SocietyNews Feminist News Wrap: Yakub Memon Hanged, ‘Saint’ Asaram and Right Wing Violence

Feminist News Wrap: Yakub Memon Hanged, ‘Saint’ Asaram and Right Wing Violence

Yakub Memon Hanged

Despite mercy petitions and severe debate, Yakub Memon was hanged last week for his connection with the 1993 serial bomb blasts. In the aftermath of the hanging, Anup Surendranath, a Supreme Court deputy registrar, described it as the “darkest hours for the Supreme Court of India,” and resigned over the decision. It will be good to read articles in connection to explaining why death penalty is not a deterrent to crime. 

Access to Public Spaces

According to a recent audit by NGO Jagori, many women in Delhi perceive public spaces as unsafe due to absence of women, lack of lighting and last minute connectivity. This report has also been shared with Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD), the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) and the Transport Department.

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has decided to set up a Special Cell to address problems faced by women from Northeast in the national capital.

In some welcome news, the Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation has decided to recruit more women conductors.

Official Statistics Of Crime Against Women

More than 32,000 cases of violation of rights of women have been reported by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in 2014-15 and the figure for this year so far is 9,786, according to a report to the Parliament. The reasons include domestic violence, assault, rape, dowry harassment and property disputes.

Right Wing Violence

ABVP workers stall the screening of the film Muzzafarnagar Baaqi Hai at Kirorimal College of Delhi University. The movie is a documentary that records & revisits the riots in Western UP in 2013.

The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha (ABHM) has launched a campaign that is called – Islam-mukt Bharat. As part of this ‘campaign’, they have called workers across the country to perform jalabhishek in Varanasi on Aug 3rd.

Abortion, Child Abuse & Child Rights

The Supreme Court directed medical panel has approved abortion of a 25-week-old pregnancy though the law allows termination only until the 20th week. The 14 year old rape survivor’s petition was earlier dismissed abortion by the Gujarat High Court on the grounds that the existing law does not allow termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks.

According to a detailed study of 644 sexual assault cases in Mumbai between 2008 and 2015, conducted by women’s rights organization Majlis, fifty-one per cent of the cases involved minors aged between 11 and 18. Apart from assault these girls also face illiteracy & poverty and a majority of them are from abusive homes. The study also found that convictions were higher for victims aged under 10.

According to statistics based on 241 FIRs filed in Mumbai between March 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015, around 12 per cent cases involved rapes by fathers and stepfathers, while rapes by strangers in public places were a mere 3 per cent. This brings us back to the point that we are looking at rapes very wrongly – mere conversations about CCTV cameras and death penalty is going to get us nowhere.

Rights of Differently Abled

On July 23rd, a media report came out where a group of differently abled people, who had assembled outside the collectorate to present a memorandum of eight demands were beat up by the SP in Bijnor area of Uttar Pradesh. This report along which came along with a photograph was taken in cognisance by the National Human Rights Commission which has sought explanation from Uttar Pradesh government and the state police.

The Rape Culture

Asaram Bapu, who is currently in jail for rape, features next to Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Pramahamsa and Mother Theresa as a ‘saint’ in a Class III textbook in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district. The book has been supplied by Delhi-based publisher Gurukul Education Books. When the publishers were questioned, they conveniently responded stating that Asaram was not arrested when the books were published. And officials of the education department expressed ignorance over the matter.

The 24-year-old gang rape survivor from Botad district, who was earlier in the news since the courts refused to allow her termination of pregnancy, has now complained before a sessions court of constant threat to her and her family members from the accused, especially from the Sundariyana village sarpanch Mayur Rathod. She also mentioned that the police were lenient with the accused and despite repeated complaints of threat to her, no action had been taken against them. Also, the statements made by her & her family was changed in the charge sheet.

Another piece of statistic that came out as part of the Majlis study was that in 36 per cent cases between 2011-12, the victim’s name appeared in the judgment despite the Supreme Court guidelines to keep it confidential. 

In Chennai, police detained the son of a sub-inspector who posed as a police officer and attempted to rape a 16-year-old girl. The girl, a Class 11 student, informed the police that Lalith Kumar, 22, son of a Manavala Nagar sub-inspector, tried to rape her. However, the police only charged him with abduction under IPS Section 366.

Featured Image Credit: A still from Muzzafarnagar Baaqi Hai |

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