Guest Post by KAVITA KRISHNAN
Even as the communal cauldron in UP is kept on the boil, there is news that the RSS has launched a campaign to tie Rakhis to lakhs of Hindu men, asking them to pledge to protect their sisters from Muslim men and “love jehad.” The VHP has been running a helpline urging Hindus to approach them “if your daughter is being harassed by Muslim boys.” And a khap panchayat in Muzaffarnagar has imposed a ban on mobile phones and jeans for girls, claiming that these result in ‘eve-teasing’.
Woven into the above events is an old, familiar theme – that of patriarchal restrictions packaged as ‘protection’. In the wake of the anti-rape movement that followed December 16 2012, the streets of Delhi and many other parts of India had resounded with the voices of women declaring ‘Don’t take away our freedoms in the name of ‘protection’ – protect our right to fearless, fullest freedom instead’. Those women had raised their voice demanding freedom from sexual violence – and also freedom from rape culture that advices women to dress decently to avoid rape; and freedom from the khap panchayats, freedom even from the restrictions imposed by one’s own fathers and brothers.
Continue reading Rape and Rakhi – Patriarchal-Communal Narratives: Kavita Krishnan
Guest post by KAVYA MURTHY.
In the middle of the day a few days ago, a group of around ten people held hands and blocked the traffic on the road opposite the police headquarters at ITO, Delhi, protesting and calling for the removal of the Police Commissioner after a young, young child had been raped and the police had done nothing, not file an FIR, nor act.
In this instance, it was not only the brutality of the act that had shaken us up. A young child, five years of age, raped by neighbours, bad enough to hold one’s head in shame – yes. There was outrage. But there was also outrage that a police officer had tried to bribe the family of the girl – with two thousand rupees – to avoid filing an FIR. Then, to add insult to injury, a young woman protester slapped repeatedly by an impatient policeman, an Assistant Commissioner of Police no less, when she tried to get inside the hospital where the child was in a critical condition.
Why were we there, that afternoon outside the Delhi Police Headquarters? What had prompted people to gather at the AIIMS metro station the day the child was shifted there for care, what was being said, who was being addressed? Was it a silent vigil, in hope that this little child does not meet the same fate as the 23 year old woman gang raped just a few months ago? Was it also to say, this is not the first time it is happening after that fateful day on December 16, 2012? 363 rapes already in just around the NCR the last few months, and here we are again, not exactly happy to be standing outside in outrage thinking of a little girl with bottles in her vagina and terrible infections. Continue reading A Report from the Protests: Kavya Murthy