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Archives for : November2018

Extending the Boundaries of #MeToo: Sexual Harassment in the Lives of Marginalised Women

by – Akshaya Vijayalakshmi

Unmitigated and pervasive sexual harassment at the workplace is pushing women out of the workforce and increasing socio-economic inequalities. 

On the first anniversary of the #MeToo movement, India is witnessing a revolution of sorts. As several sexual harassment allegations surface, there is a need to move beyond the digital boundaries of Twitter and share the platform with women who have been historically silenced: the less-educated, poor, rural, lower-caste women who work long hours, under difficult conditions for survival.

A Culture of Normalised Harassment

Few reports capture sexual harassment incidents in the workplace for low-wage workers. For instance, the women who keep our streets clean had to take to the streets for their voices to be finally heard. Their complaint was against contractors, health inspectors and mestris who they alleged were repeatedly abusing them (Suresh 2018). Several news reports highlight the severe abuse these women faced from supervisors at various levels. The matter had to be escalated to involve the Karnataka Social Welfare Department. When the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike finally set up a committee to hear the complaints of both permanent and contract employees, it got five complaints in six months, of which three were considered serious. One of the complaints (filed by 35 women) was against a contractor who “chased, abused and assaulted women,” reported several news outlets (Alva 2017; Balakrishnan 2017). The situation is equally horrific in the garment industry which employs women in large numbers. A study by the non-governmental organisation (NGO), Sisters for Change, documented that 60% of the women faced physical, verbal and sexual abuse in the factories. These industries employ tens of lakhs of women, with factories in Bengaluru alone employing about five lakh workers (Mohan 2017). If we assume that the study was representative of the population, then a quick calculation will show that about three lakh women working in Bengaluru factories have faced abuse of some kind. In addition, tens of thousands might have had to endure severe sexual harassment.

Even within the organised sector, significant portions of working women are contract workers (Kaur and Kaur 2013). We have no reports on the harassment faced by these women who are employed in housekeeping and maintenance, security and secretarial positions in organisations that are not necessarily dominated by female employees. Also, little is known about the harassment faced by women in the unorganised sector (for example, maids). Most of India is employed by the unorganised sector (Express News Service 2015). Essentially, what we are witnessing on Twitter and other online media outlets is just the tip of the iceberg. There are probably tens of thousands of incidents of harassment at the workplace which get no attention.
The normalisation of sexual harassment in the workplace could be one of the reasons why Indian women are leaving the workforce. According to the International Labour Organization, Indian women’s participation in the labour force has decreased from 34% in 1999–00 to 27% in 2011–12 (Verick 2014). Furthermore, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, in the first quarter of 2017, jobs for men increased by 0.9 million, while 2.4 million women left the labour force (Bhandare 2018). Most of the women who are employed belong to two demographics—the less-educated (primary education or less) and college graduates (Kapurthala 2018). Many of these less-educated women tend to be employed in difficult working conditions which also foster sexual abuse. These women work because they are financially compelled. They are working because they have no choice but to earn their daily living. It is, therefore, not surprising that these women begin to leave the workforce when the family incomes start increasing, even by a little. Sexual harassment is thus, increasing inequality between classes, castes, and genders.

Why Do Women Not Complain?

In most cases, women’s complaints have immediate consequences that affect their roti, kapdamakaan and children’s education. In fact, most of the protesting sanitation workers in Bengaluru were mainly demanding that their unpaid salaries be released. Their salaries were put on hold because they had complained against the contractors. Similarly, many of the allegations of sexual harassment have been made against men who are economically better-off, compared to the complainant (Manickam 2018). The threat of termination or denied salaries prevents women from seeking redressal.

Consider the case of 42-year-old Sakina (Mohan 2017), who worked in a garment factory in Bengaluru and had been a tailor for more than half her life. In 2016, she found that the production manager had retained part of her salary. When she protested, Sakina was repeatedly harassed over the phone by the same supervisor who stole her money. When she complained to the owners, it was considered a false complaint. Suddenly, Sakina’s tailored pieces were rejected. She felt isolated in the factory where she had worked for three years. She was eventually fired from her job. When Sakina went to the government authorities to register this unjust treatment, her complaint was dismissed as trivial. She was told, “What ma, all this for some dirty phone calls. It is not like it is rape, no?” Finally, the Karnataka Garment Workers’ Union had to come to intervene. Given the enormous effort that Sakina had to make for her voice to be heard, is it really surprising if women do not come forward to complain about harassment?

Overall, economic vulnerability, lack of job security, stigma, isolation, family pressures are significant reasons why women do not complain about sexual harassment. Despite these pressures, women who do want to come forward and complain, are failed by the ineffective redressal mechanisms. In some instances, women are not even aware of the existence of a legal redressal mechanism (Aravind 2017).

Current Status of the Internal Complaints Committee

If one considers the testimonies on Twitter, it is clear that such safe spaces do not exist in our workplaces. From the case of the sanitation workers taking to the streets in Bengaluru, it is also clear that the authorities have muted women’s voices.
The law requires every organisation with more than 10 employees to have an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The ICC deals with complaints of harassment at the workplace. The ICC must be led by a woman employee who will be assisted by (a) other employees in the workplace working on gender-related issues, and (b) members of NGOs working on similar matters. Before the implementation of the ICC, women had to go to the police or their supervisor. Naturally, many women chose to remain silent. The gap ICC is filling is evident by the complaint numbers. Five hundred and twenty-five and 601 complaints were registered in the financial years 2016 and 2018 respectively, with Nifty50 companies’ ICC (Somvanshi 2016; Vyas and Sultana 2018). These growing numbers also suggest that ICCs are beginning to have an effect.

The sanitation women workers in Bengaluru had to take to the streets for an all-women ICC to be setup (Alva 2017). In contrast, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has worked to create a safe space for its 40,000 women employees. All the 106 departments at MCGM reportedly have their committees to deal with sexual harassment cases. Further, they draw help from NGOs such as Savitribai Phule Gender Resource Centre to strengthen their redressal mechanisms (Vyas and Sultana 2018).

MCGM might be an exception, as news reports suggest that many public sector undertakings and private firms still do not comply with the act (LiveMint 2018). In addition, civil liberties lawyer Vrinda Grover argues that it is important to get into the details of the numbers on the complaints (for example, complaints by whom and against whom) to build effective structures in the organisation. In particular, Grover wonders whether the women working on the shop floor of garment factories have also been able to assert their voices.

Browsing through EPW, one finds several studies by academics discussing the absence of ICCs or the dismal state of ICCs at various workplaces. For example, Anagha Sarpotdar (2016) in her study found that many firms in Mumbai did not form an ICC or when they did, the organisations did not take women’s complaints seriously. In another study, Bhavila and Beegom (2017) interviewed employers, chairpersons, and members from 15 ICCs in government offices in Kerala. The researchers found that the ICCs were constituted as mandated by the law with both external and internal members. However, women, including the chairperson at times, were afraid of asserting themselves against senior male members. The ICCs did not have much legitimacy in a male-dominated environment. Further, Bhavila and Beegom (2017) found that many complaints were anonymous since the complainant did not trust the ICC members to keep the case confidential. The law requires the case details to be confidential in order to protect the complainant, accused and even the witnesses.

An ICC that is powerless and lacks autonomy is almost as good as non-existent. In Sakina’s case, the factory claims that there was an ICC, but clearly, it was dysfunctional. In fact, 75% of garment factory workers who were surveyed said that the ICC in their factories was not useful (Aravind 2017). In many firms, ICCs are created since the law mandates it. However, employees are not made aware of it. “Why to put ideas in women’s minds?” is the attitude in such cases. Factory owners, academic institutions and businesses are concerned about their reputation if women start making formal complaints. Finding no respite, women under-report abuse or find new jobs to escape abuse. It is not surprising, therefore, to see women taking to Twitter by the numbers because it is unclear to them who at their workplace will hear and investigate their case.

While ICC is for organisations with more than 10 employees, a Local Complaints Committee (LCC) is for organisations with less than 10 employees, unorganised sector workers and complaints against the employer. The LCC is headed by the district officer who then appoints five members to be part of the committee. To locate an LCC, a complainant has to go to the district officer’s or the state women commissioner’s office or call the 181 helpline. These steps reduce the ease of accessibility, and it is highly likely that a woman will not register a complaint until the sexual harassment is severe or repeated. Based on a Right To Information request, Mumbai’s LCCs received just six cases (all resolved) in three years of its existence. For a city with working population in the millions, such a low number raises doubts of the LCCs’ efficacy. The LCCs have the potential to become sources of power for contract and unorganised workers, who are otherwise unrepresented. It is essential that they reach the women workers rather than the other way around.

A Renewed Role for the ICC

The current dysfunctional state of ICCs and LCCs needs to change immediately. We need to provide a platform for every person to be able to share their harassment experience, and for the episode to be investigated in a fair and judicious manner. Importantly, both the complainant and the accused should have a chance to explain their case. Such due process can set a precedent and influence work culture. It can initiate conversations and engage people in a difficult, but constructive discussion. The process is time-consuming but more effective in the long run.

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI), has put out a note requiring that the ICCs at media houses carefully investigate claims of sexual harassment that have cropped up in recent times. This is a desirable first move. The presence of an autonomous ICC and awareness amongst all employees about its existence is one sign that an organisation takes the safety of its women employees seriously. The need of the hour is to make sure that the private and public organisations follow the law and institute these committees. But, it is more important that the unorganised and contract workers who are part of these big organisations are also knowledgeable about the existence of such a committee.

As the number of contract workers in an organisation grows, it is important that the ICCs do not render them invisible. The ICCs may be burdened at this time, but this moment also presents an opportunity for them to hear the voices of all the workers in their organisations. It is commendable that the NWMI is suggesting that equal rights be extended to freelance and full-time journalists. Similarly, ICCs should take cognisance of contract and unorganised workers’ work conditions and extend similar protections to all. The non-unionised, low-wage worker requires special protections as she is more vulnerable to being fired by the contractor if she raises her voice. The contractor would rather replace a complaining worker than lose his/her contract with the organisation.

Finally, the law may have mandated the composition of ICC to ensure a fair trial, but unless the attitudes of the members of the ICC change, the formal mechanisms will continue to fail the abused. Bhavila and Beegom (2017) found that the ICC members whom they interviewed in Kerala had little idea about the investigation procedures and had patriarchal attitudes. In order to build a safe workplace, there is a need to train the ICC and LCC members to be sensitive to people’s voices and investigate in as fair a manner as possible.

It was Bhanwari Devi’s battle for justice against the people who gang-raped her that got us the legal guidelines to protect women against and prevent sexual harassment at the workplace. There is no time like the present to take those guidelines seriously and implement them in order to build a safe workplace. A supportive and sensitive workplace with robust redressal mechanisms for sexual harassment can help complainants, and prevent cases of abuse in future.

 

Akshaya Vijayalakshmi ([email protected]) is an assistant professor of Marketing at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
Acknowledgements: This write-up is part of a larger collaborative effort with Pritha Dev, Aruna Divya, and Vaibhavi Kulkarni to understand sexual harassment faced by low-wage workers. Salonie Hiriyur and Ramya Palavajjhala are helping us immensely on taking the project forward.
https://www.epw.in/engage/article/extending-boundaries-metoo-sexual-harassment-marginalised-women

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Senior Assam police official accused of sexually harassing junior colleague #Metoo

In another #MeToo incident, Majuli (HQ) Additional Superintendent of Police, Leena Doley has charged Additional Director General (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwal with sexual misconduct six years back.
The #MeToo movement has now reached the upper echelons of the Indian police department.
A senior Assam police official is the latest to be caught in the ongoing #MeToo storm after he was accused of sexually harassing his junior colleague.
Majuli (HQ) Additional Superintendent of Police, Leena Doley has charged Additional Director General (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwal with sexual misconduct six years back.
Agarwal could not be contacted for his reaction.
“I am a survivor of sexual harassment at the workplace. In March 2012, one of my seniors, Mukesh Agrawal, IPS, then IGP (Logistics), offered to take me on a holiday with him for the efficient work I had done,” Doley wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.
The police officer said she had refused and informed the DGP about it.
“Anyway, a lot transpired after that – I made my written complaint against Mukesh Agrawal, IPS, IGP (L), Assam, now ADGP (L&O), Assam, Guwahati,” she said.
Doley’s husband had committed suicide around six months after the complaint was lodged.
“Following which, the Inquiry Officer, Emily Choudhury, IAS, the then Addl. Chief Secretary, Assam, came to my house… to assure me that it was not because of the
complaint that my husband killed himself,” she added.
Doley wrote that she did not react as “I was beyond any reaction. But the inquiry procedures had not started till then. My case was dismissed as one of misunderstanding although the perpetrator had admitted to the fact”.
The perpetrator had asked “me to accompany him to a holiday destination without of course telling my husband. Also, the wife of the perpetrator filed a defamation case against me for supposedly defaming her husband”. Doley eventually filed a revision petition against it in the Guwahati High Court and won the case.
“I am now beyond any redemption. I only feel some kind of contentment that the case against me resulted in a judgement that complainants cannot be persecuted upon for
filing a case against sexual predators,” she said.
Doley, a mother of two, however, rued that she had received no justice for the complaint she had filed. “The personal loss of my husband committing suicide is on a different ground. But I lost. The Inquiry Committee concluded that it was a misunderstanding even when the
perpetrator himself admitted to the fact of the allegation made by me,” she added.
The police officer lamented that after her experience, “no one else would come out with their stories in government departments. I’m an example. Of defeat. But still, for all of us, who have stood against it, strength to us!! #MeToo”.
She said it was her duty to inform everyone of the fact that “as per the Guwahati High Court judgement (in the case), defamation cases against complainants cannot be filed during pendency of the allegation
agencies

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India – Working Class Women Share Their #MeToo Stories

A report on the public talk organised by GATWU, Stree Jagruti Samiti, BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha and KBNN Workers Federation

#MeToo: Working Class Women Share Their Stories
Image Courtesy: Debanjan Chowdhury

The #MeToo movement may have started recently, but it is not new to India. The fight against sexual harassment began when Bhanwari Devi, a saathin in a village in Rajasthan, was raped for doing her job — stopping child marriage. Every working-class woman, like Bhanwari Devi, has a #MeToo story to share. Job insecurity, low wages — upon which her entire family is dependent, no social security benefits, and added to which are caste and class oppression. This silences women workers from speaking about their experiences of sexual harassment.

The #MeToo movement is not lead by any particular woman. The women participating in it to call out their perpetrators are owning the movement as theirs. This has displayed the exemplary solidarity of women fighting sexual harassment and exposing it for what it is. The movement has also demolished the lies around women when it comes to sexual harassment — that it happened because she was wearing a revealing dress, that she might have seduced him, that her character is questionable, that she asked for it, etc. It has showed us that sexual harassment is shockingly common and universal. It has also broken the myth that a woman loses her and her family’s honour if she is sexually harassed. Women are standing up against their perpetrators against great odds and risks to their personal safety, job security, and mental peace.

Despite the Vishakha Guidelines and the Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Redressal Act of 2013, working class women have been fighting for redressal and justice when it comes to sexual harassment at the workplace. There are areas of workplaces which are diverse, invisible and taut with class, caste and gender prejudices which do not allow the law to penetrate. This is the case with domestic workers, street vendors, pourakarmikas (waste workers), construction workers, and others, where local complaint committees have been formed, but are constituted merely on paper. In such cases, the working-class women have been fighting against sexual harassment through their trade unions.

On the evening of November 03, 2018, the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), along with the BBMP Guttige Pourakarmikara Sangha, Garment and Textile Workers Union, Domestic Workers Rights Union and the KSRTC/BMTC/ NEKRTC/NWKRTC Workers Federation hosted a public programme called “#MeToo: Working Class Women Share” in Bangalore. Several women workers participated in the event and shared how the nature of their work and the work environments make it vulnerable to sexual harassment. The natural outcome of calling out their perpetrators is to lose their jobs instantly, and in most cases without any pay. Rathna, a pourakarmika, while sharing her experience said, “The supervisor in my ward stripped off his pants in public when we asked him for our wages which we weren’t paid for five months”. Tahira, a domestic worker, said that when her employer’s son molested her and she complained, she was instantly removed from her job. Rajeshwari, who works in a garment factory in Hosur stated how the managers in garment factories abuse them. “I was told that I wasn’t fit to work in the factory and that I should stand on the road to earn money. We are also exposed to physical assault due to the structure of garment factories and the way they are built,” she said. Parveen, a mechanic with the BMTC, said that sexual harassment is not just rampant amongst bus commuters, but it is even more so for women bus conductors. “We have to deal with drunk men sometimes. We have thousands of rupees in our bags from ticket collection. If we create a ruckus about the harassment we face and lose the money in the scuffle, then we will have to pay BMTC from our pockets. This is why most women conductors do not talk about sexual harassment,” she said and added that lack of toilets for women bus conductors at bus depots and bus stands also enable sexual harassment.

In the programme, members from the transgender community, sex workers and students also spoke of their experiences of sexual harassment. Sana, a transsexual woman, said, “I was sexually violated when I worked for a media company. I was removed from my job as they feared I would create noise about it. Members of our community cannot complain to the police because they also sexually abuse us. They say that we are meant to be harassed and violated. The #MeToo movement has not addressed concerns of sexual minorities or oppressed caste women.” Madhu Bhushan, an activist, stated that one does not think of sexual harassment for sex workers. Parijatha of the Sthree Jagruti Samiti said that when they complained of several sexual abuse cases related to domestic workers, the officials of the Department of Women and Child Development reacted in an extremely insensitive manner. “They too are a prejudiced lot,” she said.

The All India Progressive Women’s Association plans to prepare a report from the experiences shared at the public programme on November 03, which will be submitted to the Kerala government’s Department of Women and Child Development, Karnataka State Commission for Women, the Internal Complaints Committees of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation.

(Lekha graduated from Azim Premji University, Bangalore with a Masters in Development, before which, she worked as a sub-editor with The New Indian Express. She is interested in understanding issues related to informal labour and urban commons.)

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Activists challenge SC order on Aadhaar to make it mandatory for welfare schemes

As members of various campaigns working with vulnerable groups, we were hoping and expecting that the Supreme Court would decisively prohibit the mandatory use of Aadhaar for social benefits. A large body of evidence, provided to the court, shows that the mandatory use of Aadhaar and biometrics for this purpose is leading to large-scale exclusion, new forms of corruption, and extra delays and hardship for people in accessing their entitlements.

 

We are therefore extremely disappointed that the court has upheld the constitutionality of section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, which allows the state to make the use of Aadhaar and biometric authentication mandatory for citizens to receive social benefits.

 

We see the mandatory use of Aadhaar as an example of how the poor are unable to have their voice heard in the policy framework. This imposition has led to extreme distress and even death in many cases. The total numbers of people negatively affected by the mandatory use of Aadhaar runs into the hundreds of thousands and it is therefore not a small issue either in intensity or in numbers.  Aadhaar has also led to many problems in the linking of bank accounts and people’s entitlements going into the wrong accounts.

 

We come together to let it be known that we intend to make Aadhaar an electoral issue. We intend to ask people on the ground who have been the victims of this huge experiment to make it clear during the elections that they will target parties who have thrust the mandatory use of Aadhaar upon them.

 

We intend to go to all political parties with a single agenda on Aadhaar, demanding that the Aadhaar Act be amended so that the mandatory or compulsory use of Aadhaar is clearly prohibited.

 

We announce today a collective campaign, with a demand that all political parties make a categorical committment to amend the Aadhaar Act so that there is no mandatory use of biometric authentication or Aadhaar for social benefits. We strongly believe that people should be allowed multiple forms of identity and authentication in order to be able to access their benefits. We also believe that the best possible way of fighting corruption is through decentralized, open, transparent systems that ensure transparency and accountability of the schemes and implementing agencies to local communities and the people.

 

As has been repeatedly shown, the figures of “savings” due to Aadhaar presented by the government stand no scrutiny. If this system has really stopped “billions of dollars in corruption” as is being claimed, many criminal cases should have been filed, fraudsters should have been prosecuted, and recoveries made. Instead, undistributed entitlements due to exclusion are being passed off as “savings”. We demand accountability and compensation for those who have been excluded due to Aadhaar,including those who have been denied their wages, food or pensions, and had to run around to be able to access their basic entitlements.

 

While we are also very concerned about issues of commercial exploitation of data and surveillance due to Aadhaar,the exclusion problems caused by the mandatory use of Aadhaar amount to an emergency. That is why we call upon people to come together to pressurize all parties to amend the Aadhaar Act immediately, so that the mandatory use of Aadhaar for accessing basic entitlements is completely prohibited.

 

 

Endorsed by:

  1. Kavita Srivastava – Convener, Right to Food Campaign, PUCL
  2. Dipa Sinha – Convener Right to Food Campaign, Ambedkar University of Delhi
  3. Kamayani Keki – Association for India’s Development
  4. R. Baidya – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  5. Aabida Khatoon – Advocate, New Delhi
  6. Abha Bhaiya – Jagori
  7. Abidali Patel – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  8. Aditya Srivastava – Right to Food Campaign
  9. Adsa Fatima – Concerned Citizen, India
  10. Afsar Jafri – Focus on the Global South
  11. Akhay Mukherjee – Durbar Mahila Samanvaya Committee
  12. All India Democratic Women’s Association
  13. Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture
  14. Alphanosa Kumari – Udayani Social Action Forum, Kolkata, Right to Food Campaign West Bengal
  15. Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore
  16. Alwyn D’Souza – Head, Human Rights and Training Unit, Indian Social Institure – Bangalore
  17. Amit Dasgupta – CPIML
  18. Ambarish Rai – Right to Education Forum
  19. Amit Kumar – National Alliance of People’s Movement
  20. Amita Buch – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  21. Amitranjan Basu -Concerned Citizen, India
  22. Amreen Murad – Concerned Citizen, India
  23. Amrita Jain – Alliance for People’s Rights
  24. Amrita Johri – Satark Nagrik Sangathan, NCPRI and Right to Food Campaign
  25. Anand Mazgaonkar – Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti
  26. Anees George – Kerala State Garhika Thozilali Union
  27. Anil Chamadia – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  28. Anjali Acharya – Right to Food Campaign, Madhya Pradesh
  29. Anjali Bapat – Alliance for People’s Rights
  30. Anjali Bhardwaj – Satark Nagrik Sangathan, NCPRI and Right to Food Campaign
  31. Ankur Sarin – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  32. Anna Suraksha Adhikar Abhiyan – (ASAA), Gujarat
  33. Annie Raja – National Federation of Indian Women
  34. Anuja Shah – Alliance for People’s Rights
  35. Anukriti Dixit – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  36. Anumeha Yadav – Concerned Citizen, India
  37. Anup Kumar Srivastava – Social Activist and Legal Aid Counsel, Delhi
  38. Anupama Potluri – Concerned Citizen, India
  39. Anuradha Talwar – Paschim Bnaga Khet Mazdoor Samiti, Right to Food Campaign
  40. Archana Sardar – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  41. Aruna Burte – Concerned Citizen, India
  42. Aruna Roy – Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
  43. Arundhati Dhuru – National Alliance of People’s Movements, Right to Food Campaign, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha
  44. Arundhati V – Member, Federation of Theatre of the Oppressed
  45. Ashish Kothari – Kalpavriksh
  46. Ashok Choudhary – All India of Forest Working People
  47. Astabala Maity – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  48. Aysha – Right to Food Campaign, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha
  49. Babu Mathew, NLSIU
  50. Babulal Naga – Vividha Feature, Jaipur
  51. Bela Adak – Pasudschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  52. Bharat Chintan – Concerned Citizen, India
  53. Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti
  54. Bidyut Mohanty – Right to Food Campaign, Odisha
  55. Biswanath Soren – Udayani Social Action Forum, Kolkata
  56. Bittu Karthik – Karnataka Janashakti
  57. Brinelle D’souza – Concerned Citizen, India
  58. Chakradhar – Libtech, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
  59. Chandrasekhar Bhattacharya – Journalist
  60. Chandrasmita Chowdhury – AIPWA
  61. Charul Bharwada – Loknaad
  62. Chhaya Datar – Concerned Citizen, India
  63. Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) Chennai
  64. D Thankappan – Kamani Employees Union
  65. Debmalya Nandi – Concerned Citizen
  66. Deepa Sonplal – Unnati
  67. Deepak Yatri – Cultural Artist and concerned citizen, New Delhi
  68. Dev Desai – ANHAD
  69. Devabrat Sharma  – Asom Majoori Shramik Union
  70. Dipankar Bhattacharya – General Secretary, CPIML
  71. Amitabha Basu – New Delhi
  72. Antima – New Delhi
  73. Anupam Saraph – Concerned Citizen
  74. Indu Prakash Singh – Facilitator at CityMakers Mission International, President, Forum Against Corruption & Threats (FACT)
  75. Neetu Sharma – Centre for the Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, Bangalore
  76. Soma KP – Concerned Citizen, India
  77. Sylvia Karpagam – Public Health Doctor and Researcher, Bangalore, Right to Food Campaign
  78. Vandana Prasad – Concerned Citizen
  79. V.N.Sharma – Concerned Citizen, India
  80. Dunu Roy – Hazards Centre
  81. Dyuti – Concerned Citizen, India
  82. Elizabeth – Nari Shakti Manch
  83. Elizabeth Sangita Paul – Udayani Social Action Forum, Kolkata
  84. Fahimuddin – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  85. Jothi SJ – Udayani Social Action Forum, Kolkata, Right to Food Campaign
  86. Pascal xalxo – HLDRC, West Bengal
  87. Garment and Fashion Workers Union – NTUI
  88. Gautam Mody – New Trade Union Initiative
  89. Ghulam Nabi Azad – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  90. Girish Ashtekar – Siemens Workers Union
  91. Goldy M George – Concerned Citizen, India
  92. Gopal Barman – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  93. Hardeep Singh – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  94. Himshi Singh – National Alliance of People’s Movements
  95. Imrana Qadeer – CSD
  96. Jacintha Kumarswamy – Concerned Citizen, India
  97. Jaisree Kumar – Concerned Citizen, Kerala
  98. Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan – Bihar
  99. Janchetna Sansthan
  100. Janvi Andharia – Concerned Citizen, Noida
  101. Javed – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  102. Jayati Ghosh – Concerned Citizen, India
  103. Jean Dreze – Activist
  104. Jeevika Shiv – Anna Suraksha Adhikar Abhiyan, Gujarat
  105. Jharna Pathak – Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group, Gujarat
  106. Joykumar Wahengbam – Concerned Citizen, India
  107. Joynur Bibi – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  108. Joyraj Bhattacharya – Theatre Activist
  109. Kabi Cuddy Facilitator, CityMakers Mission International President, Forum Against Corruption & Threats (FACT) Devatwa
  110. Kakali Bhattacharya – SWAYAM
  111. Kamayani Bali Mahabal – Feminist and Human Righst Activist
  112. Kanai Halder – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  113. Karuna DW – Concerned Citizen, India
  114. Karuna Sengupta – PBMS
  115. Kavita Gupta – Concerned Citizen, India
  116. Kavita Krishnan – AIPWA
  117. Khadija Khatun – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  118. Khairun Nisha – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  119. Khusilal Sardar – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  120. Kinnari Pandya – Alliance for People’s Rights
  121. Kiran Shaheen – Concerned Citizen, India
  122. Koninika Ray – National Federation of Indian Women
  123. Krishna Bansal – Alliance for People’s Rights
  124. Kumar Rana – Pratichi Trust
  125. Lakshmi Krishnamurty – Concerned Citizen, India
  126. Lata Singh – Concerned Citizen, India
  127. Linda Chhakchhuak – Concerned Citizen, India
  128. M Sreekumar – Kerala State and Cleaning Destination Workers Union
  129. M Subbu – Tamil Manila Kattida Thozhilalargal Sangam
  130. Sharif Desai – Mahar Credit & Supply Co. Op. Society Ltd.
  131. Madhavi Yennapu – Concerned Citizen, India
  132. MADHU BHUSHAN – Concerned Citizen, India
  133. Madhuresh – National Convener, National Alliance of People’s Movements
  134. MAGP GUJARAT Pankti Jog
  135. Maherunnisa Desai – AMWA
  136. Malay Tiwari – CPIML
  137. Mamta Singh – Humsafar, Uttar Pradesh, Right to Food Campaign
  138. Manas Das – Asom Majoori Shramik Union
  139. Manasi Pingle – Concerned Citizen, India
  140. Manjula Pradeep – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  141. Manoj Kumar Singh – Journalist, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh
  142. Manshi Asher – Concerned Citizen, India
  143. Mariam Dhawale – General Secretary, AIDWA
  144. Mayuri – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  145. Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan – Rajasthan
  146. Meena – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  147. Meera Sanghamitra – Concerned Citizen, India
  148. Mehnaz – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  149. Milan Dutta – Journalist
  150. Mini Mathew – Concerned Citizen, India
  151. Mira Shiva – Concerned Citizen, India
  152. Mitraranjan – Right to Education Forum
  153. Mohammad Shafi Khan – Jammu & Kashmir Trade Union Centre
  154. Mohan Lal – KSEB Karar Thozilali Federation
  155. Mohini – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  156. Molina Pramanik – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  157. Mridula Bajaj – Alliance for People’s Rights
  158. Mudita Vidrohi – Gujarat Lok Samiti
  159. N Vasudvan – Blue Star Workers Union
  160. Nabanita Mukherjee – Sahoman
  161. Nachiket Udupa – Concerned Citizen, India
  162. Nadeem – All India People’s Forum
  163. Namita Halder – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  164. Namita Mandal – TUCC
  165. National Alliance of People’s Movements
  166. National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights
  167. National Campaign for Protection of Right to Information
  168. National Federation of Indian Women
  169. Neeta Hardikar – Anna Suraksha Adhikar Abhiyan, Gujarat
  170. Neha Shah – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  171. Nikhil Dey – Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
  172. Nimmi Chauhan – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  173. Nirjhari Sinha – Chair, Jan Sangharsh Manch, Gujarat
  174. Nisha – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  175. Nisha Biswas – Concerned Citizen, India
  176. Nita Mahadev – Gujarat Loksamiti
  177. Nityanand Jayaraman, Chennai Solidarity Group
  178. NREGA Sangharsh Morcha
  179. Om Prakash Singh – Concerned Citizen, India
  180. Om Prakash – Concerned Citizen, India
  181. Pabitra  kr Mandal – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  182. Padma Velaskar – Concerned Citizen, India
  183. Pallav Bhattacharya – Advocate Consultant
  184. Pallavi Sobti Rajpal – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  185. Paromita Dasgupta – PBMS
  186. Paromita Dutta – Udayani Social Action Forum, Kolkata
  187. Parveen – Concerned Citizen
  188. Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity
  189. Paul Lakra – HLDRC, West Bengal
  190. Penn Thozhilalargal Sangam – Garment and Fashion Workers Union, Chennai
  191. Pension Parishad
  192. Pradip Pradhan – Concerned Citizen, India
  193. Pradip Roy – TUCC
  194. Prafulla Samantara – An Activist
  195. Pragnya Senior Research Associate Technical Support Unit ANANDI- Area Networking and Development Initiatives
  196. Praavita Kashyap – Rethink Aadhaar
  197. Prathibha Sivasubramanian – Concerned Citizen, India
  198. Pratibha R – Garments and Textile Workers Union
  199. Priyangee Guha – Concerned Citizen, India
  200. Priyanka Samy – People’s Budget Initiative, New Delhi
  201. Provita Kundu – Alliance for People’s Rights
  202. Punit Minz – Concerned Citizen, India
  203. Rabindranath chakrabarty – TUCC
  204. Radha Holla Bhar – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  205. Radhika Ganesh – Ek Potli Ret Ki
  206. Rajalakshmi Sriram – Department of Human Development and Family Studies, M.S. University of Baroda
  207. Rajendran Narayanan – Azim Premji University, Bangalore
  208. Rajendra Singh – Concerned Citizen, Uttar Pradesh
  209. Rajkishore Mishra – Right to Food Campaign, Odisha
  210. Rama Debnath – Durbar Mahila Samanvaya Committee
  211. Ranjit Sur – APDR
  212. Ranu Jain – Concerned Citizen, India
  213. Ratnaboli Ray – Anjali Organisation
  214. Ravindra Patwal – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  215. Reetika Khera – Rethink Aadhaar
  216. Rethink Aadhaar
  217. Right to Food Campaign – Bihar
  218. Right to Food Campaign – Chhattisgarh
  219. Right to Food Campaign – Karnataka
  220. Right to Food Campaign, Madhya Pradesh
  221. Rita Banerjee – 50 Million Missing
  222. Ritu Dewan – Concerned Citizen, India
  223. Rohit Prajapati, Activist, Researcher and Writer
  224. Roma – All India of Forest Working Peoplel
  225. Rosamma Thomas – Journalist
  226. Roseina – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  227. Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan – Uttar Pradesh
  228. Q. Masood – Centre for Peace Studies
  229. Sachin Jain – Right to Food Campaign, Madhya Pradesh
  230. Sadhna Arya – Concerned Citizen, India
  231. Sagar Besra – Jharkhand Krantikari Mazdoor Union
  232. SAHAYOG
  233. Sahiyar Stree Sangathan
  234. Samar Bagchi – Concerned Citizen, India
  235. Samim Ahmed – Writer
  236. Samir – Right to Food Campaign, Chhattisgarh
  237. Sandip Singha – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  238. Sandipan Paul – Alliance for People’s Rights
  239. Sangram Mandal – Sahamon
  240. Sarita Kumari – Sashaktnari blogspot
  241. Sarojini N – Concerned Citizen, India
  242. Savitri Ray – Alliance for People’s Right
  243. Sejal Dand – Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, Gujarat, Right to Food Campaign
  244. Sejal Dave – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  245. Shabnam Hashmi – Social activist
  246. Shakun D – Concerned Citizen, India
  247. Shakun Doundiyakhed – Concerned Citizen, India
  248. Sharada Gopal – Right to Food Campaign, Karnataka
  249. Sharik Laliwala – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  250. Shashi Patwal – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  251. Shishir Dhavle – Sarva Shramik Sangh
  252. Shobha R – Concerned Citizen, India
  253. Shreya Sen – NAZDEEK
  254. Shumona Goel – Concerned Citizen, India
  255. Shyamasree Das – PBMS
  256. Siraj Dutta – Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand
  257. Smita Pandya – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  258. Snehal Shah – Concerned Citizen, India
  259. Somnath Baskey – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  260. Sophia Khan – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  261. Soumi Jana – Right to Food Campaign, West Bengal
  262. Srinivas Kodali – Concerned Citizen, India
  263. Stan Swami – An activist, Jharkhand
  264. Subhash Gurav – Sakhar Kamgar Union
  265. Suchitra Halder – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  266. Sudarshana Chakraborty – Journalist
  267. Sudeshna Dutta – Sohoman
  268. Sudeshnasen Gupta – Individual Researcher, New Delhi
  269. Sudha Arora – Concerned Citizen, India
  270. Sudhansu Chakrabarty – Durbar Mahila Samanvaya Committee
  271. Sudhir Vombatkere – Concerned Citizen, India
  272. Sujata Chiti – Udayani Social Action Forum, Kolkata
  273. Sujata Mody – Garments and Fashion Workers Union
  274. Sukla Sen – Peace Activist, Mumbai
  275. Suman Sengupta – Sahoman
  276. Sumitra Mishra – Alliance for People’s Right
  277. Sunetra Deshpande – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  278. Sunita Singh – Right to Food Campaign, Uttar Pradesh
  279. Surabhi Vaya – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  280. Suresh – Viklang Andolan, Rajasthan
  281. Sushila – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  282. Sushila – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  283. Sushma – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  284. Sushovan Chaudhuri – Marcom Consultant
  285. Swapan Halder – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  286. Swapna – APDR
  287. Swapna Naiya – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  288. Swarna Rajagopalan – The Prajnya Trust, Chennai
  289. Swati Narayan – Right to Food Campaign
  290. Tanushree Gangopadhyay – Concerned Citizen, Gujarat
  291. Tara Dey – PBMS
  292. Tarun Bharatiya, Thma U Rangli Juki (Meghalaya) – Workers power of Meghalaya
  293. Tarun Bhartiya – Concerned Citizen, India
  294. Tultul Biswas – Concerned Citizen, India
  295. Tushar Chakraborty – Scientist
  296. Ujwala Kadrekar – Concerned Citizen, India
  297. Ulka Mahajan – Sarvhara Jan Andolan, Maharashtra
  298. Uma Chandru – Concerned Citizen, India
  299. Uma Maane – Kshitij Organisation
  300. Uma –National Alliance of People’s Movements
  301. Umesh Babu – Concerned Citizen, New Delhi
  302. Uttam Gayen – Paschim Banga Khet Mazdoor Samity
  303. Vandana Kulkarni – Concerned Citizen, India
  304. Vandana Kulkarni – Concerned Citizen, India
  305. Vandana Mahajan – Concerned Citizen, India
  306. Vani Subramanian – Concerned Citizen, India
  307. Vijay Mandal – Concerned Citizen, India
  308. Vikalp (Women’s Group) – Vadodara
  309. Vinay Baindur – Concerned Citizen, India
  310. Vinay Mahajan – Loknaad
  311. Vinay Sreenivasa – Concerned Citizen, India
  312. Vinayak Pawar – Concerned Citizen,  Mumbai
  313. vindhyala jaya – PUCL
  314. Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli
  315. Zakia Soman – Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan
  316. Zakiya Kurrien – Alliance for People’s Rights

 

 

Steering Committee of the Right to Food Campaign:

National Networks: Kavita Srivastava and Dipa Sinha (Conveners – Steering Committee), Annie Raja and Koninika Ray (National Federation for Indian Women), Harini and Olivia (Human Right Law Network), Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Anjali Bhardwaj, (National Campaign for People’s Right)

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Getting Away with Murder: India among 14 Nations Where ‘Impunity Is Entrenched’

Committee to Protect Journalists’ global impunity index released


 Editor’s Note: The Committee to Protect Journalists’ 2018 Global Impunity Index lists 14 countries where “impunity is entrenched” in a ranking that lists countries with the worst records of prosecuting the killers of journalists. India figures on this list at no. 14, with 18 unsolved cases and 11 years on the index. An article by Elisabeth Witchel, CPJ Impunity Campaign Consultant, is reproduced below.

Impunity is entrenched in 14 nations, according to CPJ’s 2018 Global Impunity Index, which ranks states with the worst records of prosecuting the killers of journalists.

Somalia tops the list for the fourth year in a row and two countries rejoin the list of offenders, including Afghanistan where a suicide attacker targeted a group of journalists in Kabul, killing nine. Colombia also reappeared on the ranks after a breakaway faction of a guerrilla group with alleged ties to drug trafficking kidnapped an Ecuadoran news crew near the border and murdered them in Colombian territory. Both nations had fallen off the index in recent years as violent conflict receded.

In the past decade, at least 324 journalists have been silenced through murder worldwide and in 85 percent of these cases no perpetrators have been convicted. It is an emboldening message to those who seek to censor and control the media through violence. More than three quarters (82 percent) of these cases took place in the 14 countries that CPJ included on the index this year. All 14 countries have featured on the index multiple times since CPJ began to compile it in 2008, and half have appeared every year.

 

The majority of victims are local journalists. The list includes states where instability caused by conflict and violence by armed groups has fueled impunity, as well as countries where journalists covering corruption, crime, politics, business, and human rights have been targeted and the suspects have the means and influence to circumvent justice through political influence, wealth or intimidation.

The Impunity Index is published annually to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2. It calculates the number of unsolved murders over a 10-year period as a percentage of each country’s population. For this edition, CPJ analyzed journalist murders in every nation that took place between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2018. Countries with five or more unsolved cases for the period are included. As a measure of political will to address impunity, CPJ noted which states participated in the UNESCO’s impunity accountability mechanism. Each year, this mechanism requests information on the status of investigations into killed journalists.

The following chart is a list of the countries with the worst records in prosecuting those who murder journalists in direct retaliation for their work. The countries are ranked by their impunity rating, from highest to lowest.

 

Methodology

CPJ’s Impunity Index calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. For this index, CPJ examined journalist murders that occurred between September 1, 2008, and August 31, 2018, and remain unsolved. Only those nations with five or more unsolved cases are included on the index. CPJ defines murder as a deliberate attack against a specific journalist in relation to the victim’s work. This index does not include cases of journalists killed in combat or while on dangerous assignments, such as coverage of protests. Cases are considered unsolved when no convictions have been obtained, even if suspects have been identified and are in custody. Cases in which some but not all suspects have been convicted are classified as partial impunity. Cases in which the suspected perpetrators were killed during apprehension are also categorized as partial impunity. The index only tallies murders that have been carried out with complete impunity. It does not include those where partial justice has been achieved. Population data from the World Bank’s 2017 World Development Indicators were used in calculating each country’s rating.

(This article originally appeared here)

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