Tuesday, November 11, 2014

India - FACT FINDING TEAM to inquire into the Sexual Violence against Dalit Women in Bihar (6th – 8th of November)

Cover_1500_316097k The recent case of 6 dalit women being raped in Kurmuri village, Tarari block, Bihar on 8th of October by the ex members of Ranbir Sena has again reflected the devastating status of the marginalized communities in India. In a country where the upper caste men practice their power on dalits through sexual violence on women says a lot about its apathetic socio-political state and the entrenched oppressive feudal elements that have refused to go. Dalit rapes in Bihar are not new but the continuation of such rapes and atrocities even after such a wave of civil and human rights movements is alarming and disturbing. Even after this incident more dalit rapes and killings have continued to be reported.
Since many years, Bhojpur has remained a site of violent class struggle between the dalits and the upper castes. In 1990, when the dalits of village Danwar Bihta went to assert their right to vote 22 of them were brutally killed and their houses were burnt. In 1996, in Bathani Tola, 21 dalits were killed by Ranvir Sena in broad daylight to counter their assertion. The current change in the political scenario is bound to reignite or rather reinforce such casteist elements and which seems to have happened in the incident of 8th October.
As a response, the Delhi Solidarity Group is planning to conduct a fact finding on 6th – 8th of November to study the recent incident as well as the political dynamics that is brewing in this region. The court trial has just begun and in this scenario an attempt to write on the issue and to create awareness about it in the public domain with strong facts is one of the main tasks for civil society groups. The motive is to come up with a detailed analysis of this caste conflict and the kind of violence that is being perpetrated on the people belonging to the lower castes. 
The team constituted for the Fact Finding is:
  • Chandra Bhushan – Senior Assistant Editor with Navbharat Times
  • Mohammad Kaifullah – Researcher in Jamia Millia Islamia University
  • Dr. Vinod Kumar – Associate Professor, National Law University
  • Rupesh kumar – HRLN, Delhi
  • Advocate Savita Ali – HRLN, Patna
  • Kamayani – National Convener, NAPM and Jan Jagaran Shakti Sangathan
Background of the incident:
On 8th October 2014, 2 women and 4 teenage girls, all rag pickers from Dumaria village, had gone to Neelnidhi, a scrap dealer, to sell the things they had collected throughout the day. Neelnidhi allegedly made them wait, saying he did not have enough cash to pay their dues. He also promised to pay them auto fare to return home if it became dark. When it was time to shut the shop, the accused locked up the six women in Neelnidhi’s godown at gunpoint. They made the women consume liquor and took turns to outrage their modesty, police said quoting the FIR. Before committing the crime, they tied two 6-year-old boys, who had accompanied the women to Kurmuri, with ropes. The trio reportedly thrashed the boys when they cried on seeing the plight of their womenfolk. They later allowed the women and the boys to go home, threatening them with dire consequences if they told anyone about the incident. The shop owner, Nilneedhi Singh, who is said to be the area commander of the banned caste militia Ranvir Sena, allegedly detained the women till night and raped them along with two of his associates, Jai Prakash Singh and Jaggu Pandit. The medical examination of the women who were allegedly raped has confirmed that they were sexually assaulted.
after the rape incident, there was a huge uproar in the nearby villages where the CPI(ML) led a rally asking for suspension of SP and strict punishment to the accused. But the feudal casteist forces responded even more strongly, when the activists and supporters of the Akhil Bharatiya Rashtrawadi Kisan Sanghathan (ABRKS) blocked roads at two places to protest against what they called the politically motivated action against the three and demanded an impartial probe. The ABRKS is headed by Indu Bhushan who is the son of Ranbir Sena head Brahmeshwar Singh.
-In Solidarity,  Shefali
Delhi Forum
F 10/12 (Basement), Malviya Nagar,New Delhi-110017. Phone: 011 – 26680883 (O), 9582671784 (M)

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