One Billion Rising in Vain
On 14 February, Amrita Mohan, a BA student of All Saints College, attended a One Billion Rising rally in Thiruvananthapuram, a global campaign to end violence against women. Later that night, she was having dinner at a roadside eatery at the venue, Shangumugham beach, with her family and friends. That’s when three men in a vehicle marked ‘Government of Kerala’ started making filthy comments about Amrita and her friend. Amrita ignored them for a while, but when they kept at it, she lost her cool. “There was an argument. There were several men eating at that outlet, but nobody supported us. When my father tried to intervene, one man in the group pushed him. That’s when I lost control,” she says.
What the eve-teasers didn’t know was that Amrita was an expert in martial arts. She first pulled the man on the driver’s seat out of the car and beat him up. When two others tried to attack her, she thrashed them too. By then, the crowd, too, had joined her and somebody called the police.
Amrita’s action was widely hailed by women’s organisations, individuals and the media as an example for other girls. But there has been a twist in the case. Two of three eve-teasers were contract drivers at the Income Tax Department. So, Amrita has now been booked, on directions of the judicial first class magistrate, under Sections 323,325 and 335 and 332 of the IPC for voluntarily causing hurt and deterring a public servant from discharging his ‘lawful duty’. This invites imprisonment for up to seven years and is a non-bailable offence. The eve-teasers have been charged with lighter, bailable offences.
Women’s organisations wonder how harassing women at night could be ‘lawful duty’. “The police are clearly biased. Though Amrita told them that the men were drunk, they were not taken to a hospital for a medical examination,” says Mercy Alexander, director of Saki Women’s Resource Centre in the city.
Amrita is determined to go ahead with her case against the men. “My only concern is that this action against me by the police and court will deter women. They will hesitate to resist when confronted with a similar situation,” she says.
- Kerala girl who thrashed men for verbal abuse faces court case #1billionrising #Vaw #WTFnews (kractivist.wordpress.com)
- Nivedita Menon: We’re witnessing new interventions by feminists of all genders #Vaw #Womenrights (kractivist.wordpress.com)