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A group of young people in the Nawabpet village of Telangana in Southern India, have started an effective anti-dowry campaign in their village. Instead of preaching to men to not take dowry, which is usually the method used by most anti-dowry campaigns, and that have not proved very successful so far, what these young people are doing is asking married men who took dowry, to return the money. The campaign is called ‘Katnam Vaapasi’ (repay dowry). On 21st October, 2015, inspired by the movement 10 men in the village, some of who had married 5 years ago, returned the money they had taken from their wife’s family in dowry. The village women congregated in large numbers to witness the event. They said they were happy about the campaign which they hoped will bring peace to their lives. Dowry is illegal anyway, and more than 106000 women are killed for dowry in India. Perhaps this is the only effective way forward for India in the fight against dowry.
LINKS ON DOWRY
106,000 Women burnt to death for dowry in one year
News Reports on Dowry Violence and Murders
Gurdaspur, 31 Oct 2015,
In a case, like so many in India, Jaspinder Kaur, is said to have committed suicide due to dowry harassment. Her uncle said the in-laws had been demanding a car in dowry and used to beat her up. She was married to Gurmukh Singh, a resident of Kang village, three years ago. Her husband went abroad recently. Police say, unable to bear the harassment, she ended her life by hanging herself from the ceiling fan. Based on the complaint, police have registered a case against her father-in-law Baldev Singh and mother-in-law Gurmeet Kaur, who are absconding. Many dowry related murders, are often staged as suicides and with shoddy police work, these cases are rapidly dismissed as suicides or accidents.
by Rita Banerji
India is undeniably seeing an escalation in violent sexual assaults by gangs of men, in which the victims are either killed, or so brutalised they have to be hospitalised. [CLICK HERE for the Campaign’s news reports on gang rapes in India]. There is also a corresponding increase of fear amongst women, a terror of being attacked by a gang of men, where pepper-sprays, self-defence, hand-guns, and emergency speed-dials can be of no help.
Gang rapes by their very nature are collective male statements. In the case of an individual committing rape, the knowledge of the crime usually exists only between the rapist and the victim. The rapist uses his power to silence the victim so he can conceal what he knows is a crime with legal consequences. But a gang rape, by its very set-up, has numerous eye-witnesses, who in their participation in the assault, negate to each other the criminal nature of the act they are all committing. This is in fact a collective validation of the rape. The question that is imperative here is: Why this escalation in gang rapes in India?
One of the clues to that question comes from a gang rape in January 2014, in Birbhum, West Bengal, where on orders of the panchayat (the village council) a 20-year-old tribal woman was gang-raped by a dozen men as ‘punishment’ for loving a man from another community. The woman was put on a platform, and raped all night with everyone, including women and children watching…
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.hystericalfeminisms.com/138/
Noida, 23 Oct 2015,
The body of 29-year-old Surekha was taken off a burning pyre by police in Dadri after her parents complained she had been murdered and was being cremated in a hurry by her in-laws. The family had come to know of their daughter’s death from an acquaintance, as the in-laws did not inform them about it. When a police team reached the crematorium, the in-laws of the deceased fled the scene. The body was on a burning pyre, and had to be doused for the police to recover the remains. Surekha had been married for 5 years and had a 4 year old son. Her parents said her in-laws had been torturing her for dowry, and physically abused her often.
Manisha Mashaal was five years old when her schoolteacher first called her an “untouchable” in front of the rest of her class. Mashaal, now 27, said she faced harassment from students and teachers alike in her village of Badarpur because of her background. She said teachers threw her schoolbag out of class and refused to check her homework, while students sang rhymes taunting her and other Dalit children.
But as she grew up, the rhymes increasingly turned into threats of sexual violence. By the age of 16, she began attending Dalit-community solidarity meetings to examine how she could protect herself. For Dalit victims of sexual violence response from police officers is often “How can you have been raped? You’re a Dalit — touching you would make anyone spiritually impure.” A study by the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights found that more than 50% of Dalit women had suffered physical assault. More than 46% have suffered sexual harassment. 23% have said they had been raped.
In August 2013, Kaafee, a 22-year-old Dalit woman who was studying to be a teacher, was abducted on her way to take an examination. The next day, Kaafee was found dead. She had been raped, and had cigarette burn marks all over her body. “We sat outside the government hospital for four days with her body. Our pledge was that we would not move until the police registers [the fact] that she had been raped, tortured, and murdered,” Mashaal said. But the police maintained that Kaafee had committed suicide, and refused to even allow a medical autopsy, Mashaal said. “I don’t think Kaafee or thousands of other Dalit girls like her, will ever receive justice.”
Mashaal and other women decided to mobilize and create Dalit Women Fight. The group has been traveling across North America to raise awareness to the issues Dalit women face, finding allies in the Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name movements. The group is speaking out against what they see as the systemic failures of the Indian government to break the silence of caste apartheid and caste-based rape. Dalit Women Fight was the brainchild of the All India Dalit Women’s Rights Forum.
Read the full article here: http://www.refinery29.com/2015/10/95759/dalit-untouchable-women-india-sexual-violence
Assam, 17 Oct 2015,
Jaipur, 13 Oct 2015,
An 85-year-old woman, Chau Bai, was branded a “witch” stripped naked and tortured with hot tongs by 14-16 men.
Chau Bai, is the mother of two daughters, and in her police statement said she was beaten with iron chains.
She was later admitted to Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Bhilwara. She said the villagers targeted her, to grab her property and wanted to force her out of the village. This is often the case with witch lynchings in India. Chau said, “On Sunday some villagers brought a witch doctor. They (the villagers) dragged me forcibly by my hair to my veranda (porch). The witch doctor poured a liquor like substance on my body. I was beaten up and stripped naked and later they threw me into a nali (drain),” she said.
The Rajasthan Prevention of Witch Hunting Act 2015, which is in force in the state, says that forcing a woman, after branding her as a witch, to drink or eat any inedible substance or any obnoxious substance or parade her naked or with scanty clothes or with painted face or body or committing any similar acts derogatory to human dignity or displacing her from her house or other property is punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than three years but which may be extended to seven years or served with a fine not less than Rs.50,000 or both.