Feminists say ‘NO’ to recent rape judgments: There is nothing feeble about it

The following is a statement by feminist organisations . To add your name to the statement, please sign in the comments section.

In the wake of the protests following the 2012 Delhi gangrape, India had witnessed a welcome sharpening of understanding around sexual violence and consent. Legal reform recognized the principle of affirmative consent – i.e the principle that consent must be nothing short of an unequivocal positive ‘Yes’ (whether through words or gestures) to engage in a sexual act.

In public discourse and popular understanding too, the understanding that ‘No means No’ had been strengthened. Recent Court verdicts and orders have however dealt a deep blow to this hard-won progressive advance.In the wake of the protests following the 2012 Delhi gangrape, India had witnessed a welcome sharpening of understanding around sexual violence and consent. Legal reform recognized the principle of affirmative consent – i.e the principle that consent must be nothing short of an unequivocal positive ‘Yes’ (whether through words or gestures) to engage in a sexual act. In public discourse and popular understanding too, the understanding that ‘No means No’ had been strengthened. Recent Court verdicts and orders have however dealt a deep blow to this hard-won progressive advance.

Continue reading “Feminists say ‘NO’ to recent rape judgments: There is nothing feeble about it”

Need to re-enact Juvenile Justice Act – Myths and Realities: Kishore

This is a guest post by KISHORE

In a significant move, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has decided to repeal and re-enact Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000. Along with its claims to streamline adoption and foster care procedures, it also proposes that juveniles above 16 years of age involved in heinous crimes should be tried as adults under the Indian Penal Code.

This is not first time that such an amendment has been advocated. One senior leader of ruling party had already gone to the Supreme Court last year with a petition for lowering the age under the law. However his petition was refused and the Supreme Court opined that there was no need for amendment as the present law (JJ act 2000) holds constitutional validity. Now this leader’s party is in power and they do not need to go to the judiciary for changes as they themselves can do it in Parliament. It is also believed that the government is not even waiting for the report of the expert committee appointed by the Law Commission of India to examine the issue. The proposal however, has always been contested by the premier child rights body NCPCR, which said there cannot be any “compromise” on the age of a child as defined by the UN and in other international conventions. We wonder if the governments’ desperation to change the law is based on popular “sentiments” and not on “facts”. Continue reading “Need to re-enact Juvenile Justice Act – Myths and Realities: Kishore”

Women Have Been Branded Liars!

Guest Post by ANUBHA SINGH and SURABHI SHUKLA

The recent Supreme Court judgment in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar & Anr. (Criminal Appeal No. 1277 of 2014) has once again brought to light the concern shared by the larger society about the ‘misuse’ of Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter “IPC”) and the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. This concern has been raised many times in the past (and present) and the judiciary has gone to the length of labeling this ‘misuse’, especially that of Section 498-A, IPC,  ‘legal terrorism’ (in Sushil Kumar Sharma v. Union of India JT 2005 (6) SC 266.)

However, what has changed this time is that through this judgment the Supreme Court has endorsed and legitimized the common stereotype that women exaggerate and fabricate stories of violence to seek vengeance against their husbands and matrimonial families. Continue reading “Women Have Been Branded Liars!”

Jurrat – 10 to 16 December 2013, Delhi

Majma and Swaang are organizing JURRAT – A week long campaign on violence against women, from Dec 10-16.

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About Jurrat

On 16th December 2013 one year would have passed since the shameful, horrific and brutal gang rape of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi. And yet this whole year, city after city and village after village has screamed ‘Rape’ ‘Gang Rape’ in the months after the much publicized and condemned Delhi-gang rape. Continue reading “Jurrat – 10 to 16 December 2013, Delhi”

Presenting the Perpetrator as Victim

Meet Tarun Tejpal’s spin doctors

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Unlike Justice (Retd.) Ashok Kumar Ganguly, Tarun Tejpal’s defenders cannot cry innocence given that Tejpal has confessed to his crime, albeit disputing the degree of it. He has even confessed having told his colleague that suffering the sexual assault was the “easiest way of keeping your job”. Even his two decades old comrade Shoma Choudhury is unable to defend him beyond saying that he has his versions. Nobody buys Tejpal’s ludicrous retractions.

This put Tejpal’s friends, fellow molesters and self-defeating secularists in a bind. Many of his friends have chosen silence, which is understandable. It is only human to recuse oneself from the difficult choice between principle and friendship. Though some like Arundhati Roy and Sankarshan Thakur have admirably chosen principle over personal association. But those who wanted to come out and actually defend Tejpal were at a loss for words. How do they defend a crime whose perpetrator has confessed to it? So they came up with a few sly defences which pretend to be nuances. Some like BG Verghese are writing as though they were ghostwriting Shoma Choudhury’s defence.

So let us lacerate these defences one by one.

‘Trial by media, lynch mob’

Continue reading “Presenting the Perpetrator as Victim”

The Affective Claims of Violence – Reflections on the JNU Campus Tragedy: Pratiksha Baxi

Guest Post by Pratiksha Baxi

Many competing frameworks have given expression to shock, disbelief, rage, grief, guilt and fear after the violence witnessed as the new semester kicked in, with a monumental tragedy, on the JNU campus. Everyone is stunned by the tragic turn of events that has resulted in a young woman battling for her life in a neuro–ICU in Safadarjung hospital. Confusion gripped the campus as the classroom became a scene of crime, a classmate became a bloodied body and the familiar transformed into the incomprehensible. It was devastating that the assailant, who succeeded in extinguishing his own life, aimed to unite in death the object of his obsession through a planned and highly performative act of violence in the routine setting of a classroom.

Continue reading “The Affective Claims of Violence – Reflections on the JNU Campus Tragedy: Pratiksha Baxi”

A conversation that didn’t take place in Juhapura: Madhu Purnima Kishwar and Zahir Janmohamed

On 15 January, Kafila published an open letter to MADHU PURNIMA KISHWAR by ZAHIR JANMOHAMED. Three months later, Kishwar has sent us a response. Given below her response are comments by Zahir Janmohamed.

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Dear Zahirbhai,

My apologies for the delay in responding to your “Open Letter” addressed to me through Kafila on January 11 2013.

Unlike most of those upset at my articles on Gujarat, you have been remarkably measured in your tone and tenor and also respectful in questioning my observations. However, the content of your letter annoyed me no end. I kept postponing my response in the hope that my annoyance at the absurdity of your chargesheet would subside over time. I honestly did not want to give you an angry or discourteous response so that the dialogic mode you established remained undisturbed.

However, as I began processing the enormous load of material I had gathered from Gujarat, my annoyance kept increasing at your jaundiced viewpoint. Therefore, I thought of letting the series of articles I am writing answer some of your questions. I had made it a point to ask all the questions you raised from Gujaratis I interviewed. At the end of my first series on Gujarat I would have written to ask you if you got your answers. Continue reading “A conversation that didn’t take place in Juhapura: Madhu Purnima Kishwar and Zahir Janmohamed”