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Statement Condemning the Sexual Assault of a Teenage Girl and the Physical Assault of Dr. Mohini Giri

WSS strongly condemns the shameful sexual assault on the young woman and the cowardly attack on Dr. Mohini Giri at Sanjay Van, New Delhi.

On August 23, 2014, a gang of young men sexually assaulted a young woman by pulling off her clothes and mercilessly beating her. This happened in a public place, in front of several bystanders. Dr. Mohini Giri, a former Chairperson of the National Commission for Women and currently, a well-respected member of the women’s organisation, Guild of Service, was passing by the area and witnessed the incident. When she realised what that the men were beating the young woman and trying to pull off her clothes, she immediately went up to her and tried to shield her with her own body. Within a few minutes, a police control room (PCR) van passed by. Dr, Giri flagged it down. The PCR van driver walked up to them and saw the whole situation. Instead of offering them immediate help, he went back to the van to report to a higher official sitting there. To her shock, he then came back to tell Dr, Giri, “Sahib ko kahin jaldi jana hai, abhi main aapki koi madad nai kar sakta.” (“Sir is in a hurry, I can’t help you right now”).

Suddenly, a woman in her mid 30’s came towards Dr. Giri and the young woman. This woman started punching her all over her body. Dr. Giri is a senior citizen on medical support. She was hurt very badly and suffered extensive internal and external injuries. There were about 50 onlookers at this time, but not one person, including her driver, came forward to help her and the young woman who was being sexually molested. Dr. Giri saw a police motorbike heading in their direction and she flagged it down. She told the police officials to stop this attack and take the perpetrators along with them. To her shock, the policeman instead of helping them, started yelling at her, rudely addressing her as ‘budhiya’ (old woman). He told her in no uncertain terms that if she has any serious grievances, she should file a First Information Report (FIR) at the police station.

How will crimes against women and girls ever stop if these attacks continue with impunity? How can the police be made to become accountable for its actions and be made to understand its responsibility towards the citizenry it is meant to serve?

We demand that:

  • The police officials who arrived on the crime scene be held accountable for dereliction of duty as they refused to take immediate action on the spot. Further, they should be prosecuted for their unprofessional language and behaviour. They should not be granted impunity and should be penalised under the appropriate Sections of the law.
  • A case be registered against the male perpetrators of the shameful sexual assault on the young woman. They should be immediately charged under the appropriate Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and taken into custody.
  • The woman attacker be charged under the appropriate Section of the law for physically assaulting Dr, Giri and the young woman she was trying to protect.

Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) is a non-funded grassroots group. It has come together to challenge and put an end to the sexual violence against women that has become a regular feature of the sustained and unchecked state repression that is being unleashed across the country today. WSS was initiated in 2009 and brings together a nationwide network of women from diverse political and social movements comprising women’s organisations, civil liberties groups, student and youth organizations, mass movements and individuals.

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