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 Statement Condemning Barbaric Sexual Assault and Murder of Dalit and Adivasi Minor Girls In Tamil Nadu
15th November 2018
WSS strongly condemns the barbaric assault and murder of a minor dalit girl in the outskirts of Salem district in Tamil Nadu on October 22nd 2018 by her upper caste neighbor and the brutal murder of an adivasi girl in Dharmapuri on November 10th 2018.
In Salem, a man from the dominant Mudaliar caste had made sexual advances towards the victim, Rajalakshmi, which she had refused, and later reported to her mother. A student of class 8, Rajalakshmi was the daughter of a graveyard worker, native of village Thalavaipatti Theruku Kaadu near Attur, Salem district. Since she was 9 years old, she had been facing sexual harassment, unwanted sexual advances and abuse at the hands of her upper caste Mudaliar neighbor who is now 26. Everyone in the village was aware of the sexual abuse she had been facing, yet no one dared to confront the perpetrator. Continue reading
When equality is denied everything is denied
On the 13th of March 2017, Muthukrishnan Jeevanathnan also known as Rajini Krish, a Dalit research scholar in JNU committed suicide by hanging himself. His death and his writings when he was alive all speak to the nature of caste based discrimination faced by dalit scholars all over the country in various educational institutes. Despite his articulation we hear a repeated assertion of old tropes of Dalit scholars not being able to ‘cope up’ with the pressure at Universities.
It is only a little over a year after RohithVemula was found hanging in a hostel room in the University of Hyderabad, that now another young student, Muthu, of Jawaharlal Nehru University has been found hanging in a room of a friend. Muthu too struggled to enter esteemed institutions of higher education, far from his native home, with the hope of changing a destiny written by a Brahmanical caste ridden history. He was a cheerful presence at all the protests against Brahmanisim at the University of Hyderabad, but he was primarily focused on getting admission in JNU. Muthu was well aware of the weight of historical deprivation that students like him carried when they entered such institutions. A student of modern Indian history, his efforts appear to have been to make sense of this past, recognise its manifestations and find ways of addressing it. Continue reading
Fact-finding in Kalaburgi
In the last week of June, the case of Ashwathi, a nursing student from a poor Dalit family being forced to consume toilet cleaner by her seniors came to light. On July 5th, 2016, a team from Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) comprising of Gowri, Dalit feminist and activist, Savitha, Research Scholar, and Greeshma, Advocate visited Kalaburgi to understand the situation better.
This is their report.
“Speak! The Truth Is Still Alive” is an effort to expose and analyse the continuing onslaught of sexual violence against the Dalit girls and women in the state of Haryana in North India. This report i s based on a series of visits by WSS members to villages in the districts of Rohtak, Hisar, Jind, Karnal and Kurukshetra, and interviews with some survivors and their families. WSS holds that it is incumbent on feminists, women’s movements and democratic rights movements to join Dalit movements and Dalit feminists in confronting and questioning the apathy and silence that shrouds the issue of sexual violence against Dalit women in Haryana. This report seeks to bring some of the most recent of these violations under scrutiny, to expose the institutional mechanisms that provide immunity and impunity to perpetrators, and collude with them to attack and intimidate those who are struggling for justice. Click here to read the report.