Tag Archives: gender

31May/14

BADAUN-BHAGANA-NEVER AGAIN! DEMAND JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF GENDER/CASTE VIOLENCE!

BADAUN-BHAGANA-NEVER AGAIN! DEMAND  JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF GENDER/CASTE VIOLENCE!

Wednesday 4th June 4.30-6.30pm
Indian High Commission
The Aldwych, London WC2 (nearest tube: Holborn)

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The appalling gang-rape and lynching of two girls, aged 14 and 15, from an oppressed caste in Badaun, Uttar Pradesh, India on Wednesday 28th May is the latest in a long line of  horrific murders and sexual assaults perpetrated on young Dalit women across India recently. Only two months earlier, four teenage Dalit girls aged 13-18 were raped by ‘higher caste’ landowners in Bhagana in Haryana, and the survivors are still fighting for the arrest of the rapists.

Dalit women and girls are facing an onslaught of gender, caste, and class based violence in which the Indian state collaborates. Less than 1% of rape cases of Dalit women by non-Dalits end in conviction. The level of impunity is so total that the perpetrators feel confident to finish off their vile crimes by murdering the victims and leaving their bodies on display. Are the lives of young Dalit women so expendable?

In the Badaun case, the police refused to investigate when the girls’ families reported them missing and even threatened to kill them if they filed a case, and two policemen have now been charged with conspiring with the higher caste rapists. In Bhagana, the courageous survivors and their families have been forced to travel to Delhi and stage an ongoing protest to demand the arrest of the rapists –after the police refused to register cases against the powerful men named by the girls in their testimonies.

Dalit women have been targeted for sexual violence wherever Dalit communities are challenging oppression and exploitation. In Bhagana, the four girls were raped in ‘revenge’ after Dalits demanded that the upper caste controlled village council hand over the land which had been allocated to them by the government, and protested against eviction and harassment. In Bihar, the Ranvir Sena, a landowners’ army aligned with Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, targeted Dalit and Muslim women for horrific violence when the rural poor organized for land and a living wage.

The recent election victory of Narendra Modi and the BJP has further emboldened upper caste and economically powerful rapists. The Brahmanical-patriarchal ideas of the Hindu right, in which Dalit women’s lives have no value, are being combined with intensified neoliberal economic policies which leave Dalits and other exploited and marginalised people even more vulnerable. While Modi tried to reach out to Dalits in his election campaign, his close ally Baba Ramdev’s offensive remarks about Dalit women as the sexual property of upper castes exposed once again the misogynistic casteism of the Hindu right. In the wake of the Badaun case, Modi has condemned the appalling levels of gender violence in opposition-ruled UP, but the fact that he has given a Ministerial post in his government to Sanjeev Baliyan, one of the main accused in the Muzaffarnagar communal violence in UP last year which involved mass rapes of Muslim women, sends out a very different signal.

The last year and a half has seen a powerful movement against gender violence in India. But the Badaun and Bhagana cases painfully underline once again that the struggle continues, and can only succeed if the lethal connections between gender, caste, class and communal violence are recognized and fought.

Dalit groups and progressive and left women’s groups and students organisations in India are on the streets demanding justice for the victims and survivors of Badaun and Bhagana.  Join the solidarity protest outside the Indian High Commission in London on Wednesday 4th June from 4.30 to 6.30pm.

Organised by:

Freedom Without Fear Platform, a network of Black and minority ethnic women and groups http://freedomwithoutfearplatformuk.blogspot.co.uk

 

Supported by:

Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance

CasteWatch UK

South Asia Solidarity Group

Southall Black Sisters

Sri Guru Ravidass International Organisation for Human Rights

Voice of Dalit International

 

04Mar/14

Speakers indict Narendra Modi for orchestrating gender violence and serious violations of women’s human rights

PRESS RELEASE 4th March 2014

 Speakers indict Narendra Modi for orchestrating gender violence and serious violations of women’s human rights

A packed meeting at the London School of Economics organised by the LSE Gender Institute in collaboration with the Freedom Without Fear Gulberg Society photosPlatform and South Asia Solidarity Group on 3rd March,  discussed the rise of Hindu fascism and its impact on gender and called for Narendra Modi  to be brought to justice.

Outlining the context of the meeting, Kalpana Wilson of the LSE Gender Institute emphasised that the targeting of minority women for appalling violence is not a side effect but absolutely central to the project of the Hindu right and how it operates. Linked to this, she said  was the intensification of surveillance and control over women, the rise of ‘moral policing’ targeting students and other young people, and the invocation of the “protection” of Hindu women as a justification for violence against religious minorities and Dalits, including rape of women.

She also noted that Hindu right supporters here in Britain have been promoting the completely unfounded myth of ‘love jihad’ in British universities by students and this fits in with the agenda  of the British state and its Islamophobia. While these groups are promoting the image of a so-called ‘Gujarat model’ of development the position of women in Gujarat where  Modi has been Chief Minister since 2001 is abysmal – demonstrated by the sex ratio (2011 census) of 918 women per 1,000 men (below the already scandalous national average of 940), that hints at the magnitude of female infanticide, and the very high gender imbalance in school enrolments compared to all-India levels. Very high rates of domestic violence against women are accompanied by very low conviction rates in the state.

Nishrin with her father, Ahsan Jafri

Nishrin with her father, Ahsan Jafri

Nishrin Jafri Hussain, in a powerful and moving contribution spoke of the unimaginable brutality  perpetrated on the bodies of Muslimwomen in the villages around Ahmedabad. Speaking in London for the first time Nishrin whose father, the MP Ahsan Jafri, was brutally murdered in the 2002 anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat state, and whose family is waging an ongoing legal battle to bring Narendra Modi, who presided over the violence as Chief Minister of Gujarat, to justice showed a series of photographs of those who had been murdered, with many gaps for those of whom no photos exist. She told the meeting  that the numbers of rapes were far more than those reported because these experiences were not only deeply traumatising  and humiliating but that it was a taboo speaking about them.

She said that in the Gulbarg society where she grew up and  the area around it every Muslim house had been burnt down and every family had lost loved ones – deep scars of these losses remain. She told the meeting that her father had been against the ghettoisation of Muslims and committed to living in a mixed Hindu and Muslim area even after the riots of 1969. When his house where nearly 200 people were sheltering was attacked, and was surrounded by armed Hindu mobs, he had called for help to the central government to no avail. When he phoned Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister replied ‘ You are on your own Jafri, save yourself’. Many in the audience had tears in their eyes as Nishrin reaffirmed her family’s commitment to bringing Narendra Modi to justice.

Angana Chatterji an anthropologist and leading human rights specialist, who convened a people’s tribunal in Odisha in 2005 spoke about her work documenting the experiences of sexual violence in Odisha, noting that ideologies of conservative patriarchy had been taken over and intensified by the Hindu Right across India in a series of attacks on women in minority communities Christian, Muslim, Adivasi and Dalit over the years

Meena Kandasamy a Dalit feminist and writer spoke about the way the language and discourse of Hindutva is conveniently utilised by fanatical Hindu upper caste groups like the Pattali Makkal Katchi, in Tamil Nadu or other caste organisations to construct  Dalit men as the “Other”  and create a myth similar to that of ‘love Jihad’ that they deceive Hindu upper caste girls  by “making” them fall in love. The idea that once such a formula of love-jihad is deployed it can serve to function to contain, and threaten, women’s independence.

The meeting was as one student who attended it described it, ‘both deeply disturbing and a call to action’ and the organisers announced that the campaign internationally to bring Modi to justice would continue.

12Feb/14

Gender and the Hindu Right in India

The LSE Gender Institute in collaboration with the Freedom Without Fear
Platform and South Asia Solidarity Group will host a panel discussion on Gender
and the Hindu Right in India

Speakers: Nishrin Jafri Hussain, Angana P. Chatterji and Meena Kandasamy
Chair: Kalpana Wilson

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Monday 3rd March 2014
6.30-8.30pm
at the Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

In the context of the forthcoming Indian elections in which the current Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, a panel of human rights campaigners and academics will discuss questions including:

  • What are the implications of the rise of the Hindu Right for gendered violence in India – and what would a possible victory for Narendra Modi at a national level mean?
  • What are the experiences of those seeking justice for the victims and survivors of organized violence against minority communities in Gujarat and Odisha?  What has been the role of the state in the violence and its aftermath in each case?
  • How does the Hindu right mobilize gendered discourses of religion and caste?
  • How have practices of ‘moral policing’ and fabrications such as ‘love jihad’ impacted on gender relations, and how are they being resisted?
  • What is the relationship of the British and U.S. governments, transnational corporations and diaspora communities with the Hindu right in India?

Nishrin Jafri Hussain is a campaigner for justice for the victims and survivors of the horrific violence against minority communities which took place in Gujarat in 2002. Her father, Ahsan Jafri M.P., was brutally murdered during the violence and her family continues to fight for Narendra Modi to be brought to justice.

Dr Angana P. Chatterji is a cultural anthropologist and human rights specialist. In 2005, she convened a people’s tribunal in Odisha, calling attention to the impending violence against minorities and religionized oppression. In 2009, her collaborative work through a people’s tribunal she co-convened in Jammu & Kashmir called attention to the issue of unknown graves and the need for accountability to families of the disappeared, and subsequently received corroboration from the State Human Rights Commission of Jammu & Kashmir. Her publications include: Violent Gods: Hindu Nationalism in India’s Present; Narratives from Orissa (Three Essays Collective, 2009); a co-edited volume, Contesting Nation: Gendered Violence in South Asia; Notes on the Postcolonial Present (Zubaan, 2012); and the reports, BURIED EVIDENCE: Unknown, Unmarked, and Mass Graves in Kashmir (2009), Communalism in Orissa (2006), and Without Land or Livelihood (2004).

Meena Kandasamy is a writer, activist and political columnist. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch and Ms.Militancy. Her first novel, The Gypsy Goddess, revisits the 1968 Kilvenmani massacre where feudal landlords in Tanjore killed 44 Dalit peasants striking for higher wages. Her work is centered on caste annihilation, the Tamil national question and feminism in contemporary India.

 

19Sep/13

Open meeting and discussion with Kavita Krishnan in London

India’s anti-rape movement – experiences,
reflections and strategies for the future

  • What does the anti-rape movement which arose from the protests of December 2012 mean for  struggles against sexual and gender violence across India?
  • What are the implications of the rise of Narendra Modi and the activities of the Hindu Right for violence against women in India?
  • How does the UK’s  current relationship with  India affect gender violence?
  • What are the possibilities of international  solidarity against gender violence?

 

Open meeting and discussion with

Kavita Krishnan

(Secretary of the All-India
Progressive Women’s Association)

Thursday 3 Oct October, 7.00pm

Room DLT, Ground Floor

SOAS, University of London

Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG

Kavita Krishnan is a feminist and revolutionary left activist who has been centrally involved in the anti-rape movement in India which began in December 2012. She is the Secretary of the All-India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) which is active among women workers, agricultural labourers, and other sections of poor labouring women in rural and urban India and has a record of resisting  feudal violence and state repression against women. Kavita is also editor of Liberation, the monthly publication of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist).

Freedom Without Fear Platform https://www.facebook.com/FreedomWithoutFearPlatform and South Asia Solidarity Group  www.southasiasolidarity.org

Details from sasg@southasiasolidarity.org or freedomwithoutfearplatform@gmail.com,
 

25Aug/13

Kavita Krishnan’s video message to UK Feminista 2013 Summer School

Kavita Krishnan reflects on the experiences and ways forward for the anti-rape movement in India. This speech was addressed via video to a plenary session on ‘transnational feminist solidarity’ at the UK Feminista 2013 Summer School on 18 August 2013. Kavita Krishnan is National Secretary of the All-India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) and a politburo member of the CPI(ML), whose monthly magazine, Liberation, she edits