IntersectionalityGender 10 Gendered Violence Incidents That Occured Under BJP’s 10-Year Rule 

10 Gendered Violence Incidents That Occured Under BJP’s 10-Year Rule 

Here is the list of ten cases of gendered violence that shocked the nation but maybe not the government so much. 

Trigger warning: Mentions Rape, Gender-based Violence

BJP in their manifestos and speeches, gives a lot of precedence to women’s empowerment. From various schemes like Lakhpati Didi to Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, their promises of empowering women through financial assistance, political participation and others, remain all-time high. 

Women’s empowerment isn’t mutually exclusive to women’s safety and rights in a democratic nation. If women are to be empowered, then safety, security, and proper redressals across different sections must be delivered.

Many major incidents of gender-based violence with no proper redressal from the government were carried out under the NDA’s rule. Here is the list of ten cases that shocked the nation but maybe not the government so much. 

1. Wrestlers’ Protest

Women wrestlers who had earned honours for the country and represented a nation of over 141 crores came out to condemn the sexual assault, abuse and harassment of the women wrestlers by BJP’s Brijbushan Sharan Singh, the head of the Wrestling Federation of India. The women made these charges public and sat in an almost year-long protest at Jantar Mantar. 

Protest against gendered violence
Source: PTI

These women went through various disappointments at the hands of their government’s inaction and silence; the Delhi police which comes under the purview of the central government, didn’t even lodge an FIR. Only after the Apex Court intervened and an FIR was lodged in this case. 

Wrestlers’ protest serves as a sharp reminder that women, regardless of their identity, suffer sexism, misogyny, and gendered violence in whatever sector they work in. The government’s delay in response to this occurrence demonstrates how much it is committed to women’s empowerment and safety in the country. Furthermore, the Prime Minister’s silence on the entire affair was deafening. 

2. Bilkis Bano’s rapists getting remission

In a grave and utterly disappointing move, the Gujrat government gave remission to 11 convicts who raped Bilkis Bano in the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

Source: India Today

The Frontline Magazine writes, “A long and arduous legal struggle led to the conviction, on January 21, 2008, of 11 men by the trial court in Maharashtra, which the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court upheld. The men were sentenced to life imprisonment. However, a Supreme Court verdict on May 13, 2022, paved the way for their release under a 1992 remission policy of the Gujarat government. On August 10, 2022, the convicted men were granted remission, hailed as heroes, and garlanded. The Gujarat government’s decision came as a huge setback to Bilkis Bano and women in general.”

However, with the long battle and struggle from various activists and lawyers, the Supreme Court on 8th January 2024 cancelled the remission of these 11 convicts. This case is also a reminder about how women from marginalised communities, are silenced, and their rights flouted. 

3. Violence in Manipur

The violence erupted in the northeastern state of India when two ethnic groups clashed with one group belonging to the marginalised community. 

Protest against gendered violence
Source: PTI

Reuters reported in July 2023, “The bitter fighting between the Meitei community and the Kuki tribals is in the remote northeast of the country but it has lasted for almost three months, a deep embarrassment for Modi as he prepares to host a summit of G20 leaders in September and contest a general election next year.” The violence between the two groups was unfolding while the government and the premier of the nation were occupied preparing for the G20 summit. 

Tens of thousands of people were displaced, and more than 300 were injured in the violent clashes. Unfortunately, the violence quickly turned into the sexual violence of women from the Kuki group. According to BBC two women from the Kuki-Zoomi tribe were raped and paraded naked with their ordeal made public via a viral video. One of the women mentioned to BBC, “I was treated like an animal,” “It was hard enough to live with that trauma, but then two months later when the video of the attack went viral, I almost lost all hope to continue living.”

However, the Modi govt remained silent just like they remained silent when the wrestlers were protesting against sexual violence. 

4. Prajwal Revanna case

On 29 April 2024, a woman filed a case against Prajwal Revanna and his father alleging sexual abuse and harassment by Raveena and his father when the woman along with her daughter were working as domestic help in Raveena’s house. Raveena is a Lok Sabha MP from Hassan and the grandson of former Prime Minster HD Deve Goda.  

Protest against gendered violence
Source: PTI

According to Mint, “several video clips, allegedly involving Prajwal sexually abusing hundreds of women were circulated on social media in recent days. The Karnataka MP has been booked in a sexual harassment case on complaints by his former house help. A case has also been registered against his father, HD Revanna.” 

The case is still developing with Revanna absconding and an arrest warrant waiting for him in the county. Even though Raveena was not from the BJP government, whilst the accusations were levelled against him, the BJP gave him a ticket to contest elections ignoring all the allegations against him. Congress has accused the BJP government of giving him a ticket despite sexual allegations. 

5. Kathua gang rape case

Seven Hindu men and a juvenile from Kathua’s region of Jammu and Kashmir, gang raped Asifa Bano an eight-year-old Muslim girl, from the nomadic community of Bakerwals. She was abducted and raped, and her body was found several days later. 

Protest against gendered violence
Source: SF

According to the BBC, “The men the police have arrested include a retired government official, four police officers and a minor – all of them belong to a local Hindu community that has been involved in a land dispute with the Muslim nomads.”

BBC further mentions, “Outrage grew after two ministers from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attended a rally in support of the accused men.”

The whole incident shocked the country with nationwide protests whilst the BJP regime, overtly protested against the arrest of the rapists. 

6. 2017 Unnao rape case

 In June 2017, former BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar raped a minor girl from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. The former MLA was convicted of rape on 20th December 2019 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Due to inaction by the Yogi government and the state police, the survivor tried to self-immolate herself.

Protest against gendered violence
Source: Wikipedia

According to The HinduThe legislator from Bangermau in Unnao faces charges under Sections 363 ( kidnapping), 366 (abducting and inducing a girl), 376 (punishment for rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and also relevant sections of the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) pertaining to sexual assault.”

7. Hathras gang rape

On 14th September 2020, four upper caste men allegedly gang raped a 19-year-old Dalit woman who later died in a hospital. 

Source: The Hindu

According to the Indian Express, “The gangrape and maiming of a 19-year-old woman from the Dalit community in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, ended on Tuesday night with her death, and a hasty, lonely cremation in the dead of the night. It was a crime that stands out for being enabled by many inequalities and injustices. The most striking is the caste privilege that allows upper-caste men entitlement, with apparent impunity, over the bodies of Dalits. (The accused are from a Thakur family with a record of caste violence against the victim’s family). It is one more example of the epidemic of sexual violence that regularly crushes Indian women and girls. UP police officials stand accused of cremating the woman, without allowing a last glimpse to the grieving parents and without their consent.” 

8. Sulli and Bulli Bai Deals

In July 2021, many prominent Muslim women journalists, activists and other public figures found their photos in a fake online auction on an app supported by GitHub. The images were showcased on the app without these women’s knowledge. When the whole incident surfaced, it gained a lot of public attention and outrage and Github eventually deleted the app.

Source: Twitter

Githib told Al Jazeera, “We suspended user accounts following the investigation of reports of such activity, all of which violate our policies.”

Over a year later on New Year’s Eve in 2022, again many Muslim women found themselves being publicly auctioned on an app, in a case that came to be known as “Bulli Bai.” The incident was similar to the Sulli deals. 

According to Al Jazeera, “After last July’s “Sulli Deals,” in which nearly 80 Muslim women were put up “for sale,” “Bulli Bai” was the second such attempt in less than a year.” The authorities’ failure to intervene when the first event occurred may have been a major cause for these men, who call themselves trads, to create another app and humiliate Muslim women.

9. Godman, Ram Rahim’s violence against women

The rape convict, who is also a self-proclaimed godman and the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, has been released on parole multiple times for the crime of rape, for which he was found guilty in 2017. He was sentenced to 20 years in jail, but in 2019, the rape convict was sentenced to life in prison for homicide together with his accomplices.

The rape and murder convict received nine paroles in four years. According to recent media reports, Ram Rahim has shown his full support to the BJP in the 2024 elections.

10. Me too in India

The campaign began in India in late 2018 as an offshoot of the international #Metoo campaign. Under this robust campaign, many powerful and influential figures of the country were called out for sexual abuse, harassment, and gender-based violence. Many Bollywood actors, politicians, and bureaucrats were called out publicly.

The campaign didn’t remain restricted to high-profile cases, as many colleges and universities, had their say too. Female students called out many academicians and other influential people on educational campuses. 

Cases that shook the country were Tanushree Dutta’s allegations against actor Nana Patekar and director Vivek Agnihotri, who according to Dutta asked her to strip naked and dance with actor Irfan Khan. However, not much happened in such high-profile cases as Mumbai Police closed the cases due to lack of evidence. 

These are some of the few cases of gender-based violence that were perpetrated under the NDA’s rule in ten years, while if we look at the NCRB’s data on crimes and violence against women till now, the numbers are grotesquely and worryingly high. The NDA government’s promises about women’s empowerment look hollow when women of the country aren’t safe and aren’t enjoying the rights guaranteed under the constitution. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Suggestions to add to this list are welcome in the comments section.

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