WSS Statement Against the rapes and murders in Hyderabad and Unnao

December 9, 2019

WSS Statement Against the rapes and murders in Hyderabad and Unnao

On December 6, 2019 four unarmed men – lorry workers aged between 20 and 24 – were killed by the Telangana police at the spot where they were suspected to have gang-raped and killed a 26-year old woman just over a week ago. That same afternoon, a 23-year old woman from Unnao who spoke out against being gang-raped in December last year, was on her way to the Raebareli court to testify against her rapists. One of the men she had accused of raping her had been arrested but was let out on bail just a week before her most recent court hearing. She never made it to court that day, because she was set ablaze by five men en route. Two of these five men were her accused rapists. One of them was the same person who had been let out on bail just days before. After walking a kilometre, still aflame, she was taken to hospital, her body battling 90% burn injuries. In less than two days she succumbed to her injuries. Just before she died, people in Hyderabad were celebrating the killing of the four men who had allegedly raped the young veterinarian doctor, by the police while they were in custody, crying out that “justice” had been served. Continue reading

WSS Statement On The Institutional Murder of Fathima Latheef And The Lack Of Action By IIT-Madras

WSS Condemns IIT-Ms Inaction regarding the Institutional Murder of Fathima Latheef

Demand Urgent Institution-level Inquiry into the role of Prof. Sudarshan Padmanabhan!

Stand in solidarity with Fathima’s family and fellow students, in their struggle for justice for Fathima!

On November 9th 2019, 19 year old Fathima Latheef, a first year topper student of IIT-Madras, committed suicide citing harassment by Prof. Sudarshan Padmanabhan in a note left behind on her cell phone. This is the fifth suicide on the campus of the elite institution this year with Fathima being victim to not just institutional casteism but anti-muslim harassment from the aforementioned professor. It must be noted that it has not even been six months since the institutional murder of another bright scholar, Dr. Payal Tadvi, due to anti-muslim and casteist harassment by her colleagues at BYL Nair hospital in Mumbai. Continue reading

WSS Fact Finding On The Updating Of The NRC In Assam

PRESS STATEMENT
FACT-FINDING ON THE UPDATING OF THE NRC IN ASSAM

“Sab keh rahe hain Bangladeshi ko hatana chahiye. Koi ye nahi bole ki ‘koi bhi genuine Indian ka naam nahi hatna chahiye’’ 

Between the 5th and 10th of November 2019, a nine person team of members of Women against Sexual Violence and State repression visited the state of Assam in order to understand the implications of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC), particularly for the most marginalised people of Assam. The team travelled to the Barak Valley region, home to several Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims, to the Char and Chapori villages (the river islands and villages on the banks of the Brahmaputra), home to some of the most vulnerable groups of people – largely the landless Miyah Muslim peasants. The team also visited villages in the districts of Jorhat, Sivasagar and Hojai, home to those who fled erstwhile East Pakistan in 1964 and tea plantations on which migrant workers from Jharkhand and the Chhota Nagpur plateau toil. The team met with workers, peasants, activists, academics and members of civil society in all of these regions.

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ज़ुल्म, ज़ख्म, आज़ादी… कश्मीरी औरतों की आवाज़ें : प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

4 अक्टूबर 2019

प्रेस विज्ञप्ति

ज़ुल्म, ज़ख्म, आज़ादीकश्मीरी औरतों की आवाज़ें

कश्मीर घाटी में बंदी का आज 60वां दिन है।

यौन हिंसा व राजकीय दमन के खिलाफ महिलाएं (WSS) की चार सदस्यीय टीम (किरण शाहीन, नंदिनी राव, प्रमोदिनी प्रधान, शिवानी तनेजा) ने 23 से 28 सितंबर 2019 तक कश्मीर घाटी का दौरा किया। इस दौरे का मकसद भारत सरकार द्वारा अनुच्छेद 370 को निरस्त किए जाने के बाद से लोगों, खासकर औरतों व बच्चों, के साथ बातचीत करना, उनकी आवाज़ सुनना और मौजूदा परिस्थितियों को समझना था।

टीम ने श्रीनगर, दक्षिण में शोपियां और उत्तर में कुपवाड़ा व बारामूला ज़िलों की यात्रा की। हम विभिन्न क्षेत्रों के लोगों से बात कर पाए – अपनेअपने घरों में कैद बूढ़ी और युवा औरतों, स्कूल शिक्षकों, अस्पताल के अधिकारियों, फेरीवालों, सड़क किनारे के विक्रेताओं, दुकानदारों, बाग मालिकों, कबाड़ियों, टैक्सी ड्राइवरों, ऑटो चालकों, वकीलों पत्रकारों, एक्टिविस्‍टों और स्कूल व कॉलेज के छात्रों से। हमने गांवों व मुहल्लों के साथसाथ स्कूलों, अदालतों और अस्पतालों का दौरा भी किया। यात्राएं बिना किसी योजना के की गईं और किसी के द्वारा निर्देशित नहीं थीं। हमारा मानना है कि हमारे द्वारा साझा किए गए विचार पूरी तरह से स्वतंत्र हैं। Continue reading

Zulm, Zakhm, Azaadi … The Voices of Kashmiri Women

Press Release

Zulm, Zakhm, Azaadi … The Voices of Kashmiri Women

Today is sixty days of the clampdown in the Kashmiri Valley.

A four-member team from Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) (Kiran Shaheen, Nandini Rao, Pramodini Pradhan and Shivani Taneja) visited Kashmir Valley from September 23-28, 2019. The aim was to interact with people, especially women and children, to listen to their voices and understand the present conditions since the abrogation of Article 370 by the Indian government.

The team traveled across the districts of Srinagar, Shopian to the South and Kupwara and Baramullah to the North. We were able to speak to people of various walks of life – older and younger women stuck in their homes, school teachers, hospital functionaries, hawkers, scrap-dealers, roadside vendors, shopkeepers, orchard owners, taxi drivers, auto drivers, lawyers, journalists, activists and school and college students. We visited villages and mohallas as well as schools, courts and hospitals. The visits were made at random and were not guided by anyone. We consider the views we share as being fully independent. Continue reading

Condemn Continuing Persecution and Threats of Imminent Arrest against Aloka Kujur, Stan Swamy and others by Jharkhand Government!

Stand in solidarity with Aloka Kujur, Stan Swamy, Vinod Kumar, Rakesh and several others who face sedition charges, sustained harassment and intimidation by the police!

WSS strongly condemns the continued persecution of rights activists in Jharkhand Aloka Kujur, Stan Swamy, Vinod Kumar, Rakesh Roshan and several others, in relation to the sedition case filed at the Khunti PS against 20 intellectuals, poets, writers, journalists, bankers and activists in July 2018. With routine surveillance of their movements continuing since last year, officials from Khunti PS showed up at Aloka Kujur’s residence in her absence, as recently as 22 September 2019, on the pretext of making inquiries against her with her neighbours and relatives. This marks a moment of escalation of intimidation tactics against those falsely named in the FIR. Continue reading

On India’s seventy third Independence Day, the people of Kashmir are under siege!

CONDEMN THE ABROGATION OF ARTICLES 370 & 35A OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION, THE DISMEMBERMENT OF J&K & THE BRUTAL SUPPRESSION OF THE VOICES OF THE PEOPLE OF KASHMIR!

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) unequivocally condemns the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A, the unilateral bifurcation and stripping of autonomy of the state of Jammu & Kashmir by the ruling NDA government on August 5th 2019, and the complete suppression of the right of the people to self-determination. By projecting the occupation as an “internal” matter, amidst a total and brutal gag on the voices of the people of J&K, the Indian state has assaulted their identity as a people, and ruptured the very foundation of their relationship with the Indian State.

The Presidential Order extending the Indian Constitution to the whole of J&K, the hurried passing of the J&K Reorganization Bill in Parliament without the consent of Kashmiri people, its elected representatives, or deliberations in the Parliament, is patently undemocratic. This was done by stealthily introducing the Bill to avoid wide public debate, and by clamping down J&K under a military siege. The move was orchestrated by spreading irresponsible rumours of cross-border terror attacks on Amarnath yatris, and false assurances by the Governor of the state who is currently administering President’s Rule under the control of the Central Government, all to serve a premeditated political purpose. Using the same Constitution that granted India freedom from colonial rule seventy three years ago, the Indian state today has completed its colonization of the people of J&K through a fraudulent usurpation of power, which is a betrayal of not just the people of J&K but the whole of India as well.

There is a muscular infusion of boots and steel on the ground, with an initial deployment of 35,000 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel on August 5th, and then another 8000 in the span of twenty four hours, disarming the state police, in one of the most militarised zones in the world takes the current count to about 7 lakh troops on the ground. Reports are emerging of political leaders, intellectuals, journalists, lawyers, grassroots activists, and young Kashmiri boys and youth, more than a thousand in number and counting, being secretly arrested, detained and/or transferred to prisons outside the state so that the government can project an image of “normalcy”. It is presently impossible to ascertain the whereabouts of many of these detenues, although it has recently emerged that several are being held at thanas, army camps, hotels (Centaur Hotel, Hari Niwas, among others), and even at their own homes. Kashmiri girls and women are being sexually assaulted in their homes as they continue to be raided indiscriminately by the forces. Streets remain deserted under conditions of an unending curfew, with constant patrolling by the army and paramilitary forces and vehicles, and checkpoints and barricades at small distances. It is remarkable that even on Eid, mosques and eidgahs were shut down to prevent assembly of people. A massive protest rally of over 10,000 people in Soura on August 9th against the abrogation of Article 370 was met with a military crackdown, pellet guns, tear gassing and indiscriminate arrests and detentions. It is by now clear that the BJP government’s claims of the move having been welcomed by the people, and under conditions of complete normalcy, are blatant lies.

The Kashmiri media is muzzled. With a complete shut down on all channels of communication, including landlines, mobile phones and internet, restrictions on movement, persistent harassment by the army, the attempt is to gag any information on the state of repression and anger in the Valley from reaching out. Despite now running out of newsprint, several local newspapers continue to struggle to bring out daily editions. In sharp contrast, when no such restrictions exist on large Indian media houses, they continue to peddle the official state narrative of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The Supreme Court of India again toed the line of the ruling government by refusing to act on four petitions for urgent hearing on August 13th. These separate petitions challenge: the unconstitutional abrogation of Article 370, the gag on Kashmiri media, and the curfew and clampdown on all forms of communication. The Supreme Court upheld the suspension of all democratic and fundamental rights of Kashmiris at least for a period of two weeks, based on the hypocritical stance of the government that the clampdown is necessary to restore “normalcy”.

The removal of Article 35A is the most visible proof of India’s colonial ambitions. The Article protects the rights of the residents of the state in matters pertaining to ownership and control of land. Its removal is intended to change the demographic composition of the land, and to open it up for corporate loot. Within a week of the abrogation, even as the gag on the people continues, Mukesh Ambani has enthusiastically responded to the call of the Prime Minister to flood the region with corporate investments, while a massive Investment Summit is planned for October 2019. Claims of the BJP government that this move paves the way for women to inherit land, without acknowledging that the military is already the largest landholder in J&K, is farcical at best. Kashmiri women themselves have assertively rejected this so-called “protection” by Indian men, whose chauvinistic rhetoric flooding social media targets the same women as instruments in this colonial project, to be acquired as ‘wives’ as a way to acquire land. This language of conquest is intended towards demographic changes in the region in a manner where the rights, identities and consent of Kashmiri women is entirely invisibilized.

This is not the first time that the bodies of Kashmiri women have been treated as sites of conquest, with a history of mass sexual violence perpetrated by the military and paramilitary forces with complete impunity. We have not forgotten the sexual violence perpetrated by the Indian Army in Kunan Poshpora and Shopian. We have not forgotten all the Kashmiris disappeared and buried in mass graves. We demand an end to this siege on the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

DEMANDS

1. Revoke the abrogation of Article 370 and scrapping of Article 35A and demand their immediate reinstatement. Repeal the J&K Reorganization Bill. Any change in this must happen only with the consent of the people of Kashmir.

2. Reinstate democratic processes to ensure that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are consulted on any action that concerns them, their lives and their community.

3. Stop further militarisation of Kashmir and withdraw all troops.

4. Stop immediately all repressive measures like restrictions on movement and communications black-out that have seriously impacted on the daily lives of women and people of Kashmir.

5. Release all political prisoners.

Ye kis ka lahu hai kaun maraa, Ham than chuke hain ab jii mein,
Har zaalim se takraaenge, Tum samjhaute ki aas rakho,
Ham aage badte jaaenge, Ham manzilae azaadi ki kasam,
Har manzil pe dohraenge, Ye kis ka lahu hai kaun maraa…
– Sahir Ludhianvi (1946)

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)
Convenors: Ajita, Nisha, Rinchin, Shalini
Contact: againstsexualviolence@gmail.com; Website: https://wssnet.org/