Friday, October 9, 2015

Dalit Women Stripped: It Is The Republic Of India That Stands Naked By Samar

Dalit Women Stripped: It Is The Republic Of India That Stands Naked

By Samar

09 October, 2015

It is the Republic and not a Dalit family that stands naked in front of Dankaur Police Station in Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, located not more than 50 kilometres from the national capital. There are "conflicting" reports, as well as pictures and videos, which have gone viral on social media about what exactly transpired, i.e. if one can still believe anything the Indian media machine churns out in the never-ending Television Rating Point hunt.

The reports are indeed fuzzy. A few of them like this one have reported the incident as a protest by the family against the police who refused to register their First Information Report (FIR) about the loot of family valuables, including a motorcycle. Such reports claim – and corroborate the claim with statements by unnamed local residents – that "family members deliberately tore their clothes themselves to create ruckus".

A few others, mostly Hindi sources (like this one), which have also been quoted in the international media (like here) have brought forward a different version: the family was stripped naked by the police when they went to the Police Station to register their complaint about the loot on October 8. They add that criminals robbed Sunil Gautam, head of the family, on Wednesday night near Atta in Noida. He went to Dankaur Police Station on Thursday to register an FIR, along with his wife and baby, and sat in protest outside the police station when police refused to register the same, despite being obligated to do so. These reports add that the cops got angry at this impertinence, assaulted the family, and tore off their clothes. Another report, in yet another newspaper, quotes the victim saying that he was making rounds of the Police Station for three days.

Amidst all the "conflicting reports", one fact is crystal clear: the family ended up naked in front of a Police Station in a market with a large crowd in attendance that was busy filming the incident on their phones and not helping either side: the family if it was indeed stripped or the police, if the police were indeed trying to cover up the naked family.

From this emerges another fact. The decision to strip off their clothes cannot come easily to the women of a country that, despite all its democratic pretensions, still abides by the strongest patriarchal codes of honour and Victorian morality hinged on the bodies of its women. Going naked in such a society, now armed with cell phone cameras to record the act and derive sadistic pleasure out of it, betrays the desperation that pushed them into this extreme form of a protest.

Such desperation, which forces women to go naked in protest, is old hat for the republic. India has seen mothers of Manipur stripping in front of the headquarters of Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force of the country, with placards screaming "Indian Army Rape Us" to protest against the rape and assault committed by those in uniform. It has also witnessed women of Govindpur Village of Jagatsingpur District in Odisha resort to going naked in protest against police atrocities. The immediate reason behind that protest was no different from the one in Dankaur. The women there were aghast at Odisha Police's dogged refusal to lodge an FIR against a bomb attack allegedly carried out by hired goons of POSCO, a multinational steelmaker giant. The attack killed several members of the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) that has been opposing forcible land acquisition by the company.

And, there is another fact exposed amidst the cacophony of all the "conflicting reports". The Indian justice institutions have abandoned a significant section of the citizens for long. Even a person with a cursory idea of Indian justice institutions would know how difficult it is to seek redress in the self-designated "largest democracy of the world". How else can it be in state where the law enforcement agencies chose not registering complaints as the best way of bringing down the crime rate?

It is this that should bother everyone in the Dankaur case, far more than the question of 'who stripped them' that has been spun in this case. As it is, the Uttar Pradesh police, like almost all provincial law enforcement agencies in India is known more for the crimes committed, not averted, investigated, or solved. And, this is particularly so in terms of cases of sexual assault. In fact, not even a week has passed since a female constable of the UP Police accused several colleagues of gang raping her inside a police station.

Uttar Pradesh is not known for standing by either Dalits or women. These are two of the most marginalised communities of the state. The state keeps witnessing cases of Dalit women being paraded naked by the so-called upper castes, without as much as a frown. Though many such cases never get reported because of both the social stigma attached and the administration's attempts to brush them under the carpet, the last reported case came from Sitapur, as recently as in May.

Dankaur exposes, yet again, how the Indian justice institutions deny justice to the poor and needy more often than delivering the same to them. This is lost in the political discourse that keeps the myriad of news channels churning without ever recognizing that a country without a functioning justice system cannot be a democracy. Unfortunately, many even in the civil society fail to see this despite all the Dankaurs, by focussing more on the 'political motives' and all else but justice. Be it the murder over the rumour of eating beef in neighbouring Dadri (despite eating beef not being a crime in the state) or conflicting reports over Dankaur, the debate shifts to the politics of such crimes, not the injustice at the heart of the case and the redress that must be ensured for the victims.

Political debates over crimes are worthless unless one builds a system that prosecutes and punishes the guilty and ensures justice to victims. In the absence of such a system, one can keep moving from one debate to another, from Dadri to Dankaur, ascribing political motives behind hate crimes, sexual assaults, and what not. Crimes need to be investigated and punished to ensure justice or else they serve the agenda of those committing them.

Samar, Programme Coordinator, Right to Food, AHRC, Hong Kong. 


-- Dear Friend,

If you think the content of this news letter is critical for the dignified living and survival of humanity and other species on earth, please forward it to your friends and spread the word. It's time for humanity to come together as one family! You can subscribe to our news letter here You can also follow us on twitter, and on Facebook,

In Solidarity
Binu Mathew

Dalit Women Stripped: It Is The Republic Of India That Stands Naked
By Samar

It is the Republic of India and not a Dalit family that stands naked in front of Dankaur Police Station in Gautam Budh Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, located not more than 50 kilometres from the national capital. There are "conflicting" reports, as well as pictures and videos, which have gone viral on social media about what exactly transpired

NATO Vows Biggest Buildup Against Russia Since Cold War
By Bill Van Auken

NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels Thursday gave their final approval to the expansion of the Enhanced NATO Response Force to 40,000 troops as part of a major escalation of the US-led alliance's military buildup against Russia. The NATO ministers, including US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, seized upon Moscow's airstrikes in Syria against Islamist militias seeking the overthrow of the government of President Bashar al-Assad as the pretext for more aggressive deployments of military forces on Russia's border

Nobel Peace Prize For Peace
By David Swanson

The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday morning to "the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011." I think the 2015 award could have been much worse. It could also have been much better. It could have gone to work opposing armaments and international warmongering

Israel Tore Fadi Alloun's Family Apart; Then It Killed Him
By Budour Youssef Hassan

Fadi's experience with Israel's apartheid system began when he was less than two years old. His mother, who carried a Jordanian passport, travelled to Amman at that time to visit her sick father, taking Fadi's younger brother with her. The Israeli authorities banned her from returning to Jerusalem, tearing the family apart. Even after his death, the Israeli authorities have not yet granted his mother and brother a permit to pay Fadi a final farewell

Stop Millions Of Western Immigrants!
By Andre Vltchek

Tens of millions of European and North American immigrants, legal and illegal, have been flooding both the cities and countryside in Asia, Latin America, and even Africa. Western migrantsare charging like bulls and the ground is shaking under their feet; they are fleeing Europe and North America in hordes. Deep down they cannot stand their own lifestyle, their own societies, but you would hardly hear them pronounce it. They are too proud and too arrogant! But, after recognizinginnumerable areas of the world as suitable for their personal needs - as safe, attractive and cheap – they simply pack and go!

Setting Things Straight For The Steady State
By Brian Czech

The next time you hear the win-win spin that "there is no conflict between growing the economy and protecting the environment" or the equivalent in your regional culture, don't just throw up your hands in resignation to the rhetoric. Think instead about a future beyond growth. That's where there's no conflict with protecting the environment, national security, and international stability

In UN Of Appearances Latin Americans Don't Call For Nuremberg Prosecution , In 2009 Gaddafi Did
By Jay Janson

Though Argentina Bolivia Cuba Ecuador Venezuela and Nicaragua condemned US wars and murderous exploitation during this year's UN Gen. Debate, they as other delegates, lamented the current deplorable condition of today's world of death and destruction, of poverty and starvation calling for everyone to work to rectify the situation. No delegate even once called for justice through prosecution. Gaddafi UN speech quoted

Worshipping Cow: Killing Humanity
By Ram Puniyani

Just over a decade ago (2002) in Dulina village of Jhajjar in Haryana a mob of over a thousand people lynched five dalits who were skinning a dead cow to sell the hide. A few months ago in Malegaon Mahahrashtra police arrested three Muslims on the charge of storing beef. On the back of this come the news from Bisara that a Muslim was killed and his son injured seriously on the charges of storing-eating beef

Interrogating Patriarchy: Mechanisms Underlying
Violence Against Women In South Asia
By Cynthia Stephen

Resistance of oppression is one of the most common objectives of all movements for justice. Feminism has, over the decades, provided much intellectual input to this endeavor. While acknowledging its key role in helping women and societies to understand the injustice done to women, it is also important to ask whether all the boxes have been ticked in the attempt to uncover and unpack the roles and responsibilities of societal structures and practices in upholding male power

Pl see my blogs;

Feel free -- and I request you -- to forward this newsletter to your lists and friends!

No comments: