Thursday, June 5, 2014

India -Released by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

June 5, 2014

Letter to Commissioner of Police
We are writing to demand your immediate action against police personnel of the Parliament Street Police Station who were involved in assaulting and brutalising a peaceful group of protestors today.
The facts are as follows.
• A group of people belonging to the Dalit community from Bhagana village, Haryana, have
been sitting in a peaceful dharna at Jantar Mantar for the last one month, in pursuit of their demand for justice in the case of abduction and gang rape of four minor girls. Early this morning, a large force of policemen appeared at Jantar Mantar and tried to evict the protestors who were sleeping there. pulled down their tent and scattered their belongings.
• The Bhagana protestors (including the families of the rape survivors and the girls themselves) went to the Parliament Street Police Station this afternoon at about 1400 hours, in order to present a memorandum to the officer in charge asking to be allowed to stay in Jantar Mantar since they had nowhere else to go.
• The Bhagana group was accompanied by representatives of women’s organisations, Dalit organisations and students’ organisations. The mothers of two of the rape survivors were leading the group.
• The group was stopped by some policemen at the barricade outside the thana. Their request to be allowed to go inside and meet the office in charge was denied. Some policemen on duty at the barricade spoke to the Bhagana group in Haryanvi and asked them to go back and not to make trouble. The women argued with these policemen, insisting on being allowed to go and meet the officer in charge.
• While the argument was going on, some policemen started pushing the group back from the barricade, using undue force and targeting the women by grabbing their private parts and pushing their hands into the anal region. The mothers of the survivors and several women activists (including Adv Pyoli Swatija of Samajwadi Jan Parishad, , Ms Sumedha Baudh of Rashtiya Dalit Mahila Andolan and Ms Rakhi – of NTUI) were attacked in this manner.
• At this point a senior police officer (in uniform but without a name badge) came out and shouted out ­ “Are ye aise nahi manenge ­ lathi ghusao.”
• At this, some 4­5 women police charged forward and attacked the women by thrusting at their private parts with batons. The women who were in the front resisted this attack and struggled with the police women. Several policemen were also in the melee and were physically attacking women protestors.
• Several activists were taken into custody and held for more than an hour, after which they were released without any charge being made against them.
• None of the police had name badges except one police woman (Suman D) who removed it after a few minutes. However, we are confident that we can identify most if not all the attackers by face including the officer who gave the order for the sexual attack.
You are surely aware that the acts committed by the policemen and women are criminal offences under the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.
We demand that the concerned police personnel be immediately removed from service and charged under Section 354 (sexual assault). The officer who gave the order for the sexual attack should be charged under Section 376 read with Section 511 (attempt to rape).
We are shocked to see that the police personnel under your command seem to have forgotten the bitter lessons of December 2012.
We are told that large sums of money have been spent for training the rank and file of Delhi police in “gender­sensitive policing”. Our suggestion to you is: please do not waste any more of the taxpayers’ money on these futile public relations exercises. Instead, please take strong, immediate and exemplary action against personnel accused of such crimes.
We look forward to a response from you. We will be happy to come and present you with evidence in support of our complaint.
On behalf of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression

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