have been washed away”, the Bench also noted.

Justices A Anand and S Majmudar of the Supreme Court in Ranjit Hazarika v State of Assam (1998) 8 SCC 635, had upheld the evidence provided by the prosecutrix and said that, “Corroborative evidence is not an imperative component of judicial credence in every case of rape. Corroboration as a condition for judicial reliance on the testimony of the prosecutrix is not a requirement of law but a guidance of prudence under given circumstances. It must not be overlooked that a woman or a girl subjected to sexual assault is not an accomplice to the crime but is a victim of another person's lust and it is improper and undesirable to test her evidence with a certain amount of suspicion, treating her as if she were an accomplice. Seeking corroboration of her statement before relying upon the same, as a rule, in such cases amounts to adding insult to injury. Why should the evidence of a girl or a woman who complains of rape or sexual molestation be viewed with doubt, disbelief or suspicion?” In this case, a young 14-year-old girl was subject to rape by the accused in 1987 when he offered to walk her home and had non-consensual sexual intercourse with her. The opinion of the doctor that no rape appeared to have been committed was based only on the absence of rupture of the hymen and injuries on the private parts of the prosecutrix. The Division Bench held that “this opinion cannot throw out an otherwise cogent and trustworthy evidence of the prosecutrix. Besides, the opinion of the doctor appears to be based on no reasons.”

The order can be read here:

 

Related:

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/allahabad-hc-quashes-rape-fir-parties-settle-dispute-getting-married

https://sabrangindia.in/article/women-lawyers-move-sc-against-madhya-pradesh-hc-rakhi-bail-order

Medical corroboration in rape cases not pre-requisite, bail denied to accused: MP HC

The Single Bench has held that delay in filing FIR by the victim is no ground to throw away the prosecutrix’s case and that medical corroboration is not an absolute necessity while assessing gang rape cases.

MP High Court

On October 16, 2020 Justice Akhil Kumar Srivastava of the Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that medical corroboration of the victim’s statement in a case of gang rape is not absolutely necessary. The order was passed in Harishchandra vs State of Madhya Pradesh (CRA No. 3608 of 2020).  Ms. Savita Choudhary represented the appellant/accused whereas Shri Anuj Singh, appeared for the State. There was no representation present in court for the complainant.

“After hearing learned counsel for both the parties and the entire material available in the PDF format and the fact that it is a case of gang rape and delay in lodging the FIR in rape cases is no ground to discard entire prosecution case and it is also not necessary that medically it should be corroborated and looking to the statement of prosecutrix recorded under section 164 of Cr.P.C. and other material available in PDF form and considering the entire material on merit, this Court is of the view that it is not a fit case in which appellant- Harishchandra may be released on bail under Section 439 of Cr.P.C. filed under Section 14-A of (POA) Act, hence, the appeal is hereby dismissed”, the Single Bench noted.

Justice Srivastava observed this while hearing an appeal filed under section 14A of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (that allows appeal to a higher court) against the order of a lower court on June 9, 2020 passed by the Special Judge, S.C./S.T Act, Jabalpur, whereby it had refused to grant bail to the accused.

Background

The accused was charged for kidnapping, inducing her to into marriage, wrongful confinement, administering intoxicating drugs, criminal intimidation, repeated rape under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the SC/ST Act and has been in custody in Jabalpur since September 6, 2018.

It was submitted by the Prosecution, that a missing report was filed by the uncle of the complainant and subsequently an FIR under the aforementioned sections against the accused and other co accused in 2018 at the Police Station Ghamapur District, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The counsel of the accused (Harishchandra), submitted that he has been in jail since September 2018 and the trial is still pending. Further it was alleged that he is innocent and that there is no direct or indirect allegation against him in this crime. There was a delay in lodging an FIR for which no explanation has been furnished was also argued. It was also submitted that the prosecutrix had gotten married to the accused and for which an affidavit sworn by her was filed with the bail application. Hence, there is no likelihood of his absconding and tampering with the evidence and should be granted bail.

But the counsel appearing for the State vehemently opposed the bail application and prayed for rejection of this appeal on the ground that it is a matter of gang rape and in her statement recorded under section 164 of Cr.PC, the prosecutrix had clearly stated against the appellant.

But the court denied the benefit of bail to the accused and dismissed his appeal.

With respect to medical corroboration in sexual assault cases, there have been some significant rulings. In B.C Deva vs State of Karnataka (2007) 12 SCC 122, the Division Bench of Justices R.V Raveendran and Lokeshwar Singh Panta of the Supreme Court had held that even though the medical evidence does not reveal any instance of forced sexual activity, the trustworthy oral testimony of the victim can be accepted by the court. In this case the victim’s oral testimony about being sexually assaulted was corroborated by her mother, father and two eye witnesses even though the medical reports did not reveal any signs of sexual intercourse. The court noted that, “Though, the report of the Gynaecologist pertaining to the medical examination of the prosecutrix does not disclose any evidence of sexual intercourse, yet even in the absence of any corroboration of medical evidence, the oral testimony of the prosecutrix, which is found to be cogent, reliable, convincing and trustworthy has to be accepted.” Since the clothes of the accused and the victim was collected the next day of the incident, the court observed that the medical report cannot be given any importance because the clothes of the accused was taken into possession by the police on the next day of the incident and that there was no evidence to show that he handed over the same clothes to the police, which he was wearing on the day of incident. “The possibility of absence of seminal stains on petticoat of the prosecutrix which she was wearing at the time of the incident, could not be ruled out due to the fact that the petticoat got drenched in the water and the seminal stains might have been washed away”, the Bench also noted.

Justices A Anand and S Majmudar of the Supreme Court in Ranjit Hazarika v State of Assam (1998) 8 SCC 635, had upheld the evidence provided by the prosecutrix and said that, “Corroborative evidence is not an imperative component of judicial credence in every case of rape. Corroboration as a condition for judicial reliance on the testimony of the prosecutrix is not a requirement of law but a guidance of prudence under given circumstances. It must not be overlooked that a woman or a girl subjected to sexual assault is not an accomplice to the crime but is a victim of another person's lust and it is improper and undesirable to test her evidence with a certain amount of suspicion, treating her as if she were an accomplice. Seeking corroboration of her statement before relying upon the same, as a rule, in such cases amounts to adding insult to injury. Why should the evidence of a girl or a woman who complains of rape or sexual molestation be viewed with doubt, disbelief or suspicion?” In this case, a young 14-year-old girl was subject to rape by the accused in 1987 when he offered to walk her home and had non-consensual sexual intercourse with her. The opinion of the doctor that no rape appeared to have been committed was based only on the absence of rupture of the hymen and injuries on the private parts of the prosecutrix. The Division Bench held that “this opinion cannot throw out an otherwise cogent and trustworthy evidence of the prosecutrix. Besides, the opinion of the doctor appears to be based on no reasons.”

The order can be read here:

 

Related:

https://www.sabrangindia.in/article/allahabad-hc-quashes-rape-fir-parties-settle-dispute-getting-married

https://sabrangindia.in/article/women-lawyers-move-sc-against-madhya-pradesh-hc-rakhi-bail-order

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Uttar Pradesh: 19-year-old woman allegedly gang-raped when returning from Navratri event 

The teenager was returning home after attending an aarti of Goddess Durga, when she was abducted and raped. The three accused have been arrested.

23 Oct 2020

rape

Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba police have been very active online on Friday. It has been busy participating in the Mission Shakti, campaign that was flagged off a few days ago by Chief Minister Adityanath. He had marked the first day of Navratri the nine-day Hindu festival celebrating the nine forms of the mother goddess Shakti or Durga, with launching ‘Mission Shakti’ that  aims at “guaranteeing security & respect for every woman in the state.” The CM had  warned that there will be “zero tolerance in cases of crime against women, and those guilty will be dealt with an iron hand”. 

Police divisions across the state have been busy since then amplifying the CM’s scheme and many functions are being held and facilities such as help desks for women are launched with much fanfare and many photographs are shared online by the police station. The latest is the launch women help desks at all 1535 police stations. Photos have been shared with police precision.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, crimes against women continue in the state even during this time. According to news reports another teenager has alleged she was gangraped, in the Mahoba district. The incident took place on Wednesday night when the 19-year-old was returning home after attending an aarti of Goddess Durga, as a part of the nine-day festival. She alleged that she was abducted and raped by the three accused, news reports stated that the police confirmed this.

According to news reports the  19-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped by three men after attending a Navratri event in Panwadi area of Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba. Superintendent of Police Arun Kumar Shrivastava told the media: “The case of rape has come to the fore in Panwadi area. The accused took her to a secluded place behind her house and raped her. The  Police has acted promptly and all the three accused have been arrested.” The teen was also sent for a medical examination and investigations continue.

However, what is worse is the normalisation of such crimes in the area. This news too has failed to create public outrage. While launching this latest  'Mission Shakti' project for women, CM Adityanath said, ''there will be a separate room now for women complainants in 1,535 police stations across the state, where a female Police constable will attend them & there will be urgent action on their complaint. Culprits of crimes against women will be punished swiftly.''

While Police are probing this case too,  the ‘zero tolerance’ policy of crime against women does not seem to have put the fear of the law in the criminals’ minds  at the moment. The October 2020 tally of crimes against women in UP, has just added another statistic:

October 16,  Jaunpur, 15-year-old girl, allegedly raped men in a paddy field 

The incident was reported from the Sikarara area of eastern Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Jaunpur district in the evening, stated news reports. According to the police, the accused were on the run. The girl was allegedly attacked when she was returning home after buying medicines from a local market. “Her family members have informed that the youths caught her while she was returning home from a medical store, which is located on the outskirts of the village,” a police officer was quoted by news reports. The teenager confided in her parents, who filed a complaint at the local police station. Angad Prasad Tiwari, station house officer (SHO) of the police station, told the media that a first information report (FIR) has been filed under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

October 14, Barabanki: Teenage Dalit girl’s body found in paddy field

The victim’s family suspect rape as they found the half-naked body of their teenage daughter on  night of October 14, 2020, in a paddy field where she had gone to work. The Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki police found her the tied-up and half-naked body of a teenage Dalit girl in the village paddy field. The area is only 40 km from the state capital Lucknow. Media reports quoted Superintendent of Police RS Gautam saying that an initial probe suggested that the girl was strangled by her own shirt. The family members alleged that her semi-naked condition suggested sexual assault too. Gautam said the girl was missing, after she left home to cut paddy crops. The family found her body in the field while searching for her on the same night. The incident occurred in Tipri village within Satrikh police station limits. Police and the administration did not share the post-mortem report but sought the opinion of doctors, who carried out the post-mortem examination, regarding the possibility of rape.

October 13, Gonda: Three Dalit sisters, minors, attacked in their sleep with acid

Three Dalit sisters, all of them minors, were attacked with acid while they were asleep inside their residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. It was a tweet by the Gonda police that made the incident public. The oldest of the three, aged 17, had 35 per cent burn injuries, while the other two, aged 12 and 8, escaped with 25 per cent and 5 percent burn injuries, respectively. The family members told police that at around 2 A.M, all the three sisters came running downstairs, howling in pain. Their father initially thought the burn injuries were from a gas cylinder, but later realised it was an acid attack. The girls’ parents recently fixed the marriage of their eldest daughter, a high school passout.  She received the maximum burn injuries out of the three girls. The family does not suspect anyone so far, SP Pandey said, adding that the attacker must be from the same locality as it’s a small town. 

October 11, Jhansi: Teen alleges rape on college campus 

A class 10 student alleged that she was raped by a college student, robbed and filmed by around a dozen more. The 17-year-old girl complained to the police that she was raped on Sunday, allegedly by a student of a Jhansi college. She alleged that the assault took place in  the college campus even as preliminary exams 2020 were underway for the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Civil Services (PCS). According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the girl, a class 10 student, alleged in her police complaint that “around a dozen students of the college forcibly took her inside the campus”. She alleged that while one of them assaulted her, and many others filmed an objectionable video. The teenager added that the accused also thrashed the boy she had gone to meet, and threatened to to “make the video viral if she revealed the incident to anyone.” A news report stated that the college principal said the accused were second year students, and that the institute was cooperating with the police in establishing the identity of other students involved in the incident.

October 11, Chitrakoot: 15-yr-old Dalit ‘gangrape victim’ takes her own life

In a gruesome case of gendered assault, her family members have alleged after her death that she was raped by three men in a forest area on October 8, the UP police said. The Dalit teenager, who was allegedly raped by three men, ended her life by hanging herself in the Chitrakoot district of Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, police officials stated. The Superintendent of Police (SP), Chitrakoot Ankit Mittal publicly stated that the 15-year-old girl hanged herself in her house in the Manikpur area on Tuesday. It was after the girl’s death, her family members alleged that she was raped by three men in a forest area on October 8, the officer said. On the basis of a complaint from the victim’s family members, a former village head’s son Kishan Upadhyay and two others were arrested under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Mittal said. 

These are just some incidents of crime against women which have been placed on record, there may be many more which may have not even been reported. 

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s ‘Crime in India 2019’ report, Uttar Pradesh had registered 59,853 cases of crimes against women, the highest in the country from January 1 to December 31, 2019. The NCRB report was made public September 29. Uttar Pradesh reported the second highest number of rapes: 3,065, after Rajasthan which reported 5,997 rapes. Uttar Pradesh  reported 34 rape-murder cases out of 278 reported all India, it was the third highest.


Related:

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UP police personnel physically assault woman in her own house!

Allahabad HC quashes Rape FIR as parties “settle” dispute by getting married

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Uttar Pradesh: 19-year-old woman allegedly gang-raped when returning from Navratri event 

The teenager was returning home after attending an aarti of Goddess Durga, when she was abducted and raped. The three accused have been arrested.

rape

Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba police have been very active online on Friday. It has been busy participating in the Mission Shakti, campaign that was flagged off a few days ago by Chief Minister Adityanath. He had marked the first day of Navratri the nine-day Hindu festival celebrating the nine forms of the mother goddess Shakti or Durga, with launching ‘Mission Shakti’ that  aims at “guaranteeing security & respect for every woman in the state.” The CM had  warned that there will be “zero tolerance in cases of crime against women, and those guilty will be dealt with an iron hand”. 

Police divisions across the state have been busy since then amplifying the CM’s scheme and many functions are being held and facilities such as help desks for women are launched with much fanfare and many photographs are shared online by the police station. The latest is the launch women help desks at all 1535 police stations. Photos have been shared with police precision.

 

 

 

Unfortunately, crimes against women continue in the state even during this time. According to news reports another teenager has alleged she was gangraped, in the Mahoba district. The incident took place on Wednesday night when the 19-year-old was returning home after attending an aarti of Goddess Durga, as a part of the nine-day festival. She alleged that she was abducted and raped by the three accused, news reports stated that the police confirmed this.

According to news reports the  19-year-old woman was allegedly gang-raped by three men after attending a Navratri event in Panwadi area of Uttar Pradesh’s Mahoba. Superintendent of Police Arun Kumar Shrivastava told the media: “The case of rape has come to the fore in Panwadi area. The accused took her to a secluded place behind her house and raped her. The  Police has acted promptly and all the three accused have been arrested.” The teen was also sent for a medical examination and investigations continue.

However, what is worse is the normalisation of such crimes in the area. This news too has failed to create public outrage. While launching this latest  'Mission Shakti' project for women, CM Adityanath said, ''there will be a separate room now for women complainants in 1,535 police stations across the state, where a female Police constable will attend them & there will be urgent action on their complaint. Culprits of crimes against women will be punished swiftly.''

While Police are probing this case too,  the ‘zero tolerance’ policy of crime against women does not seem to have put the fear of the law in the criminals’ minds  at the moment. The October 2020 tally of crimes against women in UP, has just added another statistic:

October 16,  Jaunpur, 15-year-old girl, allegedly raped men in a paddy field 

The incident was reported from the Sikarara area of eastern Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) Jaunpur district in the evening, stated news reports. According to the police, the accused were on the run. The girl was allegedly attacked when she was returning home after buying medicines from a local market. “Her family members have informed that the youths caught her while she was returning home from a medical store, which is located on the outskirts of the village,” a police officer was quoted by news reports. The teenager confided in her parents, who filed a complaint at the local police station. Angad Prasad Tiwari, station house officer (SHO) of the police station, told the media that a first information report (FIR) has been filed under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.

October 14, Barabanki: Teenage Dalit girl’s body found in paddy field

The victim’s family suspect rape as they found the half-naked body of their teenage daughter on  night of October 14, 2020, in a paddy field where she had gone to work. The Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki police found her the tied-up and half-naked body of a teenage Dalit girl in the village paddy field. The area is only 40 km from the state capital Lucknow. Media reports quoted Superintendent of Police RS Gautam saying that an initial probe suggested that the girl was strangled by her own shirt. The family members alleged that her semi-naked condition suggested sexual assault too. Gautam said the girl was missing, after she left home to cut paddy crops. The family found her body in the field while searching for her on the same night. The incident occurred in Tipri village within Satrikh police station limits. Police and the administration did not share the post-mortem report but sought the opinion of doctors, who carried out the post-mortem examination, regarding the possibility of rape.

October 13, Gonda: Three Dalit sisters, minors, attacked in their sleep with acid

Three Dalit sisters, all of them minors, were attacked with acid while they were asleep inside their residence in Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district. It was a tweet by the Gonda police that made the incident public. The oldest of the three, aged 17, had 35 per cent burn injuries, while the other two, aged 12 and 8, escaped with 25 per cent and 5 percent burn injuries, respectively. The family members told police that at around 2 A.M, all the three sisters came running downstairs, howling in pain. Their father initially thought the burn injuries were from a gas cylinder, but later realised it was an acid attack. The girls’ parents recently fixed the marriage of their eldest daughter, a high school passout.  She received the maximum burn injuries out of the three girls. The family does not suspect anyone so far, SP Pandey said, adding that the attacker must be from the same locality as it’s a small town. 

October 11, Jhansi: Teen alleges rape on college campus 

A class 10 student alleged that she was raped by a college student, robbed and filmed by around a dozen more. The 17-year-old girl complained to the police that she was raped on Sunday, allegedly by a student of a Jhansi college. She alleged that the assault took place in  the college campus even as preliminary exams 2020 were underway for the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Civil Services (PCS). According to a report in The Hindustan Times, the girl, a class 10 student, alleged in her police complaint that “around a dozen students of the college forcibly took her inside the campus”. She alleged that while one of them assaulted her, and many others filmed an objectionable video. The teenager added that the accused also thrashed the boy she had gone to meet, and threatened to to “make the video viral if she revealed the incident to anyone.” A news report stated that the college principal said the accused were second year students, and that the institute was cooperating with the police in establishing the identity of other students involved in the incident.

October 11, Chitrakoot: 15-yr-old Dalit ‘gangrape victim’ takes her own life

In a gruesome case of gendered assault, her family members have alleged after her death that she was raped by three men in a forest area on October 8, the UP police said. The Dalit teenager, who was allegedly raped by three men, ended her life by hanging herself in the Chitrakoot district of Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh, police officials stated. The Superintendent of Police (SP), Chitrakoot Ankit Mittal publicly stated that the 15-year-old girl hanged herself in her house in the Manikpur area on Tuesday. It was after the girl’s death, her family members alleged that she was raped by three men in a forest area on October 8, the officer said. On the basis of a complaint from the victim’s family members, a former village head’s son Kishan Upadhyay and two others were arrested under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Mittal said. 

These are just some incidents of crime against women which have been placed on record, there may be many more which may have not even been reported. 

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s ‘Crime in India 2019’ report, Uttar Pradesh had registered 59,853 cases of crimes against women, the highest in the country from January 1 to December 31, 2019. The NCRB report was made public September 29. Uttar Pradesh reported the second highest number of rapes: 3,065, after Rajasthan which reported 5,997 rapes. Uttar Pradesh  reported 34 rape-murder cases out of 278 reported all India, it was the third highest.


Related:

UP CM launches ‘Mission Shakti’ a day after another teenager alleges rape

UP police personnel physically assault woman in her own house!

Allahabad HC quashes Rape FIR as parties “settle” dispute by getting married

Ghaziabad: BJP MLA forcibly closes meat shops

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NHRC study recommends protecting the anonymity of rape accused until proven guilty

The study, which was commissioned by the NHRC and conducted by the Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS) sought to understand sexual violence against women from the perspective of adult and juvenile sexual predators.

22 Oct 2020

Image Courtesy:jagranjosh.com

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended the protection of the rape accused’s identity in a “false case” until they are found guilty especially at a time when rape cases are on the increase, have led to public outrage and the public and social movements and political parties alike are demanding, independent prosecution and strict action against the accused.

The study titled Interrogating violence against women from the other side: An exploratory study into the world of perpetrators which was commissioned by the NHRC and conducted by the Centre for Women’s Development Studies that is affiliated to the Ministry of Education, sought to understand sexual violence against women from the perspective of sexual predators. The study highlighted that where a survivor’s identity is kept under the wraps and revealing the name is a punishable offence, the same principle does not apply to alleged accused persons whose personal details are circulated without any restrictions. “A time has come, when there is a need for safeguards to protect the accused from false claims”, the study mentions.

Amidst the public anger and a popular call for more stringent measures to address sexual violence after the rape case of Nirbhaya in 2012, the Verma Committee was constituted and subsequently the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013 to widen the interpretation of the term rape in the Indian Penal Code.

The study recognizes the possibility of misuse of laws quoting that, “Some quarters have objected to the ‘skewing’’ of the law in favour of women. Fears are expressed about the potential ‘misuse’ of the law by women to frame innocent men. The fear of an increase in false complaints probably comes more from a fear of the autonomy that women have received by these legal measures.” The study cites examples of a few incidents where men were falsely accused by women because of issues like miscommunication with the girl’s family, alcoholism, etc.

The study also recommended that the anonymity of the accused can definitely be protected till a charge is framed or till he is convicted. “Such a protection would be very beneficial particularly to the juvenile accused. In order to protect the anonymity of the accused, it is also important that media be careful in reporting on such cases. Although issues of identification and naming of the principal actors may not appear to be significant in the larger picture of things, they have major ramifications especially for accused who are later found to be innocent”, the study said.

The study includes interviews with juveniles convicted of crimes against women which were done at the Special Home for Boys in Majnu Ka Tilla, Delhi. Four out of the eight boys denied the charges on which they had been convicted, three accepted their role in the crime and the remaining one did not give any information. The boys who denied charges alleged a police conspiracy, false implication by the family members of the girl, wrongly charged by a woman who had some animosity with his mother as reasons for detention.

While dealing with the issue of Perspectives of Perpetrators of Crimes against women (Juvenile and Adult), the study mentioned that the strange dichotomy that presents before us is that “men are confused about how to handle their sexual urges” because now the unquestioned masculinity privilege is being challenged by gender equality and women’s greater presence in the public sphere. At the same time women, especially the ones belonging to the marginalized sections continue to remain subservient to men and absorb the notions of chastity and family honour. “This creates great confusion and anomie for boys and men as they are given mixed messages. And we as a society have not yet found the means to respond to these contradictory challenges”, the study suggested.

The study talks about protecting juveniles accused of sexual crimes in order to avoid stigmatization through citing the Nirbhaya case. It said, “Even in the Nirbhaya case the identity of the juvenile was not disclosed. This is done to ensure that he is not stigmatized. If his identity is made public, he may face difficulties in integrating back into the society. For instance, he may not be admitted into a school.” It pointed out at the lack of similar provisions for adult offenders. “Names of adult offenders are paraded in sensational media reports along with other personal information. How come the same principal of anonymity is not followed in the case of adult offenders?”, it questioned.  

Neeraj Kumar, a former Delhi Police Commissioner, who had handled the investigations during December 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape case had this to say on some of the findings of the study when he told The Hindustan Times that, “It is a fact that rape laws have been misused by stretching the concept of consent a bit too far. Miscarriage of justice on this count can be prevented by alert and mindful judiciary. Treating adults accused of rape on par with juvenile offenders is stretching the logic a little too far. By the same argument, adults accused of other crimes should also not be named until framing of charge. This suggestion appears untenable.”

Related:

 

CJP moves NHRC in Sultanpur Rape Case
Stop using rape cases for communal polarization

NHRC study recommends protecting the anonymity of rape accused until proven guilty

The study, which was commissioned by the NHRC and conducted by the Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS) sought to understand sexual violence against women from the perspective of adult and juvenile sexual predators.

Image Courtesy:jagranjosh.com

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended the protection of the rape accused’s identity in a “false case” until they are found guilty especially at a time when rape cases are on the increase, have led to public outrage and the public and social movements and political parties alike are demanding, independent prosecution and strict action against the accused.

The study titled Interrogating violence against women from the other side: An exploratory study into the world of perpetrators which was commissioned by the NHRC and conducted by the Centre for Women’s Development Studies that is affiliated to the Ministry of Education, sought to understand sexual violence against women from the perspective of sexual predators. The study highlighted that where a survivor’s identity is kept under the wraps and revealing the name is a punishable offence, the same principle does not apply to alleged accused persons whose personal details are circulated without any restrictions. “A time has come, when there is a need for safeguards to protect the accused from false claims”, the study mentions.

Amidst the public anger and a popular call for more stringent measures to address sexual violence after the rape case of Nirbhaya in 2012, the Verma Committee was constituted and subsequently the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 was passed by the Lok Sabha on 19 March 2013, and by the Rajya Sabha on 21 March 2013 to widen the interpretation of the term rape in the Indian Penal Code.

The study recognizes the possibility of misuse of laws quoting that, “Some quarters have objected to the ‘skewing’’ of the law in favour of women. Fears are expressed about the potential ‘misuse’ of the law by women to frame innocent men. The fear of an increase in false complaints probably comes more from a fear of the autonomy that women have received by these legal measures.” The study cites examples of a few incidents where men were falsely accused by women because of issues like miscommunication with the girl’s family, alcoholism, etc.

The study also recommended that the anonymity of the accused can definitely be protected till a charge is framed or till he is convicted. “Such a protection would be very beneficial particularly to the juvenile accused. In order to protect the anonymity of the accused, it is also important that media be careful in reporting on such cases. Although issues of identification and naming of the principal actors may not appear to be significant in the larger picture of things, they have major ramifications especially for accused who are later found to be innocent”, the study said.

The study includes interviews with juveniles convicted of crimes against women which were done at the Special Home for Boys in Majnu Ka Tilla, Delhi. Four out of the eight boys denied the charges on which they had been convicted, three accepted their role in the crime and the remaining one did not give any information. The boys who denied charges alleged a police conspiracy, false implication by the family members of the girl, wrongly charged by a woman who had some animosity with his mother as reasons for detention.

While dealing with the issue of Perspectives of Perpetrators of Crimes against women (Juvenile and Adult), the study mentioned that the strange dichotomy that presents before us is that “men are confused about how to handle their sexual urges” because now the unquestioned masculinity privilege is being challenged by gender equality and women’s greater presence in the public sphere. At the same time women, especially the ones belonging to the marginalized sections continue to remain subservient to men and absorb the notions of chastity and family honour. “This creates great confusion and anomie for boys and men as they are given mixed messages. And we as a society have not yet found the means to respond to these contradictory challenges”, the study suggested.

The study talks about protecting juveniles accused of sexual crimes in order to avoid stigmatization through citing the Nirbhaya case. It said, “Even in the Nirbhaya case the identity of the juvenile was not disclosed. This is done to ensure that he is not stigmatized. If his identity is made public, he may face difficulties in integrating back into the society. For instance, he may not be admitted into a school.” It pointed out at the lack of similar provisions for adult offenders. “Names of adult offenders are paraded in sensational media reports along with other personal information. How come the same principal of anonymity is not followed in the case of adult offenders?”, it questioned.  

Neeraj Kumar, a former Delhi Police Commissioner, who had handled the investigations during December 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape case had this to say on some of the findings of the study when he told The Hindustan Times that, “It is a fact that rape laws have been misused by stretching the concept of consent a bit too far. Miscarriage of justice on this count can be prevented by alert and mindful judiciary. Treating adults accused of rape on par with juvenile offenders is stretching the logic a little too far. By the same argument, adults accused of other crimes should also not be named until framing of charge. This suggestion appears untenable.”

Related:

 

CJP moves NHRC in Sultanpur Rape Case
Stop using rape cases for communal polarization

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Defamation case filed by MJ Akbar to continue before Special MP-MLA Court

The MP had filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, who was among many accusing him of sexual harassment

22 Oct 2020

MJ Akbar

On Thursday October 23, the District & Sessions Judge, Rouse Avenue finally refused to transfer the case from a Special MP/MLA Court, reported Bar and Bench. 

 

This court has heard the case since 2018, however, a couple of weeks ago the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja had listed the matter before a District and Sessions Judge of the Rouse Avenue District Court on October 14 for appropriate orders. Advocate Rebecca John had spent three months arguing the case, the brilliant final arguments were reported widely. But ACMM Vishal Pahuja, had said that “only matters filed against MPs and MLAs can be listed before the Rouse House Avenue Court” whereas the case filed by MJ Akbar, a former Minister of State for External Affairs, dealt with defamation.

Akbar had filed the case against journalist Priya Ramani for accusing him of sexual harassment when he was her editor. ACMM Pahuja had cited directions issued by the Supreme Court relating to matters relating to lawmakers pending against courts. “There has been direction from the Supreme Court... This case has to be placed before the learned District & Sessions Judge for directions. This court will only deal with cases against MP/MLAs…” Sujata Kohli, District & Sessions Judge-Cum Special Judge (PC Act/CBI) had reserved order on the issue of transfer on October 14. 

And today, October 22, the Judge refused to transfer the defamation case away from a Special MP/MLA Court. The next hearing is on November 2, when Akbar’s lawyer Geeta Luthra is expected to give her ‘rejoinder’ to Rebecca John’s final arguments, after this the is likely to be reserved for judgement.

 

 

The possibility of a transfer had created a moment of frustration as that could have meant that the final arguments would have to start again, possibly adding more months to the day a judgment could be expected. "It is frustrating, but I am the recipient of the order, not the maker,” Senior Advocate Rebecca John representing Priya Ramani, had told SabrangIndia when the case was transferred to the District and Sessions Judge to decide on the appropriate court to hear it. A senior lawyer familiar with the case had said that such transfers were not unusual, but could certainly cause a delay before the verdict is pronounced as final arguments will have to be placed afresh before the new judge. 

According to Bar and Bench, the counsel for MJ Akbar had urged that the matter be sent back to the Special Court to save judicial time, and Ramani’s counsel had left the issue to the wisdom of the court.

As reported earlier, in her closing submissions Advocate John had said on behalf of Priya Ramani, "I have proved my case and I deserve to be acquitted." 

In 2018 as the #MeToo movement was picking up in India, Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual harassment, the incident took place around 25 years ago when she was a junior journalist, and he a powerful editor.

Ramani has stood by her allegations over the years, and has in turn empowered other women journalists to come out with similar examples where they alleged that they were sexually harassed by editor MJ Akbar over the years. The #MeToo movement in India, especially Indian journalism, cost Akbar his ministerial job, as his political patrons chose to distance themselves from him.

 

Related:

MJ Akbar defamation case against Priya Ramani transferred to District and Sessions judge 

Why do the mighty cry ‘defamation’ when accused of sexual harassment?

#MeToo: From Courtroom to Cinema

Why the ‘Me Too’ movement in India is succeeding at last

On Akbar and the #MeToo Movement

After #MeToo: Legal System Needs Change

AIDWA Demands Resignation of Minister of State for External Affairs, M J Akbar

Defamation case filed by MJ Akbar to continue before Special MP-MLA Court

The MP had filed a defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, who was among many accusing him of sexual harassment

MJ Akbar

On Thursday October 23, the District & Sessions Judge, Rouse Avenue finally refused to transfer the case from a Special MP/MLA Court, reported Bar and Bench. 

 

This court has heard the case since 2018, however, a couple of weeks ago the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vishal Pahuja had listed the matter before a District and Sessions Judge of the Rouse Avenue District Court on October 14 for appropriate orders. Advocate Rebecca John had spent three months arguing the case, the brilliant final arguments were reported widely. But ACMM Vishal Pahuja, had said that “only matters filed against MPs and MLAs can be listed before the Rouse House Avenue Court” whereas the case filed by MJ Akbar, a former Minister of State for External Affairs, dealt with defamation.

Akbar had filed the case against journalist Priya Ramani for accusing him of sexual harassment when he was her editor. ACMM Pahuja had cited directions issued by the Supreme Court relating to matters relating to lawmakers pending against courts. “There has been direction from the Supreme Court... This case has to be placed before the learned District & Sessions Judge for directions. This court will only deal with cases against MP/MLAs…” Sujata Kohli, District & Sessions Judge-Cum Special Judge (PC Act/CBI) had reserved order on the issue of transfer on October 14. 

And today, October 22, the Judge refused to transfer the defamation case away from a Special MP/MLA Court. The next hearing is on November 2, when Akbar’s lawyer Geeta Luthra is expected to give her ‘rejoinder’ to Rebecca John’s final arguments, after this the is likely to be reserved for judgement.

 

 

The possibility of a transfer had created a moment of frustration as that could have meant that the final arguments would have to start again, possibly adding more months to the day a judgment could be expected. "It is frustrating, but I am the recipient of the order, not the maker,” Senior Advocate Rebecca John representing Priya Ramani, had told SabrangIndia when the case was transferred to the District and Sessions Judge to decide on the appropriate court to hear it. A senior lawyer familiar with the case had said that such transfers were not unusual, but could certainly cause a delay before the verdict is pronounced as final arguments will have to be placed afresh before the new judge. 

According to Bar and Bench, the counsel for MJ Akbar had urged that the matter be sent back to the Special Court to save judicial time, and Ramani’s counsel had left the issue to the wisdom of the court.

As reported earlier, in her closing submissions Advocate John had said on behalf of Priya Ramani, "I have proved my case and I deserve to be acquitted." 

In 2018 as the #MeToo movement was picking up in India, Ramani had accused Akbar of sexual harassment, the incident took place around 25 years ago when she was a junior journalist, and he a powerful editor.

Ramani has stood by her allegations over the years, and has in turn empowered other women journalists to come out with similar examples where they alleged that they were sexually harassed by editor MJ Akbar over the years. The #MeToo movement in India, especially Indian journalism, cost Akbar his ministerial job, as his political patrons chose to distance themselves from him.

 

Related:

MJ Akbar defamation case against Priya Ramani transferred to District and Sessions judge 

Why do the mighty cry ‘defamation’ when accused of sexual harassment?

#MeToo: From Courtroom to Cinema

Why the ‘Me Too’ movement in India is succeeding at last

On Akbar and the #MeToo Movement

After #MeToo: Legal System Needs Change

AIDWA Demands Resignation of Minister of State for External Affairs, M J Akbar

Related Articles


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NAPM condemn police’s and administration’s handling of the Hathras incident

Nine activists visit Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to document the aggrieved family’s account of the series of events related to the Hathras crime.

22 Oct 2020

NAPM

Nine members to the National Alliance of People’s Movement’s (NAPM) representatives visited the Hathras victim’s family at Bulgarhi village on October 9, 2020 to listen to compile a detailed fact-finding report of the case. The activists attempted to highlight the inhumane factors of the incident. Accordingly, they expressed solidarity with the victim’s family, who was dubbed ‘Dasya’ in the report, in their battle against casteist politics and injustice.

While detailing events of the past two months, activists like Medha Patkar and advocate Ehtesham Hashmi highlighted said the Hathras crime – that occurred 14 years after the Khairlanji massacre of Scheduled Caste people in Bhandara district of Maharashtra – indicated the cumulative effect of caste and gender on marginalised communities.

Role of caste in Hathras crime

The report described the case as being “entangled in a controversy but also in the casteist politics, denying the facts narrated by the family and openly accusing them of lying and honour killing.”

Bulgarhi village, where the incident took place, is home to 15 Dalit families out of more than 600 families that have experienced a number of repressive acts and atmosphere over several decades. The minority group only recently began to stand up to upper caste families like the Thakurs who use services of Dalit families as agricultural labourers.

Similarly, Dasya’s family has a strained relationship with their neighbours, the Thakur family. In the 1990s, the family was allotted 5 bighas of land by Mayawati’s government. However, the family only received three and half bighas while the rest was allegedly encroached upon by a Brahmin family. They lived quietly and earned a small supplementary income from cattle rearing and selling milk – until 20 years ago, the Thakurs allegedly attacked Dasya’s grandfather.

“They came into our field to graze their buffalos and my grandfather requested them to take the animals elsewhere as our crops would get damaged. Angered that a Dalit could tell them this, they attacked him with a knife-like object. When my grandfather tried to protect his neck, the knife cut away his fingers,” said Dasya’s brother.

According to the Police Chief Vir, Ravi was involved in the attack on Dasya’s grandfather. However, his father had been jailed in connection with the attack. Even so, owing to the peace in the last two decades, the heinous crime on September 14 was a severe shock to the family.

Regaining consciousness at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, in Aligarh University, Dasya had accused Sandeep, Ravi, Ram and Lavkush of sexually assaulting her. She also talked about how the four men harassed her for six months and recollected an incident where she was pulled by Sandeep, who had a history of high alcohol consumption, but had escaped. Yet, following her death, the family was accused of honour killing Dasya for her alleged relationship with the accused Sandeep.

Incensed upon hearing the incident, Dalit rights activist Shyoraj Jivan said that anyone who looks at Dalit girls with a wrong intention would have their “eyes gouged out,” following which he was arrested. While none of Dasya’s family members approved of Jivan’s statement, they were disheartened to learn that their only supporter from the Valmiki community was kept away.

Similarly, Ambedkarite Dr. Jyoti Bansal stayed with the family to support their fight for justice.

“When she spoke to Babuji (father), he felt highly consoled. We could find him interacting with her and coming out of depression to an extent. We, therefore, requested her to stay back and she did. She also stayed for the second night on our insistence and changed the atmosphere in the hours, in spite of a large police force surrounding us for 24x7 and outsiders continuing to visit and question. When these are the facts, we feel sad that she is blamed as a Naxal,” said the sister-in-law with her voice breaking, as per the report.

It may be mentioned that higher officials in state administration refrained from offering their support to the family. Even a Member of Parliament from the same constituency, who also belongs to the Dalit community gave a half-hearted response in the Hathras case.

Administrative and police mismanagement

Regarding the police and state administration, the members heavily criticised the Uttar Pradesh police allowing the atrocious violation of the Dalit woman’s and the family’s Constitutional as well as human rights.  

“There is no doubt that the police of Uttar Pradesh behaved in a highly suspicious as well as vicious manner, beyond anyone’s expectation and they have, thereby created all doubts about their intentions,” said the report.

In the same vein, they condemned the arrests of 3 active leaders of the Union of Working Journalists from Kerala and the state police’s manhandling of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi on their way to the victim’s family as an act of criminalising dissent and strangulating opposition in ‘democratic’ India.

Although the NAPM group did not face such hostility from police when they visited Dasya’s home, they mentioned that 10-12 of saffron-turban-clad Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha activists were allowed to meet the ‘victim’ Thakur family in a single group while the NAPM members were only allowed to enter the village in batches.

Members also denounced the forceful cremation of Dasya’s body without allowing the family to conduct final rites, and rejected the reasoning of the state government that the body was disposed to curb future violence. They recalled how the family had requested the officials to allow the body to reach the cremation grounds. However, police paid no heed to their wishes.

“Such an awfully inhuman and criminal act on the part of the state with no repentance, nor any response to our serious questions or legal challenge, has proved that the state itself wanted to suppress the issue with casteist, manuvadi and inhuman anti-woman elements exposed through this and other incidences in Unnao, Balarampur, or Azamgarh cases, before and after,” they said.

However, the disrespectful cremation was only the worst of the many injustices done by the police while handling the investigation. The NAPM members said that the police had failed in their role right from the very first time Dasya was taken to the Balga hospital in Hathras. The police had not briefed the doctors of an alleged sexual assault case or the need for a medical examination which would have been crucial to further investigation as per section 375 of the Indian Penal Code.

“This passage, rather wastage, of time could be deliberate since late examination couldn’t ever prove rape. The intention obviously could be to miss or lose evidence forever,” said the report.

They also expressed dismay with the medical staff who did not question the victim’s family after looking at the injuries done to her neck and spinal cord. In fact, throughout their time in the hospital, the family felt the doctor’s and medical staff were under external pressure.

This fact is made all the more frustrating after members mention a Medico Legal Case report that states there were signs of vaginal penetration by penis. This report was not immediately made available to the family. It may be noted that a report from the forensic department of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) later ruled out this possibility.

While talking about Dasya’s medical treatment, the organisation also dismissed allegations against the family of interfering with her medical treatment by taking her to Safdarjung hospital instead of AIIMS.

“We were told, when asked, that the AIIMS and Safdarjung are the same. We couldn’t argue as we are not educated nor knowledgeable about Delhi and the medical services,” said the family.

Other than the police and hospital personnel, the family also recounted how the father was treated by the District Magistrate who called him for questioning. Instead of queries he received an unclear message the very next day of the crime that he and his family should convey satisfaction to all about the police enquiry and the medical treatment.

“This itself conveys the state was preparing to suppress the truth and close the case forever. Things changed after civil society and a group of courageous media started raising the issue and bringing out the truth. No doubt the judiciary also had to hear, if not do justice with due urgency, when the common citizens, not just activists, also started reacting to the brutalities as well as the State’s misleading deeds and statements,” said the report.

What about the family?

While talking, activists learnt that Dasya’s family had not bothered to check their bank accounts for the compensation amount of Rs. 25 lakhs promised by the state government following public outrage. It is unclear whether they even accepted the Rs. 8-10 lakhs given under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act because “the money is of no use” to them without justice for their daughter.

To this, the Allahabad High Court order said that if the family doesn't accept it, then the District Magistrate should keep the money in a separate account for future use.

Meanwhile, Dasya’s family waits for justice. Her mother found her unconscious body in the field while her brother rushed to the spot on a bike, reported the crime at the Chandpa police station and then took his sister to the Balga Hospital in Hathras. Devoid of any hope of the state government, the family now waits for the Supreme Court to deliver justice.

Fact Finding report can be read here:

Related:

Hathras case: Two doctors who questioned the FSL Reports, scolded by senior doctors and later sacked by AMU
Hathras case: SC reserves order on transfer of case outside UP
Caste attacks on Dalits continue: Panchayat to support rape and murder accused!
UP Police breached the law in Hathras

NAPM condemn police’s and administration’s handling of the Hathras incident

Nine activists visit Hathras, Uttar Pradesh to document the aggrieved family’s account of the series of events related to the Hathras crime.

NAPM

Nine members to the National Alliance of People’s Movement’s (NAPM) representatives visited the Hathras victim’s family at Bulgarhi village on October 9, 2020 to listen to compile a detailed fact-finding report of the case. The activists attempted to highlight the inhumane factors of the incident. Accordingly, they expressed solidarity with the victim’s family, who was dubbed ‘Dasya’ in the report, in their battle against casteist politics and injustice.

While detailing events of the past two months, activists like Medha Patkar and advocate Ehtesham Hashmi highlighted said the Hathras crime – that occurred 14 years after the Khairlanji massacre of Scheduled Caste people in Bhandara district of Maharashtra – indicated the cumulative effect of caste and gender on marginalised communities.

Role of caste in Hathras crime

The report described the case as being “entangled in a controversy but also in the casteist politics, denying the facts narrated by the family and openly accusing them of lying and honour killing.”

Bulgarhi village, where the incident took place, is home to 15 Dalit families out of more than 600 families that have experienced a number of repressive acts and atmosphere over several decades. The minority group only recently began to stand up to upper caste families like the Thakurs who use services of Dalit families as agricultural labourers.

Similarly, Dasya’s family has a strained relationship with their neighbours, the Thakur family. In the 1990s, the family was allotted 5 bighas of land by Mayawati’s government. However, the family only received three and half bighas while the rest was allegedly encroached upon by a Brahmin family. They lived quietly and earned a small supplementary income from cattle rearing and selling milk – until 20 years ago, the Thakurs allegedly attacked Dasya’s grandfather.

“They came into our field to graze their buffalos and my grandfather requested them to take the animals elsewhere as our crops would get damaged. Angered that a Dalit could tell them this, they attacked him with a knife-like object. When my grandfather tried to protect his neck, the knife cut away his fingers,” said Dasya’s brother.

According to the Police Chief Vir, Ravi was involved in the attack on Dasya’s grandfather. However, his father had been jailed in connection with the attack. Even so, owing to the peace in the last two decades, the heinous crime on September 14 was a severe shock to the family.

Regaining consciousness at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, in Aligarh University, Dasya had accused Sandeep, Ravi, Ram and Lavkush of sexually assaulting her. She also talked about how the four men harassed her for six months and recollected an incident where she was pulled by Sandeep, who had a history of high alcohol consumption, but had escaped. Yet, following her death, the family was accused of honour killing Dasya for her alleged relationship with the accused Sandeep.

Incensed upon hearing the incident, Dalit rights activist Shyoraj Jivan said that anyone who looks at Dalit girls with a wrong intention would have their “eyes gouged out,” following which he was arrested. While none of Dasya’s family members approved of Jivan’s statement, they were disheartened to learn that their only supporter from the Valmiki community was kept away.

Similarly, Ambedkarite Dr. Jyoti Bansal stayed with the family to support their fight for justice.

“When she spoke to Babuji (father), he felt highly consoled. We could find him interacting with her and coming out of depression to an extent. We, therefore, requested her to stay back and she did. She also stayed for the second night on our insistence and changed the atmosphere in the hours, in spite of a large police force surrounding us for 24x7 and outsiders continuing to visit and question. When these are the facts, we feel sad that she is blamed as a Naxal,” said the sister-in-law with her voice breaking, as per the report.

It may be mentioned that higher officials in state administration refrained from offering their support to the family. Even a Member of Parliament from the same constituency, who also belongs to the Dalit community gave a half-hearted response in the Hathras case.

Administrative and police mismanagement

Regarding the police and state administration, the members heavily criticised the Uttar Pradesh police allowing the atrocious violation of the Dalit woman’s and the family’s Constitutional as well as human rights.  

“There is no doubt that the police of Uttar Pradesh behaved in a highly suspicious as well as vicious manner, beyond anyone’s expectation and they have, thereby created all doubts about their intentions,” said the report.

In the same vein, they condemned the arrests of 3 active leaders of the Union of Working Journalists from Kerala and the state police’s manhandling of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi on their way to the victim’s family as an act of criminalising dissent and strangulating opposition in ‘democratic’ India.

Although the NAPM group did not face such hostility from police when they visited Dasya’s home, they mentioned that 10-12 of saffron-turban-clad Akhil Bhartiya Kshatriya Mahasabha activists were allowed to meet the ‘victim’ Thakur family in a single group while the NAPM members were only allowed to enter the village in batches.

Members also denounced the forceful cremation of Dasya’s body without allowing the family to conduct final rites, and rejected the reasoning of the state government that the body was disposed to curb future violence. They recalled how the family had requested the officials to allow the body to reach the cremation grounds. However, police paid no heed to their wishes.

“Such an awfully inhuman and criminal act on the part of the state with no repentance, nor any response to our serious questions or legal challenge, has proved that the state itself wanted to suppress the issue with casteist, manuvadi and inhuman anti-woman elements exposed through this and other incidences in Unnao, Balarampur, or Azamgarh cases, before and after,” they said.

However, the disrespectful cremation was only the worst of the many injustices done by the police while handling the investigation. The NAPM members said that the police had failed in their role right from the very first time Dasya was taken to the Balga hospital in Hathras. The police had not briefed the doctors of an alleged sexual assault case or the need for a medical examination which would have been crucial to further investigation as per section 375 of the Indian Penal Code.

“This passage, rather wastage, of time could be deliberate since late examination couldn’t ever prove rape. The intention obviously could be to miss or lose evidence forever,” said the report.

They also expressed dismay with the medical staff who did not question the victim’s family after looking at the injuries done to her neck and spinal cord. In fact, throughout their time in the hospital, the family felt the doctor’s and medical staff were under external pressure.

This fact is made all the more frustrating after members mention a Medico Legal Case report that states there were signs of vaginal penetration by penis. This report was not immediately made available to the family. It may be noted that a report from the forensic department of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) later ruled out this possibility.

While talking about Dasya’s medical treatment, the organisation also dismissed allegations against the family of interfering with her medical treatment by taking her to Safdarjung hospital instead of AIIMS.

“We were told, when asked, that the AIIMS and Safdarjung are the same. We couldn’t argue as we are not educated nor knowledgeable about Delhi and the medical services,” said the family.

Other than the police and hospital personnel, the family also recounted how the father was treated by the District Magistrate who called him for questioning. Instead of queries he received an unclear message the very next day of the crime that he and his family should convey satisfaction to all about the police enquiry and the medical treatment.

“This itself conveys the state was preparing to suppress the truth and close the case forever. Things changed after civil society and a group of courageous media started raising the issue and bringing out the truth. No doubt the judiciary also had to hear, if not do justice with due urgency, when the common citizens, not just activists, also started reacting to the brutalities as well as the State’s misleading deeds and statements,” said the report.

What about the family?

While talking, activists learnt that Dasya’s family had not bothered to check their bank accounts for the compensation amount of Rs. 25 lakhs promised by the state government following public outrage. It is unclear whether they even accepted the Rs. 8-10 lakhs given under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act because “the money is of no use” to them without justice for their daughter.

To this, the Allahabad High Court order said that if the family doesn't accept it, then the District Magistrate should keep the money in a separate account for future use.

Meanwhile, Dasya’s family waits for justice. Her mother found her unconscious body in the field while her brother rushed to the spot on a bike, reported the crime at the Chandpa police station and then took his sister to the Balga Hospital in Hathras. Devoid of any hope of the state government, the family now waits for the Supreme Court to deliver justice.

Fact Finding report can be read here:

Related:

Hathras case: Two doctors who questioned the FSL Reports, scolded by senior doctors and later sacked by AMU
Hathras case: SC reserves order on transfer of case outside UP
Caste attacks on Dalits continue: Panchayat to support rape and murder accused!
UP Police breached the law in Hathras

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Hathras case: Two doctors who questioned the FSL Reports, scolded by senior doctors and later sacked by AMU

Doctors Azeem Malik and Obaid Haque were issued their termination letters on October 20 by the CMO in charge two weeks after they had claimed that the FSL report of the Hathras victim “holds no value” as it was collected 11 days after the attack took place.

22 Oct 2020

AMU Doctors

Dr. Azeem Malik, Chief Medical Officer of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC) at Aligarh Muslim University, who had earlier this month claimed that the FSL report in the Hathras woman’s case “holds no value”, was asked on October 20 “not to perform any further duties”. His colleague Dr. Obaid Haque who had attested the Hathras victim’s medico legal case report was issued a similar letter. According to the The Wire, it was on October 16 that Dr. Azeem received a letter saying that the proposal to appoint him as temporary CMO at the JNMCH could not be acceded to. Then, on October 20, he was given an urgent notice terminating him from his post at the hospital along with Dr. Haque.

On October 20, both doctors received letters signed by the Chief Medical Officer in-charge Dr. S.A.H. Zaidi which stated: “This is to inform you that as directed by the Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tariq Mansoor via telephone on 20.10.2020 at 11:14 am, your appointment on the post of Medical Officer, Emergency & Trauma, JNMCH, is rejected with immediate effect. Therefore, you are requested not to perform any further duties.”

On October 5, Dr. Azeem Malik had told the Indian Express that, “The samples were collected 11 days after the woman was allegedly raped, while government guidelines strictly say forensic evidence can only be found up to 96 hours after the incident. This report can’t confirm rape in this incident.”  The victim had been admitted to JNMC Hospital for her treatment for 14 days before being shifted to Safdarjung hospital in Delhi a day before her death.

This statement stood directly in contravention with Mr. Prashant Kumar’s (Additional Director General, Uttar Pradesh- Law and Order) statement that said the FSL report of the victim suggested there were no traces of sperm and hence she was not raped.

When the AMU administration was contacted by The Indian Express, they said, “The administration has not suspended any doctor related to Hathras incident. Two months back, there were vacancies because existing CMOs took leave. Few of them were infected with Covid. There was an emergency and the two doctors -Dr Malik and Dr Haque were only appointed to fill the leave vacancies. Now that the CMOs are back, there are no leave vacancies, hence their services are not required.” Later they issued another statement saying “It has come to our notice that the doctors aren’t happy with the decision. We are looking into their grievances and they might be adjusted somewhere else in the hospital.”

The Wire also reported that the Chief Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Shahid Siddiqui, according to Dr. Azeem, had been “scolded” by the VC the day after his statement had come out in the press. “The VC had called the principal, and scolded him. We had got an indication that day that we will have to face the wrath in some form. There was nothing wrong in giving statements to the press. Ask any doctor, they will say the same thing as me. But it is happening probably because it made headlines,” he said. 

Dr. Obaid Haque while talking to The Indian Express said, “I was last paid in August. We were hired because our seniors weren’t well. That time, we were told to join immediately. I did my Master’s in surgery from AMU and graduated this year. I worked during the pandemic and risked my life and now they have terminated us because Dr Malik spoke to the media and they think that I leaked information. I am still not sure why I am being targeted. Three days ago, I came to know that my appointment will be rejected. We still don’t have a written statement from the Vice-Chancellor about this… This is sad, we didn’t do anything wrong.” Dr Malik, when contacted, also said he wasn’t given last month’s salary and was “scolded” by his seniors because he had given his “personal opinion” to the media.

He informed Indian Express that, “Earlier I was scolded but they didn’t do anything. Late in September, I had filed my application for an extension, but they have rejected it a month later. We have been terminated and they have not given us any reason.”

The Wire contacted AMU vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor about the termination of Dr Azeem and Dr. Obaid’s services and received a response on his behalf from the AMU spokesperson Shafey Kidwai. Contesting the claim that Azeem has been sacked for his statement in the press, Mr. Kidwai said, “Dr Azeem has been working on leave vacancy whose term expired on October 8, hence question of termination of his service does not arise. Casual Medical officer is group one service and temporary appointment cannot be made since there were many Covid patients. Now with improved situation the ad hoc appointment of two more doctors, Dr. Obaid and Dr. Faheem, were not approved.  It is [a] pure administrative decision [that has] nothing to do with the Indian Express interview.”

On October 21, 2020 the Resident Doctor’s Association of JNMCH issued an urgent notice to the VC of Aligarh Muslim University condemning the termination of the two doctors demanding the hospital authorities to the order immediately to protect the rights of doctors. The notice stated, “We have strong reasons to believe that that this is a decision influenced by vendetta politics aimed to suppress independent voices. If their suspension is not revoked within 24 hours, RDA will convene a GBM and will utilize its democratic rights to safeguard the interests of the doctor’s fraternity.” 

Source: Twitter (Mojo Story)

This suspension notice comes a day after the team of Central Bureau of Investigation visited the Aligarh Hospital with respect to the Hathras atrocity. The 19-year-old Dalit girl was admitted at JNMCH on September 14 and 8 days later on September 22, her statement was recorded where she named the 4 upper caste men who had raped and attacked her. She passed away on September 29 at Safdarjung Hospital Delhi.  

The letters can be seen here:

Related:

We are 'the others': No justice in Hathras case, 236 Valmikis convert to Buddhism
Hathras case: SC reserves order on transfer of case outside UP
CJP moves Supreme Court in Hathras case

Hathras case: Two doctors who questioned the FSL Reports, scolded by senior doctors and later sacked by AMU

Doctors Azeem Malik and Obaid Haque were issued their termination letters on October 20 by the CMO in charge two weeks after they had claimed that the FSL report of the Hathras victim “holds no value” as it was collected 11 days after the attack took place.

AMU Doctors

Dr. Azeem Malik, Chief Medical Officer of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC) at Aligarh Muslim University, who had earlier this month claimed that the FSL report in the Hathras woman’s case “holds no value”, was asked on October 20 “not to perform any further duties”. His colleague Dr. Obaid Haque who had attested the Hathras victim’s medico legal case report was issued a similar letter. According to the The Wire, it was on October 16 that Dr. Azeem received a letter saying that the proposal to appoint him as temporary CMO at the JNMCH could not be acceded to. Then, on October 20, he was given an urgent notice terminating him from his post at the hospital along with Dr. Haque.

On October 20, both doctors received letters signed by the Chief Medical Officer in-charge Dr. S.A.H. Zaidi which stated: “This is to inform you that as directed by the Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tariq Mansoor via telephone on 20.10.2020 at 11:14 am, your appointment on the post of Medical Officer, Emergency & Trauma, JNMCH, is rejected with immediate effect. Therefore, you are requested not to perform any further duties.”

On October 5, Dr. Azeem Malik had told the Indian Express that, “The samples were collected 11 days after the woman was allegedly raped, while government guidelines strictly say forensic evidence can only be found up to 96 hours after the incident. This report can’t confirm rape in this incident.”  The victim had been admitted to JNMC Hospital for her treatment for 14 days before being shifted to Safdarjung hospital in Delhi a day before her death.

This statement stood directly in contravention with Mr. Prashant Kumar’s (Additional Director General, Uttar Pradesh- Law and Order) statement that said the FSL report of the victim suggested there were no traces of sperm and hence she was not raped.

When the AMU administration was contacted by The Indian Express, they said, “The administration has not suspended any doctor related to Hathras incident. Two months back, there were vacancies because existing CMOs took leave. Few of them were infected with Covid. There was an emergency and the two doctors -Dr Malik and Dr Haque were only appointed to fill the leave vacancies. Now that the CMOs are back, there are no leave vacancies, hence their services are not required.” Later they issued another statement saying “It has come to our notice that the doctors aren’t happy with the decision. We are looking into their grievances and they might be adjusted somewhere else in the hospital.”

The Wire also reported that the Chief Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Shahid Siddiqui, according to Dr. Azeem, had been “scolded” by the VC the day after his statement had come out in the press. “The VC had called the principal, and scolded him. We had got an indication that day that we will have to face the wrath in some form. There was nothing wrong in giving statements to the press. Ask any doctor, they will say the same thing as me. But it is happening probably because it made headlines,” he said. 

Dr. Obaid Haque while talking to The Indian Express said, “I was last paid in August. We were hired because our seniors weren’t well. That time, we were told to join immediately. I did my Master’s in surgery from AMU and graduated this year. I worked during the pandemic and risked my life and now they have terminated us because Dr Malik spoke to the media and they think that I leaked information. I am still not sure why I am being targeted. Three days ago, I came to know that my appointment will be rejected. We still don’t have a written statement from the Vice-Chancellor about this… This is sad, we didn’t do anything wrong.” Dr Malik, when contacted, also said he wasn’t given last month’s salary and was “scolded” by his seniors because he had given his “personal opinion” to the media.

He informed Indian Express that, “Earlier I was scolded but they didn’t do anything. Late in September, I had filed my application for an extension, but they have rejected it a month later. We have been terminated and they have not given us any reason.”

The Wire contacted AMU vice-chancellor Tariq Mansoor about the termination of Dr Azeem and Dr. Obaid’s services and received a response on his behalf from the AMU spokesperson Shafey Kidwai. Contesting the claim that Azeem has been sacked for his statement in the press, Mr. Kidwai said, “Dr Azeem has been working on leave vacancy whose term expired on October 8, hence question of termination of his service does not arise. Casual Medical officer is group one service and temporary appointment cannot be made since there were many Covid patients. Now with improved situation the ad hoc appointment of two more doctors, Dr. Obaid and Dr. Faheem, were not approved.  It is [a] pure administrative decision [that has] nothing to do with the Indian Express interview.”

On October 21, 2020 the Resident Doctor’s Association of JNMCH issued an urgent notice to the VC of Aligarh Muslim University condemning the termination of the two doctors demanding the hospital authorities to the order immediately to protect the rights of doctors. The notice stated, “We have strong reasons to believe that that this is a decision influenced by vendetta politics aimed to suppress independent voices. If their suspension is not revoked within 24 hours, RDA will convene a GBM and will utilize its democratic rights to safeguard the interests of the doctor’s fraternity.”