JUVENILE JUSTICE BILL 2015 IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE..

We may endlessly debate on ‘lowering’ or ‘not lowering’ the age of juvenile accused in heinous crimes (here we define them as murder, rape and arson) but we all would concur to this point – that unless and until our policymakers are forced by intense public pressure, they don’t believe in doing something unorthodox – that they don’t want to disturb the status-quo.

And it takes a massive public expression of anger that ‘disturbs’ their ‘this’ attitude.

As it happened in the case of passing amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act in the Parliament to promulgate a stricter law.

Though we cannot say what the proposed amendments will achieve, something that is time (and tide) dependent, we can say it has been a logical step on a tedious journey that should have begun much earlier than December 16, 2012 when the Delhi gang rape took place. Rape and other criminal incidents against women had become social evils and horrible curses much before it in our patriarchal society.

Rape and other crimes against women are a mindset problem and we cannot expect to control them by merely passing a law.

It needs mindset change.

And that requires time and consistency in efforts.

Tougher laws like the one passed in the Rajya Sabha today or in the wake of the national outrage after the December 16 gang rape, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (or Nirbhaya Act), put into effect in April 2013, are vital reflections on how we are progressing.

Such steps, whenever they arrive, irrespective of what they can or cannot do, give a sense of satisfaction that the society has advanced one step ahead in this mindset change battle.

Because this is a tough battle to win – with loads of frustrating moments.

This very case is a burning example.

Somehow, our conscious was stirred to the level that the brutal gang rape of a paramedic student on December 16 in 2012 became precursor to a national outrage and global headlines. We can say the political attitude was not well received initially with brutal crackdown by the Delhi Police on protesters. But later on, intense public pressure and media scrutiny caused some sense to prevail and we saw the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act coming into force in just four months of the incident.

And though politicians had promised a very swift, ‘within months judgement’ (some say even two or three months), the nation accepted the judgement delivered by the lower court in September 2013 – in the 10th month after the incident.

A parallel track to this was the demand for comprehensive amendments in the Juvenile Justice Act because one of the accused, who was also the most brutal one, was a minor (17+ but not yet 18) and was sentenced to just three years in a correctional home. So while four others were sentenced to death (the main accused committed suicide in jail), the minor accused, who was most brutal in committing this crime, was just sentenced to three years and was to get his records expunged after his three years were over.

After December 16 incident in 2016, we saw spurt in rapes and other crimes against women but it was basically because the heightened sense of insecurity and the increased access to information sources led more cases to be reported. We also saw a spurt in reporting of such heinous crimes by juveniles, especially in 16-18 age-group.

So, this parallel track of demand for stricter laws for juveniles in 16-18 age-group was a legitimate one – apt for the senses prevailing in the society. And the demand never died down.

The ‘unnecessarily delayed’ Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 that was passed today showed us that again. Our political class took three years after the December 2012 incident to pass the Bill and that too came after a trigger that again generated intense sentiment mobilization and could well herald a new mass movement if the Bill was delayed further. The Nirbhaya Act was promulgated in April 2013 but then politicians failed to reach on any conclusion on the Juvenile Justice Act for the next 30 months.

The trigger this time obviously was the release of the minor rapist in the case who walked free on December 20 after completing his three years in a correctional home in Delhi. Public opinion had started galvanizing much before it with themed media campaigns.

And the political class when saw this, it had no other option but to bow to the incoming public outrage. Yes, the fear of another massive public outrage forced them to pass the Bill this time with the ‘juvenile convict release’ trigger. What else can we say about their sensitivities and priorities again given the fact the Lok Sabha had passed the Bill in May 2015 but it took another six months for the Rajya Sabha to act on it.

Passage of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2015 is important for this reason – that will of public prevailed over the policymaking class. What qualitative changes this amendment can bring is something that only future will tell.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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OUTRAGE? WHERE IS IT?

There was a rightly placed outrage today on Mumbai Police brutality. The incident where cops in Andheri Police Station in Mumbai badly roughed up an ‘allegedly quarrelling and drunk’ couple was caught on camera and the video clip went viral. Though the Mumbai Police, like in a trademark way by the type of generic reputation associated with the Indian police, downplayed the incident and tried to defend its men, the issue dominated the airwaves.

Now consider this.

A poor, minor girl is raped by a hooligan, who comes from a family of strongmen of the locality. She is forced to remain silent. The matter comes to light when the pregnancy matures to an advanced state to be terminated. Last month, the girl delivered a baby girl. The family is so poor that it has refused to take responsibility of the infant. The girl says she wants the child to hand over some ‘adoption centre’ as it would be impossible to raise her with the attached stigma of ‘being an illegitimate child from a rape incident’. Yesterday, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court ruled that the ‘illegitimate’ baby girl had ‘inheritance rights’ on ‘rapist’s’ property in this case – as long as she is not adopted by someone.

Now, that is a real tragic incident, something to be outraged at – though the issue didn’t become a rallying point.

The court stopped short of setting any precedent and left the matter for legislation to decide and settle on. The bench observed – it may not be possible to judicially lay down any norm or principle for inheritance by a minor who is born as a result of rape. Such attempt by the court would amount to legislation by judicial pronouncement and would operate as precedent in times to come. “It would not, therefore, be desirable to venture into this field and accordingly we leave it open for the appropriate legislature to deal with this complex social issue.”

And it is an issue that is quite pandemic – a simple Google search shows. I googled with the key phrase ‘ raped girl delivers baby + India’ and I what I came across was shocking – even if I know perverts in the society are touching new lows every day. See this, the first page on Google search:

12-year-old delivers baby, says stepfather raped her – Mumbai Mirror

Class 6 girl, gang-raped by two, delivers baby girl in Madhya Pradesh – Times of India

Raped by step-father, 12-year-old Mumbai girl delivers boy – IBN Live

Teenage Pregnancy: Mehsana rape victim wants to deliver, says cops – Indian Express

‘Bravely Go Ahead, Have the Baby,’ Court Tells Gang-Rape Survivor Who Wanted Abortion – NDTV

These are just some of the headlines from the past three months – and mind you, these are from reported cases. Countless such cases go unreported. Yet, we haven’t seen a national outrage or any outrage on any such case that can push our policymakers to legislate on this sensitive or the ‘complex social issue’ as the Allahabad High Court says.

And it is not about minor rape victims only. With more and more perverts and mentally sick people on the prowl, a legal measure becomes a must to deal with ‘upbringing related issues’ of every newborn born out of a rape assault. The legislator, in fact, must go a step ahead (from what the Allahabad High Court has done), and must legally make the child natural ‘inheritor’ of rapist’s property, and this ‘punitive’ action must be made independent of conditions like ‘future adoptions’. And this clause must be introduced in addition to the other regular criminal acts that apply on such criminals.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BADAUN GANGRAPE AND MURDERS: THE EXPECTED POLITICAL ROUNDS OF PHOTO-OPS

It is on the expected line, the ugly politicking, swarming like bees to exploit the last drop mileage to score silly points of caste politics – the tragic incident of gangrape and murder of two teenage Dalit sisters in the stronghold of Uttar Pradesh’s father-son power-duo of the moment, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, was bound to get the politicians rushing to the place once the issue started making its way to the national and international newsrooms.

So, after three days of the May 27 incident, on May 31, Rahul Gandhi reached the nondescript Badaun village where the humanity was raped, mutilated and chopped into countless pieces by the predatory animals many of whom are prowling among us misleading us by their human appearance.

And it was enough to start the detestable race to claim the political gains.

The so-called Dalit messiah Mayawati reached the village yesterday claiming the victim families were ready to accept the compensation amount from her only.

Now it is another sorry extension of such sordid tales of political opportunism that some children, possibly from the weaker sections of the society including the Dalits, were caught on camera cleaning the ground for landing of Mayawati’s helicopter, something that cost the labour commissioner of the district his job after the visuals were flashed on TV channels.

Then it was turn of the local MP and cousin of the chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, Dharmendra Yadav. Not even a single word heard from him on the incident till then, he propped up from somewhere all of a sudden but had no answer than irrelevant verbal manipulation on his long absence, that included some angry expressions as well (on reporters’ questions he had no answers of).

Today, two other names claiming to be at the forefront of fighting for the Dalit cause are lined up to visit the village – Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag Paswan.

Let’s see what other names crop up.

Meanwhile, there is no word on Mulayam or Akhilesh visiting the families.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BADAUN GANGRAPE AND MURDERS: BADLANDS OF UTTAR PRADESH CONTINUE TO BLEED

Etawah‬: Home town of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav – mother of rape survivor badly beaten by rapist’s father (a Yadav) on May 26 – no action, no arrest so far – no reaction from Mulayam and Akhilesh so far..

‎Azamgarh‬: Constituency of Mulayam Singh Yadav – a teenaged girl gangraped on May 28 – just 1 arrest, 3 still absconding – no reaction yet from the MP..

‪Badaun‬: Constituency of Akhilesh’s cousin Dharmendra Yadav – 2 teenaged Dalit sisters gangraped, killed on May 27 and bodies hanged from tree – 5 accused and 2 policemen who let it happen even if the families of the girls approached them to save their daughter (all Yadavs, in fact the local police post in-charge is also a Yadav) – no reaction from Mulayam and Dharmendra so far, routine reaction from Akhilesh after the national and international outrage, only to throw another shocker – the policmen, clearly involved in the crime, were suspended only initially – their termination only came after the outrage..

The insensitivity reflects in comments political statements:

Mulayam on a manifesto promise – “when he proposed to scrap the new anti-rape law which provides for hanging for the horrific crime. – ‘Rape ke liye phansi par chadha diya jaayega? Ladke, ladke hain. Galti ho jati hai.’ (Will boys be hanged for rape? Boys are boys. They commit mistakes.)”

April 11, 2014, DNA
(http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-rapists-do-not-deserve-death-boys-commit-mistakes-mulayam-singh-yadav-1977168)

Badaun gangrape and murders

Why are the political parties like SP, BSP, RJD or similar outfits with bunch of criminal elements and operating with a feudal mindset voted in?

Countless idiots among us are primarily responsible for electing them and equipping them with power to slay us later.

The crime is Talibani and the attitude of administration in most cases forces us to desperately think of a swift Talibani way of justice.

But….Alas….The perils of democracy!!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

PUNISHED WITH GANG RAPE: THE MEGALOMANIAC IN US GETS EVEN MORE INSANE

Civilizations! Societies! Contradictions! Barbarism! Insanity! Savagery!
Again and again!
Complicity, explicit or implicit, an essential part of it!

In West Bengal’s Birbhum district, a 20-year old woman was punished with gang rape by 13 men.

Her crime: she was in a relationship with a man outside her tribe/community.

Punishment: The couple was ordered to pay fine, some say Rs. 25,000, some say Rs. 50,000, but that is irrelevant here. After the couple said it was unable to pay such a hefty amount, the village chief, the head of the Panchayat (village court) ordered she be gang raped while her partner was tied up to a pole in the village square. The village head headed the bunch of 13 who were ordered to extract the quantum of punishment from the couple (especially from the girl).

This incident, from a backward district like Birbhum of a backward state like West Bengal, is not a standalone incident. Rapes and killings by Panchayats (and by the societies) have been taking human lives (more specifically women lives) in India.

This incident, a direct replication of what we have seen so many times in Indian movies of all languages, is a real-life horror story of many Indias that are dying in the world’s largest democracy.

This incident, from a tribal dominated region of India, is one of the countless incidents of gender crimes perpetrated by the feudalism of male psyche.

And such incidents are not limited to the culturally and economically backward regions like this, they are uniformly distributed even to the metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai, reports and gender crime data from the National Crime Records Bureau say.

India is known as a land of diversity, but at least, there is one universally, uniformly, distributed aspect of it – its megalomaniac composition of the male domination psyche.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RIGHTS ISSUES AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN INDIA – FEMALE FOETICIDE AND INFANTICIDE

Female Foeticide and Infanticide

Last year, the Indian government said the country had nearly 3 million girls less (‘missing’) in 2011 (75.84 million) than their count in 2001 (78.83 million).

In a country, facing the acute crisis of a skewed sex ratio, female foeticide and female infanticide continue shamelessly.

The situation has worsened to this level that there are not enough girls to wed the boys of this patriarchal system and women are being trafficked to continue families in culturally backward states like Haryana or Rajasthan where women are treated like mere objects, tools to satisfy carnal pleasures, to carry out house chores and to give birth to the sons (daughters have no place).

A write-up of UNICEF India website says: Eligible Jat boys from Haryana travel 3,000 km across the country to find themselves a bride. With increasingly fewer girls in Haryana, they are seeking brides from as far away as Kerala as the only way to change their single status.

The write-up further says: Decades of sex determination tests and female foeticide that has acquired genocide proportions are finally catching up with states in India.

And it is not just about female foeticide or aborting the female foetus. It is also largely about female infanticide, killing the girl child before one year of age.

Naturally, differently laws have been put in place to prevent foetal sex identification, foeticide and female infanticide.

And as expected, these laws have failed, naturally, as is with laws on many other intrinsic socially mandated patriarchal gender crimes like dowry (a major reason for female foeticide and infanticide in India) or witch-hunting.

Not just foeticide or infanticide figures, there is a whole bunch of statistically incriminating data set that tells us how insanely criminal we have been to the other half of the human population.

2011 Census sex ratio is 940, i.e., 940 girls per 1000 boys. Though it is a slight improvement from 933 of 2001, the child sex ratio saw a decline from 1991 to 2011, from 945 to 914.

Female foeticide and infanticide – 10 million female foeticides – one million infanticides of every 12 million baby born – a media report says.

The girl child population was around 16 per cent of the female population in 2001 that declined to 12.9 per cent by the Census 2011.

A BBC report quoting the medical journal the Lancet said in 2006: More than 10m female births in India may have been lost to abortion and sex selection in the past 20 years, according to medical research. Researchers in India and Canada for the Lancet journal said prenatal selection and selective abortion was causing the loss of 500,000 girls a year.

And the problem is not limited only to the culturally backward states like Haryana or Rajasthan or culturally-skewed states like Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra or Punjab, it has become a pan-India pandemic, a social menace that is corroding the fabric of the Indian social formation.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

ONE YEAR OF DECEMBER 16 GANGRAPE: UNDERCURRENTS REMAIN IN REALM OF GREY!

Though it was coloured in black and white, it was not black and white. One year after the December 16 gangrape in Delhi was a point to stop and look back on what all has changed.

Have there been changes? And when we talk about ‘changes’, what do we mean by ‘change’?

It was so brutal and animal that it stirred not India only, but pulled the attention of the global community.

The two weeks of protests that followed the December 16 horror slapped the Indian psyche, laid it threadbare, thrashed the Indian administration, made the world worried about women safety in India (their women as well as the Indian women) and thus gave India the tag of the rape capital of the world.

And if we see the developments leading to the ‘desired’ ‘changes’ in this context, we can say nothing ‘much’ has moved.

On paper, a stronger anti-rape law was put in place. But rape cases reported have doubled since the December 16 incident, if we talk of Delhi, the national Capital of India. True, it may be that the increased attention and a tougher anti-rape law have led to the higher reporting of such cases. But it also tells us about the uncomfortable truth about us, the central reason behind crime against women, a truth that we all know but do want to realize to work on.

The truth behind increased reporting of such cases tells us how deep the murk is. If an anti-rape law can result in over two-fold increase in reporting of the rape cases from Delhi alone, imagine the horror at the pan-India level where most of the cases are still not reported!

It is good more cases are being reported. It is bad the accompanying legal machinery is still not responding to it in a satisfactory way. Some special courts were made to handle rape cases only, six in Delhi, the Chief Justice of India had inaugurated. All are trailing with unimpressive outcomes.

Again, that is for Delhi only. Think of the problem at the pan-India level and link it with the flood of rape cases being reported from across the country and you would feel ‘nothing’ has changed.

It cannot, until the mindset changes. It cannot, until the male-dominated Indian psyche remains skewed.

We are a country of the men who still kill their five minor daughters in cold blood, shooting them in the head, to get rid of them, as happened last week in the Gaya district in Bihar where the father was the killer.

We are a country of the men who kill millions of girls even before they see the world. Last year, the Indian government said the country had nearly 3 million girls less (‘missing’) in 2011 (75.84 million) than their count in 2001 (78.83 million). In a country, facing the acute crisis of a skewed sex ratio, female foeticide and female infanticide continue shamelessly.

We are a country of the men who still brand women as witches to exploit them, to settle scores with them. We are a country of the men who still marry their daughters in an age when they can’t realize what marriage is. UNICEF statistics say 18 per cent of the Indian girls are married by the age of 15 and the share gets disturbingly higher with 47 per cent of the girls getting married by the age of 18. The October 2013 report published in the Times of India puts the number of child brides in India at 24 million out of the global count of 60 million.

We are a country of the men who still treat women as secondary, lesser counterparts professionally as well as socially. Dowry is social menace deeply rooted. Dowry murders still happen. Girls form the larger chunk of ‘forced’ illiterates and dropouts. Glass Ceiling is common.

How can there be a change of gravity until this borrowed mentality of male domination changes, a borrowed mentality anointed for ages?

One year after, and it was to be coloured in black and white, all across. But, the undercurrents remain in the realm of grey!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RIGHTS ISSUES AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN INDIA – WITCH-HUNTING (DAYAN)

Witch-hunting (Dayans of India)

Witch-hunting, the erstwhile tool of medieval and early modern period of history is still existent in many places of India. The recorded cases talk of over thousands of women victims murdered in this decade only – in India of 21st Century.

And we don’t need any ‘ifs and buts of a rational thinking process’, to say that the cases not reported would certainly be multiple of it, given the kind of ‘prevalence belts’ this witch-hunting or ‘punishing the Dayan’ exists in. Dayan is the Indian term for witches.

Witch-hunting cases are commonly reported from states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal but we do come across victimization of women in the name of ‘witchcraft’ from other states, be it Uttar Pradesh or Kerala, representing two geographical extremes of India, or many other states in between or across, to support the claim.

Google is a wonderful tool. Do a simple Web-search with tags like ‘Dayan + India’ or ‘witch-hunting + India’ and you will come across pages and pages of results on victimization of women in the name of witch-hunting. And mind you, you can come across cases that happened just yesterday or the last week.

Victimization of women under the garb of punishing witchcraft is basically an easily available tool to the patriarchal mindset of the rural and semi-urban areas of many states in India. Though it is more virulent in the socioeconomically poorer segments of the social formations, well-to-do families are found it practicing as well.

The purpose is more or less similar in almost of the cases of witch-hunting as it is found on investigation – settling score, usurping property in the name of the victim, getting rid of a wife a man no longer wants to be with, efforts to discard a daughter-in-law a family wants to throw out – there are varied reasons – but all target women, causing them mental and physical torture.

And most of these women do not report. They cannot report. Being hounded by the family and the immediate society, they are not allowed to approach the police even if they are fortunate enough to have the police officials ready to act on such complaints of socially mandated crimes.

Their fate is more or less similar thus. Yes, the background only exacerbates the problem. Many have to suffer and live the life of outcasts. Many are forced to make compromises. Many die living such lives. Many are killed outrightly.

Yes, there is a law again, to contain and eliminate this socially mandated crime but it is failing again. The social humiliation and the subsequent personal assassination in the name of sanitizing a society from a Dayan’s presence continue.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RIGHTS ISSUES AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN INDIA – CHILD BRIDES

Underage Marriages

Underage marriages are prevalent in many states of India. In some parts where it was thought to be effectively put down, the social blot is witnessing resurgence.

India is known as the child marriage capital of the world. On mining statistical analyses and news reports for information and data, we come across harrowing details.

An October report said India refused to sign the UN Human Rights Council led resolution on child marriages. Countries like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Chad, Guatemala, Honduras and Yemen were among the 107 countries supporting the resolution. The report quoted these supporting countries as having high rates of child marriage.

The child marriages involve both the boys and the girls but no deep sociological understanding is required to arrive at the conclusion that not boys but girls are at the receiving end of such ill-intended practices of a brutal, archaic, patriarchal society that treats its women (and thus girls) as secondary, inferior counterparts.

UNICEF statistics say 18 per cent of the Indian girls are married by the age of 15 and the share gets disturbingly higher with 47 per cent of the girls getting married by the age of 18. The October 2013 report published in the Times of India puts the number of child brides in India at 24 million out of the global count of 60 million.

That is 40 per cent of the lot – India is statistically and thus justifiably the child bride capital of the world!

Marrying girls when they are not even able to understand themselves and then expecting from them to understand the needs of an entire family and act accordingly – it is inhuman, it is barbaric – but it is what is exactly happening.

There is a law to prevent child marriages, like there is one to stop dowry cases. Both are glaring example of nationalised social apathies. Both have been meek in checking the menace because the implementers are from among us only, the progenies of the brutal, archaic, patriarchal society, who refuse to budge.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

RIGHTS ISSUES AND WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN INDIA – GLASS CEILING

Glass Ceiling

It is the major manifestation of gender discrimination in corporate establishments. Its most talked about aspect is the sexual harassment of women employees and the attempts to hush up the matter if the harassment comes to light.

Double standards are seen in motion just not in squeezing out carnal pleasures, a direct indicative of the widespread immorality in such work cultures, but are also seen in employment opportunities, in equity of wages and in workplace etiquette expected to be observed.

Tarun Tejpal’s case is a recent one, much talked about, burning example of such a work culture. And it is not just because of the men that the situation has become so discriminating. Sometimes, powerful corporate women, too, play a significant role as we saw the lame excuses and duplicitous attitude of Shoma Chaudhury in Tejpal and Tehelka sex scandal case.

Serious attempts are not being made to address the real issues in real terms. Instead, the emphasis is on easy and escapist measures like reducing the women headcount from the workforce. The practice is gaining serious acceptance in organizations with odd and 24/7 hours working conditions. Such outfits are either slowing or are not hiring women employees so as to avoid being liable for their security. Doing so is the breach and denial of the basic human rights of equal opportunity.

It is true we have many good names, the women achievers, to talk and write about who have created a space for them scaling the top of the corporate management leadership positions yet the real battle lies in bringing uniformity at every level of a workplace.

The Global Gender Gap Index 2012 by the World Economic Forum ranks India at 105th place. The survey was carried in 135 countries.

An observation by UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) says: India has a rich history of women in positions of power, yet the country ranks 129 out of 146 countries on the Gender Inequality Index, and women in India face barriers at all levels in areas such as food insecurity and education. (March 2012)

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/