In a supremely successful all women strike, thousands of women labourers converged in Munnar, the tea town in Kerala’s Idukki district, from plantations miles apart to express their anger and disgust with their bosses and leaders of Kannan Devan Hills Plantation. What is all the more important to note is that these women organised themselves and took no support from worker unions or any political party. In fact state leaders were asked to firmly stay away, when they offered to help.
Eventually, they negotiated for what they wanted – better bonus, better working conditions and higher wages. This is a huge movement that we should not forget since they openly stressed on the gender aspect of the mobilisation.
Rape, Laws & Lawlessness
Last week, the shocking news of the Saudi diplomat who continuously raped two Nepali girls and held them as sex slaves came out in the open when the girls were rescued in Delhi. This week, the story has pretty much been wrapped up since the said rapist (whose name we do not know owing to diplomatic immunity) has left the country citing immunity under Vienna Convention. However, the Nepal police arrested two people in connection with trafficking these girls.
After drawing criticism from National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Chhattisgarh government finally withdrew its controversial regulation in Police Act which made it mandatory for investigating officers to seek SDM’s permission for conducting medical examination on rape survivor.
Last week, the Supreme Court said that the UP police may conduct a probe into the rape case against a man, whose sisters were ordered to be raped by the Khap Panchayat.
Two rape survivors were killed in two separate incidents in Uttar Pradesh.
A woman, who was gang-raped during the 2013 communal clashes in Muzzafarnagar, told a fast-track court that she was being threatened by the accused to withdraw her case.
The Supreme Court made the National Commission for Women (NCW) a party to a PIL challenging constitutional validity of a provision in rape laws that permits “intrusive sexual intercourse with a girl child aged between 15 to 18 years” by the husband.
The Perceived & The Real Social Evils
The Supreme Court has effectively pushed a Gujarati movie that depicts the issues faced by a homosexual prince from the state, observing that certain people might perceive homosexuality as a “social evil.” Basically, the court has granted leave over the matter of entertainment tax exemption for the film – granting leave means that the case would be heard only after arguments in all cases, filed and admitted for hearing before it, are concluded – bringing it to about 3 years from now. Ironically, it was cleared by the censor board.
Asaram Bapu & his son Narayan Sai, who are being tried for two rape cases, now have yet another complaint against them – this time by Narayan Sai’s wife Janki (who is currently separated from him). She filed a complaint saying that both of them are mentally torturing her & her family and has also sought protection from police alleging that her family members and relatives were being threatened over phone to withdraw cases of domestic violence and alimony that she had filed against him.
A Delhi court has put on trial a BJP MLA from Gurgaon and two others for drugging and raping a 30-year-old woman in a hotel in Faridabad.
The Bombay High Court has upheld the conviction of a 23-year-old man for raping a minor girl while observing that if the statement of a rape victim is trustworthy and reliable, further corroboration is not needed.
No Humour In Sexism
Last week, India’s union ministry of health and family welfare installed four vending machines to dispense sanitary napkins in the ladies’ washrooms of its New Delhi office and invited absolutely no women to to celebrate the unveiling of the machines!
Social Media To The Rescue
The Ladies Finger, published a first person account of stalking and harrassment faced by two journalists of Khabar Lahariya, a chain of local language newspapers in Uttar Pradesh, on Sep 14th. This caused severe social media outrage, which eventually led to these stalkers being arrested.
Sending a strong message amidst concerns over mounting curbs on individual liberties, the Supreme Court declined to approve a temporary ban on sale of meat in Mumbai and said that “a ban cannot be forced down somebody’s throat” and that the “spirit of tolerance” was paramount.
The central government has decided to drop a contentious clause in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR), 2015, which would have made it mandatory for NGOs receiving foreign contributions to declare their social media accounts like their Twitter handle and Facebook pages with the government.
Featured Image Credit: A picture of women in strike at Munnar | www.thehindubusinessline.com