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Archives for : Women Rights

Bombay High Court Reserves Order In Tarun Tejpal Rape Trial Case #Vaw

Tarun Tejpal, who is accused of raping a former colleague during an event in Goa in 2013, presented before the high court the CCTV footage outside the lift of a five-star hotel, where he is alleged to have sexually assaulted her.

Tarun Tejpal was charged with raping a junior colleague at news magazine Tehelka four years ago.
PANAJI: The High Court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday reserved its order on a petition by former Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, seeking quashing of rape and other charges against him.

Justice Nutan Sardesai reserved the order without specifying the date.

Mr Tejpal, who is accused of raping a former colleague during an event in Goa in 2013, on Tuesday presented before the high court the CCTV footage outside the lift of a five-star hotel, where he is alleged to have sexually assaulted her.

Senior advocate Aman Lekhi and advocate Pramodkumar Dubey, who represented Mr Tejpal, displayed the CCTV footage to the judge on a laptop to support his contention that he has been falsely accused of a rape, outraging modesty and sexual harassment by Goa police.

“The CCTV footage shows that the petitioner and the prosecutrix (victim) were out of the lift walking leisurely not indicating any sign of distress or outrage,” Mr Lekhi said while providing the footage which was sourced from the Goa Crime Branch, which has filed a charge-sheeted against the Delhi-based journalist.

Mr Tejpal has been charged for sexual harassment, rape, rape of a woman by a person being in position of control or dominance over the woman by the crime branch. The crime branch later added charges of wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement, person in position of trust or authority over women, committing rape of such women, sexual intercourse by person in authority and assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty.


Mr Lekhi argued that the charges were framed by the lower court without considering the material evidence on record, “which shows that the prosecutrix was not restrained, confined or her modesty was outraged by the applicant (Mr Tejpal)”.

He pointed out that after the alleged incident, the prosecutrix had accompanied Mr Tejpal in the same lift for the second time next day without showing any sign of distress. The lawyer also claimed that the investigating officer in the case had failed to examine several crucial witnesses, which were named by the prosecutrix in her statement.

The investigating officer had also withheld the CCTV footage from the applicant, who had to obtain it through the order by the Supreme Court, Mr Lekhi said.

Public prosecutor Saresh Lotlikar said the trial court (district court) has come to the conclusion that “primary case” has been made out as the charges are already framed. He said the charges against the accused should not be dismissed without a trial in the case.

Mr Lotlikar said that the statement of the accused that she was raped and the CCTV footage showing her conduct otherwise, would get the clarity only when she is examined in the witness box.


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Outrage in Hisar as 5-yr-old Dalit raped, brutalised with stick, killed #WTFnews

Rape case

 Picture for representational purpose

A five-year-old Dalit girl was abducted, raped, brutalised with a wooden stick and killed in Haryana’s Hisar district, sparking outrage in the area, in a chilling reminder of Nirbhaya’s gang-rape and murder in Delhi five years ago.

The mother said she, along with her daughter, went to sleep in her house at Uklana village, about 160 km from Delhi, on Friday night. When she woke up on the next morning, the child was not there, she said. She searched for her in the neighbourhood. Later the body was found in the village.

Forensics and sniffer dog squads visited the crime scene. Rape will be confirmed only after the post-mortem report is in, the police said. “It prima facie looks like a case of sexual assault,” Hisar DSP Jitender Kumar, however, said.

Autopsy said that the stick had perforated her uterus and intestines. The parents, who work as labourers, agreed to cremate the body on Sunday after the police promised to arrest the accused within 48 hours.

“She had been brutalised with a wooden stick. There was blood everywhere… blood was coming out of her mouth, too,” the victim’s uncle said. An FIR has been filed and a Special Investigation Team formed for a thorough investigation. Raids are being conducted to nab the accused.

The police are rounding up local criminals, drug addicts and history-sheeters.

The horrifying crime comes a week ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Nirbhaya case, a watershed moment for India’s approach to sexual crimes, which had sparked widespread protests and drew international attention to violence against women.

As Opposition parties and locals protested in the area, the administration announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, a BPL card, a house and jobs for two family members of the victim.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) condemned the crime and said that it was coordinating with the state police to arrest the culprits.

For the third year in a row, Haryana has recorded the highest rate of gang-rape per one lakh population in the country, according to the recent report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of 2016


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Kerala- Jisha rape, murder case: Accused found guilty #Vaw

Kerala court finds accused Ameerul Islam guilty

The man accused in the horrific rape and murder case of law student Jisha last year has been convicted by a Kerala court. Here are a few things to know about the case.

30-year-old Jisha was raped and murder in April 2016. Source: PTI
30-year-old Jisha was raped and murder in April 2016. Source: PTI


  • 1
    Law student Jisha was raped and murdered on April 28, 2016.
  • 2
    Accused Ameerul Islam was convicted today.
  • 3
    Quantum of punishment will be passed tomorrow.

Accused Ameerul Islam has been been found guilty of raping and murdering law student Jisha, whose horrific death sent shock waves through the country in April last year.

Kerala’s Ernakulam Principal Sessions Court today convicted Islam for murder, rape, wrongful confinement and house trespassing.


Quantum of punishment for convict Ameerul Islam will be passed tomorrow.

Here are a few things you should know about the case:Â

  1. On April 28, 2016, Jisha, a 30-year-old law student, was raped and murder in her own home in Perumbavoor, Kerala.
  2. The lone accused — now convict — in this case is a man named Ameerul Islam, a migrant worker from Assam.
  3. An intoxicated Ameerul is said to have barged into Jisha’s house when she was alone, and murdered her when she resisted his sexual assault.
  4. Jisha lived in a dilapidated one-room house with her daily-wage labourer mother at a place known as ‘canal purambokku’ (waste land) in Perumbavoor.
  5. It was Jisha’s mother who discovered her body in a bloodied and battered state.
  6. After police took up the case, evidence of a struggle was found inside Jisha’s house.
  7. Jisha’s nose had been smashed with a blow from a hammer-like object.
  8. Much like Nirbhaya, Jisha’s intestines had been pulled out.
  9. She had sustained at least 30 stab wounds behind her head, on her chest, chin and neck, and is believed to have died of a head trauma.
  10. In the FIR or inquest report lodged a day after Jisha’s death there was no mention of sexual assault.
  11. After Jisha’s classmates accessed her post-mortem report that reveal the gruesome manner in which she was killed, the case began to grab national attention.
  12. Soon, the then-in-power UDF government formed a special investigation team to probe the case. After the LDF government came to power post-elections, they formed a new probe team.
  13. On June 14, 2016, the SIT nabbed Ameerul Islam from Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu.
  14. Jisha’s rape and murder, which reminded the nation of Nirbhaya with their uncanny similarities, had brought many out on the streets in protest. Around 18 months later, justice seems to be somewhat closer for Jisha now.

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Madhya Pradesh- Karate coach held for raping woman student #Vaw #WTFnews

Karate Teacher Booked For Raping 20-Year-Old Student in MP

In yet another shocking incident, a 20-year-old student was allegedly raped by Yusuf Mansoori, her 36-year-old karate coach, who threatened to circulate her video clip, shot clandestinely in a changing room of her college in Harda district of Madhya Pradesh, police said on Monday.

According to the police, the woman was secretly filmed around six months ago by Neelesh Sen, who is reportedly 42-years-old, and is a friend of the accused.

Meanwhile, Sen, also a karate coach, was booked in a separate case for allegedly trying to rape another student during training in the college, a senior police officer said.

According to the first victim, Mansoori raped her after threatening to upload her video clip of changing clothes shot by Sen around six months ago.
Rajesh Kumar Singh, Superintendent of Police, Harda

Mansoori, working as a karate coach at a local sports stadium, has been arrested, whereas Sen is on the run.

Police are currently investigating when and where the rape occurred.

“In the first incident, both Mansoori and Sen were booked under IPC section 376 (punishment for rape). Sen is booked for abetment as well,” Singh said.

He said that in the second incident, a woman student complained that Sen had tried to rape her during a training session in her college.

“On the complaint of the second woman, Sen was booked under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) of the IPC,” he said.

Singh said that the search is on to trace Sen and further investigation is underway.

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UP shocker: 15-year-old cancer survivor gang-raped, then raped by passerby too #WTFnews

Cancer patient gang-raped, seeks help from commuter who rapes her again

  • A 15-year-old blood cancer survivor was taken to a secluded place and raped by two persons
  • She was looking for help on the main road when a passerby stopped and raped her
  • The accused passerby — Banthara resident Virendra Yadav (45) — has been arrested
LUCKNOW: A 15-year-old blood cancer survivor was gang-raped by two youths in Sarojininagar late on Saturday night. When she sought help from a passerby, he too forced himself upon her on the pretext of offering help.

The accused passerby — Banthara resident Virendra Yadav (45) — was arrested. Yadav works at a construction site, police said. Later, Sumit, one of the accused, was also arrested.

Around 8.30pm on Saturday, Shubham, an acquaintance of the survivor called her up and invited her to go out and eat noodles. She left home around 9pm and met him, who took her on his bike to a secluded place near Chhilawaan Masjid in Sarojininagar. After chatting for over 20 minutes, Shubham took her to his friend Sumit and insisted that they should go and eat noodles, said cops.

After covering some distance, however, the two youths gang-raped her in a dark secluded spot. After they fled the scene, the girl somehow collected herself and managed to reach the main road. “I was unable to walk or speak properly and was trembling with fear,” she told police.

She was looking for help on the main road when Virendra, who was passing by, stopped. “Despite being betrayed by an acquaintance, I trusted Virendra and sought his help as he appeared to be a good samaritan. He, too, took me to an isolated area and raped me before fleeing the spot,” the survivor stated in her complaint.

Following the repeated violations, the girl couldn’t move from the crime scene for afew hours and reached home — about 3km from there — well past midnight. When her family learnt about the crime, her father lodged a complaint with Sarojininagar Police around 4.30am.

Girl in hospital, now stable

The survivor — hailing from a very humble background — is undergoing treatment and is now in a stable condition. Her father has a small business in Sarojininagar. Youngest of three daughters, though she isn’t fighting cancer anymore, she nurtures a dream of obtaining higher education, said her father.

ASP (east) Sarvesh Mishra said Shubham belongs to the girl’s locality and efforts are on to arrest him.

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Justice for all in the land of the free?

A global outlier in criminal justice, the US undermines itself on the world stage when it engages in human rights abuses against its prisoners,write Love and Das [Reuters]
A global outlier in criminal justice, the US undermines itself on the world stage when it engages in human rights abuses against its prisoners,write Love and Das [Reuters]

On this day 69 years ago the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, sketching the foundation of human rights law. Led by Eleanor Roosevelt, the United States played a critical role in bringing 48 nations together to enumerate a set of core individual rights and freedoms that we all reference to this day.

Unfortunately today the US struggles to live up to these ideals it helped create. The punitive nature of American criminal justice deserves international censure. The US has emerged as the global capital of mass incarceration, and its sentencing laws must be examined.

Although it calls itself the “land of the free,” the US maintains a draconian sentencing scheme, sending more people to prison than any other nation. While it touts its own human rights record and lectures other nations on their human rights shortcomings, its voracious appetite for life sentences without parole is an embarrassment that fails to live up to the lofty rhetoric of the US Constitution, and falls far short of international standards.

The sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, or LWOP, is just as the term implies. A person will remain behind bars for the rest of his or her life and until death, without any hope of release from prison. A cruel form of punishment often referred to as “the other death penalty,” LWOP violates international human rights norms.

Violating human dignity

William W. Berry III of the University of Mississippi noted, human rights law is based on the concept of human dignity (pdf). Both the preamble of the Charter of the UN, and Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reinforce this concept.

Similarly, the US Supreme Court has said the basic concept underlying the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution – which prohibits “cruel and unusual punishments” – is nothing less than the dignity of man. While the State has the power to punish, the Amendment stands to assure that this power is exercised within the limits of civilised standards. As Berry notes, LWOP – as a “one-time decision” and “death-in-custody sentence” – violates the human dignity of the condemned (pdf), the high court’s decisions notwithstanding. A final and total condemnation of a person, LWOP sentencing is problematic because there is no way of knowing if there is proportionality in the sentence, it does not allow for rehabilitation and does not account for changes in the offender’s danger to society over time.

According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the goal of the treatment of prisoners is reformation and social rehabilitation: “Life-sentence prisoners should be eligible for release into society once they have served a sufficient period of time in custody to mark the seriousness of their offences (pdf)”.

The imposition of LWOP in the US is a violation of a number of UN human rights conventions, of which the country is a signatory, but often neglects to follow.

Racial discrimination in sentencing

For example, racial and ethnic minorities disproportionately receive LWOP sentences (pdf), a violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), or the Race Convention. While African Americans are 13 percent of the population, they were 28.3 percent of prisoners serving life sentences as of 2009, 56.4 percent of those sentenced to LWOP, and 56.1 percent of juveniles serving LWOP (JLWOP), according to the ACLU (pdf).

Juan Mendez, the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment, noted the US is the only country to continue the practice of JLWOP. Many lifers serve their sentences in solitary confinement – isolation for at least 22 hours a day – which is a form of torture (pdf) under the UN Torture Convention.

The explosion of people doing time for life has been more about locking up black and brown bodies than deterring crime.

The European Court of Human Rights has found that life sentences with no hope of release raise issues under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The court ruled that a whole life sentence must allow for reducibility (pdf) if a prisoner has been rehabilitated and continued detention is no longer justifiable.

In practice, more than 50,000 prisoners are serving life without parole today. That’s one in every 28 prisoners. One quarter of those serving life or virtual life sentences will never have an opportunity for parole.

Most doing life without parole were convicted of violent crimes. Others were not. There are more than 3,000 nonviolent LWOP offenders as young as eighteen. Offenses like stealing a $159 jacket or selling cannabis are costing lives. Sixty-five percent of these nonviolent offenders are African American. In nine states, African Americans make up two-thirds of those serving life without parole.

The surge in life without parole sentencing is staggering. LWOP rolls quadrupled nationwide from 1992 to 2012, from 12,453 to 49,081(pdf). That rate of growth is almost four times the percentage rise in people serving parole-eligible sentences.

The explosion of people doing time for life has been more about locking up black and brown bodies than deterring crime. Violent crime has been on the decline for decades, yet in states such as California, Florida, and Virginia LWOP prison populations exploded since 2003. California’s violent crime decreased by 26.4 percent yet their LWOP count grew by 281.6 percent. California has made progress reversing its tough-on-crime past, yet they’ve thrown the book and then some for many of their prisoners to this day.

Finally, despite progress being made in the area of juvenile justice, the US is still an outlier. In 2012, the US Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama it’s unconstitutional to sentence kids for life without parole. Today, however, approximately 2,100 people remain in prison for crimes they committed as children.

To give up on rehabilitating individuals attacks a core tenet of criminal justice in a functioning democracy.

Even in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court halting harsh sentencing of minors, the US continues to wrestle with the impacts of degrading sentencing. Legislators and prosecutors for too long have cast Black and Latino American children as young as 14 as irredeemable super-predators, charging, prosecuting, convicting and sentencing children as if they were adults. Most of these children, of course, sprung out of traumatic environments, poor mental health access and sometimes abusive households.

Many LWOP offenders grew out of over-policed under-resourced communities hollowed-out after years of divestment and systematic discrimination to access decent housing, education and employment. To give up on rehabilitating individuals attacks a core tenet of criminal justice in a functioning democracy. The system should not simply punish but be a place for mercy and change, a set of rules for offenders to reflect, repair and heal.

A global outlier in criminal justice, the US undermines itself on the world stage when it engages in human rights abuses against its prisoners. The nation will remain ill-equipped to serve as a human rights leader and role model as long as it ignores international standards regarding life sentences. The US must do much better, which means implementing sentencing laws that uphold human dignity and facilitate rehabilitation, rather than encouraging punitive measures that embrace cruelty and retribution for its own sake.

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Zaira Wasim  molestation: Cops record Dangal actor’s statement #Vaw

Cops in Mumbai recorded Dangal actor Zaira Wasim’s statement as they begun an investigation into her allegation that a male co-passenger harassed and molested her during a Delhi-Mumbai flight.

by Dev Goswami
Zaira Wasim in a distressing Instagram video claimed she was harrased and molested by a male passenger on a flight (File pic)Zaira Wasim in a distressing Instagram video claimed she was harrased and molested by a male passenger on a flight (File pic)


  • Crew noticed something amiss only during final descent of flight: Vistara
  • Zaira began yelling at the man only after flight started landing: Vistara sources
  • The Dangal star narrated a horrifying ordeal of a man molesting her mid-flight.

The Mumbai Police has begun its investigation into the alleged molestation of Dangal star Zaira Wasim. Cops have recoreded Wasim’s statement in Mumbai, where she landed after her harrowing flight during which, she alleges, a male passenger rubbed his foot along her neck and back.

Wasim revealed her distressing experience in a series of Instagram videos – one shot during the flight, during which the man’s foot can be seen next to Zaira, and the other at the Mumbai aiport in which the teary-eyed teen actor asks, “Who is going to help us Girls? If we don’t help ourselves, nobody will come ahead.”

Cops from the Mumbai Police have spoken to the actress, recorded her statement and have prepared a list of passengers sitting next to Zaira on the Vistara Delhi-Mumbai flight during which the alleged incident took place.

The airline has provided details of the man in the question and policemen intend to question him, as well as other passengers, soon, sources within the force said.

Statements of the crew members on the flight too will be recorded.

Zaira Wasim recounted her in-flight ordeal in an Instagram video (Screengrab)

One of the most intriguing questions arising from the shocking story is why the cabin crew, usually trained to handle inappropriate passenger behaviour, did not react.

Zaira’s manager Tuhin Mishra earlier said the teen actor had raised an alarm but the cabin crew failed to take any action. Sources within Vistara, while admitting the cabin crew did not act until much later said it was because Zaira raised the alarm only after the flight started descending.

According to protocol, everybody, including passengers and flight crew, must remain strapped to their seats while a flight is landing. Zaira, in her story, did not specify when exactly the male passenger seated behind her began touching her with his foot and rubbing it on her neck and back.

Soon after the Zaira’s Instagram posts narrating the ordeal, Visatra released a statement saying it was “aware” of incident and was carrying out “a detailed investigation”.

“We are talking to our crew who were serving Ms. Wasim to understand the incident at greater length, and reaching out to fellow passengers as well. We will support Ms. Wasim in every way required and also if she decides to report the matter to the police,” the airline said.

Official Statement: Update #2

“It appears crew only became aware of something amiss during final descent when they were seated for landing. Further details will come from the investigation which is currently ongoing in full force,” the airline added, before apologising to Zaira for what she had experienced. “We have zero tolerance for such behaviour.”


Meanwhile, sources within the airline said the Dangal actor began yelling at the man in question only once the Vistara flight started descending and was on the final landing path.

At that moment all crew members were “seated in their seats” and “couldn’t move because it is mandatory to have no movement during the final phase of the flight as seat belts are on,” one of the source said.

Once the flight landed, the crew was told about what had happened with Zaira. The crew asked the teen actor and her mother whether they wanted to file a complaint, but they, the sources said, “denied”.

Vistara is yet to contact the male passenger whom Zaira accused of molesting her but has summoned the entire cabin crew for an inquiry, the sources further added.

The last part of the Vistara sources’ version, that Zaira and her mother did not want to file a complaint, was denied by the actor’s manager Tuhin Mishra even as Mumbai Police, which has taken cognizance of the matter, reached the her hotel to record her statement.

Police officials said Zaira has asked for some time to give her statement and the cops have posted a lady officer at the Hyatt hotel, where the actor is staying, to record her version of the events. Police will be in a better position once the Zaira gives her statement, officials said.

National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken cognise of the reports and they will be calling the airlines to get details of what transpired and action taken by them in the matter.

State Women Commission will also write a letter to DGCA, Airlines and Maharashtra Police to investigate the matter.

“Vistara hasn’t sensitized their crew to take action against men torturing women on the flight. I am taking suo moto cognizance of this & giving notice to Vistara. Also, a copy to DGP Maharashtra to act against Vistara Airlines. I would like to tell Vistara that if they have zero tolerance why they have not named this person till now. Naming them is very very important. We would like to tell Zaira that we are there to help her out in any way we can,” NCW Chairperson, Rekha Sharma said condemning the harrowing incident

– Nagarjun Dwarkanath in Bengaluru contributed to this report

WATCH | Dangal actress Zaira Wasim allegedly molested on flight 

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Woman assaulted, paraded in Delhi by liquor mafia #WTFnews


  • The victim has alleged her attackers were women involved in the illicit liquor trade
  • Police said the victim was a member of the Nasha Mukti Panchayat in the area and had assisted them at times in curbing the sale of illegal liquor in the slums

Representative image.

Woman assaulted, paraded in Delhi by liquor mafia

NEW DELHI: A 33-year-old woman was allegedly attacked with iron rods, dragged out of a house where she tried to seek refuge and her clothes ripped apart before being paraded in the lanes of a JJ colony by a group of women in Narela on Thursday. The woman, a volunteer with the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), had been instrumental in getting a raid conducted on sale of illicit liquor in Narela on Wednesday.

The victim — mother of four children — has alleged her attackers were women involved in the illicit liquor trade. She has been admitted to a government hospital in central Delhi after being shifted from a local one.

The police, which has taken cognisance of the incident, said the victim was a member of the Nasha Mukti Panchayat in the area and had assisted them at times in curbing the sale of illegal liquor in the slums. However, the police denied that the victim was paraded naked, saying that her clothes may have got torned in the scuffle.

An angry DCW chairperson, Swati Jaihind, took to twitter to condemn the attack. She said the young woman had spoken out against sale of liquor illegally from a house in the area at a mahila panchayat organised by the commission in Narela on Wednesday. She then led the police, along with Jaihind, to the house where the team seized over 300 liquor and beer bottles.

Two videos and photographs shared by the DCW chief on twitter show the woman sharing her concern about illegal sale of liquor and then later crying inconsolably as she narrates her ordeal.

The woman’s mother-in-law told TOI that her daughter-in-law was in pain and had fainted in hospital. “My daughter-in-law was attacked brutally by some women who first followed her and then beat her up, tore her clothes and paraded her around. This is shocking,” she sobbed.

Jaihind had tweeteed: “A brave lady beaten and paraded naked in Delhi by liquor mafia, her video is made~all coz she dared to raise her voice against crime and helped DCW catch people selling illegal liquor in their home at 50 m from police chowki. Is there any law and order in Delhi? Shame @DelhiPolice”

Later, she issued summons to deputy commissioner of police (Rohini district) in the matter which pertains to Begumpur police station. The DCP has been asked to appear in person before the commission on December 12 or face action.

“In a most unfortunate and shocking development, one woman who gave inputs to the commission during the inspection was today attacked by a large mob of over 25 of these criminals and assaulted with iron rods. Her clothes were torn and she was paraded naked in the area and the entire incident was filmed and the video was allegedly shared in the area by these criminals,” said the summons. Jaihind has accused the police of not taking action to protect the woman and even accused it of “active connivance”.

DCW has sought an ATR, along with an FIR registered in the case of the attack on the woman and in the matter of liquor being sold illegally. DCP (Rohini) Rajneesh Gupta said the the attackers were women of the Sansi community. He said an FIR had been registered and efforts were on to arrest the accused women. The police said that the main accused, Asha, and her husband, Rakesh, have a criminal record and they had attacked the victim earlier as well. “Rakesh has 21 cases of bootlegging registered against him while his wife has around nine cases,” a police officer said.

In Video: Delhi: Woman whistleblower assaulted by locals for helping cops to bust illegal liquor sale

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The 19 Women Who Accused President Trump of Sexual Misconduct #Vaw

The “Weinstein effect” continues to roil the nation’s power centers. But the allegations against the president have largely stayed in the background.
Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice, leaves court after a hearing in her defamation case against President Trump on December 5.
Andrew Kelly / Reuters
DEC 7, 2017 |
It’s been two months since the reckoning began. In early October, The New York Times and The New Yorker first published the alarming accounts of women who said they’d been assaulted by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Rare is the day since then that women, and some men, haven’t come forward with accounts of sexual misconduct from famous and not-so-famous men alike.
Lurking in the background of the roiling debate about harassment and assault in American society are the allegations made against President Trump by at least 19 women, many of whom came forward after the release of the Access Hollywood tape in October 2016. Trump vociferously denies any wrongdoing. “Is the official White House position that all of these women are lying?” a reporter asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, in late October. “Yeah, we’ve been clear on that from the beginning, and the president’s spoken on it,” Sanders replied.
Some of the women’s stories date back to the 1980s when Trump’s personal relationships were fixtures of the New York City tabloids; others begin after he returned to the public eye with his NBC series The Apprentice. Their accounts describe a wide range of alleged behavior, including lewd remarks, overt harassment, groping, and sexual assault. One woman, Summer Zervos, is currently suing the president for defamation after he repeatedly called her and the others liars. What follows are details from each accuser—listed alphabetically—and the president’s corresponding defense.
Kristen Anderson
  • Year: Early 1990s
  • Allegation: Anderson told TheWashington Post in October 2016 that she encountered Trump at an unnamed Manhattan nightspot when he was seated next to her on a red velvet couch. She said that Trump slid his fingers up her skirt and touched her through her underwear. The newspaper quoted friends of Anderson who said she gave them the same account shortly thereafter and in the years that followed.
  • Response: “Mr. Trump strongly denies this phony allegation by someone looking to get some free publicity,” Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokeswoman and the current White House communications director, told the Post. “It is totally ridiculous.”
  • Status: Anderson has not spoken to news outlets since the election.
Mariah Billado
  • Year: 1997
  • Allegation: Billado, a Miss Teen USA contestant representing Vermont, was one of five former participants in the beauty pageant who told BuzzFeed Newsin October 2016 that Trump had walked in on her and other contestants while they were changing. “I remember putting on my dress really quick because I was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a man in here,’” she told the news outlet. Billado said Trump responded by telling them not to worry and that he’d seen it all before.
  • Response: The Trump campaign denied allegations from Billado and other former pageant contestants. “These accusations have no merit and have already been disproven by many other individuals who were present,” the campaign said in a statement. “When you see questionable attacks like this magically put out there in the final month of a presidential campaign, you have to ask yourself what the political motivations are and why the media is pushing it.”
  • Status: Billado has not spoken to news outlets since the election.
Lisa Boyne
  • Year: 1996
  • Allegation: Boyne told HuffPost in October 2016 that she met Trump and modeling agent John Casablancas at a restaurant in Lower Manhattan in 1996 while she worked at a think tank in the city. She described a dinner in which the women sitting in a circular booth could only leave if they walked across the table. According to Boyne, Trump used the opportunity to look up their skirts and comment on their underwear and genitals. She told the news outlet that Trump did not make any advances toward her, but asked for her input on which of the other women he should sleep with.
  • Response: “Mr. Trump never heard of this woman and would never do that,” Hicks told HuffPost in a statement.
  • Status: Boyne has not spoken to news outlets since the election.
Rachel Crooks
  • Year: 2005
  • Allegation: Crooks told The New York Times in October 2016 that she encountered Trump outside the elevator in Trump Tower in Manhattan, where she worked for a real-estate-investment company. She said Trump shook her hand, wouldn’t let go, and then pulled her in for a kiss on the cheeks and the mouth. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that,” she said.
  • Response: “None of this ever took place,” Trump told the Times in a phone interview for the article, which also included a separate account by a woman named Jessica Leeds. The newspaper characterized his response as “highly agitated” and noted that he called one of the reporters asking him questions “a disgusting human being.”
  • Status: Crooks told the Times in November that she wondered how the country could forget about the women who accused Trump of misconduct. In a CNN interview in early December, Crooks also said she wasn’t surprised Trump had reportedly begun describing the 2005 Access Hollywood tape as fake because she considered the president a “pathological liar.”
Tasha Dixon
  • Year: 2001
  • Allegation: Dixon told CBS News’s Los Angeles affiliate in October 2016 that she met Trump while representing Arizona during the 2001 Miss USA pageant. Like other participants in competitions run by the Miss Universe Organization, which Trump bought in 1996, Dixon said Trump would visit the women’s dressing room while the contestants were changing. “He just came strolling right in,” she told the network. “There was no second to put a robe on or any sort of clothing or anything. Some girls were topless. Other girls were naked.”
  • Response: The Trump campaign denied allegations made by Dixon and other former pageant contestants. “These accusations have no merit and have already been disproven by many other individuals who were present,” the campaign said in a statement. “When you see questionable attacks like this magically put out there in the final month of a presidential campaign, you have to ask yourself what the political motivations are and why the media is pushing it.”
  • Status: Dixon has not spoken to news outlets since the election.
Jessica Drake
  • Year: 2006
  • Allegation: During a press conference with lawyer Gloria Allred in October 2016, Drake, a former adult-film actress and director, described meeting Trump during a 2006 golf tournament at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She said two women were with her, and that Trump “grabbed each of us tightly in a hug and kissed each one of us without asking permission.” Drake told reporters that Trump later called her and asked her to accompany him to dinner and a party. When she declined, she said Trump offered her $10,000 if she agreed to his offer. Allred showed reporters at the press conference a photograph of Trump and Drake together.
  • Response: The Trump campaign denied Drake’s account and accused Hillary Clinton of orchestrating the allegation. “This story is totally false and ridiculous. The picture is one of thousands taken out of respect for people asking to have their picture taken with Mr. Trump,” the campaign said in a statement. “Mr. Trump does not know this person, does not remember this person, and would have no interest in ever knowing her.”
  • Status: Drake spoke at a press conference during the Women’s March on Washington in January alongside three other women who accused Trump of sexual misconduct. “Like many, I am horrified by the potential upcoming administration and fear the consequences it will have,” she told reporters.
Jill Harth
  • Year: 1992-1993
  • Allegation: Harth and George Houraney, her romantic and business partner at the time, first met Trump in 1992 regarding a business proposal. She told The Guardian in July 2016 that Trump’s unwanted advances began at dinner that night when he tried to grope her under the table. According to Harth, those advances continued at a January 1993 business meeting at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s estate in Florida. She said Trump cornered her in his daughter’s bedroom during a tour of the property. “He pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress again,” Harth told the newspaper. Houraney said he did not witness the two incidents but believes Harth’s account of them. She shared her account during a deposition in 1996 as part of a lawsuit against Trump claiming that he failed to hold up his end of a business deal. (Trump settled out of court for an unknown sum.)
  • Response: Michael Cohen, the Trump Organization lawyer, denied Harth’s allegations in a statement to TheGuardian. “It is disheartening that one has to dignify a response to the below absurd query,” he said via email. “Mr. Trump denies each and every statement made by Ms. Harth as these 24-year-old allegations lack any merit or veracity.”
  • Status: Harth continued to speak out against the president after the election. In October, she tweeted, “My pain is everyday with bastard Trump as President. No one gets it unless it happens to them. NO one!”
Cathy Heller
  • Year: 1997
  • Allegation: Heller told The Guardian in October 2016 that she met Trump during a Mother’s Day brunch held at Mar-a-Lago, where she was dining with her husband, her children, and her in-laws. According to her, Trump was greeting attendees table by table. When he was introduced to her, Heller said Trump forcibly kissed her. “He took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips,” she told the newspaper, adding that she felt “angry and shaken.” The Guardian interviewed an unidentified relative who witnessed most of the encounter, as well as friends who said she told them about it in the years afterward.
  • Response: “There is no way that something like this would have happened in a public place on Mother’s Day at Mr. Trump’s resort,” Jason Miller, a Trump campaign spokesman, told The Guardian. “It would have been the talk of Palm Beach for the past two decades.”
  • Status: Heller told The Guardian in October that sharing her story the previous year had been difficult, but that she received “tremendous support” from friends and family. She added that she was glad so many women had stepped forward after the Weinstein allegations were made public. “It’s not a Democrat or Republican thing. It’s men in power,” Heller told the newspaper.
Samantha Holvey
  • Year: 2006
  • Allegation: Holvey, who represented North Carolina at the 2006 Miss USA pageant, told CNN in October 2016 that Trump personally inspected her and the other contestants before the competition. “He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat, we were just sexual objects, that we were not people,” she said in the interview. “You know when a gross guy at the bar is checking you out? It’s that feeling.” Holvey said that she was “disgusted” by his behavior and “had no desire to win when I understood what it was really all about.”
  • Response: CNN said that messages left with the Trump campaign about Holvey’s account “were not returned.” Trump broadly denied the wave of sexual-misconduct allegations in October 2016 and accused the women who made them of lying.
  • Status: Holvey has not spoken to media outlets about her account since the election.
Ninni Laaksonen
  • Year: 2006
  • Allegation: Laaksonen, a model and former Miss Finland, told Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat in October 2016 that Trump groped her backstage at theLate Show with David Letterman in 2006. “Trump stood right next to me and suddenly he squeezed my butt,” she told the newspaper, according to a translation by The Telegraph. “He really grabbed my butt. I don’t think anybody saw it, but I flinched and thought, ‘What is happening?’”
  • Response: Neither Ilta-Sanomat nor The Telegraph quoted a specific response from Trump or his campaign, but Trump broadly denied the wave of sexual-misconduct allegations in October 2016 and accused the women who made them of lying.
  • Status: Laaksonen does not appear to have spoken to media outlets about her account since the election.
Jessica Leeds
  • Year: 1980s
  • Allegation: Leeds told The New York Times in October 2016 that she sat next to Trump in a first-class cabin on a flight in the 1980s. Almost an hour into the flight, he lifted the armrest and “grabbed her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt,” she told the newspaper. “He was an octopus,” she added. “His hands were everywhere.”
  • Response: “None of this ever took place,” Trump told the Times in a phone interview for the article, which also included a separate account by Rachel Crooks. The newspaper characterized his response as “highly agitated” and noted that he called one of the reporters “a disgusting human being.”
  • Status: As the “Weinstein effect” gained momentum this fall, Leeds spoke to The Washington Post in October about her experiences since the election. “It is hard to reconcile that Harvey Weinstein could be brought down with this, and [President] Trump just continues to be the Teflon Don,” she told the newspaper.
Melinda McGillivray
  • Year: 2003
  • Allegation: McGillivray told the Palm Beach Post in October 2016 that she met Trump at Mar-a-Lago during a Ray Charles concert in 2003. Ken Davidoff, a society photographer who often held photo shoots at the resort and was a friend of McGillivray, invited her to assist him. McGillivray told the newspaper that Trump clandestinely groped her while they and others were meeting Charles after his performance. The Post also spoke with Davidoff, who said that McGillivray came up to him shortly after the meeting and told him, “Donald just grabbed my ass.”
  • Response: The Post said it reached out to the Trump campaign for comment but did not cite a response. Trump broadly denied the wave of sexual-misconduct allegations in October 2016 and accused the women who made them of lying.
  • Status: McGillivray expressed anger toward Trump when she spoke to The Washington Post in October 2017 about the allegations. “What pisses me off is that the guy is president,” she told the newspaper. “It’s that simple.”
Cassandra Searles
  • Year: 2013
  • Allegation: Searles met Trump when she represented the state of Washington during the 2013 Miss USA pageant. In a Facebook post written in June 2016, Searles said “this one guy treated us like cattle” during the stage introductions and “proceeded to have us lined up so he could get a closer look at his property.” She didn’t name Trump specifically, but she included a photo of him in the post and noted the “guy” was running for president. “He probably doesn’t want me telling the story about that time he continually grabbed my ass and invited me to his hotel room,” Searles added in a comment on the post.
  • Response: Trump did not specifically respond to Searles’ account when it received widespread media attention in October 2016. He broadly denied the wave of sexual-misconduct allegations that month and accused the women who made them of lying.
  • Status: Searles has not spoken to media outlets about her account since the election.
Natasha Stoynoff
  • Year: 2005
  • Allegation: Stoynoff, a journalist at People magazine, wrote in October 2016 about her 2005 encounter with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. She met with Trump and his wife Melania for a story about their one-year wedding anniversary. While giving her a tour of the mansion, Trump cornered her in a room and began forcibly kissing her, Stoynoff said. “I turned around, and within seconds he was pushing me against the wall and forcing his tongue down my throat,” she wrote. According to her, Trump did not relent until a butler arrived and informed him that Melania was on her way for their interview. Stoynoff said Trump resumed his advances after the interview, telling her that they would have an affair and mentioning an infamous tabloid cover about his purported sexual prowess. In a separate article, People cited six people who corroborated Stoynoff’s account.
  • Response: Trump denied the allegations in a message on Twitter. “Why didn’t the writer of the twelve year old article in People Magazine mention the ‘incident’ in her story. Because it did not happen!” he wrote. Anthony Senecal, Trump’s longtime butler at Mar-a-Lago, also denied the encounter had taken place.
  • Status: Stoynoff revisited the incident in an October 2017 op-ed in USA Today about sexual misconduct. In the piece, she said an “Oscar-nominated actor” had assaulted her when she tried to interview him for her college newspaper. Stoynoff declined to name the actor, saying “this particular creep isn’t running for president and no longer has power in Hollywood.” But she said that episode shaped why she didn’t immediately go public with her allegations about Trump. “Like many women, my life has been riddled with experiences of sexual misconduct by teachers, doctors, bosses, and more,” she wrote. “Sadly, many women begin to feel this behavior from men is a given, and so we go on, dying a little inside each time it happens.”
Bridget Sullivan
  • Year: 2000
  • Allegation: Sullivan told BuzzFeed News in May 2016 that she met Trump in 2000 while she was representing New Hampshire in that year’s Miss Teen USA pageant. According to Sullivan, Trump would “hug you just a little low on your back” and give women “a squeeze like a creepy uncle would.” She also said Trump would walk through the young women’s dressing rooms while they were naked and changing.
  • Response: Hicks told BuzzFeed that Sullivan’s story and similar ones shared by some contestants were “totally false.”
  • Status: Sullivan has not spoken to news outlets since the election.
Temple Taggart
  • Year: 1997
  • Allegation: Taggart told The New York Times in May 2016 about two separate encounters. She first met the president in 1997 while representing Utah in that year’s Miss USA pageant. When she was introduced to him, Taggart said, Trump “kissed me directly on the lips.” She told the newspaper that Trump repeated his actions during a subsequent meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, which she attended because of his offers to help her obtain modeling contracts.
  • Response: Trump told the Times in an interview that he “would never do that.” When NBC News revisited Taggart’s story after the Access Hollywood tape became public in October 2016, he issued a more forceful denial. “I don’t even know who she is,” Trump told the network. “She claims this took place in a public area. I never kissed her. I emphatically deny this ridiculous claim.”
  • Status: Taggart told the Times in November 2017 that she and other women who accused Trump of misconduct had spent the year since his election angry about what happened and fearful of potential retaliation by the president.
Ivana Trump
  • Year: 1989
  • Allegation: The president’s first wife described a 1989 sexual encounter she had with him as “rape” in a deposition during their divorce proceedings in 1990. Her account did not become public until 1993, when it was recounted in a book about the Trumps by author Harry Hart III. Just before the book was published, Ivana said in a statement that her use of the word “rape” should not be “interpreted in a literal or criminal sense” by readers. “On one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage,” Ivana said in the statement, which, according to The Daily Beast, was released by her ex-husband and his legal team. “As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent.”
  • Response: Michael Cohen, the Trump Organization’s legal counsel, downplayed the incident in a 2015 interview with The Daily Beast. “You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody,” he told the outlet. (Cohen received widespread criticism for falsely stating during the same interview that a spouse cannot be raped, for which he later apologized.)
  • Status: After the incident resurfaced in 2015 during Trump’s presidential run, Ivana described her claim from the deposition as “totally without merit” in a statement. “I have nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign,” she added. “Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president.”
Karena Virginia
  • Year: 1998
  • Allegation: Virginia told TheWashington Post in October 2016 that Trump put his arm around her and touched her breast at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 1998. She said she encountered Trump while waiting alone for a car outside the tournament building. According to her, Trump also made comments about her body to a group of nearby men before getting in a car and leaving.
  • Response: The Trump campaign denied Virginia’s account of events. “Voters are tired of these circuslike antics and reject these fictional stories and the clear efforts to benefit Hillary Clinton,” Jessica Ditto, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, told the Post.
  • Status: Virginia has not spoken to news outlets since the election.
Summer Zervos
  • Year: 2007
  • Allegation: Zervos first met Trump in 2005 when she was a contestant on the fifth season of NBC’s The Apprentice. In an October 2016 press conference, Zervos told reporters that she met Trump for dinner in 2007 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles to discuss job opportunities. She said Trump greeted her with an open-mouth kiss when she arrived at his room. “He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast,” she told reporters. “I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, grabbed my hand, and pulled me into the bedroom. I walked out.” Zervos said Trump then embraced her, urged her to join him on the bed to watch television, and thrust himself upon her before she left.
  • Response: Trump denied Zervos’s account. “I vaguely remember Ms. Zervos as one of the many contestants on The Apprentice over the years,” he said in a statement. “To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago. That is not who I am as a person, and it is not how I’ve conducted my life. In fact, Ms. Zervos continued to contact me for help, emailing my office on April 14 of this year asking that I visit her restaurant in California.” At a campaign rally in Pennsylvania a few weeks later, Trump emphatically denied any wrongdoing and repeatedly accused Zervos and the other women of lying about their alleged encounters with him.
  • Status: Zervos filed a defamation lawsuit against Trump in New York in January, accusing him of using his immense public platform “to make false factual statements to denigrate and verbally attack Ms. Zervos and the other women” who came forward. A New York judge is currently weighing arguments from both parties on whether the case should proceed to trial. If Zervos prevails, Trump could be compelled to testify about the allegations before a jury.

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SC: Woman’s religion does not merge with hubby’s after marriage

New Delhi:The Supreme Court on Thursday disagreed with the Bombay high court’s ruling that a woman’s religion merged with her husband’s faith after marriage and requested the Valsad Zoroastrian Trust to reconsider its decision barring a Parsi woman from entering the Tower of Silence to perform the last rites of her parents only because she married outside the community.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan said it appeared to be manifestly arbitrary that a Parsi man marrying outside the community was not barred from entering the Tower of Silence but a woman in a similar situation was barred.

Marriage can never denude a woman’s civil rights: SC

Appreciating the arguments of senior advocate Indira Jaising, on behalf of Goolrokh M Gupta who married a Hindu and has been barred from entering the Tower of Silence by the Valsad trust, the bench said, “Marriage does not mean a woman mortgages herself to her husband. Prima facie, we do not accept this merger principle (propounded by Bombay HC to uphold restraining Goolrokh from performing the last rites of her parents).”

The bench said marriage could never be a ground to denude the civil rights of a woman. “There is no law which debars a woman from entering the Tower of Silence after marrying outside the community,” it said. Incidentally, Goolrokh’s advocate on record in the SC is her sister Shiraz Contractor Patodia. Their parents are both aged 84 years. Given Goolrokh’s marriage outside the community and the restraint imposed on her entry into the Tower of Silence, she had moved the HC seeking permission to perform her parents’ last rites when they pass away. But the HC ruled in favour of the trust, forcing her to bring the matter to the SC. The bench also considered Jaising’s reference to the Special Marriage Act and said, “Special Marriage Act was enacted so that a man and woman professing different faiths can marry and retain their religious identity after marriage. There is no question of merger of woman’s religion with that of her husband’s. Only she on her own volition can give up her religion. If a woman was to merge her religion with her husband’s religion after marriage, then Special marriage Act was not required to be enacted.”

The SC told the Valsad trust to shun rigidity and understand the importance of filial emotions of a child towards parents. It requested the trust’s counsel Gopal Subramanium and Percy Ghandy to consult the trustees and persuade them to take a progressive stand.

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