‘Gavahi’ – A WSS Book on Sexual Violence in South Chhattisgarh

 

This book is a comprehensive compilation of the incidents of sexual violence in South Chhattisgarh, drawing on independent investigations or joint fact findings by WSS.

Pre-order your copy by writing to booksbywss@gmail.com

Title – Gavahi
Language – Hindi
Cost – Rs100/- + Rs40/- postal charges if required.
Bulk orders accepted. Postal charges will be confirmed according to the quantity ordered.

WSS Statement on the Assault on Adivasi Schoolgirls By CRPF Cadre During Raksha Bandhan Function

WSS Statement on the Assault on Adivasi Schoolgirls By CRPF Cadre During Raksha Bandhan Function

14th August 2017

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression strongly condemns the molestation of school girls in the name of “Raksha Bandhan” by CRPF men and the deplorable act of the Collector and Superintendent in trying to suppress the matter.

On Monday, 31 July 2017, many officers and about 100 CRPF men went to a girls’ school in Palnar in Dantewada, Chhattisgarh to observe the festival of Rakhi by getting the girls to tie rakhis to the male members of the CRPF armed forces. It was clearly a PR exercise to show the CRPF men as the “protectors” of the tribal girls studying in the school. Once there, 5 to 6 CRPF men used the opportunity to follow 3 young school girls while they were in line to use the bathroom. Three of these men entered the toilet when a girl was already inside and stayed there for about 15 minutes. All this while, the men who were outside sexually assaulted the girls who were just outside the bathroom, squeezing their breasts and threatening them. Continue reading

WSS Statement on the violence of Domestic Worker and State Repression on workers.

WSS Statement on the violence of Domestic Worker and State Repression on workers.

We condemn the forceful confinement and brutal abuse of Domestic worker Zohra Bibi at Mahagun Modern Society, Sector 78, NOIDA and the subsequent repression by the police and Central Culture Minister of other workers.

On 11th July 2017, Zohra Bibi, aged 27, a domestic worker, native of village Maidan, Dinhate, Cooch Behar AR West Bengal 736134, went missing according to her family members. Zohra worked as a domestic worker in 7 residences of Mahagun Modern Society, Sector 78 Noida and usually returned to her family of husband and four children residing in Sector 78 Noida, between 6:30 and 7:00 pm daily. As Zohra did not return home, Abdul Satter, her husband, went to the society at around 8.00 pm and enquired with the guards, who claimed she had eloped with a man, although the register of visitors clearly showed that while her entry was marked, no exit was recorded. He then went to the alleged accused employers residence Harshul Sethi R/O 012, who told Abdul that Zohra is accused of the theft of Rs 17000, and claimed to know nothing of her whereabouts. Abdul immediately dialed 100 and the police spoke to the Sethis and reiterated the possibility that his wife had eloped with another man and that he should come to the police station to file a missing complaint. Abdul was handed a blank sheet of paper when he reached the police station and told to return the next morning. On the contrary, on the 11th of July Zohra had gone to Sethis’ house to ask for her salary that had not been paid for two months. When she insisted she be paid, she was accused of theft by the Sethis and then she was brutally beaten by Harshul Sethi. Her phone was also confiscated by the family.

On 12th morning, Abdul, some relatives and neighbours around 30 to 40 from the neighbouring slums, reached the gates of the society to enquire about Zohras whereabouts again. The beat constable stationed in front of the society, as well as the guards of the society fired three rounds in air, which further agitated the crowd of people and then, they tried to barge in through the gates. Roughly 40 police and guards clashed with the domestic workers. During the melee one guard came out and said that Zohra was found and soon, Zohra was seen dragged by two guards. Her clothes were torn, she was semi conscious and Abdul was asked to take her home. Abdul refused to take Zohra home in the state she was in. The police intervened and took her to Ambedkar Government Hospital where an MLC was done. The police claimed in front of the media that she did not suffer any injuries.

After the MLC, Zohra and Abdul went to the police station in sector 49 NOIDA to file an FIR against the Sethi family on 12 th July 2017 at 8:30 am. The FIR registered merely mentions that she was forcefully detained by the Sethis beyond normal working hours. Some 3 hours after this, three more FIRs were filed in the same police station, first by the Sethis charging them with theft, second by members of the Society and third by the Mahagun Society builders. On the basis of the FIR filed by the Sethis, the police raided the slum colonies (bastis) where the domestic workers live and detained 58 men, including Zohras 15 year old son and kept them in the police station till late at night. 13 men were arrested and sent to judicial remand to Dasna Jail under section 307 and the rest were sent back home after a prolonged detention.

Mahagun Society members have been making claims that the majority of domestic workers are Bangladeshi immigrants, primarily Muslim, and who are illegally working in India. RWA of the Mahagun society have begun creating a blacklist of domestic workers (147 persons) and scheming for ways to reduce the wages of the workers. We need to recognise the conditions of labour these domestic workers have endured, the attitude of the residents, the political provocation by Mahesh Sharma MP of NOIDA who is also the Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, GOI, who has dismissed the complaints against the Sethis, the corruption and complicity of the police force and the power of prominent builders like Amit Jain in scuttling such issues through the use of brute force and threats. Also lack of legal mechanisms has led to severe exploitation of women and children which include depriving domestic workers of their entire salary for months, work hours more then 16-18 hours per day, absence of proper food and living/sleeping condition, forced and total cut off from their family members, bonded labour, sexual exploitation by placement agents during transit, at the office of the agency and at the work place in houses of employers. In the data released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in February 2014, there were 3,564 cases of alleged violence against domestic workers reported in 2012, up from 3,517 in 2011 and 3,422 in 2010. While several legislations such as the Unorganized Workers Social Security Act, 2008, Sexual Harassment against Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013 and Minimum Wages Schedules notified in various states refer to domestic workers, there remains an absence of comprehensive, uniformly applicable, national legislation that guarantees fair terms of employment and decent working conditions. Meanwhile only a unionised, united domestic workers force can face the crude brutality they face at the hands of the residents.

We condemn unequivocally this unravelling communal, anti-worker, anti-woman, anti-Muslim politically vitiated climate.

We Demand

  1. Action against the Sethis for illegally detaining, brutally assaulting and falsely accusing an employee while failing to pay her wages.

  2. Charges against 13 detained people as well as against Zohra and Abdul be dropped immediately and to release them unconditionally.

  3. Action against the police for its refusal to act on the FIR filed by Zohra and Abdul, their abuse of power in detaining 58 persons including minors, and complicity with the builders and the political establishment in communalising the case.

  4. Action against the Mahagun builders Amit Jain for their complicity in covering up this clear case of violence against a woman belonging to the minority community.

  5. Action against Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, GOI & NOIDA MP Mahesh Sharma for further vitiating the environment by making provocative and inflammatory speeches in the society meetings.

  6. Workers in the Mahagun Society complex be paid their due wages, withdraw the list of blacklisted workers, and ensure the safety and security of the workers in the residential complexes and also in their residences.

Bittu, Nisha, Ranjana, Rinchin & Kalyani

WSS Coordinators

July 26, 2017

Contact Fact Finding team: Ajita

WSS and THITS Statement On The Attack On A Transgender Woman By Army Jawans in Hyderabad

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) and Telangana Hijra Intersex Transgender Samiti (THITS)

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WSS and THITS condemn the barbaric attack on a transgender woman by army jawans in Hyderabad, demands immediate and stringent action for justice

10th July, 2017, Hyderabad: WSS and THITS express outrage at the brutal physical and sexual assault of a 34 year old transgender woman by a group of army personnel. WSS demands stringent penal action against all the accused, a speedy investigation and trial, as well as complete medical treatment, compensation and legal support to the survivor (name concealed to respect identity).  Continue reading

Towering Resistance: A Report on the Bhangar Movement Against the Power Grid

A 12 member team of WSS visited Bhangar in early March, 2017, and met with affected villagers and concerned officials, in order to understand the origins and impetus behind the massive resistance movement against the power grid project being undertaken by Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL). This report is based on our visit to the area, public documents and media reports from the area.

You can access the full report at the following link : TOWERING RESISTANCE

Grand Rally at College Square, Kolkata to Demand Release of Sharmistha Chowdhury And All Other Prisoners Of Bhangar Movement

WSS Condemns Threats by Bajrang Dal on WSS Activist in Assam

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) strongly condemns the manner in which our member Ms Bondita Acharya, a well known women’s activist from Jorhat, Assam, is being criminally intimidated, abused in sexual language, defamed and trolled on her Facebook account only because she expressed her personal opinion regarding eating of beef, a common practice in her state of Assam, and opposed targeting of Muslims for the same. She is being threatened with acid attack, rape and gang rape and issued death threats. It is clear that the persons making these threats are associated with hindutva organisations and the Bajrang Dal has even issued a press release demanding a public apology. We demand that the complaint she has lodged with the Superintendent of Police (CID) be immediately registered and strong action be taken against the perpetrators of threats. Since Ms Bondita Acharya is also the North East Coordinator of Human Rights Defenders Alert and a member of Women In Governance, the inactivity of the administration in this regard is even more serious.

The background of the incident is that 3 Muslim persons including a minor were arrested on the outskirts of Jorhat town on 7th April 2017 while returning home with half a kg of beef. It is claimed that they were cooking the same in a temporary hut at a construction site where they were working. The arrest has been made under The Assam Cattle Preservation Act of 1950, which does not criminalize possession or consumption of beef but only lays down the circumstances under which cattle may be permitted to be slaughtered. The FIR had been lodged by an active BJP supporter Mridu Pawan Bora. Many people were critical of this arrest on the social media since the consumption of beef is common in the North East and not confined to only the Muslim community. While participating in the conversation, Ms Bondita Acharya also commented that people even from higher castes of Hindus consumed beef. Upon this there was a systematic and targeted barrage of extremely vicious, sexually laden and defamatory posts on social media regarding Ms Bondita Acharya threatening her with rape, murder, acid attack, public beating etc. It is pertinent that the Muslim community is already a target in Assam on account of criminalizing Muslim refugees from Bangladesh even while an exercise to grant citizenship to Hindu refugees is going on. WSS expresses serious concern at the deliberate efforts to communalise society by the Hindutva organisations and the newly elected BJP government and the consequences this will have upon the freedom and security of women of all communities.

Sudha Bhardwaj, Kalpana Mehta, Bittu, Rinchin, Kalyani Menon, Nisha Biswas and Ranjana Padhi
On Behalf of WSS