Delhi: Women’s group calls upon media to cover the ire of Nangal villagers

As on-ground protests continue in wake of the Delhi minor girl’s gang rape, media attention has shifted to legal proceedings.

Delhi womenImage

Nearly 20 days have passed since a nine-year-old girl from the Valmiki community was sexually assaulted and cremated by a priest and other men in a cremation ground near the Delhi cantonment area on August 1, 2021. However, the meagre media coverage has all but dissipated within this time despite parallels drawn with the Hathras case that shook India last year.

The case received social media attention when prominent leaders like Azad Samaj Party’s Chandra Shekhar Azad and Congress’s Rahul Gandhi condemned the incident. When in reality, the protests were near instant. The girl’s mother brought Purana Nangal villagers to the cremation grounds on learning about her child’s unceremonious death.

In fact, Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan General Secretary Poonam Kaushik said that villagers were vocal in ensuring that local police arrested those accused.

“The people there played a huge role in having the men arrested. They continue to protest even after the arrest. However, the mainstream media does not cover these protests. It seems activities affecting everyday life don’t affect them. Regardless, people there are still enraged,” she said.

In the first week of August, Times of India, India Today covered the on-ground protests of the people. Other media houses like SabrangIndia also covered protests by women’s groups like the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) who called for severe action against the police officials, who did not file the chargesheet on time.

A delegation led by Brinda Karat, AIDWA Delhi General Secretary Asha Sharma and Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch leader Nathu Prasad met the family to express support.

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait also visited the family on August 8 to join their sit-in protests demanding justice for the minor.

Rakesh T

Minir Girl Family

However, as the case moved to the court, the media attention also moved behind closed doors. The outrage about the incident now comes in the form of short legal reports updating the proceedings of the case. When SabrangIndia reached out to some people participating in previous protests, individuals said there is no merit in protesting if the case is already in court.

Why do we protest?

Meanwhile, AIDWA General Secretary Mariam Dhawale rejected the claims that public outrage has diminished. She stressed that concerned organisations are regularly following up with the family and the case. However, the same is not reflected in the public domain because of Covid restrictions in Delhi.

“The police have restricted mobilisation in the area citing Covid restrictions. That is why there is public rage but it is hard to show the same. The authorities have created an anti-democratic atmosphere. There is rage but no consent to show it,” said Dhawale.

Regarding the claim that protests are unnecessary after legal proceedings, Kaushik said the real question is about women’s safety. She pointed out that despite the lodging of an FIR, the cremation ground was yet to instal CCTVs.

Although the Delhi government has widely spoken about women’s safety and security the realities differ on ground. She stressed this by stating earlier two military men sexually assaulted a woman in the same area. Yet, there were no efforts to make the area more secure.

Both times, the locals were vocal about the incidents. She said that villagers had been complaining for a long time about the police’s lax attitude towards the drug dealing carried out in the area.

“The mainstream media does not show all this. If they do, it depends on how heated the incidents are. There are no effective fast track courts. Even with Nirbhaya funds, there are very few special labs to conduct required tests. These systematic issues need to be considered,” she said.

For these reasons, Kaushik said that the matter does not end with a police complaint. Moreover, she said that even during protests people demand capital punishment. Politicians act in reaction to these demands. In reality, this creates a problem of conviction of crimes.

“The more adverse the punishment is, the harder it is to convict the accused. We feel the question is not about individual cases but the mindset that ‘women are properties.’ This thinking is pushed on people. That is why we see people protesting,” said Kaushik.


Delhi Cantonment rape case: AIDWA demands action against police for alleged ‘silent complicity’
Nangal village gang-rape, both gendered and caste-based violence: Civil Society Organisations
And now, Hathras-like horror in Delhi!



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