Why #Indian #Women Must Vote #NOTA in the 2014 #Election
WHAT IS NOTA?
NOTA is a voting option provided to Indian citizens for the first time in the April 07- May 12, 2014 elections. NOTA stands for “None of The Above.” When a voter presses the NOTA button they will indicate that they are rejecting all the political parties and their candidates standing for this election.
WHY HAS THE SUPREME COURT PROVIDED THE NOTA OPTION?
Over the last two decades there has been serious concern about the escalating presence of criminals in Indian government and political parties. With each election the inclusion of these criminals increases. In the 2004 election, 24% of Members of Parliament (MPs) had pending criminal charges against them. In the 2009 election their numbers had risen to 30% with a majority of these cases carrying serious charges of rape, murder, extortion and other forms of violence against women, such as molestations, stalking, and dowry related violence and/or murder. The state wise breakdown of criminal politicians reveals some appalling statistics. For e.g, currently 50% of MPs from the state of Jharkhand, and 48% of MPs from the state of Maharashtra are facing criminal charges.
Criminals running the Indian government have little incentive to see laws implemented for the protection of women and other citizens. Indeed there is immense political pressure and maneuvering to allow for crimes to flourish. It has been often observed that rape and other violent crimes against women are almost “enjoyed” as a political “perks” by the system.
Recently the Supreme Court attempted to clean out criminals from government but faced immense resistance. The ruling party, the Congress, actually tried to force through an Ordinance to snub the Supreme Court initiative.
In providing the NOTA button as a voting option to Indian citizens, the Supreme Court of India has actually expressed its helplessness in cleaning the government of crime and criminals. In its statement the Court said, “When a large number of voters will press NOTA button, it will force political parties to choose better candidates.”
HOW DO I LOCATE THE NOTA BUTTON?
The NOTA button is easy to locate. It will ALWAYS be the very LAST button on the electronic voting machine’s list of candidates. It will read “None of the Above – NOTA.” See the diagram to you left.
HOW ARE ALL POLITICAL PARTIES ANTI-WOMEN?
ALL PARTIES BLATANTLY RECRUIT RAPISTS AND MURDERERS: Every single party running for election this year has an increase in politicians with criminal backgrounds. Of the two largest parties, 48 MPs from the Congress party, and 46 MPs from the BJP have pending criminal charges. Smaller parties like the Shiv Sena have 8, but given that they have only 10 MPs, it means 80% of their politicians have criminal charges. A majority of these MPs are wanted for serious crimes like rape and murder.
ALL PARTIES COLLUDE WITH FORUMS THAT SYSTEMATICALLY OPPRESS WOMEN: These forums include religious bodies and leaders, like Asaram (charged with rapes and sexual molestations of girls), Ram Dev (who openly advocates methods to procure sons instead of daughters), and Muslim leaders (like Maulana Tauqeer Raza )who impose fatwas on women who oppose their fundamentalist, anti-women diktats. All political parties also form alliances with khap panchayats (village councils) that are notorious for holding kangaroo courts and meting out extra-judicial punishments like “honor killings,” and gang rapes.
TOP LEADERSHIPS ARE ACCOUNTABLE IN CASES OF SERIOUS INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS CRIMES: The leader and/or prime ministerial candidate of the two largest parties, the Congress and the BJP, are also responsible for directly colluding in, or protecting those responsible for the systematic massacre and mass rapes of minority communities. In 2002, there was a systematic and planned attack on Muslims in Gujarat and thousands were killed, raped and rendered homeless. Narendra Modi, the man who was the chief minister of Gujarat at that time and has been implicated as being directly collusive by many in his own administration, is the BJP’s choice of Prime Minister for India. Though many in Modi’s government were found guilty, Modi continues to evade justice despite numerous testimonies against him. A similar, systematic attack on Sikhs took place in Delhi in 1984, when thousands were killed, raped and rendered homeless, with the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s implicit collusion. Gandhi’s henchman who were known to organize the massacre and rapes continue to be protected by Sonia Gandhi, widow of Rajiv Gandhi, and the current leader of the Congress party. Indeed Mrs. Gandhi even rewards and empowers these politicians through political positions. Human rights groups who’ve found their cases blocked repeated in Indian courts are now trying to have Sonia Gandhi tried for obstructing justice and sheltering these human rights criminals through a New York court.
ALL PARTIES OPENLY ACCOMODATE POLITICIANS WHO BLATANTLY UNDERMINE WOMEN’S RIGHTS: Some party leaders like Mamta Banerjee of the TMC party have repeatedly blamed women rape victims, as have other members of her party, even as the state she governs now ranks No. 1 in rapes and other violent crimes against women. Parties like the SP in Uttar Pradesh, a state with one of the highest rates of rape, have promised men that they will ‘tone down’ rape laws if they win this election! The law minister of the newly formed AAP Party led a lynch mob to the homes of African women in Delhi, and violated the law he was supposed to uphold by demanding the police against all legal protocols, arrest the women because the mobs believed them to be prostitutes.
WHY ALL INDIAN WOMEN MUST VOTE ‘NOTA’
India today is the 4th most dangerous country for women in the world. But since the other three countries have mass civil unrest, it makes India the most dangerous democracy for women in the world.
India has systematically exterminated 20% of women through infliction of every form of violence. This also reflects in the drop in percentage of new women voters, which now stands at about 40% of the voting pool, with 60% being men. This is a message to the women of India, that there is no place for them in this country. They will not even be allowed to survive! It is a genocide that is globally unprecedented.
So why haven’t the women of India found a united and strong voice and momentum to protest and resist this genocidal violence across the board in the country?
Perhaps because Indian women are so trapped in their identities of region, caste, class, clan, and religion that they’ve lost sight of their identity as ‘women.’ Are Indian women so lost, that they cannot see that the violence that’s exterminating them through infanticide, dowry murders, honor killings and rapes is affecting them all?
Do Indian women see that no other human group in India has been exterminated by violence to the degree that women have been?
Perhaps the blame lies with political parties who deviously use the caste, class and religion cards to cause discordance among people. Perhaps the blame lies even with India’s liberals who defend human rights of one group but remain silent about the human rights violation of another and thus cause divide among people. When Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen said he would not vote for the BJP and Modi because we have to protect Muslim minorities, he needed to have also emphasized that he would not vote for the Congress because we have to protect Sikh minorities. Instead he defended Sonia Gandhi! Indeed we need to protect all human rights, regardless! When social activist Arundhati Roy spoke out against the rapes of Muslim women in Kashmir by the Indian army, she needed to have also spoken out against the systematic rapes and murders of the minority Hindus and Sikhs in Kashmir which forced their mass exodus. Indeed she needed to have also spoken out against the control of Taliban in Kashmir that’s increasing its oppressive diktats against women, forcing them to wear veils, threatening acid attacks if they wear jeans, sing, dance or go to school.
All women are human. And as such we all have human rights. It does not matter which group violates those rights, or which group a woman whose rights are violated, belongs to. One woman’s oppression is every woman’s oppression.
As women we cannot afford to silently submit to this violence and extermination by India and its criminal system of government. For this to change, the women of India must unite and make our demand for security and freedom in ONE VOICE!
SO INDIAN SISTERS, PLEASE LET US UNITE!
IN ONE UNITED VOICE LET US SEND A CLEAR MANDATE!
LET’S TELL THE PARTIES THAT WE WILL NOT TOLERATE RAPISTS AND MURDERERS IN GOVERNMENT ANY MORE!
LET US USE THE NOTA MANDATE TO SEND THAT MESSAGE TO INDIAN LEADERS!
LET US INDIAN WOMEN USE NOTA TO UNITE SO WE CAN END THE VIOLENCE AND FEAR THAT WE ALL ARE LIVING WITH!
REMEMBER NOTA IS THE LAST BUTTON IN THE LIST OF OPTIONS ON THE VOTING MACHINE!
WHEN YOU PRESS THE NOTA BUTTON, THINK ‘MY VOTE WILL MAKE INDIA SAFER FOR ALL WOMEN.’