Selfish Politicians Can Apeak Anything--Abhijit IS NO Exception
28 DEC, 2012, 05.00AM IST, ET BUREAU
Abhijit Mukherjee's row: Parties must discipline their politicians making misogynistic comments
From Economic times
Abhijit Mukherjee, a first-time member of Parliament from West Bengal, has shocked people all over India with his misogynistic remarks about women who are protesting the brutal rape of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi.
Talking to a television channel, he said that he did not believe that there were students among the protestors, because they were all 'pretty women who were dented and painted.'
Though Mukherjee later withdrew his comments and apologised, he is not alone among politicians and lawmakers in expressing biased and sexist opinions about women.
A few days ago, Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana told journalists that just because India achieved freedom at midnight, it did not mean that women could venture out after dark. He also described the Delhi rape as a 'minor incident,' which could be forgotten because party president Sonia Gandhi had met some protestors.
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has linked Delhi's street agitators to Maoists and justified his refusal to engage with them by arguing that even if 100 tribals were killed in Gadchiroli, he would not go to talk with anyone there.
These deep-seated biases cut across party lines: the BJP's Sushma Swaraj put her foot in her mouth in Parliament by declaring the rape victim to be a living corpse, implying that life was not worth living for rape victims. Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of Bengal, repeatedly denied a horrifying gang rape in Kolkata's Park Street.
She also tried to tarnish the character of the victim and finally, transferred the woman police officer who managed to identify the rapists - establishing the crime - to a different post.
Under her watch, the police seem to have lost all interest in cracking the case. The people of Bengal will judge Banerjee's actions, the BJP should pull up Swaraj.
But the Congress has to take action against its members who spout this toxic rhetoric. After all, the leader of the party and the head of the ruling coalition is a woman. She should take measures to make party members more sensitive to gender issues and take action against those who cross the line.
Women must not travel alone at night in Delhi, says Police chief
From R. Vasudevan - Reporting from New Delhi
New Delhi, 11 July (Asiantribune.com):
Single working women who are assaulted at times by criminals while returning home at night should blame themselves for living dangerously - and not the Delhi Police, who are “doing a fine job.”
This is what Delhi Police chief B. K. Gupta told a group of women entrepreneurs, professionals and social workers during an interface at the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organisation (FICCI FLO).
And Delhi is not that unsafe . “It's a wrong perception created by the media. New York, Johannesburg, London, Berlin or, for that matter, any other top city of the world is as unsafe.”
In remarks that are sure to draw protests from the city's young women who work night shifts in the BPO industry, the police chief literally blamed women for the crimes against them. He said women should stay indoors at night or take someone along to avoid being targeted by criminals.
"You cannot drive alone at 2 am on Delhi's roads and then claim that the Capital is unsafe. Then you need to take someone along," Gupta said.
On rapes occurring routinely in the Capital, Gupta said the rape victims in most instances knows the accused and, therefore, good policing was not the only solution. Citing the examples of New York, Johannesburg and London, he said: "The crime rate is much higher in these cities, including that of rape." The police chief also washed his hands off thefts, burglaries and snatchings. "The bag of my daughter who lives in London was snatched more than once. It happens," he said.
Gupta’s advice to women is inline with a police advisory to slim, attractive girls from North-East who are often victims of eve-teasing and rapes. The girls were advised not to wear provocative clothes like short skirts and tight tops, which invite stares from men. Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit too was not encouraging when a girl was kidnapped and assaulted—saying girls have no business to move around the Capital’s deserted streets after midnight, emerging from late night parties in hotels and discos.
Chautala echoes Haryana khap panchayat demand; rape not a black-and-white law and order issue, says Renuka Chowdhury
Even as the former Haryana Chief Minister, Om Prakash Chautala, backed demands for new laws that will allow marriage of teenagers saying it would help end the surge in sexual crimes reported from across the State in recent weeks, a senior Congress leader has said that the State’s rape crisis was not a “black-and-white law and order issue”.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury defended Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda against charges that he had failed to act against the wave of attacks, in many of which the victims were dalit women and the perpetrators, upper-caste men. “Crime against women has risen. Not only in our country but all over the world. This is an issue that challenges all intelligent people,” Ms. Chowdhury said.
Ms. Chowdhury said the State government was working “discreetly to reassure the families that they will be safe and they will not have to worry about the social support they need. It is not a very simple black-and-white law and order issue only.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) MP Brinda Karat criticised Ms. Chowdhury’s argument, noting that “in several of these cases the perpetrators videotaped and circulated their crime, while in others the victim had been murdered”.
“Whereas the protection of the victim’s identity is a very important concern, this should not become a pretext not to condemn the State government for its failure to act against the perpetrators,” Ms. Karat said.
Pinky Anand, a New-Delhi-based Supreme Court lawyer, also attacked Ms. Chowdhury’s remarks, describing them as bizarre: “So, murder is a law and order issue. And so is robbery. But not rape? There are these terrible crimes taking place in Haryana, and the State government is doing nothing about them — that is the problem here.”
Ms. Chowdhury was responding to questions on comments made earlier on Wednesday by Mr. Chautala, after he met with Governor Jagan Nath Pahadia to present a memorandum on the rape crisis. Mr. Chautala gave his support to Khap panchayat proposals for lowering the age of marriage, saying it would “help [curb] such crimes against women”.
Sube Singh, a prominent Khap representative, recently said “boys and girls should be married by the time they turn 16, so that they do not stray”.
Guwahati molestation case: Madhya Pradesh minister says women should follow Indian culture
Days after chairperson of National Commission for Women (NCW) Mamata Sharma's remarks on how women should dress drew criticism, now a Madhya Pradesh minister said the safety of women and respect accorded to them depend on what they wear and how well they behave.
"Women's fashion, lifestyle and conduct should be in accordance with Indian culture...women should not wear clothes which provoke others (to misbehave with them)," Madhya Pradesh industries minister Kailash Vijayvargiya said in Indore on Friday.
"Women should dress in such a way that they invoke respect in others. However, unfortunately women are dressing provocatively, which is leading to deviation in society," he said, referring to the incident.
In a two-week long investigation, Abhishek Bhalla and G Vishnu spoke to more than 30 senior cops in the Delhi-NCR region. More than half had shockingly ugly views on rape victims. This is the face of law exposed. How can the system effect justice through men like these?
She asked for it. It’s all about money. They have made it a business. It is consensual most of the time.
THIS IS how policemen — keepers of the law and protectors of innocent — view rape in the Delhi- National Capital Region (NCR). Although generalising is fraught with hazards, this is one generalisation that can be made. There’s evidence to support this.
A month ago, the outrageous apathy of our police towards rape victims was in full display when the Noida Police revealed the identity of a minor girl who was brutally gang-raped in a moving car. If that was not enough, the Noida Superintendent of Police cast aspersions on the girl’s character at a press conference. Besides the fact that, by doing so, the police flagrantly violated the law of the land — Section 228-A of the Indian Penal Code defines the disclosure of the identity of rape victims as an offence punishable by up to two years of imprisonment — it also gave a peek into the minds of the police and how they see the raped and the rapist.
Often been called the rape capital of India, the Delhi-NCR region has thrown up numerous such instances of police apathy in rape cases. When asked to explain the rising instances of rape, the cops have invariably blamed the women, an array of extraneous factors or resorted to specious arguments instead of looking inwards and focussing on police reforms. The most disturbing aspect of this is the rank misogyny that underlies it.A few weeks later, the Gurgaon Police outraged civil society by proposing a blanket curfew on working women in the city after 8 pm without prior permission from the Labour Department. This was the first reaction by the police after the report of a brutal gang-rape of a pub employee by six men. The police made no statement about the rapists. Later, however, the police put out a statement asserting they had been misquoted by the media.
Here is a quick reckoner. In 2010, as many as 414 rape cases were reported in Delhi, the highest among 35 major cities in the country. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the conviction rate in rape cases in the capital was a dismal 34.6 percent. In case after case, courts have been acquitting the accused because of flawed first information reports (FIRs), erroneous procedures in collating medical evidence and shoddy investigation. Lawyers and women rights activists have continually been flagging the deep prejudice prevalent in the police against women in general and rape victims in particular, as the single biggest reason for the repeated failure of justice.
But instead of addressing core issues like poor conviction rates, under-reporting of rape cases by victims (studies indicate that for every reported case of rape, more than 50 go unreported), the lack of faith between the victim and the police and the insensitivity of the police personnel towards women, our police and ministers want to ban late-night work shifts or keep women away from unconventional jobs like bartenders.
HAVE WE created a system that instills fear in the heart of offenders, promotes deterrence and ensures that offenders get exemplary punishment? While we may have excellent statutes to deal with crimes against women, do we also have the police machinery to implement the law in its letter and spirit? Are police stations of the NCR being manned by professional and efficient police officers who can deliver justice to hapless women turning up at their doors?
TEHELKA decided to investigate the conduct and approach of Station House Officers (SHOs) and their deputies who are in charge of police stations in the NCR. These cops are the first point of contact for any victim of sexual assault when they have to lodge a complaint. The objective was to find out if there was any latent bias among the police personnel towards rape victims.
In a two-week long investigation, TEHELKA undercover reporters posing as research scholars, visited 23 stations across the NCR and spoke to more than 30 policemen with experience of 20-30 years. The reporters did not make misogynistic comments or incite the policemen to say or do something they wouldn’t have otherwise said or done. The line of inquiry was to be completely neutral and non-partisan. And what we came back with was shocking.
Our two week long investigation reveals that the NCR, which houses some of the leading industries from around the world and where lakhs of women work alongside men, is policed by the cops with a 19th century mindset.
Every time a rape accused gets away due to shoddy investigations, it reinforces the cops’ belief: she had asked for it
Seventeen senior cops of over a dozen police stations across Gurgaon, Noida, Ghaziabad and Faridabad were caught on spy camera blaming everything from fashionable or revealing clothes to having boyfriends to visiting pubs to consuming alcohol to working alongside men as the main reasons for instances of rape. ‘It’s always the woman who is at fault’ was in essence the argument offered by a majority of the cops. Many of them believe that genuine rape victims never approach the police and those who do are basically extortionists or have loose moral values. Others believe that the women from Northeast could never be victims of forced sex as they are invariably involved in the flesh trade. Even more shockingly, some of them are of the view that if a woman has consensual sex with one man, then she shouldn’t complain if his friends also join in. If a woman is doing late hours at the office then she had it coming… and the arguments keep coming.
IF THE police personnel are to be believed, everything from co-education to migration to cities to being independent and assertive and holding unconventional jobs are reasons for the rise in rape incidents across NCR. So mind-numbing are these admissions that one cannot help but wonder about the plight of the rape victims in mofussil towns and villages if the police in and around the capital is so deeply prejudiced. The TEHELKA expose warrants an urgent soul-searching at the highest levels of the police administration and demands immediate corrective steps in the police training and investigation.
Sample what Sunil Kumar, SHO, Ghazipur, East Delhi, had to say. “Go to a pub in South Delhi. Go to Greater Kailash where there is free entry for girls. Jinhone 1,000 rupaiye mein wo karna hai wo wahan jati hain. Daru bhi peeti hai aur aap ke saath sex bhi karti hai… Jis din koi thok dega rape ho jayega. (In these places you’ll find girls who want to do ‘it’ for Rs 1,000. They will drink and also have sex with you. The day somebody uses force, it becomes rape).”
THE FARCE: Rajpal Yadav Add’l SHO, Sector 29, Gurgaon ‘Girls from Darjeeling and Nepal have come here for business purposes. They go with men for money, but if the money isn’t enough, it becomes rape’
Sub-Inspector Arjun Singh, SHO Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida, also pins the blame on the victim. “Ladkiya ek seemit daire main, seemit kapdon main nahi niklengi… to apne aap khichaon ho jata hai.Wo khichaon bhi aggressive kar deta hai ki kar do bas (If girls don’t stay within their boundaries, if they don’t wear appropriate clothes, then naturally there is attraction. This attraction makes men aggressive, prompting them to just do it).”
There’s also ethnic bias against those from the Northeast. Try RajpalYadav, Additional SHO of Sector 29, Gurgaon: “Yahan pe Darjeeling aur Nepal tak ki ladkiyan business purpose se aye hai… wo jaate bhade pe hain. Baad mein paisa nahi mila to rape case bata diya jata hai (Girls from Darjeeling and Nepal have come here for business purposes. They go with men for money. Later, when the money is not sufficient, it becomes a rape).”
In the two-week long investigation, TEHELKA undercover reporters visited five police stations in Gurgaon, six in Noida, four in Ghaziabad, two in Faridabad and six in Delhi. Out of the 30 policemen TEHELKA spoke to, 17 were extremely prejudiced, misogynist and shockingly insensitive towards rape victims. Five scored well on the enlightenment card.
DESPITE THE Noida Police facing flak for lewd comments about the victim and her family, Ram Kumar Malik, the investigating officer for the case of the girl raped by Class X students is unrepentant. TEHELKA captured Sub-Inspector Malik on camera brazenly pinning the blame yet again on the victim alone: “Is case mein jo real baat hai, ladki vodka peene ki habitual hai. Usne vodka party mangi, Rs 6,000 mein book ho gai. Physical relation ke liye 6,000 mange. Baad mein mukadma likha diya. Yeh real baat hai. Mere pass uske CDR call detail ka record hai; unka purana relation hai (The real issue here is that the girl is a habitual vodka drinker and had asked for a vodka party. She then demanded Rs 6,000 for sex. When the money wasn’t paid, she registered a rape complaint. I have her call records that establish she had a relationship with one of the accused).” Pointless to ask him how having a consensual relationship with one boy could warrant a girl being raped by 4 other boys.
Malik then turns his guns on the family and character of the girl: “Is ladki ki ma ka pehle hi divorce ho gaya. Aur wo ek Yadavji ke saath beth gayi. Uski umar 48 hai, admi 28 saal ka. Saath mein do ladkiyan. Behekna to tei ho gaya. Nahi ho gaya? (The girl’s mother is divorced. She’s living with another man from the Yadav community. She’s 48 whereas the man is 28. It’s inevitable the two daughters will be wayward, isn’t it?)
Conversations we can no longer shy away from. Read More >
“Ab jab 48 saal ki ma, 28 saal ke purush ke saath so rahi hai, do jawan ladkiyan dekh rahi hain, unko bhi zaroorat hogi. Sex is like hunger,” he continues. (Now when two young girls watch their 48-year-old mother sleeping with a 28-year-old man, even they’ll be aroused. Sex is like hunger).”
Blaming the victim, however, is not limited to Malik. The attitude was generic and TEHELKA found many more subscribers in the system.