Open Letter To The Woman Complainant In The CJI Sexual Harassment Case

To the complainant in the CJI sexual harassment case:

We stand by you and your demands to seek justice

Dear friend,

For the past month, we have been public witnesses to the unjust harassment faced by you and your family since the sexual harassment complaint against the current Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi went public.

As women and people belonging to marginalised castes, classes, communities, genders, sexualities and nationalities; as survivors of everyday gendered discrimination, harassment and violence, we at WSS write this open letter to you to say that we will work with you to ensure that due process is followed and that all institutions are held accountable, even at the highest court of the country.

Your resolve to speak out against the CJI shows your resilience. It has forced into public domain, questions of accountability of the highest judicial body of this country, and demands that they demonstrate their commitment to the rule of law and justice, which they are supposed to uphold. The vindictive display of power by the CJI and his supporters has resulted in making a mockery of the justice system, and exposed the highest seat of justice in the country as being brazenly patriarchal. It is ironic that this institution which gave us the Vishakha guidelines, read down Section 377, opposed the Brahmanical practice of temple entry restrictions by allowing women to enter Sabarimala, recognised the violence perpetuated on women during the communal pogrom in Gujarat and ordered compensation for survivor of rape, Bilkis Bano, among other such orders, has failed to consider your hearing difficulties, gender, caste, and the skewed power imbalance between you and the CJI and passed an order which is unjust prima facie.

This entire incident has reminded us yet again that the struggle against patriarchy is going to be a long and difficult one, and the only way to push back is to collectivise in strength and voice. All of us who carry long histories of struggles against the violence of patriarchy have persisted in our fight in the face of incessant adversity and relentless violence, knowing that our lives, dignity, and rights, are worth fighting for.

We will continue to protest on the streets, in front of the Supreme Court and in other locations, against this travesty of justice. We will continue to keep our voices loud and our heads high against such patriarchal institutions. We are here listening to you. We see your truth.

In solidarity and rage,

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS)

Conveners: Ajita, Nisha, Rinchin and Shalini

May 27, 2019

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