Guest Post by Shehla Rashid
Mar 21, Delhi: In a shocking revelation that has triggered panic amongst the media fraternity, renowned media tycoon, Ameer Jain, who is Vice-Chairman of the prestigious Parrot, Caveman & Co. Ltd, has been accused of sexual harassment by an employee of The Slimes of India newspaper, namely Aaj Faker Shah. Parrot, Caveman & Co. Ltd. (PCCL) is the group that owns Slimes of India, Slimes Now, Economic Slimes, Radio Tirchi, Movies Now and Then, Dhoom, Navbharat Slimes, Mumbai Broken Mirror and numerous other media outlets.
After the sexual harassment case filed by an employee of a major news magazine against its high profile editor some years ago, this is the most high-profile case of sexual harassment at the workplace in the media fraternity and is likely to result in a public spectacle, as the complainant, Aaj Faker Shah, has taken to Twitter to publicly make serious accusations of sexual assault against Jain. Normally, in cases of sexual harassment, the complainant must be accorded due anonymity. However, Shah reasons that he was forced to take this extreme step because the Slimes Group, in total violation of the norms prescribed by the Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act (2013), sat on his complaint, victimised him for speaking out against Jain and even threatened to sack him. This reflects the state of implementation of the Workplace Harassment Law, rules for which were notified in 2014. Continue reading Slimes Group Vice-Chairman Ameer Jain accused of molesting SOI employee Aaj Faker Shah? Breaking Faking News: Shehla Rashid
Muslims were equated to “demons” and “descendants of Ravana”, and warned of a “final battle”, as the Sangh Parivar held a condolence meeting here for VHP worker Arun Mahaur, who was killed last week allegedly by some Muslim youths. Among those present on the dais were Union Minister of State, HRD, and BJP Agra MP Ram Shankar Katheria as well as the BJP’s Fatehpur Sikri MP Babu Lal, apart from other party local leaders, who joined in the threats to Muslims. Speaker after speaker urged Hindus to “corner Muslims and destroy the demons (rakshas)”, while declaring that “all preparations” had been made to effect “badla (revenge)” before the 13th-day death rituals for Mahaur.
What does someone do in the winter of one’s own life when you discover that the values you cherished, the principles for which you fought for have suddenly lost their meaning and the world before you is turning upside down ?
Perhaps you express your anguish to your near and dear ones or write a letter about the deteriorating situation around you in your favourite newspaper or as a last resort appeal to the custodians of the constitution that how you are ‘forced to hang your head in shame’.
Admiral Ramdas, who has served Indian Military for more than four decades and has remained socially active since then, followed his voice of conscience. Continue reading Hate as Harmony – Law and Order under Saffrons
Guest Post by Citizens Committee for the Defense of Democracy
The Citizens Committee for the Defense of Democracy strongly condemns the clampdown in Jawaharlal Nehru University. We deplore the targeting of students and teachers and condemn the culture of authoritarian menace that the Central Government has unleashed. We strongly believe that dissent is not sedition and invoking sedition laws against students, ordering the police to enter the campus and unlawfully arresting a student leader, issuing warrants against many others on charges of inciting violence, attacking students, teachers and arrested student in the court premises, are serious assault on the fundamental rights of the citizens of this country. The right to dissent is fundamental to maintaining democracy and the recent developments have shaken the foundations of democracy. We condemn the indiscriminate use of the colonial law of sedition on dissenting voices.
The attack on JNU is an attack on our diversity, on public funding of universities and access to higher education for the common people. The vicious campaign of ‘tax-payers’ monies funding the anti-nationals’ is highly regressive and malicious. It is only through public funding and reservation policies that access to higher education has been expanded for students from all backgrounds, especially girl students from poorer backgrounds. It is public funding which makes higher education accessible to many. Continue reading Citizens Committee for the Defense of Democracy on the JNU Situtation
We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the arbitrary, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic actions of the BJP/RSS/ABVP/Delhi Police continuum at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. We demand an immediate end to all police action on campus, a withdrawal of all frivolous charges against the President of JNU Students’ Union, Kanhaiya Kumar, and other students, as well as an end to the campaign of harassment and intimidation against students at the university. Continue reading Statement of Solidarity with Student Protests in India : Students of the University of Chicago
Dear young friends who went to Jhandewala on Rohith Vemula’s birthday,
And all those who were there in spirit, in Delhi, Hyderabad and elsewhere. I am writing to you because I think you might have all taken things much further than anyone can quite imagine or understand at present.
I am writing to you, for today and for tomorrow, so that every time in the future that young people gather to celebrate their friend Rohith’s birthday, we might all begin to have a different kind of conversation. So that the boundaries between mourning and celebration, between anger and joy may always remain blurred enough for us to know what to do next, each time.
Since you had a close encounter with the police and their colleagues in the RSS on Rohith’s birthday, I want to spend a little time thinking about them with you. Bear with me. I sincerely hope we will not have to bear with them for much longer.
[ Video Footage, courtesy Akhil Kumar, taken from his Facebook Page ]
The ongoing movement to #OccupyUGC by students from all the universities in Delhi has so far seen two instances of vicious attack by the Delhi Police. Students were manhandled, abused and badly beaten with sticks and batons. Several had to be hospitalized and some are severely injured. However, police officers have been lying about their actions.
The Indian Express reported the lathi charge and also quoted a senior police officer – DCP (Central), Paramaditya as saying, “Around 45-50 protesters were detained. No one was lathicharged. Policemen did not have lathis… the protesters attacked and injured policewomen.”
Here is a series of videos shot by Akhil Kumar, a young independent photo-journalist (who was himself severely beaten after this). This footage clearly shows up DCP (Central) Paramaditya as a liar.
Meanwhile, #OccupyUGC continues.
Reports have it that Delhi Police has blamed the AAP for the death of Gajendra Singh at its rally recently – not surprisingly, as we had noted in our previous post on the suicide. We had suggested in that post there seemed to have been prior instructions to the Police from the Central government, under which it functions, not to act. And the reports today about Delhi Police reporting to their higher ups only confirm our suspicions.
Here is what one of the reports has to say:
In a letter to the Home Ministry, the Delhi Police has claimed that the mob including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers incited Gajendra Singh to commit suicide at a party rally in Delhi. The letter also claims that untrained volunteers climbed the tree which led to Gajendra falling off.
The report states that AAP volunteers and leaders were clapping and raising slogans which incited him to engage in more dangerous acts. It also adds on to say that though police requested AAP volunteers to stop provoking him through clapping and solganeering, neither the volunteers nor the leaders present on the state acceded to the request info.
Another report in a channel known for its BJP connections, says:
As per the Delhi Police report, AAP leaders were making provocative speeches, and the crowd present at the rally venue instigated and provoked Gajendra to commit suicide. The report also alleged that AAP did not heed to the police’s request to change the rally’s venue to Ram Lila Maidan.
This is a Guest post by Simin Akhter, with inputs from Kamal Pant, Naina Singh and Vikas – 16 December Kranti
(Notes from the ongoing protests in the child sexual abuse case against Toddlers International Playschool, Rohini)
In a heinous and unfortunate show of power and violence, a two and a half year-old girl was raped by a male attendant at Toddlers International playschool (Rohini). Though the parents could manage to file an FIR, the management has threatened them with dire consequences. The principal has been openly shielding the accused, Amit Kumar, despite prior complaints of inappropriate behaviour by aggrieved parents and was allegedly shameless and audacious enough to tell the parents, ‘The police have been fed too well enough to open their mouths’! It also came to light during the protest yesterday that a similar FIR was filed two years back too but no police records could be found for the same; no wonder!
Almost 30 other girls have been detected with a certain strain of bacterial urinary infection, indicating the said two-year old is not the only victim. Many other children have been suffering from mouth-ulcers and a general loss of appetite too, reflecting also on the general lack of health and hygiene practices in the school. A group of parents, grandparents and concerned citizens, mostly young women and men, from in and around Rohini have got together for a relay protest but parents of other victims have not been forthcoming with formal complaints. Needless to say, the greater the delay in filing the complaints, the more legal intervention will get delayed.
Guest Post (and photographs) by THOMAS CROWLEY
The media is all praise for the central government’s rescue efforts in Kashmir, despite the evident hollowness of the government’s claims to heroism. But the press has little to say about the brutal destruction authored by the government in its capital city. Thursday, September 11, saw another demolition drive in a city that has seen far too many of them, from the Emergency to the Commonwealth Games. The demolition took place in the South Delhi neighborhood of Aya Nagar, where residents say about 250 houses were destroyed.
A Tale of Two Protests, On Two Days.
Protests against the situation in Gaza have been held in Delhi yesterday, (Sunday, 13th July, and today, 14th July, in the morning). Yesterday, on Sunday morning, there was a peaceful protest in front of the Israeli Embassy – this came out of a call for protest by individuals. Yesterday, about a hundred odd people, including many young people, had gathered. I was present at this gathering. Some people made statements condemning the Israeli state’s aggression against the Palestinian people. The Delhi Police was present, but did not try to disrupt or disturb the protest. The protest happened right in front of the Israeli Embassy gates on Aurungzeb Road.
The bizarre drama yesterday, involving one of the Aam Aadmi Party ministers, Somnath Bharti, should make the AAP leadership sit up and think. Here is a brief extract from a report:
Less than 24 hours after he led a midnight raid and tried to bully police into arresting some “Nigerians or Ugandans” who he alleged were members of “a prostitution-and-drug ring”, Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti returned to the very spot on Thursday and asked residents to draw up a list of houses where “such people” live and said he would personally check each one.
The minister got embroiled in a full-scale confrontation with the ACP, BS Jakhar, who insisted, correctly that the police were not legally empowered to do this. According to the same report, Jakhar said, “The minister told me that the women inside are part of a drug racket and that we should conduct a raid in all houses in the area. I told him that the law does not permit us to barge into someone’s house, so late in the night, without a search warrant.” But to not effect. The minister was not only unfazed; he even went on say that he had “received a lot of complaints from women in this locality against foreign nationals, yeh hum aur aap jaise nahin hain (They are not like you or me).” Continue reading Xenophobia, Racism and Vigilantism – Danger Signals for AAP
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
It is surreal watching leaders from Sushil Kumar Shinde to Sushma Swaraj make tough statements, one after another, on television. Statements about taking strong measures, the latter even demanding, as is her wont, death sentence to rapists. I felt like asking, do you even realize what the people are angry about? Do you even know what is at issue here? Who will you hang? Case after case, even after December 16, it is being revealed, suffers from the same problem: the refusal of the police to even register a case! What is the meaning of this high histrionics then, when you do not even have a culprit to punish? I am not even raising the question of the ethics of death penalty because that is a redundant question at the moment. Except for the raving right wingers who – like Sushma Swaraj and Shinde – have to make some song and dance about the issue merely for effect, no one else really believes that at the moment there is any issue other than the criminality of Delhi Police. Continue reading Dismiss the Delhi Police Commissioner
A five year old girl is now in a critical condition in a Delhi hospital after being brutalized and raped by a neighbour. The Delhi police, which has dealt with the situation with its characteristic incompetence, first refused to file an FIR when her parents went to the police station, and then, tried to bribe the girls parents with two thousand rupees so as to ‘hush them up’. Subsequently,a young woman who tried to protest against the behaviour of the police at the Dayanand Hospital were the girl was initially taken for treatment was slapped by a policeman, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, in full public view. His actions have been recorded on video. It is believed that the policemen who tried to bribe the victim’s parents and the policeman who slapped the young woman have been suspended.
But can the suspension of a few individuals address what is obviously a deep rooted culture of misogyny and class prejudice (what else is it but class prejudice – would a policeman in a thana, say in an affluent South Delhi colony be able to offer two thousand rupees as ‘hush money’ to parents of an assaulted child with the same ease with which they could in Gandhi Nagar in East Delhi) within the Delhi Police? Is more severe and strict action that goes right to the top and to the source, not necessary in order to send a signal that this kind of behaviour within the police force cannot be tolerated? Must Delhi’s police commissioner not be compelled to resign, for his abysmal failure in terms of dealing with sexism and for failing to address the contempt for citizens who are not affluent that is now clearly endemic to the Delhi Police’s work culture?
The chief accused in the Delhi gang rape “found dead” in his cell? Killed with his own shirt? Hanging from a grill, with his three cell mates sound asleep all the while? The moment I heard the news on Monday, every conspiracy theory-oriented cell in my body did a quick cartwheel. Promptly I sent out a mail to the sisterhood on the Feminists India e-list:
I’m wondering whether there is something more than police negligence involved here. I have always felt that the role of the police on that night was more than simply their usual laparwahi – that bus may have been used often in the past for such activities, remember they didn’t follow up the complaint of the man who had been earlier that night robbed by the same guys? And how they located the bus from their hafta diaries? I’m wondering – and going to sound paranoid and like a loony conspiracy theorist – whether the key accused in court would have revealed more about police complicity in rapes and other activities on buses like Yadav’s than we imagine. Prisoners in jail often carry out attacks on other prisoners on the orders of the police themselves.
Yes, Indian prisons are violent and brutal, and the police callous and vicious. Yes, there should be an enquiry to assign responsibility. But I’m pretty certain I know who killed Ram Singh – some other prisoners. And I think that they did it on orders from the police. Continue reading Why was Ram Singh killed in Tihar jail?
Guest post by WARISHA FARASAT, who was present at the peaceful Jantar Mantar protest against the execution of Afzal Guru
We have been finally denied even the basic right to a peaceful protest. Two incidents over the last week have proven that only the right wing Hindutva groups have the right to protest in this country; the unbridled right to disrupt all other peaceful protests; and to ensure that the civil liberties groups are pushed even further against the wall. Two days ago, a peaceful student protest against Narendra Modi’s speech at Delhi University was met with brutal response, which has been reported extensively. Today, as Shuddhabrata Sengupta has poignantly pointed in his earlier post there were peaceful silent protests against the secretive hanging of Afzal Guru, and also for the abolition of the death penalty from the criminal statute books at Jantar Mantar. But what unraveled thereafter was shameful. The police watched and participated while young and brave University students, several of them Kashmiri, were beaten up. I saw young women with scarves, which were seen as a marker of their identity being targeted, groped, beaten, humiliated, abused, and finally arrested. Other respected civil liberties activists, lawyers, and even journalists were abused, kicked, beaten, and their faces blackened. Continue reading Do we have the right to a peaceful protest?: Warisha Farasat
A small group of citizens, mainly young people from different universities in Delhi, and people associated with civil rights groups and initiatives, had gathered at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi this afternoon at 1:00 pm to express their protest against the execution by hanging of Afzal Guru at 8:00 am this morning in Tihar Prison.
The protest was dignified and entirely peaceful. It was interrupted suddenly when a large mob gathered and began heckling the protestors. I was present there, and I clearly heard this mob of young men hurl, unprintable abuses at the men and women who were peacefully protesting against the execution of Afzal Guru. Some of them wore saffron scarves that clearly identified them as being the storm troopers of the far right. They repeatedly chanted violent and incendiary slogans which included the following – “shoot them all”, “kill the traitors”. These alternated with patriotic chants. I have never seen a more nakedly bloodthirsty exhibition of the far right wing version of Indian nationalism on the streets of Delhi. The mob made threatening gestures and advanced towards the line of protestors. Continue reading Peaceful Protest Against Afzal Guru’s Execution at Jantar Mantar Broken Up by Right Wing Goons and Delhi Police
Guest posts by CHANDAN GOMES, AKHIL KUMAR and an ANONYMOUS student; photographs by CHANDAN GOMES, SHAFAQ KHAN and MUKUL DUBE
No Space for Dissent
by CHANDAN GOMES
On 6th January, 2013 the usually quaint Delhi University transformed into a battle ground of ideologies. The road leading to Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) where Narendra Modi was invited to speak at the Sri Ram Memorial Oration stands witness to all that went wrong day before yesterday. Continue reading Bhag Modi Bhag: Three eyewitness accounts from a protest in Delhi University
Guest Post by Kavita Krishnan
I have been wanting to post about an experience with Delhi police since yesterday, but haven’t found the time yet… Here goes.
Some days ago, (early this month if I recall rightly), I got a call from a woman worker living in Usmanpur near Seelampur. She got my number through the son of one of our Trade Union comrades, who is a friend of her brother’s. She said she was being stalked by a man who made calls to her thretening an acid attack. She has 3 children and was concerned for their safety too. She told me she was scared to complain to the police, and asked for advice. I was reluctant to advice a police complaint without her being fully ready, knowing that it might not yield satisfactory results. So I suggested we meet and talk things over before deciding.
But soon after, she called again: feeling buoyed by a sense of hope arising from the ongoing movement, she had gone to the police station – alone – and written out a complaint, giving the stalker’s mobile number, the number of his bike, and offering to share recordings she had made on her phone of the threat calls. She said, though, that the police had not given her any proof of having received or recorded her complaint (in spite of her asking).
Guest post by KAVITA, an activist with the Stree Mukti League
Translated from Hindi by Shuddhabrata Sengupta
It would be natural to expect that in the wake of the barbaric Delhi gang-rape of December 16 and subsequent popular upsurge of anger the police and the state machinery would betray a modicum of sensitivity and alertness. The reality is just the opposite of what you expect. We have heard this from many women in the past few days, and a few evenings ago, came face to face with this sad fact ourselves.
For the last few days, we (activists of the Stree Mukti League) have been going to different places in Delhi to hold meetings, demonstrations and to distribute leaflets against sexual violence. The leaflet has a contact phone number for the Stree Mukti League. Since the evening of the 1st of January this year a perverted male individual has been continuously ringing that number, abusing us, threatening us, using obscene and unprintable language. He even said ‘I know all you girls, and you cannot escape me. What I will do to you will terrify people…’, and several other things which cannot be repeated. Continue reading The Bitter Truth Regarding Delhi Police’s Womens’ Help-Line: Kavita