Three years ago, a young woman was brutally gang raped and murdered on a Delhi bus. The incident sparked unprecedented outrage – it brought thousands onto the streets, it ‘shocked the collective conscience of the nation’ and even led to an amendment of existing rape laws. It marked an important moment in India’s history, making for a shift in the discourse that surrounds sexual violence. Despite the rabid calls for capital punishment, the multitude of voices that were heard then, allowed for an expanded dialogue on rape – issues of rape within marriage and family, the need to repeal laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and include a special subsection on rapes committed by security forces, and the move away from seeing rape as the fault of the victim – informed and changed the nature of public discourse on sexual violence.
But while laws can be amended within the year, and courts fast-tracked, the everyday lives of most women continue to be informed by violence. Particularly those women who are economically and socially marginalized. As Kalpana Sharma reminds us, it should not take an anniversary or 16 days of activism to be reminded of something that happens everyday. Continue reading
10-11 DECEMBER 2015
Savitri Bai Phule, Jyotiba Phule, B R Ambedkar and ER Periyar were among the first to show how upper caste maintains its dominance through the structures of marriage and family to uphold Brahmanical hegemony and keep women in a subordinate position. The struggle against patriarchy and religious orthodoxy is yet to draw substantially from this legacy to redefine feminism in the Indian context.
Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) would like to discuss what people’s movements and democratic movements, especially the women’s movement, have to say in relation to the “annihilation of caste” in the context of both work and vision in contemporary times. WSS invites you to this two-day seminar that will be addressed by activists, writers and academics.
Kindly keep yourselves free to attend this seminar as your participation is invaluable to us all in WSS, Delhi. We will send more details very soon.
Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression
A team of human rights activists from Solidarity Committee for Brick Kiln Workers of Telangana State, Human Rights Forum, and Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, as well as professors and students from University of Hyderabad, visited Hanumantunipeta village in Pedhapally block of Karimnagar district today, to conduct a fact finding on the death of Surja Bag, a pregnant woman brick kiln worker from Orissa. Her husband, Jitendra Bag had filed a complaint at the police station stating that she had been lethally kicked by the owner of the brick kiln and the supervisors when she had been unable to work due to high fever. The FIR filed cites S. 304-II and the owner of the kiln, Shyam, and 3 supervisors have been taken into remand on these charges. Continue reading
With the life imprisonment of Chhatradhar Mahato, Sagun Murmu, Sukhshanti Baskey, Shambhu Soren, Prasun Chatterjee and Raja Sarkhel under the different sections of IPC, UAPA, Arms and Explosive Acts on May2015, there was concern about the unjust, arbitrary punishment, irregularities in Judgment, filing appeal in higher court etc. They were basically punished for their role in the exemplary struggle under the banner of People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA). Chhatradhar Mahato was the spokes-person and Sukhshanti Baskey was the treasurer of PCAPA. Prasun and Raja of Kolkata, like many others actively supported the struggle. The struggle was mainly against police atrocities that the local people had to face daily in the name of combing for Maoists. No one was spared, old, women and children were frequently bodily searched, beaten, held illegally in police custody, tortured and abused. Along with the demand of stopping of police atrocities, the PCAPA’s other demands included development of their socio-economically backward area.
As the history books told us how the victorious king’s armies plundered after the occupation – Will the state continue to do the same under the garb of naxal operations and road-development work?
As an all-India fact-finding team of women, we were visiting Bastar to look at the status of women in conflict areas. When our team reached Jagdalpur and Bijapur, we were informed by the local journalists that there has been talk of rape and encounter killings in the Sarkeguda area but they have not been able to access the areas to get accurate information as the security forces had stopped them.
On Friday, October 30, our team informed the District Collector before setting out so that there would not be any problem in accessing the area. It was market day in Basaguda. We met many people from the villages where the recent incidents had occurred. Not in ones and twos, but in tens and twenties, the women shared their experiences of sexual violence including – molestation and rape physical beating, verbal abuse and threats, destruction and looting of property near Basaguda, Bijapur by the security forces and police who had come in 3 – 4 batches when they patrolled the villages starting from October 19/ 20 till October 24, 2015. The affected villages are – Chinnagelur, Peddagelur, Gundam and Burgicheru.
12 July 2015, Gandhi Chowk Lucknow
Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression announces a rally and public meeting at 12 noon on 11-12 July at Gandhi Chowk, Lucknow.
The rally is being organised as a mark of solidarity with women’s struggles for land and forest rights in Sonbhadra, Khiri, Chandauli, Lalitpur, Bahraich, Gonda, Pilibhit and other parts of the country.
In the six years since WSS was formed in 2009, the state’s pursuit of development” has become more and more brutal in its complete disregard for the rights and survival of Dalits, Adivasis and working people. Lakhs of people are being driven from their homes and lands as corporates intensify their plunder of natural resources, in blatant disregard of environmental laws and Constitutional provisions. This agenda of capitalist advancement promotes and condones the use of sexual violence as a means to repress legitimate and democratic struggles, while providing protection and impunity to perpetrators. Continue reading
Implement the NALSA judgment immediately!
Sunday, 5 July 2015, Hyderabad: A hundred and fifty hijras, transgenders and supporters gathered at Dharna Chowk, Indira Park today to demand jobs for the community and the implementation of the NALSA vs. UOI judgment of the Supreme Court of India. They raised slogans of ‘Udhyogam kavali’, ‘Illu kavali’, ‘Upadhi kavali’, ‘Rakshana Kavali’ – referring to their struggles to find jobs, housing, welfare and security in a society that discriminates against them in every way. Hijras with B.Ed., M.Com., M.B.A. and B.C.A degrees spoke of how they were denied jobs repeatedly despite all these qualifications, due to the stigma they face due to their genders. Continue reading