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Press Release – Civil Society condemns police action and sexual assault against peaceful demonstration of Dalits of Bhagana in Delhi

We condemn action and against peaceful demonstration of Dalits of Bhagana in Delhi

We express shock and dismay at the mindset and functioning of the government and the state machinery towards rape survivors and their families and sympathizers.

Families of four minor rape survivors and the girls themselves belonging to a Dalit community from Bhagana village, Haryana, have been sitting in a peaceful dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi since early April. The community has been denied justice and the dominant Jat community hounded them out completely, by not allowing daily survival requirements as access to water, common lands or the market or a doctor.

In May 2012, the Dalit community of the village came to the Hisar Secretariat with their families and cattle, and started an indefinite dharna in front of the District Collector’s office. In continuation of the social boycott, four minor girls were attacked when they had gone out to relieve themselves on the night of 23 March 2014.

Instead of considering their demands, the state and central government on early morning June 4th clamped down on the peaceful protestors in a clearly planned manner in Hisar and Delhi simultaneously.

On the same afternoon when the Bhagana protestors (including the families of the rape survivors and the girls themselves and representatives of women’s organisations, Dalit organisations and students’ organisations) went to the Parliament Street Police Station, Delhi to present a memorandum asking to be allowed to stay in Jantar Mantar since they had nowhere else to go, the police responded in the most crude and unlawful manner.

The mothers of two of the rape survivors were leading the group. Women police were directed to sexually assault the protestors. Using undue force and targeting the women by grabbing their private parts and pushing their hands into the anal region, the mothers of the survivors and several women activists were attacked. At one point a senior police officer came out and shouted out – “Are ye aise nahi manenge – lathi ghusao.” Batons were then thrust at the women’s private parts.

It is shocking to see that the police has used sexual assault to deal with demonstrators. The police had removed identification badges and engaged in a totally unacceptable crime.

We demand strong, immediate and exemplary action against personnel accused in this incident. This incident makes it clear that the new government has to take steps beyond tokenism in well publicized rape cases and ensure lawful conduct of its functionaries.

The Bhagana families have no place to go and it is no concession to allow them to stay at Jantar Mantar for another ten days. They have to be offered livelihood and adequate security and the investigation in the rape cases has to proceed seriously and till then they cannot be asked to leave.

Signed:

Anil Trivedi, Perin Daji, Chinmay Mishra, Sister Rosali, Jawahar Dassani, Ajay Lagoo, Ashok Dubey, Alok Khare, Kailash Limbodia,  Kamayani Bali Mahabal and Belu George, Jayashree, Subhadra Kharpade, Sarika Srivastava and Kalpana Mehta from Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

Contact Sarika Srivastava [email protected]; 9589862420

Belu George [email protected]; 76970162113

Kalpana Mehta [email protected]; 9425056985

 

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