The hundreds of young women and men and school children who thronged India Gate and Jantar Mantar in Delhi from mid-December last year have been punished yet again by a government that they believed would attend to their peaceful protests. First teargassed and lathi-charged for their demands for timely and speedy justice for sexual violence against women and their rights to equality and sexual autonomy, these young people have once again been taught a lesson by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance 2013.
Rape can be said to be woven into the fabric of India’s nationhood. During the creation of India and Pakistan, an estimated 100,000 women and girls were abducted, raped, and often killed; but no person, official or policeman was ever punished for having indulged in committing and abetting these crimes.
Ayesha Kidwai writes a first person account of the protests led by students and gender activists at India Gate on December 23rd 2012 against the Delhi Gang Rape and Repression of protestors by the Delhi police.
On 3 September 2012, the Lok Sabha passed the ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2010’, a full fifteen years after the Supreme Court (1997 Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan). The Vishakha judgement was revolutionary in mandating the formation of committees against sexual harassment in all workplaces and placing upon the employer the responsibility of providing an environment free of sexual harassment, hostility and intimidation for women. In the Lok Sabha, the Bill was passed without any discussion, and will now be placed before the Rajya Sabha. This Bill must be thoroughly debated, as there are a number of provisions that need revision.
A report on AIDWA's National Convention of Muslim Women held on August 27, 2008 in New Delhi.