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Mumbai – Custodial Death cases -15 years, just 19 cops charge-sheeted, none convicted

Shibu Thomas

More than 330 persons have died in police custody across Maharashtra in the 15 years since 1999, but not a single policeman has been convicted for the deaths so far. The state’s dismal record on custodial deaths has come back into sharp focus after the deaths of two young men in Mumbai in April this year.According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 1,418 custodial deaths took place in India between 1999 and 2013, and around 23% of these (or 333) were reported from Maharashtra. For the majority of the 15 years, the state topped the custodial death charts.

Reay Road resident Leonard Valdaris, whose son died in the Wadala railway police’s custody in April, submitted a petition through advocate Yug Chaudhry, where he contrasted the custodial death figures to the state’s crime rate. He pointed out that Maharashtra is ranked 19th in the crime rate chart, contributing 8.5% of the total cognizable crimes committed in India.

“Compared to the rest of the country, Maharashtra is rich, well developed, well educated, industrialized and quite law abiding. And yet, as per the records maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau, Maharashtra has had one of the highest number of custodial deaths in the country,“ the petition said.

The NCRB numbers reveal that Maharashtra is lax when it comes to investigating such crimes against its law-enforcers. Only four judicial inquiries and 59 magisterial inquiries were conducted and 43 FIRs registered against cops between 1999 and 2013. While chargesheets were filed against 19 policemen, there were zero convictions. This squares off poorly with the national figures, where 28 policemen were convicted for custodial deaths.

It is statistics like these that made a Bombay high court division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode ask the state government and the police: “Why are cases of custodial killings on the rise? Why assault a boy in his 20s in such a brutal manner? You have a right to arrest an accused. You have a right to prosecute him.
But you have no right to take the life of a person.“

In 1997 India signed the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, but failed to ratify it. A proposed law, Prevention of Torture Bill, is pending before the Parliament. The Supreme Court has laid down procedures to be followed during the arrest of a person, including his production before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. Legal experts however maintain that in many instances the accused is detained before he is formally shown as arrested, so that the police can get a confession out of him.

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Press Release- Delhi Gang Rape Case: Futility of Capital Punishment #Vaw #deathpenalty



People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

Press Statement

16th September 2013


The judgment on the16th December 2012 Delhi gang rape case awarding death penalty to all four accused seems to have brought finality to the cries for justice. While this judgment is found to be in consonance with the majority’s demand, PUDR yet again reaffirms its stand on the futility of capital punishment.

In opposing the punishment of death to the four accused, we do not defend the crime for which they have been penalized. PUDR believes that the act committed by the accused was a brutal, inhuman, gruesome act that called for serious punishment. However, we are convinced that death penalty cannot be the answer. It is important to consider the purpose of punishment in determining its nature. We reiterate that the purpose of any punishment is not vengeance but construction of conditions that enable transformation of the guilty, who must expiate the harm done by them. The idea of retributive justice embodied by death penalty is against the very idea of justice, which is reduced to an act of taking away a life to avenge the loss of another.

Our opposition to death penalty is a principled one that argues against its deployment even in the ‘rarest of rare’ cases as there can be no definitional understanding of the said clause. Anything and everything could be brought within its ambit. There has been no substantial empirical ground to prove any link between death penalty and deterrence, an argument often floated to justify death sentence. Death sentence is irreversible and leaves no scope for correctives in case of an error in judgment. It is also our understanding based on subjective evidence that the award of death penalty is predominantly reflective of the class and caste biases prevalent in our society. The dominant sections and power holders get away with the same crime for which those on the margins are awarded death sentence.

Because we are against death penalty as a legally sanctioned murder by the State of someone under its custody for the above-mentioned reasons, we oppose its deployment in the present case as well. Death sentence in this case has also completely absolved the state of misperformance of law and order functions. The fact that the gang rape was facilitated by lapses on the part of (also in compliance with) authorities, be it the traffic administration or police, has completely been eliminated. While the alacrity, speed and seriousness with which this case has been brought to a conclusion are noteworthy, the same should mark all similar cases where a women’s body is violated and her life is snuffed out only to assert false male-superiority.

Death penalty is the propagation of a culture of hate. It infuses a sense of vengeance in society and reinforces the cycle of violence. PUDR strongly believes that a democratic and just society cannot be envisioned on the idea of retributive justice and disdain for an individual’s right to life. The way forward is the reform of a society infested by a pervert patriarchal psyche, which is the root cause of brutality against women. The attack must be made on such a mentality and not on a life.

D. Manjit and Asish Gupta


[email protected], [email protected]

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#Delhigangrape – Why don’t people first control their daughters?: Defence lawyer #Vaw #WTFnews

Written by: 

Published: Friday, September 13, 2013,

'People should control their daughters'

New Delhi, Sept 13: After the death sentence of the four rape accused in the Nirbhaya gangrape case, the one who has topped the news charts is the defence lawyer AP Singh, but for all the wrong reasons. After his hysterical presentation of the Nirbhaya case, invoking the ideologies of Gandhi and Buddha, the defence counsel now blames political pressure. “It is regrettable that the judgement in the case of the December 16 gangrape has been completely dictated by the government. The judge – without giving it due thought and under political pressure, without considering evidence or witnesses – has handed all four convicts the death sentence,” he said. Contesting the reasoning of the trial court, he further said,”During the time I have to appeal – in the next 2-3 months – if there is no rape in this country I will not appeal in the High Court. But, if rapes take place then I will appeal in the HC.” But he does not stop at that. After the sentencing, the counsel said that he would move the High Court as the sentencing was made under the pressure of the home minister Sushilkumar Shinde. But what outraged the media and the people was his unsympathetic statement onNirbhaya and his sharp remarks on her personal life. A tweet by India today says,”Why don’t people first control their daughters? I’d burn my daughter alive if she was having pre-marital sex,roaming around with her boyfriend at night”. It is rather unfortunate that while the entire country is rejoicing justice, its very representative is making such statements.

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#India- Radical socialist Statement on Recent Rapes #Mumbaigangrape

Punish Rapists without Consideration of Identity. No Double standards. No Communalisation. No death Penalty. Make Homes, Public Places and Work Places Free from Sexual Harassments
Radical Socialist Statement on Recent Rapes
Despite the tall claims of the politicians, two rape cases have in the past few days highlighted the stark reality that even after six months of the notorious Delhi bus rape case, nothing has changed for women. In Delhi, the Godman, Asaram Bapu, was accused by parents of a 16 year old girl that she had been raped by him in his Jodhpur Ashram, in Rajasthan. Given his high profile identity, Rajasthan police first stepped very gingerly, while the BJP immediately went on the offensive, claiming that he was a “saint”, and the charge was motivated by the UPA because he has attacked Sonia Gandhi. Thus, in typical display of power, a rape charge became a matter of power politics. According to the latest news, Jodhpur police have decided to drop the charges of rape while keeping the charges of sexual assault, against him, while Bapu compared himself to the Buddha.
In sharp contrast, the gang rape in Mumbai of a photojournalist has been followed by prompt police action. Yet, what was so terrible was that this 22 year old young woman, on an assignment from a magazine, had gone to take pictures in the abandoned Shakti Mills compound on 22 August, accompanied by a male colleague, and was accosted by a group of men, who passed obscene remarks, and on that being protested, attacked them, tied up her male friend, and gang raped and beat her with beer bottles till she fell unconscious. When she regained consciousness, she untied her friend, and they went to Jaslok Hospital, where doctors called on the police. An FIR was registered, and the next morning sketches of the accused were issued. All the five persons have been arrested.
The alacrity with which the Mumbai police have moved in this case, due to public pressure and wide scale protests, is commendable. However, the fact that such incidents are occurring everywhere in India and even though on paper the government is committed to take actions against rapes, the state machinery does not move swiftly, indicating the complete disregard for the fundamental rights of women. In this particular case, the woman was trying to pursue a professional assignment. Such violence is both a torture and trauma inflicted on her, and a blow against all women and their equal right to mobility at any time and any place, to work.
The harassment of women professionals in the media among other professions is rising rapidly along with work-place related sexual harassment, most women have had to work in sexist atmosphere and are exposed to biased reactions from employers and colleagues and contractors. This was clearly observed by the Supreme Court of India in the Vishakha Judgement [writ petition criminal Nos. 666 – 70 of 1992, Vishakha & Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors.]. However ‘The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“Sexual Harassment Act“), passed by the Indian Parliament due to consistent pressure by the women’s group, is yet to be implemented.
We demand that government, police and employers everywhere take the responsibility of ensuring that everyone has the right to pursue work of her/his choice, and that attacks on such rights are under all circumstances opposed and where such attacks involve in any form a breach of law, duly punished.
At the same time, the fact that Raj Thackeray has come out with a statement that the rapists were Bangladeshis is a deeply disturbing development. We reject class, caste, or ethnic profiling, and condemn the selective action against rapes and sexual violence, depending on whether the accused belongs to the “right” category.
The selective anger of the Shiv Sena is contemptible. A Shiv Sena MLA, Anil Kadam, recently threatened to strip women toll plaza workers and was forced to resign only because his utterances were caught on camera.
Rapes are occurring in an alarming way all over India. In same month, 23 August a young adivasi policewoman in Jharkhand was gang-raped on a National Highway while accompanying her family members for the burial of her sister. An eleven year old girl with some neurological disorder was raped in the North Delhi on 14 August, when she had gone out play. The Park Street rape case in Kolkata started a wave in West Bengal where the ruling party and its Chief Minister would deny rape, accuse the victims of lying, of being politically motivated, accuse all protests of being CPI(M) or Maoist inspired.
And every time there are rapes and protests, there is the demand, patronised by those very politicians who in reality have no serious attitude to sensitising police and judiciary, ensuring speedy trial in cases of sexual violence, that rapists should be hanged to death.
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows that incidents of reported rape in the country have increased by 791% since 1971 (murder increased by just 240%, and robbery by 178%, kidnapping increased by 630%). And at the same time, conviction rates for rapes dropped from 41% in 1971 to 26% in 2010. Further, this 26% is a percentage only of those cases that actually do go all the way to courts. One estimate suggests that not more than one out of ten rapes goes to the court. Just as, unless there is a massive protest, there will be no trial for Asaram Bapu, and the young girl will be branded a liar and a tool of the UPA. Under such circumstances, the call for death penalty will simply mean the selective hanging of a few people, usually of the “correct’ class/caste/community (lower class, low caste, minority) while others will get off.
According to the NCRB, offenders were known to the survivors on over 94% of rape cases. Rapists are not mostly the unknown like assailants of the Mumbai Rape Case. So death penalty will mean not only judicial and police reluctance, but even greater social pressure on the victims not to bring in charges in the first place.
In the Radical Socialist statement on the Delhi Rape Case in December 2012, we had commented that “We oppose the demand for death penalty on both principled and practical grounds. We are opposed to death penalty per se and therefore to its extension. But we also assert that in reality, the enactment of a law making death penalty possible for rape will have the opposite effect. That is when class as a factor will seriously come into play. It is the elite who will get away with lesser penalties, or will not even be convicted as police play an even worse role than now, while one or two lower class rapists will be hanged as so-called exemplars”. The fact that Sushma Swaraj has demanded the death penalty for the rapists in the Mumbai case while the BJP staunchly stood by Asaram Bapu shows how correct the foregoing assessment was.
We condemn:
Ø  Gang rapes and all other forms of sexual violence either as blunt assertion of male power or in the name punishing the enemy party, community, caste, ethnic groups and class.
Ø  Politicization and communalization of sexual violence.
Ø  The demand for death penalty instead of addressing the issues of controlling women’s sexuality, and socially endorsed norms of masculinity
We demand:
Ø  Speedy and impartial investigation, trial and punishment of the guilty in the Mumbai and all other rape cases.
Ø  Immediate arrest of Asaram and action against officials who delayed the necessary procedures demanded by the law of the land.
Ø  Exemplary action against officials at all levels who do not follow the legal procedure under undue pressure.
Ø  States take the responsibilities of gender sensitization training of the officers at all levels in all seriousness in dealing with cases of sexual assaults.
Ø  Adequate training of the administrative personnel on the laws and procedures for handling the cases of sexual violence of persons with disability.
Ø  Ensure safety everywhere whether at home or public spaces or work places
Trupti Shah                                                                                                     Soma Marik
(Radical Socialist)                                                                                           (Radical Socialist)
28 August, 2013                                                                                              28 August, 2013
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#India- Marriage deal with rapist, no ground to let off rapists- SC #Vaw #Justice

SC: Marriage deal no alibi to let off rapists

, TNN | Aug 28, 2013,

SC warns courts against showing leniency towards rape convicts

SC warns courts against showing leniency towards rape convicts
NEW DELHI: In a landmark judgment laying down guidelines for courts in awarding punishment for rape, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that a rapist’s offer to marry the rape survivor could never be a ground for letting off the guilty lightly.

The court said no kind of compromise between rapists and rape survivors could lessen the gravity of the offence, in a clear disapproval of the tendency among some courts to impose lighter sentences on rape convicts after they offer to marry the survivor.

It warned that if a court got swayed by such a compromise to impose a sentence lesser than that prescribed in law, it would reflect “stark insensitivity to the need for proportionate punishment to be imposed in such cases”.

A bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justices Ranjana P Desai and Ranjan Gogoi said, “The law on the issue can be summarized to the effect that punishment should always be proportionate and commensurate to the gravity of offence.”

The court cited two major reasons for not taking into account a compromise reached between a rape survivor and the rapist for award of lighter sentence — one, it would encourage the convicts to pressurize rape survivors to reach a compromise and two, rape was a crime against society.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Sathasivam said, “Religion, race, caste, economic or social status of the accused or victim or the long pendency of the criminal trial or offer of the rapist to marry the victim or the victim is married and settled in life cannot be construed as special factors for reducing the sentence prescribed in the statute.”

The bench refused to consider the request of Balu Ram and Shimbhu, who were convicted in a 1995 gang-rape case from Haryana and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, to reduce their sentence to the period already spent in prison. They cited a compromise with the rape survivor, who they said had no objection to their early release from prison.

The bench said the statute provided for a minimum sentence of 10 years imprisonment to gang-rape convicts with a rider that in exceptional circumstances, the courts could reduce it. But compromise with rape survivors could not be cited as ground for leniency to those found guilty in gang-rape cases, it clarified.

“Rape is a non-compoundable offence and it is an offence against society and is not a matter to be left for the parties to compromise and settle. Since the court cannot always be assured that the consent given by the victim in compromising the case is a genuine consent, there is every chance that she might have been pressurized by the convicts or trauma undergone by her all the years might have compelled her to opt for a compromise,” the bench said.

“In fact, accepting this proposition will put an additional burden on the victim. The accused may use all his influence to pressurize her for a compromise. So, in the interest of justice and to avoid unnecessary pressure/harassment to the victim, it would not be safe in considering the compromise arrived at between the parties in rape cases to be a ground for the court to exercise discretionary power under the Indian Penal Code (to reduce sentence),” the court said.

Through this judgment, the Supreme Court sent out a loud message to all high courts and trial courts. “It is yet another opportunity to inform the subordinate courts and the HCs that despite stringent provisions for rape under Section 376 of IPC, many courts in the past have taken a softer view while awarding sentence for such a heinous crime,” it said.

“This court has in the past noticed that subordinate and high courts have reduced sentence of the accused to the period already undergone to suffice as the punishment. The above trend exhibits stark insensitivity to the need for proportionate punishment to be imposed in such cases,” the court said.

[email protected]

  • #999; padding: 2px; display: block; border-radius: 2px; text-decoration: none;" href="" target="_blank"> #India – A reparative justice #Rape #Vaw #Womenrights
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#India – Dalit girl made to do 500 sit-ups for refusing to clean toilet #Vaw #WTFnews

Milind R Lashkari , Hindustan Times  Indore, August 18, 2013


A 15-year-old Dalit girl was forced to do 500 sit-ups by the superintendent of a government hostel in Madhya Pradesh, after she refused to clean the toilet at the latter’s house.

The girl studying in Class 8 fainted after doing 490 sit-ups. The incident took place at Kasturbagram Government Girls’ Hostel in Betma, 29km from Indore, on August 8.

The Madhya Pradesh Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Commission has demanded the dismissal of the hostel superintendent, Sandhya Tiwari, and asked the education department to initiate a probe against her.

 Earlier the victim and her mother had come all the way from their village, Singoda, in Depalpur tehsil to Indore and narrated the incident to commission member Jagdish Devera after the police did not take up the case seriously.

The girl who has difficulty walking even 10 days after the incident, alleged that Tiwari had made derogatory comments against her and her grandmother, when she came to take the girl back from the hostel on August 9.

According to her mother, even the police behaved callously, making inappropriate comments, when she sought to lodge an FIR against Tiwari.

Devera said the commission’s preliminary investigation had found that the girl was victimised by Tiwari. “We don’t want Tiwari to hold on to her post as she might try to manipulate the investigation or threaten the victim,” he added.

This incident is, however, not an isolated case. On Saturday, an unprivileged Class 8 student was forced by his teacher to beg for money from his classmates, as a punishment for failing to bring a pen to school in Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur dist


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Teachers arrested for allegedly strip searching girl student in West Bengal

Press Trust of India | Updated: August 04, 2012 21:01 IST

Suri, West BengalTwo women teachers were arrested today for allegedly strip searching a girl student on the suspicion that she had stolen money at Kaligati Smriti Nari Siksha Niketan in Suri, about 170 kms from Kolkata.The girl, a student of class-XI, filed a complaint with the police that two teachers, Chaitali Gupta and Lipika Saha, took her to the teachers’ room yesterday and stripped searched her alleging that she had stolen Rs. 150 from another student, the sources said.

The money, however, was not found on her. The girl’s father told the police that she broke into tears after returning home.

Ms Gupta and Ms Saha were produced in a local court today which granted them bail. The headmistress of the school, Kalpana Roy, however, contended that the matter was exaggerated and only the student’s bag was searched.

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