Tag Archives: impunity

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

WSS Statement On The Majority Judgement Of The Supreme Court Regarding The Arrests Of Sudha Bhardwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha And Varavara Rao

WSS condemns the majority judgment of the Supreme Court regarding the arrests of Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Varavara Rao

WSS deeply condemns the majority judgement of the Supreme Court which has dismissed the PIL filed by Romila Thapar, Devaki Jain, Satish Deshpande, Prabhat Patnaik and Maja Daruwalla and has in effect granted the notorious Pune Police impunity to carry on with its fabricated and malafide investigation in the Bhima Koregaon (FIR No. 4/2018) case. The Court in its vague majority judgement has failed to do its duty as a Constitutional Arbitrator and as the vanguard of the fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India to protect the liberty of the dissenting activists – who have been arrested by the Pune police which unabashedly flouted due process.   Continue reading

Condemn the State Sponsored Massacre Scripted as ‘Encounter’ in Gadchiroli and Bijapur in Central India

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) condemn the recent spate of genocidal violence unleashed by the Indian State on the adivasis of Central India in the form of ‘encounter’ killings in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra and Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh. The alleged ‘encounter’, a term used in the subcontinent to describe the extra-judicial killing of citizens by the armed forces and police, in Gadchiroli district took place in the Maharashtra-Chhattisgarh border in the Rela-Kasnasur forest in the intervening night of 22nd-23rd April 2018. With more bodies being fished out of the Indravati River, the death toll of this alleged encounter has reached 39, nineteen of whom were women, all of whom killed by the Commando-60 (C-60) Squad of the Maharashtra Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). This was quickly followed by another encounter in the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh on the 27th of April 2018 where eight more were killed in an operation led by the notorious Greyhound force of the Telangana Anti-Naxal Unit along with Chhattisgarh Police and the CRPF. This alleged encounter took place near the Ipenta village in Bijapur district with six women among those declared dead. These extra-judicial killings have resulted in the death of 47 persons, several of whom are unidentified, and with fears of more persons, including minors, missing from the districts of Gadchiroli and Bijapur. Reports coming out of area reveal heartbreaking accounts of how villagers including children gathered for a marriage function were rounded up and killed without provocation by the security forces. Continue reading

The Nava Peshwai Terror against the Dalits and State Repression

WSS condemns the wave of state repression following the peaceful commemoration of the Ambedkarite community on the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon. The most recent wave of repression is a set of raids without a warrant conducted simultaneously at 6 am on 17 April, 2018, upon the homes of Kabir Kala Manch activists Rupali Jadhav, Jyoti Jagtap, Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Gorkhe and Dhawala Dhengle in Pune; Republican Panther activists Sudhir Dhavale and Harshali Potdar in Mumbai; and Nagpur-based lawyer Surendra Gadling and Delhi-based CRPP activist Rona Wilson. Rupali and Jyoti are also members of WSS and staunch feminist activists. Continue reading

WSS Statement On The Tragic Cost Of Delay In Rape Investigations

January 23, 2018

 

The suicide of the minor dalit girl in Kunduli of Koraput district in Odisha  on 22 January is a moment of reckoning for everyone fighting against the heinous crime of violence against women. She had accused four security personnel of gang rape on October 10, 2017. Very typical of incidence of sexual violence where the accused happen to be police, army or security forces, this incident of sexual assault too went through the usual round of inordinate delays and denial of gang rape. The suicide of the young victim who was very keen to pursue her studies but was never able to get out of the raging controversy and heightened media publicity is a bitter reminder of the continued impunity of rapists in uniform, and of the brazen collusion of the state in denying justice to those who, like this young girl, refuse to remain silent.

Getting justice for survivors of sexual assault has always been uphill in this misogynist and patriarchal society. It becomes even tougher when the state machinery itself puts formidable barriers to protect the accused. In this case, the Odisha government and district administration did exactly that.

Let us have a look at the series of events that went against the complaint of the girl.

The Human Rights Cell of the government on November 7 ruled out the possibility of gang rape due to lack of evidence based on the medical report in their possession. After 17 days of the incident she was kept in the district child welfare committee (CWC).
The girl had repeatedly expressed her distress at not being believed to journalists and others who visited her in the hospital. There was no action taken to identify the culprits from her description or the fact that the accused were in uniform. Instead the  police picked up four boys from the same village for interrogation who were beaten up too. The police had also forcefully taken one of them for a lie detection test to an undisclosed location in Bhubaneswar.

 The DGP had listed the matter under the red-flag category and initial statements by the police even blamed the Maoists.

 The demand for withdrawal of security forces by local organizations and the community involved went completely unheeded.

The denial of gang rape by the police and administration in the absence of a thorough enquiry and the long delays accompanied by constant media publicity deepened the distress and anxiety of the family and the community. One can only imagine what it can do to a young girl.

The girl first attempted suicide on November 18, 2017 when she swallowed an overdose of iron tablets and was rushed to SCB Medical College hospital in Cuttack. Her mother made a complaint of forceful detention and she was finally discharged from the hospital on November 27. If there has been no gang rape, there was absolutely no need for the police and administration to confine her to the hospital under heavy security.
The Chief Minister ordered a probe by a district judge on November 8. The judicial commission was constituted on January 6.  The enquiry was under way.
In end December the girl once again went on record saying that she was being bribed by senior police personnel to withdraw her case. That perhaps was her last public statement. Her suicide note is in the hands of the police as media reports suggest.

WSS expresses deep grief at the death of the girl and stands in solidarity with her friends, family and community. It is indeed the cruellest of times and the cruellest of societies where a 16-year old puts an end to the ordeal by using her own scarf to hang herself and end the fiasco of seeking justice. Even as we write this statement we cannot do away with the foremost thought on our minds – who is responsible for this suicide?

 Ø  WSS demands that the Odisha government follows the investigation to the end and punishes the guilty. We also demand stringent punishment be meted to all those responsible for delaying the investigation process.

Ø  WSS demands that the Odisha government withdraws all security forces from the area. Women and girls are never safe in such areas. The deployment of security forces and army by no way implies de facto impunity to rape at will. 

 Ø  WSS appeals to all democratic and progressive forces in Odisha and elsewhere to strengthen the struggle for a society free of sexual violence. Let’s work towards a society where those violated do not have to choose the noose in future but are able to live with dignity and with courage. Sexual violence is not only a women’s issue. The culpability of a patriarchal culture where sexual violence is the everyday norm involves entire society at large.

Ranjana Padhi, Pramodini Pradhan, Sudha Bhardwaj, Kalyani Menon,Shobha Raghavan,Rinchin, Madhuri Krishnaswamy and Manasi Pingle

For Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) is a non funded grassroots effort started in November 2009, to put an end to the violence being perpetrated upon our bodies and societies. We are a nationwide network of women from diverse political and social movements comprising of women’s organizations, mass organizations, civil liberty organizations, student and youth organizations, mass movements and individuals. We unequivocally condemn state repression and sexual violence on our women and girls by any perpetrator(s).

wssnet.org // againstsexualviolence@gmail.com

 

Delhi Press Conference of Suneeta Pottam and Munni Pottam on Extra-Judicial Killings in Chhattisgarh: Press Release And Video

PRESS RELEASE

Two teenaged adivasi girls from Bastar take on the state in their fight against extra-judicial killings. A Public Interest Litigation challenging the spate of encounters in Bijapur was filed last year before the Chhattisgarh High Court in Bilaspur by two young women from Korcholi with extra-ordinary grit and determination –Suneeta Pottam (19 years old).and Munni Pottam (18 years old). A national women’s organization, the WSS (wssnet.org) is the third petitioner in this case. Faced with a dozen affidavits of the villagers whose family members were killed, the High Court of Bilaspur held that the questions of extra judicial executions and government policies which are responsible for these are similar in spirit to the issues raised by the Salwa Judum petition (Nandini Sundar and Ors vs. State of Chhattisgarh), currently being heard by the Supreme Court. Following which, the young Petitioners filed a Transfer Petition in the Supreme Court last year seeking the transfer of their PIL to the Supreme Court. Suneeta and Munni Pottam are in Delhi to attend the hearing of their transfer petition on Wednesday, 10 January 2018.

At the press conference these young women spoke about these cases of encounters along with the details of the very recent physical and sexual assault of the the women of the villages where Suneeta and Munni live. They also spoke about the harrassment and threats that they have been receiving by the Bastar police (as recent as few weeks back) as result of filing this petition, who have threatened them that if they keep raising these issues which show the police in a bad light, they would be arrested for Naxalite offences and thrown into jail. Shaken but not defeated, these young women have come to Delhi to put their continuous harassment on record before the apex court at the coming hearing. Continue reading