Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fwd: [initiative-india] As we Mourn her Death, Struggle for a Safe India Must Continue...

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From: NAPM India <>
Date: Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 6:54 PM
Subject: [initiative-india] As we Mourn her Death, Struggle for a Safe India Must Continue...


As we Mourn her Death, Struggle for a Safe India Must Continue...

New Delhi, December 29 : A crime that is too foul to describe has not only taken one innocent woman's life it is a crime against 'Amanat', 'Damini', 'Nirbhaya'...., that is, against all women in a patriarchal society exemplified by the 13th century statements of the Abhijit Mukherjees, Anisur Rehmans and other politicians. We mourn her death and every other woman who faces sexual harassment and violence every day.

The rapists must be given the severest punishment, i.e., life imprisonment, but we must also hang our heads in shame as a society as we are culpable in promoting machoism as a measure of success, objectification of women in advertisements to promote consumerism, the vulgarity and violence marketed by films and television programmes. We should say no to death penalty only since we, the sate and society, cannot commit the same crime of murder even in the case of the accused. In a civilised society inhumanity and violence can not exist and be promoted.

We hope the popular upsurge in various cities across the country will not be a 'demonstrate-and-forget' phenomenon. We hope that the brave young woman's – whose face we have not seen and whose name we do not know – martyrdom will continue to hold up a mirror to our society, and both immediate and long term changes will be put into place. The immediate steps are of course punishment to the guilty, fast-track trials, police reforms, necessary changes at bus stops and on roads in public places, punishment of apathetic and male-chauvinist policemen etc. We cannot forget that Amanat / Damini / Nirbhaya's tragedy is emblematic of what happens to women across the country – both in cities, towns and villages. Beyond legislation, society will have to re-educate itself on how discrimination between genders comes to an end starting from our homes to classrooms to work situations. We hope that Justice Verma's Commission will take a quick and comprehensive look at all related issues and the fast justice will be done in all the pending cases of rape where women have to go through the trauma and humiliation everyday, they too will get justice. NAPM will its submissions before Justice Verma and also propose a draft of the law.

In this hour of grief and shame we would like to point out that our current development paradigm that rewards cut-throat competition, that has unleashed socio-economic processes that displace and dis-empower people, that treats people only as cogs to run our 21st century economic machine, and that creates tremendous social unrest and aspirations that will only be seen on celluloid but never be achieved, will only result in a generation of youth that is rootless, ruthless and aimless. Therefore a lot of the violence the most oppressed are victims of – especially women – is our own doing. We are happy though that the time of reckoning seems to have come and we are feeling the rage on the streets and something which will hopefully herald a new change.

The tragedy has been compounded by how the Government has been dealing with it from Day One. It first slept through the unfolding tragedy, then it tried to use force, then it bungled, and now it wants to bottle up public sentiment by trying to prevent free expression by all the obstacles it has put up in Delhi. May we remind them that a city cannot be ruled by Sec 144.

Some of the suggested measures, which government can do are the following :

  • The outrage against rape must be taken seriously by the State, the judiciary, the police and by all citizens.

  • Swift action and accurate registration of FIR, investigation and reliable resolution of rape cases through fast track courts.

  • Policing women is not the solution. We endorse the slogan "Don't rape!" instead of the warning to women "Don't get raped!"

  • Introduce safe and frequent public transport system and well-lit roads and bus-stops.

  • Establish functioning help-lines, counseling, medical aid, trauma relief and all necessary support measures to safeguard life after rape and full re-habilitation of affected persons.

  • Discouraging the sale and use of alcohol and drugs is crucial for curtailing the violence against women and for safeguarding food security and education of children. State liquor shops as a major source of revenue are unacceptable.

  • Institute complaint committees on sexual harassment in the workplace in all institutions and enterprises and in tripartite boards of unorganized sector workers.

  • Rape by police and security forces be included as a specific category of aggravated sexual assault under section 376(2) IPC.

  • Persons with a confirmed record of assault on women cannot stand for public office or contest elections.

Let us resolve to not just deal with the immediate symptoms but also look at the root causes in a way that our efforts do not end with candle light vigils and slogan shouting and it will lead to systemic and fundamental changes making India a safe country for women and all and those facing the brunt of these violence get justice sooner.

Read our previous statement : Comprehensive Action Against Sexual Violence Needed | Safety at Public Places is Everybody's Business

Medha Patkar, Gabriele Dietrich, Prafulla Samantara, Ramakrishna Raju, Suniti S R, Sister Celia, Geetha Ramakrishnan, Suhas Kolhekar, Arundhati Dhuru, Anand Mazgaonkar, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Sarasvathy Kavula, Vimal Bhai, Bhupinder Singh Rawat, Rajendra Ravi, Seela Mahapatra, Madhuresh Kumar

National Alliance of People's Movements
National Office: Room No. 29-30, 1st floor, 'A' Wing, Haji Habib Bldg, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar (E), Mumbai - 400 014;
Ph: 022-24150529

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Phone : 011 26241167 / 24354737 Mobile : 09818905316
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