Araria rape survivor granted bail, activist-supporters still in jail

A judge had sent her to judicial custody along with two women’s rights activists for ‘contempt of court’

Araria rape survivor

After over 7,000 individuals and 63 organisations wrote to the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court demanding justice for a gangrape survivor from Araria, she was granted bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court in Araria after a special hearing on July 17. However, two women’s rights activists assisting the survivor were denied bail.

It may be recalled that on July 10, the survivor was recording her statement before a lower court judge when she requested the presence of the two activists; Kalyani Badola and Tanmay Nivedita who were her support providers who work with Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan (JJSS). Allegedly failing to recognize the survivor’s trauma, the judge charged the trio with contempt of court and sent them to judicial custody in Dalsinghsarai Jail in Samastipur district, 250 kms away from Araria, on July 11, 2020.

Following this, JJSS and several other activist groups and individuals petitioned the CJ of the Patna HC to release them. By Thursday, thousands of others had joined them demanding justice for the traumatised survivor.

As per a statement released by the JJSS today, “In the Araria rape case, where a survivor and her two friends and support persons (also social workers with the Jan Jagarn Shakti Sangathan, (JJSS) were sent to jail on 10 July, 2020, a hearing was scheduled in the Honourable Patna High Court for today. However, the Honourable Judge did not sit today and so no hearing happened today. But we were very happy that a special hearing was called at the Araria CJM court level to hear our bail petition which was filed on Wednesday, July 15.”

The statement goes on to say, “While survivor was given bail, contrary to all expectations, her friends and support persons Kalyani and Tanmay’s bail was rejected. This is not legally sustainable. It is unclear why Kalyani was not given bail since she has been booked for similar charges as the survivor.”

JJSS has raised concerns about the survivor’s state of mind saying, “Additionally the bail given to the survivor on a PR bond, creates a further problem of separation from her primary support persons. It is also putting her through a whole new trauma, which is going to be caused by her guilt for being the cause of her support persons being in jail, probably one of the very few people she had trust in and who stood by her in her crisis.”

With respect to what happens now to the two activists, JJSS said, “After Kalyani and Tanmay’s bail was denied, we immediately sought to move a bail application before the CJM court, Araria but we have been advised that no hearing is taking place in view of the circular of July 15 which has suspended functioning of the District Courts because of Covid. Given the circumstances, we will continue to pursue all legal remedies available to us and as advised by our lawyers Anuj Prakash and senior council SC advocate Vrinda Grover.”   



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