Tag Archives: Sexual Assault

Do Not Rest in Peace, Jisha: Shehla Rashid

Guest Post by Shehla Rashid

(Pictures by Biju Ibrahim)

Dear Jisha, I never knew you, nor did you know me.

You were probably a “usual” student, pursuing your studies, dreaming of a better future for yourself and your country. You were probably someone like Rohith Vemula, who dreamed of stars and skies. I learnt that you were a Law student, but I regret to tell you that the Law of this country fails us miserably.

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It is because a Bhanwari Devi does not get justice that Bhagana happens. It’s because no one in Bhagana gets justice that a Delta Meghwal happens. It is because a Delta Meghwal does not get justice that a Jisha happens. And most painfully, I can predict that you may not get justice either.

This is because the Law that you studied is not the law that actually runs this country- this country runs according to a parallel law which is called Manusmriti. It is routinely quoted by judges in their judgments, but perhaps you wouldn’t have studied that in Law school. It is the law of Manusmriti that prescribes limits for women and limits for Dalits.

Continue reading Do Not Rest in Peace, Jisha: Shehla Rashid

A hunt, the aftermath, angry Indian men and a tragedy: Rahul Roy

Guest Post by RAHUL ROY

Nivedita Menon ends her commentary on the unfolding Tehelka sexual assault case in Kafila by asserting – “the time has come. It is now”. It should be, but is it? Are we witnessing the end game of an old Indian patriarchal sport called sexual assault? The sport is akin to another old game called the royal hunt that was an important part of elite political culture of South Asia. The rules of the sport were then as now heavily loaded in favour of the royal huntsman – weapons, support teams, timing, everything required for the thrill of a kill were with powerful men out to conquer. The expeditions however were not just about the kill. The sport was also a means of asserting authority over tracts of the wild and those that lived there and were by some misfortune not aware of prevailing authority structures. The royal hunt was an event to showcase to subjects the might, prowess and authority of the elite rulers. It was the stamping of power over human as well as animal kingdom. The royal huntsman could not but win. He could not but kill.
Continue reading A hunt, the aftermath, angry Indian men and a tragedy: Rahul Roy

PUCL Statement on Tehelka Sexual Assault Case

[We are publishing below the full text of the statement issued by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, on the Tehelka case, which raises some important issues that have not received public attention yet.]
 
Press Statement on the Tehelka Sexual Assault Case
 Dated: 2 December 2013
The PUCL
  • Expresses Solidarity with the struggle of the Tehelka Journalist who raised her voice against Rape and Intimidation by the Ex-Editor Tarun Tejpal.
  • Demands fair investigation and early charge sheet into the matter, from the Goa Police.
  • Considers Six Day of Custodial interrogation of Tarun Tejpal granted by the Goa Judicial Magistrate Court unnecessary and invidious.
  • Appeals that police custody and the case not become a tool in the hands of BJP administered Goa police to settle scores with Tejpal.
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties from the very beginning has supported the complaint of the woman journalist of Tehelka magazine who accused the editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal, of rape and sexual assault. PUCL salutes her courage for breaking the silence on rape and sexual intimidation carried out by her senior colleague and editor. We have also admired the consistent and principled manner in which the young girl stated her case, initially via internal emails within Tehelka, and later on to the media, neither allowing vituperation or anger at the blatant violation of her body to sensationalise her case or to prevaricate about the fact of the offence having been committed. Through her dignified stand she stands as a model to all women who suffer similar sexual violence, that the dignity of a woman’s body cannot be a plaything for anybody howsoever influential and powerful they be. By the same token, we also denounce the vilification campaign carried out by Tarun Tejpal and his lawyers against the complainant by seeking to impute that the entire crime was actually a `consensual’ act or at trying to trivialise the crime by calling it “light hearted banter”.

Continue reading PUCL Statement on Tehelka Sexual Assault Case

The Tangled “Tonalities” of Mr. Tejpal

By now the details are well known: a young journalist describes a harrowing encounter with Tarun Tejpal, owner and editor of Tehelka, in an elevator during Tehelka’s Think fest in Goa. The description of the incident alleges gross sexual misconduct and bodily violation of an aggravated nature.  Her description does not make for easy reading: it clearly demonstrates the incredibly vulnerable position in which young women are placed when confronted with the sexual misdemeanors of powerful men in positions of managerial authority. Indeed Mr. Tejpal says as much, that to cooperate with him is the best way for her to keep her job. She writes to Ms. Shoma Chaudhury the managing editor describing the incident and asks that she be tendered an official apology, and that Tehelka’s senior management constitute an enquiry and anti-sexual harassment committee as per the Vishaka guidelines. Instead what she is offered is a pathos-laden tale of fall and redemption: directed by and starring Mr. Tejpal, producer Ms. Shoma Chaudhury. There has been near continuous discussion across the web and the news and it can get difficult to keep track of all the various versions being produced on an hourly basis by Tehelka’s bullshit factories. So at this stage it might be useful to simply collate and compare various accounts. Continue reading The Tangled “Tonalities” of Mr. Tejpal

Protect the Privacy of the Tehelka Journalist: Report Responsibly

GUEST POST BY ‘REPORT RESPONSIBLY’
To all editors, journalists, bloggers, users of social media, and the public:

Some websites and blogs are posting the Tehelka journalist’s complaint to the magazine’s management or reproducing parts of it, perhaps with intent to expose a grave act of sexual assault by a man occupying a powerful position. However, in doing so, they are violating basic ethical and legal injunctions on the way cases of sexual assault must be reported.

The journalist’s complaint to her company is a private document and not a public one. While private documents can be leaked in the ‘public interest’, this principle is applicable to the emails of Tarun Tejpal and Shoma Chaudhury sent to Tehelka staffers, not to the journalist’s emailed complaint. In cases of sexual assault, it is a well established principle that the media can name the perpetrator, but not the victim. The identity and privacy of a victim must be protected at all costs.We are distressed that many people are circulating the journalist’s emails, and other journalists, bloggers and users of social media are publishing it in parts or whole.

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Health professionals and sexual assault – some resources from CEHAT

These are some resources available from Centre for Enquiry into Health & Allied Themes (CEHAT)

Role of Health Systems in Responding to Sexual Assault – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of Health Professionals in responding to survivors of sexual assault?

Health professionals have a dual role to play in responding to survivors of sexual assault. Firstly, they are required to provide medical treatment and psychological care to survivors as sexual assault has short and long-term physical and psychological effects. Secondly, the health professional  is required to perform a ‘medico-legal examination’. This entails accurate documentation, examination, collection of  forensic evidence and provision of a medical opinion related to the assault, which can serve as evidence in the
court of law.

Read the rest of this manual here.

Links to more resources for health professionals dealing with sexual assault

 

Women become targets; SPOs issue gag orders

Ever since Mukram hit the news, there has been a sure and steady attempt to cut-off access to the areas surrounding the Chintalnar Camp.

In the meantime, sources who helped me and a reporter from Tehelka access the villages are worried about their safety. SPOs in Chintalnar have reportedly threatened to “take action” against villagers who help the press.

The following is a recent article for The Hindu that has provoked some of the backlash against the press.

A series of shots rang out in the night far beyond the barricaded perimeter of the Central Reserve Police Force camp here in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district. For a few minutes, the sentries on duty returned fire before their guns, and the ones that sounded in the distance, fell silent.

By morning, the adivasi settlements around the camp had emptied, the villagers wary of being caught and questioned by the CRPF’s morning patrol. “Everyone is hiding in the forests,” said a villager from Markaguda, a village about two km from the camp, “I expect we shall be beaten up this morning.”