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Shaheen Bagh: You can’t evict an idea

The protest became a symbol of hope and strength for many

27 Mar 2020

Shaheen Bagh

On Tuesday Mar 24, the Delhi Police snuck into the Shaheen Bagh protest zone and evicted the few protesters on site at that time. They thus, heroically brought to conclusion a situation they had created in the first place by blocking a section of the Delhi-Noida highway, right after the incidents at Jamia in December.

From beginnings in the shadow and support of the protests at Jamia, Shaheen Bagh grew into a full-fledged protest on its own. In the process, it became a symbol of hope and strength for many other such protests, in Delhi and across India, from places such as Turkman Gate and Hauz Rani in Delhi to Park Circus in Kolkata to Ghantaghar in Lucknow.

One can of course superficially compare it to the epicenter of the 2011 Occupy protests at Zuccotti Park in New York, which also set off a movement, first nationwide in the US and then worldwide, involving several local Occupy camps. 

But what set Shaheen Bagh apart right from the beginning was that it was composed and led by women. The Occupy movement, on the other hand, wrestled with issues of gender representation from its inception. 

Of course, as we all know, Shaheen Bagh was a sit-in comprising women, but, as importantly, the participants were Muslim women. Some like to call that conjunction of identities - being women and Muslim - as one of “double oppression.” To anyone who saw the women - and maybe spoke with them - they appeared to be anything but oppressed, doubly or singly. Instead they were determined to double down each new day with double the resolve. Winter had come when the Shaheen Bagh ladies hunkered down and they were ready to slay as many demons and spectres of divisiveness, bigotry and discrimination as possible. 

The important thing to note about Shaheen Bagh - and all the Shaheen Baghs around the country - was that it was community-based and apolitical; it was not doctrinal or rigidly ideological in its tone; and it was very clear and transparent about the reasons for the protest. It was the epitome of a spontaneous people’s protest that activists and progressives deeply yearn to see unfold before their eyes, and consider their life well-lived, if they are witness to one.

It was their clarity of purpose to oppose an existential threat that made them clear-eyed, focused and also determined in their quest. They were protesting the questioning of their Indian identity based on religion, an identity they considered settled, unquestionable and inalienable - and a given, which it always was. An Indian Express report quoted a protester in Wasseypur, Jharkhand as saying, “Maa, mulk nahi badla jata - Mother, motherland cannot be replaced.” Or as a dadi at Shaheen Bagh told an AFP reporter, “I was born in India and I want to die here." 

Other than that, the idea of Shaheen Bagh as a protest, as resistance, was one of putting oneself on the line, as it were. It was the sheer physicality, the undeniable corporeality and the irrefutable solidity of the presence - all with the quiet, resolute, in-your-face frankness - that made each protest a visible redoubt, unshakable and immovable in its foundations. 

It was a live and throbbing symbol, fluid and discrete yet substantial. It was a visible aggregation made up of a mass of seemingly incongruous niqabs, abayas, burqas and hijabs. When you saw them the first time, you almost caught your breath at this well-known, yet unfamiliar sight, and you went, “Of, so it is true!”

It was this everydayness of the people who made up the protests that seemed to baffle and unsettle everyone. It represented the power of the ordinary raised to the levels of the extra-ordinary. Thus, Shaheen Bagh was also us out there - the weak, hesitating, diffident, dithering us, witness to injustice upon injustice but unable to act. It was the actualization of our superhero and superheroine dreams when confronted with injustice, swooping onto the streets to fight the real battle, dressed in our cape and suit, because we had to take matters in our hands to ensure triumph of good over, ahem, evil.

But, this superheroine story did not play out using any stunts, pyrotechnics or physical jousting with the villains. No, therein lay the beauty of this natural outpouring of resistance. This resistance believed in a silent, non-violent and non-flashy doggedness. It was a Chipko of the ground beneath their feet while also holding up more than half the tent and sky above. It was unabashed in its womanness and its Muslimness. By embodying those twin identities with ease and elan, by overturning the “doubly-oppressed” narrative in one fell go, the Shaheen Baghs presented a hitherto “unknown quantity,” not to be pitied for subservience but treated respectfully for some kind of “double strength,” precisely that of their womanness and Muslimness. 

Shaheen Bagh probably meant different things to different people. By itself it always represented opposition to the kala kanoons: the CAA, NRC and NPR. It revealed the hidden, or should one say, the unexpressed strengths inherent the “public,” but more specifically the Muslim woman public. It demonstrated that steadfast, physical protest in the age of outrage-via-social-media was still an immensely effective way of speaking truth to power. Moreover, by maintaining a resolutely non-violent, peaceable and unflappable demeanor, it subverted all attempts at provocations. 

When the various political leaders of the BJP, Amit Shah and Kapil Mishra included, began taking pot-shots at Shaheen Bagh, at this motley group of Muslim women, a contemptible minority otherwise, one could state that the terms of the conversation had been altered. The power equations had been disturbed and the visible frustrations of the BJP leaders was evident. It was as if the mighty Roman empire had trained all its resources on the targeting of the one holdout Gaul village, as depicted in the popular Asterix comic-books, over whom they had not been able to achieve victory despite all their resources. 

Shaheen Bagh proved to us the power in all of us. It was the shattering of stereotypes and the transcending of our limitations and fears. It was working with uncertainty, and without some detailed plan. It was working with just what one had, while discharging all our responsibilities as wife, mother, sister, lawyer, entrepreneur. 

It was putting oneself out there in the open, among the stares, glares and ridicules of the world. It was all of the above simply to express the deepest, purest conscientious objection to what was felt to be wrong. It proceeded from the idea that it is oneself that one has to put on the frontlines, whatever station of life one is in, however vulnerable, incapable and unlikely other people think one to be, despite one’s own doubts. 

In 2016, torch-wielding white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia (UVA) in the US, protesting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements and its actions of taking down monuments to racist civil war figures. Among the slogans they chanted were “White Lives Matter” and “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” the latter employed extensively during the BLM movement. It seems they had to assume the vocabulary of the movement they were opposing to express their own position - such was the hold of BLM and other progressive movements on their imagination.

In similar manner, on Mar 24, after the Shaheen Bagh encampment had been taken down by the Delhi Police, BJP MLA Kapil Mishra tweeted: “Sab Takht Uchal ke Phek Diye/ Sab Tent ukhad ke Phek Diye/Humne Dekh Liya/Sabne Dekh Liya.” Mishra’s impoverished imagination too had to employ Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s  nazm, much reviled by the Indian right, to gloat over the dismantling of Shaheen Bagh. But, with that, unwittingly, he had let Shaheen Bagh have the last word. 

The tent and material trappings of such acts of resistance may eventually come down, as they did for Shaheen Bagh. But Shaheen Bagh as an idea and symbol had found a place in people’s hearts and minds a long time ago. That edifice of protest will continue to remain enshrined in people’s memories. ---

Aviral Anand is a socially-concerned citizen, based in Delhi. He believes in solidarities with global struggles, such as the working class, indigenous and other marginalized peoples’ struggles around the world.

Shaheen Bagh: You can’t evict an idea

The protest became a symbol of hope and strength for many

Shaheen Bagh

On Tuesday Mar 24, the Delhi Police snuck into the Shaheen Bagh protest zone and evicted the few protesters on site at that time. They thus, heroically brought to conclusion a situation they had created in the first place by blocking a section of the Delhi-Noida highway, right after the incidents at Jamia in December.

From beginnings in the shadow and support of the protests at Jamia, Shaheen Bagh grew into a full-fledged protest on its own. In the process, it became a symbol of hope and strength for many other such protests, in Delhi and across India, from places such as Turkman Gate and Hauz Rani in Delhi to Park Circus in Kolkata to Ghantaghar in Lucknow.

One can of course superficially compare it to the epicenter of the 2011 Occupy protests at Zuccotti Park in New York, which also set off a movement, first nationwide in the US and then worldwide, involving several local Occupy camps. 

But what set Shaheen Bagh apart right from the beginning was that it was composed and led by women. The Occupy movement, on the other hand, wrestled with issues of gender representation from its inception. 

Of course, as we all know, Shaheen Bagh was a sit-in comprising women, but, as importantly, the participants were Muslim women. Some like to call that conjunction of identities - being women and Muslim - as one of “double oppression.” To anyone who saw the women - and maybe spoke with them - they appeared to be anything but oppressed, doubly or singly. Instead they were determined to double down each new day with double the resolve. Winter had come when the Shaheen Bagh ladies hunkered down and they were ready to slay as many demons and spectres of divisiveness, bigotry and discrimination as possible. 

The important thing to note about Shaheen Bagh - and all the Shaheen Baghs around the country - was that it was community-based and apolitical; it was not doctrinal or rigidly ideological in its tone; and it was very clear and transparent about the reasons for the protest. It was the epitome of a spontaneous people’s protest that activists and progressives deeply yearn to see unfold before their eyes, and consider their life well-lived, if they are witness to one.

It was their clarity of purpose to oppose an existential threat that made them clear-eyed, focused and also determined in their quest. They were protesting the questioning of their Indian identity based on religion, an identity they considered settled, unquestionable and inalienable - and a given, which it always was. An Indian Express report quoted a protester in Wasseypur, Jharkhand as saying, “Maa, mulk nahi badla jata - Mother, motherland cannot be replaced.” Or as a dadi at Shaheen Bagh told an AFP reporter, “I was born in India and I want to die here." 

Other than that, the idea of Shaheen Bagh as a protest, as resistance, was one of putting oneself on the line, as it were. It was the sheer physicality, the undeniable corporeality and the irrefutable solidity of the presence - all with the quiet, resolute, in-your-face frankness - that made each protest a visible redoubt, unshakable and immovable in its foundations. 

It was a live and throbbing symbol, fluid and discrete yet substantial. It was a visible aggregation made up of a mass of seemingly incongruous niqabs, abayas, burqas and hijabs. When you saw them the first time, you almost caught your breath at this well-known, yet unfamiliar sight, and you went, “Of, so it is true!”

It was this everydayness of the people who made up the protests that seemed to baffle and unsettle everyone. It represented the power of the ordinary raised to the levels of the extra-ordinary. Thus, Shaheen Bagh was also us out there - the weak, hesitating, diffident, dithering us, witness to injustice upon injustice but unable to act. It was the actualization of our superhero and superheroine dreams when confronted with injustice, swooping onto the streets to fight the real battle, dressed in our cape and suit, because we had to take matters in our hands to ensure triumph of good over, ahem, evil.

But, this superheroine story did not play out using any stunts, pyrotechnics or physical jousting with the villains. No, therein lay the beauty of this natural outpouring of resistance. This resistance believed in a silent, non-violent and non-flashy doggedness. It was a Chipko of the ground beneath their feet while also holding up more than half the tent and sky above. It was unabashed in its womanness and its Muslimness. By embodying those twin identities with ease and elan, by overturning the “doubly-oppressed” narrative in one fell go, the Shaheen Baghs presented a hitherto “unknown quantity,” not to be pitied for subservience but treated respectfully for some kind of “double strength,” precisely that of their womanness and Muslimness. 

Shaheen Bagh probably meant different things to different people. By itself it always represented opposition to the kala kanoons: the CAA, NRC and NPR. It revealed the hidden, or should one say, the unexpressed strengths inherent the “public,” but more specifically the Muslim woman public. It demonstrated that steadfast, physical protest in the age of outrage-via-social-media was still an immensely effective way of speaking truth to power. Moreover, by maintaining a resolutely non-violent, peaceable and unflappable demeanor, it subverted all attempts at provocations. 

When the various political leaders of the BJP, Amit Shah and Kapil Mishra included, began taking pot-shots at Shaheen Bagh, at this motley group of Muslim women, a contemptible minority otherwise, one could state that the terms of the conversation had been altered. The power equations had been disturbed and the visible frustrations of the BJP leaders was evident. It was as if the mighty Roman empire had trained all its resources on the targeting of the one holdout Gaul village, as depicted in the popular Asterix comic-books, over whom they had not been able to achieve victory despite all their resources. 

Shaheen Bagh proved to us the power in all of us. It was the shattering of stereotypes and the transcending of our limitations and fears. It was working with uncertainty, and without some detailed plan. It was working with just what one had, while discharging all our responsibilities as wife, mother, sister, lawyer, entrepreneur. 

It was putting oneself out there in the open, among the stares, glares and ridicules of the world. It was all of the above simply to express the deepest, purest conscientious objection to what was felt to be wrong. It proceeded from the idea that it is oneself that one has to put on the frontlines, whatever station of life one is in, however vulnerable, incapable and unlikely other people think one to be, despite one’s own doubts. 

In 2016, torch-wielding white nationalists marched through the University of Virginia (UVA) in the US, protesting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movements and its actions of taking down monuments to racist civil war figures. Among the slogans they chanted were “White Lives Matter” and “Whose Streets? Our Streets!” the latter employed extensively during the BLM movement. It seems they had to assume the vocabulary of the movement they were opposing to express their own position - such was the hold of BLM and other progressive movements on their imagination.

In similar manner, on Mar 24, after the Shaheen Bagh encampment had been taken down by the Delhi Police, BJP MLA Kapil Mishra tweeted: “Sab Takht Uchal ke Phek Diye/ Sab Tent ukhad ke Phek Diye/Humne Dekh Liya/Sabne Dekh Liya.” Mishra’s impoverished imagination too had to employ Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s  nazm, much reviled by the Indian right, to gloat over the dismantling of Shaheen Bagh. But, with that, unwittingly, he had let Shaheen Bagh have the last word. 

The tent and material trappings of such acts of resistance may eventually come down, as they did for Shaheen Bagh. But Shaheen Bagh as an idea and symbol had found a place in people’s hearts and minds a long time ago. That edifice of protest will continue to remain enshrined in people’s memories. ---

Aviral Anand is a socially-concerned citizen, based in Delhi. He believes in solidarities with global struggles, such as the working class, indigenous and other marginalized peoples’ struggles around the world.

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Tailors in Odisha face unprecedented demand for burqas amid Covid-19

Burqas are now being sold at prices ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,500 in the state

26 Mar 2020

burqa

As the world continues to reel under the effects of Coronavirus pandemic, tailors in Odisha are working day and night to meet the unexpected rise in the demand of burqas post its outbreak, reported The Indian Express.

In an unexpected consequence of the the Covid-19 pandemic that has infected over 4 lakh people globally, the demands for burqas have increased manifold in the state, with the outfit almost being seen as protective gear in the absence of masks which are currently in shortage in the state.

Tailors in Kendrapara, Odisha, have received hundreds of orders of burqas amid this crisis. The demand has also escalated burqa costs with each burqa being sold at exorbitant prices ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,500. At least 10 tailors of Kendrapara town and other nearby areas said that due to the lockdown imposed by the government, they are now busy stitching burqas from their homes to meet the demand.

Sk. Akbar, a tailor in Tendakuda told The Times of India, “Many Muslim women have resorted to wearing masks and gloves to protect themselves. For the women, the burqa acts as a natural defence against germ-carrying droplets. Most burqas even have a net lining for the eyes, so the demand for the garment has spiked.”

Mohammad Sahid, a tailor from Kendrapara who mentioned that tailors are working day and night to cash in on the situation said, “We stitch different sized burqas for women and girls. Usually they sell at dismal prices. Sales are ordinarily slack, except during Eid and the marriage season. But Covid-19 has boosted the sales of burqas like nothing else.”

Tailors across the town mentioned that many do not know how to stitch burqas as it is a seasonal business due to which not many are employed in the trade. This is why experienced tailors have now hiked tailoring prices in-order to cash in from the demand. 

 

Tailors in Odisha face unprecedented demand for burqas amid Covid-19

Burqas are now being sold at prices ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,500 in the state

burqa

As the world continues to reel under the effects of Coronavirus pandemic, tailors in Odisha are working day and night to meet the unexpected rise in the demand of burqas post its outbreak, reported The Indian Express.

In an unexpected consequence of the the Covid-19 pandemic that has infected over 4 lakh people globally, the demands for burqas have increased manifold in the state, with the outfit almost being seen as protective gear in the absence of masks which are currently in shortage in the state.

Tailors in Kendrapara, Odisha, have received hundreds of orders of burqas amid this crisis. The demand has also escalated burqa costs with each burqa being sold at exorbitant prices ranging from Rs. 500 to Rs. 1,500. At least 10 tailors of Kendrapara town and other nearby areas said that due to the lockdown imposed by the government, they are now busy stitching burqas from their homes to meet the demand.

Sk. Akbar, a tailor in Tendakuda told The Times of India, “Many Muslim women have resorted to wearing masks and gloves to protect themselves. For the women, the burqa acts as a natural defence against germ-carrying droplets. Most burqas even have a net lining for the eyes, so the demand for the garment has spiked.”

Mohammad Sahid, a tailor from Kendrapara who mentioned that tailors are working day and night to cash in on the situation said, “We stitch different sized burqas for women and girls. Usually they sell at dismal prices. Sales are ordinarily slack, except during Eid and the marriage season. But Covid-19 has boosted the sales of burqas like nothing else.”

Tailors across the town mentioned that many do not know how to stitch burqas as it is a seasonal business due to which not many are employed in the trade. This is why experienced tailors have now hiked tailoring prices in-order to cash in from the demand. 

 

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Delhi rape case: Four convicts executed

​​​​​​​Four men convicted in the 'Nirbhaya' rape case were hanged early on Friday morning after last minute pleas for stay on execution were rejected by the SC

20 Mar 2020

Nirbhaya

In what might bring some amount of closure in the horrific Nirbhaya rape case that took place in Delhi in December 2013, four men convicted of the crime were hanged to death at 5:30 AM on Friday at Delhi's Tihar jail. These convicts are Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31).

Nirbhaya's mother told Deccan Herald, "Finally they have been hanged. It was a long fight. Today Nirbhaya got justice. We got justice. This day is dedicated to the daughters of the country. I thank the judiciary and the government," 

The 23 year old physiotherapist was raped on the intervening night between December 15 and 16 while travelling in a bus. Originally six men were nabbed and tried in the case. Of these Ram Singh ended up allegedly committing suicide in prison in March 2013, while a juvenile was released after serving a three year sentence, leading to intense nationwide outrage. Police had filed a chargesheet in January 2013 and a Delhi court had convicted them in September 2013.

India reserves the death penalty for rarest of rare cases, and according to the court that awarded them the death penalty, this case fell under that criteria. The convicts moved a last minute plea for a stay on execution and the Supreme Court conducted a special hearing at hearing at 2:30 A.M where the convicts' pleas were rejected. Three hours later they were hung. 

Delhi rape case: Four convicts executed

​​​​​​​Four men convicted in the 'Nirbhaya' rape case were hanged early on Friday morning after last minute pleas for stay on execution were rejected by the SC

Nirbhaya

In what might bring some amount of closure in the horrific Nirbhaya rape case that took place in Delhi in December 2013, four men convicted of the crime were hanged to death at 5:30 AM on Friday at Delhi's Tihar jail. These convicts are Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31).

Nirbhaya's mother told Deccan Herald, "Finally they have been hanged. It was a long fight. Today Nirbhaya got justice. We got justice. This day is dedicated to the daughters of the country. I thank the judiciary and the government," 

The 23 year old physiotherapist was raped on the intervening night between December 15 and 16 while travelling in a bus. Originally six men were nabbed and tried in the case. Of these Ram Singh ended up allegedly committing suicide in prison in March 2013, while a juvenile was released after serving a three year sentence, leading to intense nationwide outrage. Police had filed a chargesheet in January 2013 and a Delhi court had convicted them in September 2013.

India reserves the death penalty for rarest of rare cases, and according to the court that awarded them the death penalty, this case fell under that criteria. The convicts moved a last minute plea for a stay on execution and the Supreme Court conducted a special hearing at hearing at 2:30 A.M where the convicts' pleas were rejected. Three hours later they were hung. 

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More than 1,000 women write to state govt’s asking to de-link NPR from Census

The letter penned by activists, academics and anganwadi workers among women from other fields say that women face highest risk of exclusion from NRC which is preceded by the NPR

18 Mar 2020

WomenImage Courtesy: thewire.in

The announcement of the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) has sparked women-led protests throughout India.

It has become widely known that the CAA-NPR-NRC together will affect minorities, especially the women, who due to financial dependence on the patriarch, coupled with practices like early marriage, lack of education and no identity documents in their name, face the risk of exclusion from the NRC which is set to be preceded by the NPR.

To bring this threat to light, more than a 1,000 women from across India have penned a letter to State Chief Ministers asking them to de-link the NPR from the Census house listing.

The women from across India present at the conference asked the CMs of every state to de-link the NPR and the Census and send out enumerators only with the house-listing schedule. They said that while many state governments have issued resolutions against the CAA-NPR-NRC, unless each state government issues executive orders to de-link the NPR and Census immediately, the resolutions will only remain a statement of expressions.

While two states, Kerala and West Bengal have issued executive orders staying the roll out of the NPR, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have ordered only the roll out of the Census from April 1, 2020.

Prominent human rights activists like Annie Raja, Farah Naqvi, Anjali Bhardwaj, Vani Subramanian, Meera Sanghmitra, Mariam Dhawle and Poonam Kaushik released a letter at Delhi’s Press Club that was sent to every Chief Minister in the country by over one thousand signatories – anganwadi workers, doctors, lawyers, academics, writers, activists, etc. from more than 20 states - on the morning of Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

The letter said, “We write to you as Indian women who are opposed to the National Population Register (NPR). Women constitute nearly 50% of India’s population, and this opposition is based on clear evidence from our own lives.”

Speaking at the Press Conference, Annie Raja said that, “Women often do not have land or property in their names, have lower literacy rates, and leave their natal homes upon marriage with no documents in tow. In Assam, a vast majority of the 19 lakh, left out of the NRC, are women. That is the reality.”

Farah Naqvi said, “All women, irrespective of caste and religious community, will be affected by this new NPR-NRIC citizenship regime that puts our citizenship to test in a totally arbitrary and frightening manner.”

She added that women and children from adivasi communities, dalit women, muslim women, migrant labourers, small farmers, the landless, domestic workers, sex workers and transgender persons, asked to ‘prove’ citizenship, will all be at grave risk of being disenfranchised, if the NPR and NRC are taken up.

Calling Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement about nobody being marked as a “doubtful citizen” during NPR as not holding any legal sanctity, Anjali Bhardwaj said that the Section 14A of the Citizenship Act and the 2003 rules in fact gave the local registrars the power to mark citizens as “doubtful”. Clause 4-4 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, gives arbitrary powers to the local registrar, the lowest-rung officer in the bureaucracy, to declare anyone a doubtful citizen.

The NPR is seemingly the first step to the NRC, Sabrang India has reported earlier. The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, mandated the creation of an NPR (National Population Register) to function as the mother database for the NRC.

The list of questions in the NPR too show that it is just a tool to extract citizenship related information from respondents. The questions about the parents’ place of birth and the mention of “nationality recorded is as declared by the respondent. This does not confer any right to Indian Citizenship”, only go to show the government’s conceited efforts to gather information for citizenship purposes.

Also, according to the government if answering such questions is voluntary, but according to the Section 8 of the Census Act 1948, it is mandatory to answer Census questions, thereby it now being mandatory to answer NPR questions. Also, the Home Minister has earlier said that no documents would be asked for the NPR, but the NPR instruction manual has provisions to ask for Aadhar Card, Voter ID, etc. “if available”.

Because the manual specifies, “if available” and not “optional”, what about women who voluntarily decide to not reveal this data even it is available? And what happens to women who do not answer the given questions because they genuinely don’t know the answers for it?

The letter said that it was now the responsibility of the state governments to prevent this attack on India’s most marginal and demanded that it safeguard citizens and ensure that no punitive action is taken against anyone engaging in a boycott of NPR.

Related:

Census Vs. NPR, is the GOI deliberately confusing the citizen?
Will any official notification back Amit Shah’s assurances on NPR?

More than 1,000 women write to state govt’s asking to de-link NPR from Census

The letter penned by activists, academics and anganwadi workers among women from other fields say that women face highest risk of exclusion from NRC which is preceded by the NPR

WomenImage Courtesy: thewire.in

The announcement of the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) has sparked women-led protests throughout India.

It has become widely known that the CAA-NPR-NRC together will affect minorities, especially the women, who due to financial dependence on the patriarch, coupled with practices like early marriage, lack of education and no identity documents in their name, face the risk of exclusion from the NRC which is set to be preceded by the NPR.

To bring this threat to light, more than a 1,000 women from across India have penned a letter to State Chief Ministers asking them to de-link the NPR from the Census house listing.

The women from across India present at the conference asked the CMs of every state to de-link the NPR and the Census and send out enumerators only with the house-listing schedule. They said that while many state governments have issued resolutions against the CAA-NPR-NRC, unless each state government issues executive orders to de-link the NPR and Census immediately, the resolutions will only remain a statement of expressions.

While two states, Kerala and West Bengal have issued executive orders staying the roll out of the NPR, Rajasthan and Jharkhand have ordered only the roll out of the Census from April 1, 2020.

Prominent human rights activists like Annie Raja, Farah Naqvi, Anjali Bhardwaj, Vani Subramanian, Meera Sanghmitra, Mariam Dhawle and Poonam Kaushik released a letter at Delhi’s Press Club that was sent to every Chief Minister in the country by over one thousand signatories – anganwadi workers, doctors, lawyers, academics, writers, activists, etc. from more than 20 states - on the morning of Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

The letter said, “We write to you as Indian women who are opposed to the National Population Register (NPR). Women constitute nearly 50% of India’s population, and this opposition is based on clear evidence from our own lives.”

Speaking at the Press Conference, Annie Raja said that, “Women often do not have land or property in their names, have lower literacy rates, and leave their natal homes upon marriage with no documents in tow. In Assam, a vast majority of the 19 lakh, left out of the NRC, are women. That is the reality.”

Farah Naqvi said, “All women, irrespective of caste and religious community, will be affected by this new NPR-NRIC citizenship regime that puts our citizenship to test in a totally arbitrary and frightening manner.”

She added that women and children from adivasi communities, dalit women, muslim women, migrant labourers, small farmers, the landless, domestic workers, sex workers and transgender persons, asked to ‘prove’ citizenship, will all be at grave risk of being disenfranchised, if the NPR and NRC are taken up.

Calling Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement about nobody being marked as a “doubtful citizen” during NPR as not holding any legal sanctity, Anjali Bhardwaj said that the Section 14A of the Citizenship Act and the 2003 rules in fact gave the local registrars the power to mark citizens as “doubtful”. Clause 4-4 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, gives arbitrary powers to the local registrar, the lowest-rung officer in the bureaucracy, to declare anyone a doubtful citizen.

The NPR is seemingly the first step to the NRC, Sabrang India has reported earlier. The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, mandated the creation of an NPR (National Population Register) to function as the mother database for the NRC.

The list of questions in the NPR too show that it is just a tool to extract citizenship related information from respondents. The questions about the parents’ place of birth and the mention of “nationality recorded is as declared by the respondent. This does not confer any right to Indian Citizenship”, only go to show the government’s conceited efforts to gather information for citizenship purposes.

Also, according to the government if answering such questions is voluntary, but according to the Section 8 of the Census Act 1948, it is mandatory to answer Census questions, thereby it now being mandatory to answer NPR questions. Also, the Home Minister has earlier said that no documents would be asked for the NPR, but the NPR instruction manual has provisions to ask for Aadhar Card, Voter ID, etc. “if available”.

Because the manual specifies, “if available” and not “optional”, what about women who voluntarily decide to not reveal this data even it is available? And what happens to women who do not answer the given questions because they genuinely don’t know the answers for it?

The letter said that it was now the responsibility of the state governments to prevent this attack on India’s most marginal and demanded that it safeguard citizens and ensure that no punitive action is taken against anyone engaging in a boycott of NPR.

Related:

Census Vs. NPR, is the GOI deliberately confusing the citizen?
Will any official notification back Amit Shah’s assurances on NPR?

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Kerala nun rape case: Court dismisses Bishop Mulakkal’s discharge plea

Mulakkal has been charged with rape, unnatural sex, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

17 Mar 2020

Court dismisses Bishop Mulakkal’s discharge plea

Looks like Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a Kerala nun, might actually end up standing trial for the same. The survivor had accused Mulakkal or raping her between 2014 and 2016.

A Special Investigation Team probing the case had arrested Mulakkal in 2018. He was subsequently charged with rape, unnatural sex, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

Mulakkal, in his plea before the Additional District and Sessions Court, claimed that prima facie there was no case to frame charges against him. But the prosecution opposed this plea and the court agreed that the bishop should stand for trial in the rape case.

Brief background of the case

The nun had filed a police complaint saying that she was allegedly raped 13 times by Jallandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal over a period of two years (2014-2016), when she was at a convent in Kuravilangad, a small town near Kottayam in Kerala. The nun said that she had approached church authorities on multiple occasions, but her complaints fell on deaf ears, forcing her to approach the police

After accusations first emerged, Mulakkal had made counter allegations against the survivor launching a virtual smear campaign against her. In an interview to Times of India, Bishop Franco Mulakkal, had claimed that his conscience was clear and that the nun was getting back at him because he was investigating her for her alleged affair with the husband of one of her cousins. Infact, the Missionaries of Jesus congregation had released a photograph of the survivor nun with the accused Bishop in a purported bid to discredit the nun’s claims. This attracted the ire of women’s rights groups as well as the National Commission for Women.

Following this there was a huge outcry and the Church came under tremendous pressure to take action against the Bishop. Not only did the survivor nun’s fellow sisters stage a sit-in protest, the treatment meted out to her, but several  senior priests and nuns have written to Cardinal Oswald Gracious, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and Vatican Nuncio Giambattista Diquattro, demanding that that the accused Bishop be relieved of his duties. Catholic activists from feminist organizations Safe Cities and the Zero Tolerance Campaign also wrote to the Pope demanding justice for the survivor nun.

In what appeared to be a face saving measure by the Church, the accused bishop stepped down from his position on September 15, citing his need to be present for further questioning. On September 20, the Vatican relieved him of his duties, replacing him with Bishop AR Gracias. Shortly afterwards, Mulakkal was arrested.

But in October 2018, Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, 62, a priest at St Paul’s church in Hoshiarpur district, Punjab, was found dead in his room in the church. His family suspected foul play. Earlier, Father Kuriakose has alleged that he was under severe pressure by church officials for his support of the nun who has accused the bishop of rape. In an interview to Mathrubhumi, Fr Kuriakose had said, “The sisters had approached me complaining about Bishop Franco. They did not approach the Kerala police fearing the bishop. In fact, I fear what will happen to me for speaking out against him.” 


Related:

Key witness in Kerala nun rape case found dead in Punjab
Kerala Nun Rape Case: Vatican temporarily relieves accused Bishop of his duties
Rape of a Nun: Bishop Franco Mulakkal Arrested 
How the Church needs to change the way it addresses Sexual and Gender-based abuse

Kerala nun rape case: Court dismisses Bishop Mulakkal’s discharge plea

Mulakkal has been charged with rape, unnatural sex, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

Court dismisses Bishop Mulakkal’s discharge plea

Looks like Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of raping a Kerala nun, might actually end up standing trial for the same. The survivor had accused Mulakkal or raping her between 2014 and 2016.

A Special Investigation Team probing the case had arrested Mulakkal in 2018. He was subsequently charged with rape, unnatural sex, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

Mulakkal, in his plea before the Additional District and Sessions Court, claimed that prima facie there was no case to frame charges against him. But the prosecution opposed this plea and the court agreed that the bishop should stand for trial in the rape case.

Brief background of the case

The nun had filed a police complaint saying that she was allegedly raped 13 times by Jallandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal over a period of two years (2014-2016), when she was at a convent in Kuravilangad, a small town near Kottayam in Kerala. The nun said that she had approached church authorities on multiple occasions, but her complaints fell on deaf ears, forcing her to approach the police

After accusations first emerged, Mulakkal had made counter allegations against the survivor launching a virtual smear campaign against her. In an interview to Times of India, Bishop Franco Mulakkal, had claimed that his conscience was clear and that the nun was getting back at him because he was investigating her for her alleged affair with the husband of one of her cousins. Infact, the Missionaries of Jesus congregation had released a photograph of the survivor nun with the accused Bishop in a purported bid to discredit the nun’s claims. This attracted the ire of women’s rights groups as well as the National Commission for Women.

Following this there was a huge outcry and the Church came under tremendous pressure to take action against the Bishop. Not only did the survivor nun’s fellow sisters stage a sit-in protest, the treatment meted out to her, but several  senior priests and nuns have written to Cardinal Oswald Gracious, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and Vatican Nuncio Giambattista Diquattro, demanding that that the accused Bishop be relieved of his duties. Catholic activists from feminist organizations Safe Cities and the Zero Tolerance Campaign also wrote to the Pope demanding justice for the survivor nun.

In what appeared to be a face saving measure by the Church, the accused bishop stepped down from his position on September 15, citing his need to be present for further questioning. On September 20, the Vatican relieved him of his duties, replacing him with Bishop AR Gracias. Shortly afterwards, Mulakkal was arrested.

But in October 2018, Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, 62, a priest at St Paul’s church in Hoshiarpur district, Punjab, was found dead in his room in the church. His family suspected foul play. Earlier, Father Kuriakose has alleged that he was under severe pressure by church officials for his support of the nun who has accused the bishop of rape. In an interview to Mathrubhumi, Fr Kuriakose had said, “The sisters had approached me complaining about Bishop Franco. They did not approach the Kerala police fearing the bishop. In fact, I fear what will happen to me for speaking out against him.” 


Related:

Key witness in Kerala nun rape case found dead in Punjab
Kerala Nun Rape Case: Vatican temporarily relieves accused Bishop of his duties
Rape of a Nun: Bishop Franco Mulakkal Arrested 
How the Church needs to change the way it addresses Sexual and Gender-based abuse

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Stop blaming women and peaceful protesters for Delhi violence: Women’s groups

Women intellectuals and civil society members come together to condemn CAA-NPR-NRC

16 Mar 2020

shaheen bagh

In a statement released recently, women’s groups and intellectuals have condemned attempts to pin the blame for the Delhi violence on people peacefully protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Many of the peaceful protests such as the sit-in at Shaheen Bagh have been led by women.

The statement says, “This is a moment when we need our governments to give us justice, reassurance and relief. But what we see instead is that the State, a section of the media, and vested interests creating even more hate. Instead of taking action against an erring police force, and against those who openly instigated and perpetrated this violence, we find them trying to pin the blame on the women for protesting peacefully.” It adds, “What we are witnessing is a concerted misinformation campaign that criminalises the protestors, spins conspiracy theories and targets all those who supported the protests.”

Showcasing the diversity of women who spearheaded these peaceful protests, the statement says, “We are proud that Muslim women led these protests, in the best tradition of our freedom struggle, and proud that we joined this struggle with them, in full measure as Indians – as students, women’s rights activists and queer groups, people’s movements, farmers and workers collectives, and as ordinary citizens; to fight for justice, harmony and peace for all. Clearly, something resonated in the soul of India, which is why in over 300 places, women sat and many still sit on our streets to be heard, to be visible as democratic citizens. This is surely what women’s empowerment is all about. This is what India must celebrate and stand behind.”

The statement further says, “We say, across identities of religion, caste, class, gender, sexuality and ability that we oppose the proposed National Population Register (NPR), Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).” It makes the following demands:

·Action be taken against those who have conducted systematic hate campaigns, spread falsehood, instigated and perpetrated the violence.

·False cases be withdrawn against protestors exercising their democratic rights.

·The Union government withdraw NPR-CAA-NRC, and initiate dialogue with the protesting women without any further delay.

·The Delhi government delink the NPR from the Census.

·State efforts be expedited to provide time bound relief and compensation to families of all who lost lives in the Delhi violence, and full rehabilitation to those displaced.

The entire statement may be read here: 

 

 

Stop blaming women and peaceful protesters for Delhi violence: Women’s groups

Women intellectuals and civil society members come together to condemn CAA-NPR-NRC

shaheen bagh

In a statement released recently, women’s groups and intellectuals have condemned attempts to pin the blame for the Delhi violence on people peacefully protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). Many of the peaceful protests such as the sit-in at Shaheen Bagh have been led by women.

The statement says, “This is a moment when we need our governments to give us justice, reassurance and relief. But what we see instead is that the State, a section of the media, and vested interests creating even more hate. Instead of taking action against an erring police force, and against those who openly instigated and perpetrated this violence, we find them trying to pin the blame on the women for protesting peacefully.” It adds, “What we are witnessing is a concerted misinformation campaign that criminalises the protestors, spins conspiracy theories and targets all those who supported the protests.”

Showcasing the diversity of women who spearheaded these peaceful protests, the statement says, “We are proud that Muslim women led these protests, in the best tradition of our freedom struggle, and proud that we joined this struggle with them, in full measure as Indians – as students, women’s rights activists and queer groups, people’s movements, farmers and workers collectives, and as ordinary citizens; to fight for justice, harmony and peace for all. Clearly, something resonated in the soul of India, which is why in over 300 places, women sat and many still sit on our streets to be heard, to be visible as democratic citizens. This is surely what women’s empowerment is all about. This is what India must celebrate and stand behind.”

The statement further says, “We say, across identities of religion, caste, class, gender, sexuality and ability that we oppose the proposed National Population Register (NPR), Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).” It makes the following demands:

·Action be taken against those who have conducted systematic hate campaigns, spread falsehood, instigated and perpetrated the violence.

·False cases be withdrawn against protestors exercising their democratic rights.

·The Union government withdraw NPR-CAA-NRC, and initiate dialogue with the protesting women without any further delay.

·The Delhi government delink the NPR from the Census.

·State efforts be expedited to provide time bound relief and compensation to families of all who lost lives in the Delhi violence, and full rehabilitation to those displaced.

The entire statement may be read here: 

 

 

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How ‘Bura na maano Holi hai’ has undermined the consent of women in India

From casually normalizing abuse to giving Holi a communal colour by targeting minority women, the festival has become more of a nightmare than a celebration

10 Mar 2020

holi

The festival of colors, Holi is here and soon all over one message is set to boom across – ‘Bura na maano, Holi hai (It’s Holi, take no offense).” However, we have been slow to realize what a travesty of consent the above slogan is. Starting by being normalized through Bollywood, the idea of a woman’s consent washed off faster that the color on her. From then to now has come such a time that this festival is now been given a communal colour by the right-wing saffron brigade.

We tell you why the celebration of Holi in its current form is a threat to women throughout India.

For decades, the slogan, “Bura na maano Holi hai”, is being seen as a free pass by some to take advantage of women. They see it as a free pass to touch women inappropriately, either forcefully smearing color on them by approaching them on roads or aiming balloons with ingredients apart from water, at their breasts and genitals. It is during this celebration – one that signifies good over evil – that women have reported being groped, molested and in some cases, raped by men.  In 2018, in New Delhi, a woman was pelted with semen filled balloons on her way home, reported PAPERMAG. In a 2018, Guardian repor, a young woman was attacked by a group of men on the day of the festival, but she was casually dismissed by a policeman on complaining saying they couldn’t do anything about it. A 1996 report by Delhi University on sexual harassment showed how instances of sexual assault peaked during Holi, with 60.5% women on campus telling of aggravated violence on the day of the festival. In 2016, the Delhi Police’s control room received 21 calls complaining of rape and molestation, including three rape cases that were reported by minors on the festival.

To top it all, this normalization of not seeking consent, has seeped in from Bollywood. Writing about women’s chunaris (stoles) and cholis (blouses), Bollywood, through its song, dance and music slyly shoved in close up shots of women’s wet bosoms in songs with heroes like Rajesh Khanna singing, “Chaahe bheege terei chunariya, chaahe bheege re choli, khelenge hum holi” and Priyanka Chopra singing to her own husband Akshay Kumar in Waqt, “Jaa re jaa, don’t touch my choli. Uff ye holi”.

Another reflection of a man taking pleasure from a woman’s harassment on Holi comes through this song from Mohabbatein, where the lyrics say –

Soni soni akhiyon wali
Dil de jaa ya de jaa tu gaali
Ja Kudiye jo kar le
Gora badan tera rang diya
(O one with the beautiful eyes,
Either give me your heart or give me abuses,
Go do whatever you can,
I have coloured your fair body.)

Another song from the 90s, Ang se Ang Lagana, went something like this –

Rapat likhaado rapat likhaado thane meh
Hum bhar denge jurmaana
Ang se ang lagana
Sajan humein aise rang lagana
(File the FIR, file the FIR,
I’ll go to the station to pay the fine,
Touch every part of my body with yours,
O beloved, colour me thus.)

In all these songs, women are objectified and aggressive male sexuality is on display with the man picking the woman up without her will or overpowering her in some other way. Writing for Feminism in India, Shrishti Malhotra mentions that most of the songs begin with the male actor dancing and coloured, while women actors making their entry completely free of colour. If playing with colours is symbolic of people freely enjoying their sexuality and not being coloured symbolises sexual control, then these songs portray men as having no sexual control – for this control is irrelevant. However, for the sake of their individual and societal ‘honour’, women have to be careful about that control, relinquishing it when pushed to the brink by the leading men’s harassment misrepresented as charm.

And now, given the current atmosphere in the country, the saffron brigade, mostly from the Hindi belt in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have started to give the festival a communal colour.

One such example is the rampant dissemination of a song by Sandeep Acharya who calls himself to be Hinduvadi. His song targets Muslim women saying even if you come out on the streets with your brother, we will forcibly smear colour on you.

The song has spread like wildfire on popular social media apps like TikTok and Facebook with sexist and misogynistic captions.

Many Muslims in India don’t play Holi by choice. Not just Muslims, even practicing Catholic nuns, Jain Sadhvis and Khalsa Sikhs don’t celebrate the festival. Practicing Muslims who are in their religious attire which is worn for prayers don't play holi because having clean clothes and clean body is precondition for Namaz.

In 2019, when the brand Surf Excel came out with an advertisement promoting the sentiment ‘Rang Laaye Sang’ (colours bring us together), by depicting a Hindu girl cleverly getting her friends to douse her in colours so that her Muslim friend could safely go for namaz, Hindutva supporters slashed the ad for promoting ‘love jihad’. People are still talking about it in 2020.

 

 

The current call of smearing colour on burqa clad women without their consent is just a regressive fantasy of some who wish to impose their power and supremacy on minorities and women.

The result of such a campaign is that though being visually wrong, it is being spread among people who innocently forward it as a step towards communal harmony, without understanding the actual intention behind it.

This. 

https://twitter.com/iBhupendraHarit/status/1237033115228364802

The disgust cannot be put into words anymore.

Forcibly touching anyone without their consent is criminal. Holi is not an excuse for sexual abuse. The licentious behavior by men is the curse of the society. With this thought turning communal in nature and no one to check its spread, it will result in social destruction that will be beyond control and ruin the psyche of the nation.

 

Related:

Video asking to harass Muslim women on Holi surfaces on social media

How ‘Bura na maano Holi hai’ has undermined the consent of women in India

From casually normalizing abuse to giving Holi a communal colour by targeting minority women, the festival has become more of a nightmare than a celebration

holi

The festival of colors, Holi is here and soon all over one message is set to boom across – ‘Bura na maano, Holi hai (It’s Holi, take no offense).” However, we have been slow to realize what a travesty of consent the above slogan is. Starting by being normalized through Bollywood, the idea of a woman’s consent washed off faster that the color on her. From then to now has come such a time that this festival is now been given a communal colour by the right-wing saffron brigade.

We tell you why the celebration of Holi in its current form is a threat to women throughout India.

For decades, the slogan, “Bura na maano Holi hai”, is being seen as a free pass by some to take advantage of women. They see it as a free pass to touch women inappropriately, either forcefully smearing color on them by approaching them on roads or aiming balloons with ingredients apart from water, at their breasts and genitals. It is during this celebration – one that signifies good over evil – that women have reported being groped, molested and in some cases, raped by men.  In 2018, in New Delhi, a woman was pelted with semen filled balloons on her way home, reported PAPERMAG. In a 2018, Guardian repor, a young woman was attacked by a group of men on the day of the festival, but she was casually dismissed by a policeman on complaining saying they couldn’t do anything about it. A 1996 report by Delhi University on sexual harassment showed how instances of sexual assault peaked during Holi, with 60.5% women on campus telling of aggravated violence on the day of the festival. In 2016, the Delhi Police’s control room received 21 calls complaining of rape and molestation, including three rape cases that were reported by minors on the festival.

To top it all, this normalization of not seeking consent, has seeped in from Bollywood. Writing about women’s chunaris (stoles) and cholis (blouses), Bollywood, through its song, dance and music slyly shoved in close up shots of women’s wet bosoms in songs with heroes like Rajesh Khanna singing, “Chaahe bheege terei chunariya, chaahe bheege re choli, khelenge hum holi” and Priyanka Chopra singing to her own husband Akshay Kumar in Waqt, “Jaa re jaa, don’t touch my choli. Uff ye holi”.

Another reflection of a man taking pleasure from a woman’s harassment on Holi comes through this song from Mohabbatein, where the lyrics say –

Soni soni akhiyon wali
Dil de jaa ya de jaa tu gaali
Ja Kudiye jo kar le
Gora badan tera rang diya
(O one with the beautiful eyes,
Either give me your heart or give me abuses,
Go do whatever you can,
I have coloured your fair body.)

Another song from the 90s, Ang se Ang Lagana, went something like this –

Rapat likhaado rapat likhaado thane meh
Hum bhar denge jurmaana
Ang se ang lagana
Sajan humein aise rang lagana
(File the FIR, file the FIR,
I’ll go to the station to pay the fine,
Touch every part of my body with yours,
O beloved, colour me thus.)

In all these songs, women are objectified and aggressive male sexuality is on display with the man picking the woman up without her will or overpowering her in some other way. Writing for Feminism in India, Shrishti Malhotra mentions that most of the songs begin with the male actor dancing and coloured, while women actors making their entry completely free of colour. If playing with colours is symbolic of people freely enjoying their sexuality and not being coloured symbolises sexual control, then these songs portray men as having no sexual control – for this control is irrelevant. However, for the sake of their individual and societal ‘honour’, women have to be careful about that control, relinquishing it when pushed to the brink by the leading men’s harassment misrepresented as charm.

And now, given the current atmosphere in the country, the saffron brigade, mostly from the Hindi belt in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have started to give the festival a communal colour.

One such example is the rampant dissemination of a song by Sandeep Acharya who calls himself to be Hinduvadi. His song targets Muslim women saying even if you come out on the streets with your brother, we will forcibly smear colour on you.

The song has spread like wildfire on popular social media apps like TikTok and Facebook with sexist and misogynistic captions.

Many Muslims in India don’t play Holi by choice. Not just Muslims, even practicing Catholic nuns, Jain Sadhvis and Khalsa Sikhs don’t celebrate the festival. Practicing Muslims who are in their religious attire which is worn for prayers don't play holi because having clean clothes and clean body is precondition for Namaz.

In 2019, when the brand Surf Excel came out with an advertisement promoting the sentiment ‘Rang Laaye Sang’ (colours bring us together), by depicting a Hindu girl cleverly getting her friends to douse her in colours so that her Muslim friend could safely go for namaz, Hindutva supporters slashed the ad for promoting ‘love jihad’. People are still talking about it in 2020.

 

 

The current call of smearing colour on burqa clad women without their consent is just a regressive fantasy of some who wish to impose their power and supremacy on minorities and women.

The result of such a campaign is that though being visually wrong, it is being spread among people who innocently forward it as a step towards communal harmony, without understanding the actual intention behind it.

This. 

https://twitter.com/iBhupendraHarit/status/1237033115228364802

The disgust cannot be put into words anymore.

Forcibly touching anyone without their consent is criminal. Holi is not an excuse for sexual abuse. The licentious behavior by men is the curse of the society. With this thought turning communal in nature and no one to check its spread, it will result in social destruction that will be beyond control and ruin the psyche of the nation.

 

Related:

Video asking to harass Muslim women on Holi surfaces on social media

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Sisterhood, Resistance & Resolve: Shaheen Bagh’s women mark Interational Women’s Day, support Delhi violence survivors

Even as Shaheen Bagh rose up to support the survivors of Delhi’s mass violence, the east Delhi dairy farmer, who had fired at the site on February 1, received bail on Friday and was released on Saturday

09 Mar 2020

shaheen baghFrom Shaheen Bagh a special Women's Day
 

On Women’s Day, a sale was held at Shaheen Bagh, the site of the longest-running and women-led protest against the new citizenship matrix, to raise funds for the Delhi riot victims and a moment of silence was observed for everyone killed in the carnage. Shaheen Bagh was teeming with an assortment of activities dedicated towards the relief fund, the primary discussion was centred on the stir against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).

One protester, Kausar told the gathering that Shaheen Bagh had observed a moment of silence on Sunday for those killed in the riots. “We mourn for head constable Ratan Lal and Intelligence Bureau employee Ankit Sharma. Mothers understand what it is to lose a child. That’s why on Women’s Day we decided to contribute to the relief effort,” she said.

“Log tut jate he ek ghar banane mein,

tum taras nahin khate bastiyan jalane mein”

[People break their backs building a home, You don’t pity burning down villages]

This moving couplet of noted poet Bashir Badr was emblazoned on the posters hung around the street stalls near the Shaheen Bagh protest site on Sunday. It was this powerful yet poignant verse found resonance amongst the women of Shaheen Bagh who banded together on the occasion of International Women’s Day to lend a helping hand to the victims of the Delhi violence, which rendered many homeless and over 50 dead.

“People have put their lifelong savings to build homes. All have been plundered in this violence; shops looted, many have lost their loved ones,” Aslima laments before she explains the purpose behind this initiative in detail.

Shaheeb bagh

“On this Women’s Day, we want to do our bit in whatever way possible. We have set up shops here selling our handmade craft items and doing mehendi art. We will donate the money to the riot victims in Mustafabad, Jafrabad, Chand Bagh among others,” she sums up.

Next to Afreen’s stall was Shahdah’s set-up where she lined up handmade colourful potteries. The bespectacled woman remained resolute when asked about the government’s unwavering stance on the CAA.

“Jab tak upar wale ki marzi hogi, tab tak datte rahenge. Inshallah (Till the Almighty is with us, we will remain steadfast),” she says. There is also a special message for prime minister, Narendra Modi. A group of three women had this poster, “We would urge him to stop doing politics of religion.”
 

Bail for the Assailant

In sharp contrast to the mood at Shaheen Bagh, in another part of Delhi, the gunman who had opened fire at the protest site had been given a hero’s welcome after he was freed on bail, and a perceived fresh attempt was under way to defame the protesters.  East Delhi dairy farmer Kapil Baisla, who had fired at the site on February 1, was granted bail on Friday (March 6) and was released on Saturday (March 7). Baisla received a hero’s welcome when he arrived home at the urban village of Dallupura, suggests a viral TikTok video that showed men embracing him and dancing to folk songs. The gunman’s lawyer, Narveer Dabas, had demanded bail citing a six-hour delay in filing the FIR while arguing the investigation was over and the police did not need him, and that Baisla was in no position to influence witnesses, who were police officers anyway.

The court was further told that Baisla has a wife and child to take care of. The prosecution opposed bail on the grounds that the allegations were “very serious in nature and the case was only at its initial stage”. Additional sessions judge Gulshan Kumar granted bail against a bond of Rs 25,000 and a surety of the same amount. Such relief is usually not granted to those considered prone to violence and a risk to peace. A person who opened fire at a crowded — and peaceful — protest site normally checks both boxes.

Targeted violence had broken out after an incendiary speech by BJP leader Kapil Mishra in the presence of the police on February 23. The Centre told the apex court last week that conditions were “not conducive” to filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches.

Shaheen bagh

Earlier, the police had declared as a minor another gunman who had shot and injured Jamia student Shadab Farooq on January 30 during an anti-CAA march.

This shooter, who described himself as “Rambhakt”, is in judicial custody at an observation home for boys and has been allowed to take his Class XII board exams in his home state of Uttar Pradesh. “Rambhakt” and Baisla opened fire after Union minister Anurag Thakur led a rally in chanting “shoot the traitors”.

Farooq, a mass communication student whom “Rambhakt” allegedly shot in his left forearm, told this newspaper: “At some point of time we realised that we had to leave safety behind and protest en masse. Nothing else will work… The media is in the hands of the regime. The whole country knows that the CAA is a bad law, and these attacks are just attempts to divert the attention of people.”
 

Arrests around Jamia

On Sunday, the police claimed to have picked up two suspected Islamic State terrorists from Jamia Nagar, located near Shaheen Bagh and home to the Jamia Millia Islamia, for allegedly “instigating anti-CAA protests”, news agency ANI reported.

It is against such a backdrop that word spread about the police’s claim on the arrests.ANI quoted deputy commissioner (special cell) Pramod Kushwah as saying: “A couple, Jahanjeb Sami and Hina Bashir Beigh, linked to (the) Khorasan module of ISIS were apprehended from Jamia Nagar, Okhla. The couple (were) instigating anti-CAA protests.”

Shaheen bagh

 

Sisterhood, Resistance & Resolve: Shaheen Bagh’s women mark Interational Women’s Day, support Delhi violence survivors

Even as Shaheen Bagh rose up to support the survivors of Delhi’s mass violence, the east Delhi dairy farmer, who had fired at the site on February 1, received bail on Friday and was released on Saturday

shaheen baghFrom Shaheen Bagh a special Women's Day
 

On Women’s Day, a sale was held at Shaheen Bagh, the site of the longest-running and women-led protest against the new citizenship matrix, to raise funds for the Delhi riot victims and a moment of silence was observed for everyone killed in the carnage. Shaheen Bagh was teeming with an assortment of activities dedicated towards the relief fund, the primary discussion was centred on the stir against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC).

One protester, Kausar told the gathering that Shaheen Bagh had observed a moment of silence on Sunday for those killed in the riots. “We mourn for head constable Ratan Lal and Intelligence Bureau employee Ankit Sharma. Mothers understand what it is to lose a child. That’s why on Women’s Day we decided to contribute to the relief effort,” she said.

“Log tut jate he ek ghar banane mein,

tum taras nahin khate bastiyan jalane mein”

[People break their backs building a home, You don’t pity burning down villages]

This moving couplet of noted poet Bashir Badr was emblazoned on the posters hung around the street stalls near the Shaheen Bagh protest site on Sunday. It was this powerful yet poignant verse found resonance amongst the women of Shaheen Bagh who banded together on the occasion of International Women’s Day to lend a helping hand to the victims of the Delhi violence, which rendered many homeless and over 50 dead.

“People have put their lifelong savings to build homes. All have been plundered in this violence; shops looted, many have lost their loved ones,” Aslima laments before she explains the purpose behind this initiative in detail.

Shaheeb bagh

“On this Women’s Day, we want to do our bit in whatever way possible. We have set up shops here selling our handmade craft items and doing mehendi art. We will donate the money to the riot victims in Mustafabad, Jafrabad, Chand Bagh among others,” she sums up.

Next to Afreen’s stall was Shahdah’s set-up where she lined up handmade colourful potteries. The bespectacled woman remained resolute when asked about the government’s unwavering stance on the CAA.

“Jab tak upar wale ki marzi hogi, tab tak datte rahenge. Inshallah (Till the Almighty is with us, we will remain steadfast),” she says. There is also a special message for prime minister, Narendra Modi. A group of three women had this poster, “We would urge him to stop doing politics of religion.”
 

Bail for the Assailant

In sharp contrast to the mood at Shaheen Bagh, in another part of Delhi, the gunman who had opened fire at the protest site had been given a hero’s welcome after he was freed on bail, and a perceived fresh attempt was under way to defame the protesters.  East Delhi dairy farmer Kapil Baisla, who had fired at the site on February 1, was granted bail on Friday (March 6) and was released on Saturday (March 7). Baisla received a hero’s welcome when he arrived home at the urban village of Dallupura, suggests a viral TikTok video that showed men embracing him and dancing to folk songs. The gunman’s lawyer, Narveer Dabas, had demanded bail citing a six-hour delay in filing the FIR while arguing the investigation was over and the police did not need him, and that Baisla was in no position to influence witnesses, who were police officers anyway.

The court was further told that Baisla has a wife and child to take care of. The prosecution opposed bail on the grounds that the allegations were “very serious in nature and the case was only at its initial stage”. Additional sessions judge Gulshan Kumar granted bail against a bond of Rs 25,000 and a surety of the same amount. Such relief is usually not granted to those considered prone to violence and a risk to peace. A person who opened fire at a crowded — and peaceful — protest site normally checks both boxes.

Targeted violence had broken out after an incendiary speech by BJP leader Kapil Mishra in the presence of the police on February 23. The Centre told the apex court last week that conditions were “not conducive” to filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches.

Shaheen bagh

Earlier, the police had declared as a minor another gunman who had shot and injured Jamia student Shadab Farooq on January 30 during an anti-CAA march.

This shooter, who described himself as “Rambhakt”, is in judicial custody at an observation home for boys and has been allowed to take his Class XII board exams in his home state of Uttar Pradesh. “Rambhakt” and Baisla opened fire after Union minister Anurag Thakur led a rally in chanting “shoot the traitors”.

Farooq, a mass communication student whom “Rambhakt” allegedly shot in his left forearm, told this newspaper: “At some point of time we realised that we had to leave safety behind and protest en masse. Nothing else will work… The media is in the hands of the regime. The whole country knows that the CAA is a bad law, and these attacks are just attempts to divert the attention of people.”
 

Arrests around Jamia

On Sunday, the police claimed to have picked up two suspected Islamic State terrorists from Jamia Nagar, located near Shaheen Bagh and home to the Jamia Millia Islamia, for allegedly “instigating anti-CAA protests”, news agency ANI reported.

It is against such a backdrop that word spread about the police’s claim on the arrests.ANI quoted deputy commissioner (special cell) Pramod Kushwah as saying: “A couple, Jahanjeb Sami and Hina Bashir Beigh, linked to (the) Khorasan module of ISIS were apprehended from Jamia Nagar, Okhla. The couple (were) instigating anti-CAA protests.”

Shaheen bagh

 

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Shaheen Bagh Women inspire Million Women Rise 2020 march: London

The South Asia Solidarity group backing the march said the women in Shaheen Bagh are inspiring flowers of resistance that have bloomed against genocidal laws

09 Mar 2020

Shaheen bagh

At the Million Women Rise 2020 march held on the eve on International Women’s Day in London, thousands of women marched in solidarity with Shaheen Bagh, the women-led protest in Delhi against the Modi regime’s discriminatory and fascistic Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The press release issued by the South Asia Solidarity Group said that it sees the ruling regime’s measures like the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are seen as the first step towards ethnic cleansing and genocide, while representing the vision of an exclusive Hindu state promoted by India’s Hindu supremacist BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Speaking at the Million Women Rise rally at Trafalgar Square, Amrit Wilson from South Asia Solidarity Group said:

This is a global agenda linking India’s prime minister Modi with Trump, Netanyahu and Boris Johnson. Linking the suffering of Kashmir, Myanmar, Palestine and India to the US and UK. In India this fascism takes the form of upper-caste Hindu supremacy. The Indian government is demanding that people prove their citizenship with documents going back generations. If you are a Muslim and have no papers of this sort you will be locked up in a detention centre even if your family has always lived in the country. Massive detention centres have already been set up and many who have been detained have died there. The new Citizenship laws make religion central, for the first time. In this country we know about the horrific injustice of Windrush, we know about Yarls Wood, these are the symptoms of fascism. In India we can see the next terrifying stage. As in Hitler’s Germany, denial of citizenship to millions of people is likely to be followed by a genocide. But in these dark days, the wonderful inspiring flowers of resistance have bloomed. Muslim women, those who have been stereotyped as passive, as unresisting, have come out in their thousands, they have organised continuous sit-ins in resistance to these genocidal laws.

The Shaheen Bagh bloc at the demonstration highlighted the iconic nature of the women’s occupation in Delhi which has been going on since 14 December and has inspired hundreds of other Shaheen Baghs all over India. The protests sites have become spaces of safety and creativity where women are putting forward an alternative vision of the future in which all kinds of oppression can be challengedMuslim women will be those most affected by the citizenship measures and they have been at the forefront of resistance, countering the stereotypes, which are also pervasive in India, of Muslim women as passive victims.

The press release also mentioned the horrific Delhi pogrom in which 53 people lost their lives and hundreds were severely injured during which Shaheen Bagh remained stoic and unshakeable. Though right-wing mobs and the police tried to intimidate women at the protests at sites such as Jaffrabad in North East Delhi, but couldn’t keep them away from continuing their peaceful protests.

The Shaheen Bagh bloc in London’s march marched alongside Turkish, Latin American and other feminists across the world and shouted slogans like, ‘Shaheen Bagh we stand with you, you won’t let the fascists through’, ‘Modi, Shah you can’t hide, you are committing genocide’ and ‘Shaheen Bagh is here to stay, until you scrap the CAA’, apart from carrying a banner with artwork produced at Shaheen Bagh.

Related:

Burqas, Bindis, and Bangles: The Femme Revolution of India

Women of the World, Unite: An ode to women who stood up for the future of the world

Shaheen Bagh Women inspire Million Women Rise 2020 march: London

The South Asia Solidarity group backing the march said the women in Shaheen Bagh are inspiring flowers of resistance that have bloomed against genocidal laws

Shaheen bagh

At the Million Women Rise 2020 march held on the eve on International Women’s Day in London, thousands of women marched in solidarity with Shaheen Bagh, the women-led protest in Delhi against the Modi regime’s discriminatory and fascistic Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The press release issued by the South Asia Solidarity Group said that it sees the ruling regime’s measures like the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) are seen as the first step towards ethnic cleansing and genocide, while representing the vision of an exclusive Hindu state promoted by India’s Hindu supremacist BJP government led by Narendra Modi.

Speaking at the Million Women Rise rally at Trafalgar Square, Amrit Wilson from South Asia Solidarity Group said:

This is a global agenda linking India’s prime minister Modi with Trump, Netanyahu and Boris Johnson. Linking the suffering of Kashmir, Myanmar, Palestine and India to the US and UK. In India this fascism takes the form of upper-caste Hindu supremacy. The Indian government is demanding that people prove their citizenship with documents going back generations. If you are a Muslim and have no papers of this sort you will be locked up in a detention centre even if your family has always lived in the country. Massive detention centres have already been set up and many who have been detained have died there. The new Citizenship laws make religion central, for the first time. In this country we know about the horrific injustice of Windrush, we know about Yarls Wood, these are the symptoms of fascism. In India we can see the next terrifying stage. As in Hitler’s Germany, denial of citizenship to millions of people is likely to be followed by a genocide. But in these dark days, the wonderful inspiring flowers of resistance have bloomed. Muslim women, those who have been stereotyped as passive, as unresisting, have come out in their thousands, they have organised continuous sit-ins in resistance to these genocidal laws.

The Shaheen Bagh bloc at the demonstration highlighted the iconic nature of the women’s occupation in Delhi which has been going on since 14 December and has inspired hundreds of other Shaheen Baghs all over India. The protests sites have become spaces of safety and creativity where women are putting forward an alternative vision of the future in which all kinds of oppression can be challengedMuslim women will be those most affected by the citizenship measures and they have been at the forefront of resistance, countering the stereotypes, which are also pervasive in India, of Muslim women as passive victims.

The press release also mentioned the horrific Delhi pogrom in which 53 people lost their lives and hundreds were severely injured during which Shaheen Bagh remained stoic and unshakeable. Though right-wing mobs and the police tried to intimidate women at the protests at sites such as Jaffrabad in North East Delhi, but couldn’t keep them away from continuing their peaceful protests.

The Shaheen Bagh bloc in London’s march marched alongside Turkish, Latin American and other feminists across the world and shouted slogans like, ‘Shaheen Bagh we stand with you, you won’t let the fascists through’, ‘Modi, Shah you can’t hide, you are committing genocide’ and ‘Shaheen Bagh is here to stay, until you scrap the CAA’, apart from carrying a banner with artwork produced at Shaheen Bagh.

Related:

Burqas, Bindis, and Bangles: The Femme Revolution of India

Women of the World, Unite: An ode to women who stood up for the future of the world

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Women of the World, Unite: An ode to women who stood up for the future of the world

​​​​​​​On International Women’s Day, a look at how women are standing up to change the world, one protest at a time

08 Mar 2020

womens day

Often referred to as the weaker, fairer sex, women around the world and their voices have been silenced under the din of patriarchy. Though throughout eras, there have been women who have managed to scream and make them heard; even for the betterment of their sisters; it is now, at this moment precisely that women across the world have put a collective foot forward, taken the narrative into their own hands, broken the glass ceiling and emerge as the voice of the universe.

From domestic violence to sexual abuse, equal rights and even overthrowing governments, women have now stood up to be the superpower that will hopefully make the sly rabble rousers and wrongdoers accountable for their actions now and in the future.

From India to Mexico, from Brazil to America, here is a look at how women are claiming their rights, not as the second gender, but the equal one.

 

India: From Razia Sultan to Savitribai Phule to the Dadis of Shaheen Bagh

India has produced historic iconic women who have championed various causes – be it education, science or art. Be it the valor of Razia Sultan – the first and last female ruler of Delhi who proved her worth as a just ruler, who was an ace administrator or the undying perseverance of Savitribai Phule who founded the first girls’ school in the country, India has witnessed a spurt in social reforms through the actions of such brave women.

From then to now, not much has changed. From women forces behind the success of Mangalyaan to Adivasi activists learning how to fight for their jal, jungle, zameen; women in India have now taken the centre stage in a bid to protect their identity.

Post the announcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the possible implementation of the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) that is set to affect the minority communities and the marginalized, the women in India have hit the streets to make the government accountable of its fascism and repeal the above mentioned CAA and NRC.

This is possibly the first time that women have become the face of political protests in India. In Shaheen Bagh, a working-class, majority-Muslim neighborhood, the protests began with a small, peaceful sit-in and candlelit vigil by local women. It has been over 70 days now that the women continue undeterred by threats to their lives and possible police and state sponsored atrocities. With children in their laps, they shout slogans for a united and secular India.

Age no bar, it is now the grandmothers who are leading the protests from Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. Following their footsteps, women throughout India have become inspired to come out of their homes and take responsibility for their future and their childrens’ future with mini Shaheen Bagh’s sprouting all over the country.

With artwork, poetry recitals, interfaith prayers, community kitchens that keep the stomach full and the fire burning along with the Constitution of India in hand, the women are going from strength to strength to stand up with their sisters from different communities and overthrow the oppressive policies of the government.

Speaking to Time Magazine, veteran activist and the frontrunner in the Save Narmada Movement Medha Patkar said, “The specialty of a women-led movement is that they can be sustained longer. Women don’t give up. India sees women as shields, but in fact, they are the swords.”

 

Chile: ‘Never again without us women’

With the slogan - “Nunca más sin nosotras” – Never again without us women, the women in Chile are raising their voices against patriarchal violence, fighting for specific ender-related issues like an end to domestic violence, equality at the workplace and legal abortion, says Alondra Carrillo of La Coordinadora Feminista 8M, the largest feminist advocacy group, reports The Guardian.

The anti-rape song, Un Violador en Tu Camino - A Rapist in Your Path, popularized by a Chilean feminist collective, Las Tesis, was sung by women everywhere across the world to denounce the inaction of the police, judges and the highest authorities in preventing sexual violence.

The song read, “The patriarchy is a judge that judges us for being born, and our punishment is the violence you don’t see,” the chant begins. “It’s femicide. Impunity for the killer. It’s disappearance. It’s rape. And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed. … The rapist is you. It’s the cops, the judges, the state. The president. The oppressive state is a rapist.”

According to a report by the Chilean Network Against Violence Against Women, 42 cases of sexual abuse are reported each day. Paula Cometa, a member of Las Tesis told The Guardian that the song was never intended to be a protest song, but the women of the marches transformed it into something more.

She said, “It adapted to the moment that we are now living in Chile. The violence and the human rights violations that women have been exposed to recently.”

Talking about the part of the song where the performers squat down, assuming a position similar to that of arrest she said, “It’s a simple form of torture and punishment carried out by the Chilean police.”

Feminists in Chile say that the right-wing government hasn’t done much to address women’s issues. Belén Calcagno, a woman organizing protests throughout the country says that women have always pushed social movements in Chile.

Camila Vallejo, the former student protest leader said, “We will all march for our own reasons. But every woman will march for her own reasons, and on 8 March we will unite with a common demand: to be respected.”

 

Mexico: ‘This is our feminist spring’

3,825 Mexican women were killed in 2019, out of which the government accounted 1,006 to be femicides – where women are killed because of their gender.

On March 9, the women in Mexico are planning a national strike #UNDIASINMUJERES, or “a day without women” to throw light on the unending violence on women there. On Monday, March 9, women in Mexico will stay off the streets and purchase nothing throughout the day to put across the message – “what if we all just disappeared?”

A total of 1,006 killings were officially classified as femicides, based on a variety of criteria, including whether the victim’s body showed any signs of sexual violence and whether there had been a “sentimental” relationship between the victim and the killer, reported the LA Times.

Now, a call for action is growing louder and protestors are bringing the world’s attention to the failure of the Mexican government to put a stop to the femicides. Speaking to The New York Times, Sabina Berman, a Mexican novelist and feminist activist, said that the nucleus of these latest protests was a younger generation of women who have lost patience with a more measured approach to activism.

Last month, masked feminists covered the presidential palace with blood-red paint and graffiti, calling out the president’s failure to protect women.  

“This is not the fight against any government,” she said. “t is against the entire Mexican state, against the private sector, against the men who harass, who rape, who kill, and against those good men who stand by and do nothing.”

Carolina Barrales, one of the founders of Circulo Violeta, a Tijuana-based feminist collective says, “This is our feminist spring here in Tijuana … and we won’t stop until we get justice.”

 

Fighting to keep the world safe – From India to Brazil to Greta Thunberg

Citizen’s for Justice and Peace, an NGO, tells us the story of Sokalo Gond – the Adivasi warrior, a human rights defender and one of the most important forces in the struggle for the implementation of forest rights act 2006 in Sonbhadra, a heavilty forested region in Uttar Pradesh.

It also tells us the story of Rajkumari Bhuiya, resident of Sukhda tola [hamlet] in Dhuma village, near Dudhi in Uttar Pradesh who has traveled far and wide to educate people about their rights on their lands for they are dependent on the forest for their livelihoods.

Adivasis often collect Tendu leaves, honey, dry branches and medicinal herbs from the forests and sell those in the markets. Some also have small farms, on which they grow rice or different vegetables. Many Adivasis living in the region have been denied of their lands and rights because of the Sections 4 and 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927-a colonial legislation to regulate the movement and transit of forest produce. Many Adivasis have also been charged with false cases under this Act.

The entire region is affected by industrial pollution and displacement of local people has become a regular phenomenon. Researches have pointed out that Sonebhadra’s waters have become poisoned and the air toxic to breathe.

Speaking to CJP Sokalo recounted the horrific firing she and her fellow protestors were subjected to by the police when they were agitating against the Kanhar Dam project. “18 rounds were fired right in front of my eyes. It was terrible. They arrested almost all the women leaders including Rajkumari immediately,” she recalled.

However, encouraged by her and Rajkumari’s unwavering spirit, Adivasis in the region began to file claims to land as a community resource under relevant provisions of the Forest Rights Act 2006.

In Brazil, the indigenous women, the keepers of the Amazon rainforest, came out against President Jair Bolsonaro, also known as the ‘Trump of the Tropics’ and his campaign of destruction claiming that the Amazon forest fires were started deliberately.

Since his inauguration earlier this year, Bolsonaro has worked to dismantle key protections and policies that protect the rights of Indigenous peoples and the Amazon in Brazil. His administration’s devastating assaults on social and environmental protections has led to a surge in deforestation and violations of Indigenous Rights, culminating now in massive fires, reported commondreams.org.

The indigenous women in Brazil have been speaking up for years, in shrill voices, warning about the dangers to the Amazon due to demands of fossil fuel and mining which have been emboldened under Bolsonaro’s administration.

The women’s march in Brazil in 2019, marked another step forward for women-led protests for the protection of the Amazon. Speaking with Amazon Frontlines, Nemonte Nenquimo, Waorani leader and President of the regional Waorani political organization of Pastaza, CONCONAWEP, who led her people’s struggle and triumph against the Ecuadorian government, said, “Around the world, the governments are trying to kill us. They want to exploit our lands with no regard for us as human beings. Yet we are the guardians and owners of our territories, which we have cared for and protected for thousands of years. We want to protect our land for the future generations. We want our forest to be free from contamination, free from destruction.”

Across Brazil, indigenous women are taking the baton to spearhead resistance movements for Mother Earth which gives them life. Indigenous leader Sonia Guajajara rightly put it when she said, “We don’t have to accept the destruction of our rights. ubmission is not culture. We are here to demystify the idea that indigenous women do not participate in this struggle and to demonstrate that we are prepared to occupy any space.”

 

Another powerful woman, Greta Thunberg – a Swedish teenage climate activist, deserves a special mention. She began with holding a placard that read, “School Strike for Climate” when she started missing school on Fridays to strike against climate change, while urging students across the world to join her.

Her activism went viral on social media and climate change had a new hashtag #FridaysForFuture. Little did she anticipate in August 2018, around when she started the movement that by December 2018, more than 20,000 students across the world would join her in her fight to protect the earth.

Choosing to travel by road and waterways to practice what she preached, she also travelled to New York in 2019 to address a United Nations climate change conference in a yacht, enduring a journey of over two weeks, to educate people of the consequences of air travel.

She was named Time Magazine’s Person of the year in 2019 after she pulled up world leaders as she boomed into the mic at the climate change conference saying, “How dare you? I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?"

 

She has been mocked by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, but that has not knocked her down. In her fight to make authorities accountable for their actions against the environment and in her protests to create awareness for cutting down carbon emissions, Greta is one girl, who has inspired everyone to fight for the world they live in and that the future children will inherit.

To write about the brave women of the world, all the pages would not be enough. From fighting against sexual abuse to fighting for equal pay, from fighting against domestic violence to fighting for legalizing abortion and reclaiming reproductive rights, from fighting for education to fighting for an identity; women have now broken all shackles to truly identify their power and demand what is theirs.

It is now, with collective solidarity and empathy, that women have found the courage to overcome their fears and march ahead as their own savior.

 

Related:

Sisterhood unites to fight oppression: Forest workers meet Shaheen Bagh protesters

प्रमिला ताईंच्या शब्दातून कत्तल झालेल्या झाडांची व्यथा

Maa aur Mulk - the non-negotiability of Muslim identity

Women of the World, Unite: An ode to women who stood up for the future of the world

​​​​​​​On International Women’s Day, a look at how women are standing up to change the world, one protest at a time

womens day

Often referred to as the weaker, fairer sex, women around the world and their voices have been silenced under the din of patriarchy. Though throughout eras, there have been women who have managed to scream and make them heard; even for the betterment of their sisters; it is now, at this moment precisely that women across the world have put a collective foot forward, taken the narrative into their own hands, broken the glass ceiling and emerge as the voice of the universe.

From domestic violence to sexual abuse, equal rights and even overthrowing governments, women have now stood up to be the superpower that will hopefully make the sly rabble rousers and wrongdoers accountable for their actions now and in the future.

From India to Mexico, from Brazil to America, here is a look at how women are claiming their rights, not as the second gender, but the equal one.

 

India: From Razia Sultan to Savitribai Phule to the Dadis of Shaheen Bagh

India has produced historic iconic women who have championed various causes – be it education, science or art. Be it the valor of Razia Sultan – the first and last female ruler of Delhi who proved her worth as a just ruler, who was an ace administrator or the undying perseverance of Savitribai Phule who founded the first girls’ school in the country, India has witnessed a spurt in social reforms through the actions of such brave women.

From then to now, not much has changed. From women forces behind the success of Mangalyaan to Adivasi activists learning how to fight for their jal, jungle, zameen; women in India have now taken the centre stage in a bid to protect their identity.

Post the announcement of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the possible implementation of the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) that is set to affect the minority communities and the marginalized, the women in India have hit the streets to make the government accountable of its fascism and repeal the above mentioned CAA and NRC.

This is possibly the first time that women have become the face of political protests in India. In Shaheen Bagh, a working-class, majority-Muslim neighborhood, the protests began with a small, peaceful sit-in and candlelit vigil by local women. It has been over 70 days now that the women continue undeterred by threats to their lives and possible police and state sponsored atrocities. With children in their laps, they shout slogans for a united and secular India.

Age no bar, it is now the grandmothers who are leading the protests from Shaheen Bagh in Delhi. Following their footsteps, women throughout India have become inspired to come out of their homes and take responsibility for their future and their childrens’ future with mini Shaheen Bagh’s sprouting all over the country.

With artwork, poetry recitals, interfaith prayers, community kitchens that keep the stomach full and the fire burning along with the Constitution of India in hand, the women are going from strength to strength to stand up with their sisters from different communities and overthrow the oppressive policies of the government.

Speaking to Time Magazine, veteran activist and the frontrunner in the Save Narmada Movement Medha Patkar said, “The specialty of a women-led movement is that they can be sustained longer. Women don’t give up. India sees women as shields, but in fact, they are the swords.”

 

Chile: ‘Never again without us women’

With the slogan - “Nunca más sin nosotras” – Never again without us women, the women in Chile are raising their voices against patriarchal violence, fighting for specific ender-related issues like an end to domestic violence, equality at the workplace and legal abortion, says Alondra Carrillo of La Coordinadora Feminista 8M, the largest feminist advocacy group, reports The Guardian.

The anti-rape song, Un Violador en Tu Camino - A Rapist in Your Path, popularized by a Chilean feminist collective, Las Tesis, was sung by women everywhere across the world to denounce the inaction of the police, judges and the highest authorities in preventing sexual violence.

The song read, “The patriarchy is a judge that judges us for being born, and our punishment is the violence you don’t see,” the chant begins. “It’s femicide. Impunity for the killer. It’s disappearance. It’s rape. And the fault wasn’t mine, not where I was, not how I dressed. … The rapist is you. It’s the cops, the judges, the state. The president. The oppressive state is a rapist.”

According to a report by the Chilean Network Against Violence Against Women, 42 cases of sexual abuse are reported each day. Paula Cometa, a member of Las Tesis told The Guardian that the song was never intended to be a protest song, but the women of the marches transformed it into something more.

She said, “It adapted to the moment that we are now living in Chile. The violence and the human rights violations that women have been exposed to recently.”

Talking about the part of the song where the performers squat down, assuming a position similar to that of arrest she said, “It’s a simple form of torture and punishment carried out by the Chilean police.”

Feminists in Chile say that the right-wing government hasn’t done much to address women’s issues. Belén Calcagno, a woman organizing protests throughout the country says that women have always pushed social movements in Chile.

Camila Vallejo, the former student protest leader said, “We will all march for our own reasons. But every woman will march for her own reasons, and on 8 March we will unite with a common demand: to be respected.”

 

Mexico: ‘This is our feminist spring’

3,825 Mexican women were killed in 2019, out of which the government accounted 1,006 to be femicides – where women are killed because of their gender.

On March 9, the women in Mexico are planning a national strike #UNDIASINMUJERES, or “a day without women” to throw light on the unending violence on women there. On Monday, March 9, women in Mexico will stay off the streets and purchase nothing throughout the day to put across the message – “what if we all just disappeared?”

A total of 1,006 killings were officially classified as femicides, based on a variety of criteria, including whether the victim’s body showed any signs of sexual violence and whether there had been a “sentimental” relationship between the victim and the killer, reported the LA Times.

Now, a call for action is growing louder and protestors are bringing the world’s attention to the failure of the Mexican government to put a stop to the femicides. Speaking to The New York Times, Sabina Berman, a Mexican novelist and feminist activist, said that the nucleus of these latest protests was a younger generation of women who have lost patience with a more measured approach to activism.

Last month, masked feminists covered the presidential palace with blood-red paint and graffiti, calling out the president’s failure to protect women.  

“This is not the fight against any government,” she said. “t is against the entire Mexican state, against the private sector, against the men who harass, who rape, who kill, and against those good men who stand by and do nothing.”

Carolina Barrales, one of the founders of Circulo Violeta, a Tijuana-based feminist collective says, “This is our feminist spring here in Tijuana … and we won’t stop until we get justice.”

 

Fighting to keep the world safe – From India to Brazil to Greta Thunberg

Citizen’s for Justice and Peace, an NGO, tells us the story of Sokalo Gond – the Adivasi warrior, a human rights defender and one of the most important forces in the struggle for the implementation of forest rights act 2006 in Sonbhadra, a heavilty forested region in Uttar Pradesh.

It also tells us the story of Rajkumari Bhuiya, resident of Sukhda tola [hamlet] in Dhuma village, near Dudhi in Uttar Pradesh who has traveled far and wide to educate people about their rights on their lands for they are dependent on the forest for their livelihoods.

Adivasis often collect Tendu leaves, honey, dry branches and medicinal herbs from the forests and sell those in the markets. Some also have small farms, on which they grow rice or different vegetables. Many Adivasis living in the region have been denied of their lands and rights because of the Sections 4 and 20 of the Indian Forest Act, 1927-a colonial legislation to regulate the movement and transit of forest produce. Many Adivasis have also been charged with false cases under this Act.

The entire region is affected by industrial pollution and displacement of local people has become a regular phenomenon. Researches have pointed out that Sonebhadra’s waters have become poisoned and the air toxic to breathe.

Speaking to CJP Sokalo recounted the horrific firing she and her fellow protestors were subjected to by the police when they were agitating against the Kanhar Dam project. “18 rounds were fired right in front of my eyes. It was terrible. They arrested almost all the women leaders including Rajkumari immediately,” she recalled.

However, encouraged by her and Rajkumari’s unwavering spirit, Adivasis in the region began to file claims to land as a community resource under relevant provisions of the Forest Rights Act 2006.

In Brazil, the indigenous women, the keepers of the Amazon rainforest, came out against President Jair Bolsonaro, also known as the ‘Trump of the Tropics’ and his campaign of destruction claiming that the Amazon forest fires were started deliberately.

Since his inauguration earlier this year, Bolsonaro has worked to dismantle key protections and policies that protect the rights of Indigenous peoples and the Amazon in Brazil. His administration’s devastating assaults on social and environmental protections has led to a surge in deforestation and violations of Indigenous Rights, culminating now in massive fires, reported commondreams.org.

The indigenous women in Brazil have been speaking up for years, in shrill voices, warning about the dangers to the Amazon due to demands of fossil fuel and mining which have been emboldened under Bolsonaro’s administration.

The women’s march in Brazil in 2019, marked another step forward for women-led protests for the protection of the Amazon. Speaking with Amazon Frontlines, Nemonte Nenquimo, Waorani leader and President of the regional Waorani political organization of Pastaza, CONCONAWEP, who led her people’s struggle and triumph against the Ecuadorian government, said, “Around the world, the governments are trying to kill us. They want to exploit our lands with no regard for us as human beings. Yet we are the guardians and owners of our territories, which we have cared for and protected for thousands of years. We want to protect our land for the future generations. We want our forest to be free from contamination, free from destruction.”

Across Brazil, indigenous women are taking the baton to spearhead resistance movements for Mother Earth which gives them life. Indigenous leader Sonia Guajajara rightly put it when she said, “We don’t have to accept the destruction of our rights. ubmission is not culture. We are here to demystify the idea that indigenous women do not participate in this struggle and to demonstrate that we are prepared to occupy any space.”

 

Another powerful woman, Greta Thunberg – a Swedish teenage climate activist, deserves a special mention. She began with holding a placard that read, “School Strike for Climate” when she started missing school on Fridays to strike against climate change, while urging students across the world to join her.

Her activism went viral on social media and climate change had a new hashtag #FridaysForFuture. Little did she anticipate in August 2018, around when she started the movement that by December 2018, more than 20,000 students across the world would join her in her fight to protect the earth.

Choosing to travel by road and waterways to practice what she preached, she also travelled to New York in 2019 to address a United Nations climate change conference in a yacht, enduring a journey of over two weeks, to educate people of the consequences of air travel.

She was named Time Magazine’s Person of the year in 2019 after she pulled up world leaders as she boomed into the mic at the climate change conference saying, “How dare you? I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?"

 

She has been mocked by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, but that has not knocked her down. In her fight to make authorities accountable for their actions against the environment and in her protests to create awareness for cutting down carbon emissions, Greta is one girl, who has inspired everyone to fight for the world they live in and that the future children will inherit.

To write about the brave women of the world, all the pages would not be enough. From fighting against sexual abuse to fighting for equal pay, from fighting against domestic violence to fighting for legalizing abortion and reclaiming reproductive rights, from fighting for education to fighting for an identity; women have now broken all shackles to truly identify their power and demand what is theirs.

It is now, with collective solidarity and empathy, that women have found the courage to overcome their fears and march ahead as their own savior.

 

Related:

Sisterhood unites to fight oppression: Forest workers meet Shaheen Bagh protesters

प्रमिला ताईंच्या शब्दातून कत्तल झालेल्या झाडांची व्यथा

Maa aur Mulk - the non-negotiability of Muslim identity

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