SocietyNews Feminist News Wrap – Teesta Setalavad, RK Pachauri and “Serial Murderer” in Delhi

Feminist News Wrap – Teesta Setalavad, RK Pachauri and “Serial Murderer” in Delhi

The Most Talked About

Activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand are being targeted by the CBI, and when they moved the Bombay High Court last week, they were rejected anticipatory bail. For the uninitiated, Teesta Setalvad’s NGO has been actively pursuing court cases related to the 2002 post-Godhra killings. She and her husband are being accused of diverting foreign funds for personal use. Though their bail plea was rejected, they have been given interim protection from arrest until August 10th.

TERI (The Energy and Research Institute of India) chief RK Pachauri, who has a sexual harassment case registered against him was allowed by the courts to access TERI premises except the headquarters on 17th July. This happened despite the fact that the Delhi police requested cancelation of anticipatory bail to Pachauri saying he was influencing witnesses and misusing the liberty of bail. In protest, several employees shared their objection with the governing council. As a result of protests and outrage, RK Pachauri was removed as the head of TERI.

A nun in Kerala was not allowed to take the All India Pre-Medical Test since she refused to take off her veil and cross while writing the exam. This happened following CBSE’s directive that no jewellery, scarfs, veils, electronic gadgets, watches, shoes can be worn in the exam hall. The rule was brought in after reports of cheating in the AIPMT exam conducted this year.

That Which Got No Attention

Last week, a certain piece of news came out where an accused confessed to raping and murdering 30 children from poor economic families in Delhi. The police caught this man on July 15th while investigating a missing 6-year-old. They got a complete confession out of him in 4 days. He has now been sent to judicial custody for 2 weeks. However, there is absolutely no follow-up news and no mentions of the police trying to trace any of the other murders. Also, none of the news channels gave this front page attention.

The women whose rape complaint journalist Jagendra Singh was burned to death for, has now withdrawn her allegations against minister Ram Murti Verma. She submitted an affidavit to the chief judicial magistrate that she had filed a rape complaint against the minister at the insistence of Jagendra Singh.

Gender Roles, Urban Safety & Workplace Equality

According to a survey in Delhi, over 85% of head of the household responded saying that they were comfortable with an adult female member coming back home by 8 PM whereas the same time for adult male members extended to 10 PM or midnight. It just continues to prove the gendered perspective in Indian households.

According to a security audit of New Delhi district, the highly secured Delhi’s diplomatic area are not very safe for women despite the round-the-clock security.

Bangalore police, along with Amnesty International is going to launch a campaign to make it easier for women to file complaints. As part of this campaign, there are going to be virtual reality kiosks as well as step-by-step information guides on Whatsapp to educate people on the procedure of filing an FIR.

In yet another attempt that restricts women and does not empower them, Punjab University has decided to barricade women’s hostel from 7 PM to 9:30 PM in an attempt to provide for the safety of girl students! Apparently, this was part of a bunch of other decisions made after a series of sexual harassment complains in campus.

According to data collected by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPRD), women constitute less than 2% of all central paramilitary personnel, but account for over 40% of the suicides. This when interpreted differently means that the suicide rate for women in paramilitary forces is 396.9 per lakh compared to just 11.2 per lakh for men.

Bills & Acts

The Maharashtra government unanimously passed the amendment to Factories Act allowing women to work the night shift. While it is definitely welcome, several activists have cautioned that the government needs to provide guidelines to ensure security along with insisting that organisations form a sexual harassment committee to serve Vishakha guidelines.

Women rights activists are now demanding a separate subsection for disabled women in theRights of Persons with Disability Bill, 2014, which is proposed to replace thePersons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. This is especially important since the rights of disabled women also include reproductive rights.

Abortion Rights

In India, the abortion debate has suddenly begun with courts refusing abortion to rape survivors. In the latest case, a 14-year-old girl was refused abortion by a Gujarat High Court since she is 24 weeks pregnant.

The Nirbhaya Fund

The centre has finally allocated funds to the effect of Rs.18.58 crore for ‘One Stop Centres’ or crisis centres to come to the aid of women who face violence. However, the original amount that was allotted to these crisis centres was Rs. 660 crore, which was further reduced to Rs. 36 crore. However, now the allotment is Rs. 18.58 crore. So, should we now just expect further cuts?

Abuse, Rape & Other Violent Attacks (*Trigger Warning*)

In Delhi, a 19-year old girl, Meenakshi was stabbed to death in a crowded Delhi market in the presence of several witnesses. Her “crime” – she had sent the murderer to jail on charges of stalking her.

A 15-year old girl committed suicide by self-immolation following threats by the family of two of the men convicted in the rape case.

Here is a summary of all rapes and attempt to rape reported by various news media in the last week.

Featured Image Credit: A file photo of Teesta Setalvad |

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