Tag Archives: gang rape

The Recent Incidence of Rape in Pungudutivu, Jaffna, Sri Lanka


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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The incidents that happened over the last twelve days in Jaffna have been given ethnic and political hues by the media in Sri Lanka.

Pungudutivu (Tamil: புங்குடுதீவு) is an islet composed of a few villages, west of the Jaffna Peninsula in Sri Lanka.  The Dutch colonial rulers named the islet as “Middleburg” during their occupation of Ceylon.

In 1990, when Pungudutivu came under the control of the LTTE, the rich and the educated inhabitants left the islet for safety and greener pastures. Some shifted to Colombo while others left Sri Lanka.

After the Government forces recaptured Pungudutivu from the LTTE, about one third of its former inhabitants returned to the islet. Many found their abodes in a dilapidated state. As of now, this islet is a paradise for smugglers of Sri Lanka and South India. Many of them indulge in the lucrative trafficking of heroin.

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17-year-old Vidhya, the rape victim (Source: lankaenews.com)
17-year-old Vidhya, the rape victim (Source: lankaenews.com)

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On May 13, 2015, Sivayoganathan Vidhya, a 17-year-old Advance Level student of Pungudutivu Maha Vidyalayam did not return home after school. The worried family members contacted her school and her friends. They learned that Vidhya had not attended school that day.

The family members went to the police station to lodge a complaint. The police told the family to search for the girl on their own.  A policeman in a nonchalant manner blurted out a pithy stock and irresponsible rejoinder, “Don’t worry. She must have eloped with her lover. She will return in a few days.

The following morning, Vidhya’s brother went out searching for her. He followed the route she takes from school to her home. He found one of his sister’s slippers. From there, he followed the trail to a remote jungle area and found the mutilated corpse of his sister. It was a gruesome sight – her hands tied above her head with her school tie, her legs spread apart and tied to two trees, her mouth gagged with a piece of cloth.

Vidhya’s brother shouted and soon some residents gathered at the scene. Police arrived and sent the teenage girl’s corpse for postmortem examination.

According to the police reports, sometime ago, S. Saraswathi, the mother of the rape victim had witnessed a robbery committed in a doctor’s house by three brothers. After that, she had appeared at the courts and testified against them. Suspecting that they might have committed the sordid crime to avenge her, the police arrested the three brothers as suspects.

Based on the statements of the three brothers, the police arrested five others on the following day. One of them worked in the Pradeshiya Sabha office in the area and the other four employed in Colombo.

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Five of the 9 rapists (Source: 247latestnews.com)
Five of the 9 rapists (Source: 247latestnews.com)

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On the day of the incident, the five suspects had arrived in Pungudutivu from Colombo. After the gang rape and murder of Vidhya, they left for Colombo. They came again to Pungudutivu and attended Vidhya’s funeral. After the funeral, before they could return to Colombo the police arrested them.

The nine apprehended suspects revealed that a person named Mahalingam Sivakumar alias Kumar was the leader of their gang that raped, tortured and murdered the teenager. Sivakumar, a resident of Pungudutivu, a heroin baron and one who engages in other illegal activities is a Swiss national of Sri Lankan Tamil origin. He had recently returned to Sri Lanka from Switzerland.

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Mahalingam Sivakumar, the Pungudutheevu rapist. (Source: lankaenews.com)
Mahalingam Sivakumar, the Pungudutheevu rapist. (Source: lankaenews.com)

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That night, residents of Pungudutivu seized Mahalingam Sivakumar and tied him to a pillar. After venting their rage by humiliating him, they handed him over to the police. Hitherto, the police had not received any complaints against Mahalingam Sivakumar.

The deputy minister of women’s affairs for the area intervened for the release of Mahalingam Sivakumar.

According to the media, Dr. V.T. Tamilmaran, the Dean of the faculty of law at the Colombo University, is a relative of Mahalingam Sivakumar. Tamilmaran is one of those among the educated who left Pungudutivu earlier. Now, he aspires to contest the Pungudutivu electorate at the next election.

The website lankanews.com reports that that according to information seeping from within the police itself, and according to stories doing the rounds across the whole of the north, Dr. Tamilmaran approached his friend, the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe in charge of the North. He told the DIG that Mahalingam had returned only recently to Sri Lanka from Switzerland. He stressed that Mahalingam Sivakumar was innocent. Some sources say that the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe had reportedly taken a bribe of four million rupees to release Mahalingam Sivakumar, the prime suspect.

Some media sources say that Mahalingam Sivakumar, the prime suspect was set free by the police.

Some other media sources say that on the instructions of the senior DIG Lalith Jayasinghe, arrangements were made for Sivakumar to escape while taking him to the hospital for treatment for the wounds he had incurred when the residents of Pungudutivu seized and humiliated him. Sivakumar then fled to Colombo.

The people of the North were shocked, provoked, furious and enraged over the escape of the prime suspect even after the residents of Pungudtivu helped the police by apprehending and entrusting him to their custody.

Mahalingam Sivakumar rented a room in a lodge in Wellawatte, Colombo. The lodge owner noticing the bruises on Sivakumar’s body informed the Wellawatte police. So, on May 19, 2015, the police arrested Sivakumar the second time inadvertently and not through efforts initiated by them. If the lodge owner had not informed the police, the rapist-murderer would have escaped from Sri Lanka.

Some media reported that on May 19, 2015, the residents who were in an explosive and justifiable rage, held Dr. Tamilmaran, his London-based daughter who is in Sri Lanka on a holiday, and a few others as captives. They demanded that the police should apprehend the criminal Mahalingam Sivakumar immediately. About five and half hours later, the police informed the people that Sivakumar was in the custody of the Wellewatte police. Though the people did not trust the information, they nevertheless released Dr. Tamilmaran and others.

If we look at the other side of the story, Dr. V.T. Tamilmaran, told Ceylon Today that Pungudutivu  being his hometown, he had gone there to assess the situation over the brutal killing of Vidhya. He said:

“I am very much aware about the misconduct of one of the 10 suspects who returned from Switzerland. The suspect M. Kumar visited Pungudutivu on and off, and whenever he arrived there he created big problems to the people in the area. In fact I sought Police assistance in arresting the suspect. However, the guy had managed to escape while he was in the Police custody.”

Dr. Tamilmaran also added that when he attended a meeting on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, over the incident in Pungudutivu there were some men who were under the influence of liquor shouting in abusive language against him. He said that certain political elements were behind tarnishing his image following the recent speculation of his entry into politics. He also said that he was much disturbed over the incident in his village Pungudutivu , which had produced several eminent personalities in the field of education, and many leading businessmen in the country hailed from his village.

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Protesting students  (Source - Naangal Yaalpaanam on Facebook)
Protesting students (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam on Facebook)

The news of the sordid crime spread among the people of the north like wildfire.

Students, teachers and staff of the nine schools in Poonguditheevu, the staff of the Department of Education, and the general public from all walks of life gathered on the grounds of the Maha Vidyalaya. There they staged a protest against the rape and killing of the 17-year-old student.

On May 21, 2015, the business community in the North staged a hartal to protest against the alleged rape and killing of the teenager. All shops in the North remained closed and people stayed away from their workplaces.

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Protesters gathered around the court house. (Source - icaruswept.com)
Protesters gathered around the court house. (Source – icaruswept.com)

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Protesters gathered  in the vicinity of the  Magistrate Court and the Police Station in Jaffna.

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The 8 arrested suspects brought to court (Source: 247latestnews.com)
The 8 arrested suspects brought to court (Source: 247latestnews.com)

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Out of anger and hate, people protested. Fearing the Police would let the suspects off the hook, the violent mob attempted to harm the eight arrested suspects while the police escorted them. The mob also attacked the police personnel who tried to save suspects from being assaulted.

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The protesters pelted the court premises with stones. . (Source: bbc.com)
The protesters pelted the court premises with stones. . (Source: bbc.com)

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When the protesters found that the main suspect Mahalingam Sivakumar was not brought to the  court, the mob turned restive and pelted the court premises with stones.

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Police fire tear gas shells to disperse Jaffna mob (Source - icaruswept.com)
Police fire teargas shells to disperse Jaffna mob (Source – icaruswept.com)

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The police responded by firing tear gas shells to disperse Jaffna mob. Around 130 suspects were remanded on charges of unlawful assembly and stoning the Jaffna Courts Complex.

On May 22, 2015, the Jaffna court issued an order banning all demonstrations in Jaffna. The order was issued to Janatha Balaya Organisation, Jaffna Women’s organization and Northern Provincial Councillor Anandi Shashidharan.

The media as usual focussed on the public protests rather than focussing on the reason behind it, namely rape.

 Mahalingam Sivarkumar, the main suspect  (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam/Facebook))
Mahalingam Sivarkumar, the main suspect . (Source: Naangal Yaalpaanam/Facebook))

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There are suggestions that Mahalingam Sivakumar, the main suspect in the rape cum murder case, is well-connected as can be seen in the following photographs that I came across on Naangal Yaalpanam/Facebook.

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One of the rapists with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Source: icaruswept.com)
One of the rapists with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Source: icaruswept.com)

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The above photo circulated in the media of Mahalingam Sivakumar, posing with former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse is morphed for political gains. In the original photograph, it was ‘Swiss Ranjan’ an opponent of the LTTE, now residing in Switzerland.

There is always a blessing that springs out of any adversity. Sri Lankans are now reacting to this incident not as Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, Burghers, or Malays, but as one people of a country unified in its disgust and horror on learning about the raping of the 17-year-old Tamil maiden.

On Friday, May 22, 2015, Wijedasa Rajapakshe, incumbent Minister of Justice shamed a racist media person in public by retorting:

… we’re not Tamil, Muslim or Sinhala, but simply human.”

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The Controversial BBC Documentary “India’s Daughter”


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Myself . 

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Stop violence against women

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India's Daughter (Custom)

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The controversial BBC documentary “India’s Daughter” directed by the British filmmaker, Ms. Leslee Udwin, banned in India, made it to the World Wide Web.

The documentary focuses on the horrific case of the brutally beaten and gang-raped Jyoti Singh on December 16, 2012 in New Delhi. The incident sent shock waves around the world and led to protests all over India demanding changes in attitudes towards women.

Mukesh Singh, the Delhi rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back (Source: bbc.com)

Mukesh Singh, the Delhi rapist says victim shouldn’t have fought back (Source: bbc.com)

Mukesh Singh, one of the four rapists, now facing the death penalty, recounts his crime by talking to the camera.  He does not show the slightest regret. He does not seem to have understood the gravity of his actions, nor the actions of his criminal companions. He just says:

The 15 or 20 minutes of the incident, I was driving the bus. They switched off the lights. My brother was the main guy. They hit the boy and he just hid between the seats. The girl was screaming, “Help me! Help me!

My brother said, “Don’t stop the bus. Keep driving!

They hit her and dragged her to the back. Then they went in turns. First the juvenile and Ram Singh. After that, Akshay and the rest went. Someone put his hand inside her and pulled out something long. It was her intestines.

He said, “She’s dead. Throw her out quickly.

First, they tried the back door, but it didn’t open. So, they dragged her to the front. They threw her out.

My drunk state wore off completely. I couldn’t even control the steering. I only drove the bus. It’s lies that my brother or Akshay
took the steering. Only I drove.

People say this happened, that happened, that the driver was changed. Show me how we changed drivers, and I’ll accept I also
went to the back and killed her.

We went straight home. They were saying, “Where’s their stuff?

It was in the front. The mobile, the watch.

Pawan put the shoes on, Akshay put the jacket on. They wore the stuff. They had no fear.

And on the way, the juvenile said: “Sir, I threw it away… What I pulled out of her body I threw it away. I wrapped it in cloth and threw it out.”

We reached home in about 10 minutes.

We agreed no one would say anything, and if the police got involved, no one would name names.

There was a lot of blood. Blood on the seats, blood on the floor. Akshay and the juvenile both cleaned the bus.

Vinay had a lot of blood on his hands. He washed them at my house.

I went to sleep.

I can’t say why this incident – this accident – happened. Mainly to teach them a lesson.

My brother had done such things before, but this time his intention was not to rape or fight. He had the right to explain to them. He asked the boy why he was out with a girl so late at night.

The boy said, “It’s none of your business,” and slapped him.

There was fighting, beating. Those who raped, raped.

They thought that if they do “wrong things” with them, then they won’t tell anyone out of shame. They’d learn a lesson.

When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after doing her, and only hit the boy.

People say, when you hang, they put this on your neck. The eyes pop out, the tongue sticks out, that’s what they say. They’ve made this such a big issue. People have committed bigger crimes, and nothing had happened to them. In Barabanki after the rape, her eyes were taken out. Sometimes they put acid on girls. There was another rape where they burnt her alive. Wasn’t that wrong? If ours is wrong, then that was wrong too.

The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her. Before, they would rape and say, “Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.” Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.

In the film, the convict Mukesh Singh’s comments are not the only ones that shock the audience. Despicable and disturbing are the warped misogynistic ideas and comments voiced with great flourish by M.L. Sharma and A.P. Singh, the two lawyers representing the rapists..

M.L. Sharma, Defence Lawyer for the rapists (Custom)

Lawyer  M.L. Sharma says in the film:

“That girl was with some unknown boy who took her on a date. In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7:30 or 8:30 in the evening with any unknown person.”

“They left our Indian culture. They were under the imagination of the filmy culture, in which they can do anything. “

“She should not be put on the streets just like food. The ‘lady’, on the other hand, you can say the ‘girl’ or ‘woman’, are more precious than a gem, than a diamond. It is up to you how you want to keep that diamond in your hand. If you put your diamond on the street, certainly the dog will take it out. You can’t stop it.”

“You are talking about man and woman as friends. Sorry, that doesn’t have any place in our society. A woman means I immediately put the sex in his eyes. We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.”

“He would like to create a damage. He will put his hand… Insert, hit! It is just like that kind of action. Beat him. Putting his hand forcefully inside. “

A.P. Singh, Defence Lawyer for the rapists (Custom)

Lawyer A.P. Singh says in the film:

 “If very important or very necessary, she should go outside, but she should go with their family member like uncle, father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, etc., etc. She should not go in night hours with her boyfriend… “

“If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight. This is my stand. I still today stand by that reply.”

“A number of criminal cases of murder, robbery, rape are pending against approximately 250 members of parliament. Sitting members of parliament. But their cases are not being tried in fast-track courts. Their cases are not being tried based on day-to-day hearings. Why? If you want to give a message to society against rape, against robbery, against murder, then you should start from your own neck.”

Puneeta Devi, wife of Akshay Thakur (Custom)

In one scene Puneeta Devi, wife of Akshay Thakur asks:

“Am I not a daughter of this country? Don’t I have the right to live? Will there be no more rapes in Delhi? Will you hang all rapists? A woman is protected by her husband. If he’s dead, who will protect her and for whom will she live? I also don’t want to live. Priyanshu, my son, is a child. He understands nothing. I will strangle him to death. what else can I do?”

Delhi Police  trying to quell rioting by demonstators (Source: qz.com)
Delhi Police trying to quell rioting by demonstators (Source: qz.com)

These and other scenes showing force used by the Delhi Police while trying to quell the protests by students and the public has led to the ban of this documentary film in India.

Director Ms. Leslee Udwin said:

“I have constantly stressed this is not an Indian problem, it is a global problem. I remain confident that this film will be a powerful tool for change.”

Each year the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th. The film was due to be aired in the United Kingdom on Sunday, March 8, 2015 to coincide with IWD. In the wake of attempts by the Indian government to block the release of the film worldwide BBC brought its broadcast forward. BBC Four broadcast it on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at 3:30 am IST.

The BBC said that nearly 300,000 viewers tuned in to watch the film and received only 32 complaints against it.

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Jyoti 1989-2012 (Custom).

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MP Minister Justifies Number of Rapes to Total Population: “Rape cases not that many in Madhya Pradesh”


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Suchandana Gupta

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BHOPAL: At a time when the country has been outraged by the rape of a five-year-old girl in New Delhi, a Madhya Pradesh minister has claimed that the number of rapes in the state is “not that high” when the total population is taken into account.

“Evaluating the population of Madhya Pradesh, the number of rapes is not that high,” Manohar Utwal, minister of state for urban administration and development, told reporters in Jaora town in Ratlam district on Saturday. “In a state where the total population exceeds 7.5 crore, only 4,500 rapes have been reported this year.” Utwal said the rape figures were high because the police diligently recorded every complaint.

Women activists of BJP remove police barricade outside UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's residence during a protest against the rape of of the 5-year-old girl in New Delhi. (Photo: The Time of India)
Women activists of BJP remove police barricade outside UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s residence during a protest against the rape of of the 5-year-old girl in New Delhi. (Photo: The Time of India)

Even as the minister spoke, a four-year-old girl from Madhya Pradesh was battling for life in a Nagpur hospital, five days after she was allegedly raped by a youth in Seoni district.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures show that the largest number of rapes is reported from the state. In 2011-12, NCRB records showed a total 3,406 rapes in the state. Its report for 2001-11 said that of the 48,338 child rapes recorded in the country, the highest were from Madhya Pradesh (9,465).

Utwal’s tactless remark came less than a week after state cabinet minister Vijay Shah was sacked for making sexist remarks against chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s wife while addressing a students’ gathering in Jhabua district.

Re-posted from THE TIME OF INDIA

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News: India Shocked by Another Gang Rape. This Time a Swiss Tourist


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Stop violence against women

On Friday, March 15, 2013, six men attacked a Swiss woman aged about 40 and her husband. The Swiss couple was on a three-month holiday in India. They had visited the temple town of Orchha in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Prades. On their way to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal, the couple had stopped to camp for the night in the forest near a village in Datia district, Madhya Pradesh, India.

A local police official told the media the gang beat up the husband, tied him to a tree before raping the woman. The gang after assaulting the husband tied him to a tree before raping the woman. The couple was not sure of the exact number of assailants since it was dark. The gang robbed them of their cellphone, laptop, and 10,000 rupees ($185).

On Monday, March 18, 2013, police paraded five men before television cameras
On Monday, March 18, 2013, police paraded five men before television cameras.

On Monday, March 18, 2013, the police produced in court six farmers from nearby villages. Dilip Arya, the deputy inspector general of police of the area, told reporters that the accused had confessed to the charge of gang-raping the Swiss woman tourist. They also face other charges such as robbing the Swiss couple. Police said they recovered the laptop and the cellphone from one of the suspects.

Reacting to the unfortunate incident, the Swiss embassy in India said the health and treatment of the victim was a priority for them at the moment. Distraught over the rape, the Swiss foreign ministry in Bern released a statement on Saturday expressing deep shock at the ‘tragic incident’. They sought a “swift” investigation into the incident so that the victim gets justice.

Last month, the Swiss government issued a travel notice for India that included a warning about “increasing incidences of rape and other sexual offenses in India.” The latest incident could prompt other countries to issue similar warnings as regards to travel within India.

This attack comes just three months after the fatal gang-rape of 23-year-old physiotherapy intern Jyoti Singh on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012, which spurred outrage over how the Indian society treats its women, and the way the Indian judicial system meets out punishment for rapists.

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News: Main Delhi Gang Rapist Dead. Was It Suicide or Murder?


Readers have viewed this post more than 25,971 times. 

Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Stop violence against women

On Monday, March 11, 2013, Ram Singh the first of the six accused in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang rape was found dead in his cell in the high-security Tihar Jail situated about seven km from Chanakya Puri, to the west of New Delhi.  It appeared that Ram Singh had hanged himself at about 05:00 local time, with an improvised rope made from a blanket.

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Jyoti Singh Pandey
Jyoti Singh Pandey

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December 16, 2012, was a fateful day for Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern and her 28-year-old friend Awindra Pratap Pandey. Around 9:30 pm, on that day, they were on their way home after seeing the movie “The Life of Pi” in Saket, South Delhi. At Munirka, in South Delhi, India, they saw a parked chartered bus inside which were six men, including the bus driver Mukesh Singh. One of them, a teenager, called them and said the bus was going towards their destination – Dwarka in southwest Delhi. So, they boarded the bus.

After the bus moved, the men on the bus including the driver taunted the couple, asking what they were doing alone at such a late hour.  Jyoti and Awindra were perturbed when the bus deviated from its normal route. The young man objected. They beat him with an iron rod until he fell unconscious on the floor of the bus. After gagging him, the men dragged the young woman to the rear of the bus. She attempted to fight off her assailants. She bit three of the attackers that left bite marks on them. Then, they raped her while the bus driver continued to drive. Later, Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus also raped Jyoti.

Two hours later, the gang threw both their victims from the moving bus. The bus driver then tried to drive the bus over the woman, but her male companion saved her by pulling her away in time from the path of the tires.

Around 11 pm, a passerby found the partially clothed victims on the road and phoned the Delhi Police, who took the couple to Safdarjung Hospital, where Jyoti was given emergency treatment and placed on mechanical ventilation.

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Jyoti Singh Pandey - 3
Jyoti Singh Pandey

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Jyoti had injury marks all over her body: on her abdomen, intestines, and genitals. Only 5% of her intestines remained inside her abdomen. Later, after examining her the doctors said the ruffians had used a blunt object for penetrating her genitals. The police suspect that it must have been the rusted iron rod which they initially used to beat Awindra. A doctor at the hospital later said:

“The rod was inserted into her and it was pulled out with so much force that the act brought out her intestines as well. That is probably the only thing that explains such severe damage to her intestines.”

Timeline of events after the rape

Here is a timeline of some of the events that I gathered from the media:

December 18, 2012

Public anger spilled over on the roads as youngsters, politicians, social organizations began their protests condemning the brutal incident.

The police impounded the bus. Within hours of the breakthrough, they arrested four men: the bus driver Mukesh Singh, his brother Ram Singh, gym instructor Vinay Sharma, and fruit seller Pawan Gupta. The police said that Vinay and Pawan confessed to being part of the gang that raped and brutalized and beat up the young woman and her male friend, and their statements would be used to convict the other accused as well.

The police revealed that on the night of the attack, the suspects had gathered at Ram Singh’s house for dinner and drinks before taking the bus for a joyride, fooling travelers who mistook the vehicle for genuine public transport.

Earlier in the day the police arrested the fifth accused. They did not reveal his name because he claimed he was a juvenile. “His age is being verified before giving details. If [he is a] minor, we have to hold back his particulars as per law,” said Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar.

December 21, 2012

Jyoti gave her statement to a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), which corroborated the statement given by her friend Awindra Pandey.

Delhi Police arrested the sixth accused, Akshay Thakur fromTandwa area in Bihar’s Aurangabad district.

December 22, 2012

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde announced the government would take immediate steps to amend the criminal law for enhanced punishment in the rarest of rare cases of sexual assault.

Protests demanding justice for the victim and women’s security reached Raisina Hill and Rashtrapati Bhavan. Students clashed with police near Parliament. They were water cannoned and baton charged. Several people were injured. The Delhi Police closed four Delhi Metro stations: Patel Chowk, Central Secretariat, Udyog Bhawan and Race Course stations – as a precautionary measure.

December 23, 2012

A three-member commission with Mr. Justice Verma as the Chairperson was set up to suggest changes required in the existing laws to offer better security to Women in India. The other two members are Mr. Gopal Subramanian and Mrs. Leela Seth. Subsequently, Justice Verma said he received 80,000 suggestions from India and abroad after he set January 5, 2013, as a deadline for comments from jurists, women’s groups and other forums to revamp the existing legislation to deal with sex offenders.

December 25, 2012

The Metropolitan magistrate recorded Jyoti Singh’s statement under section 164 of CrPC. Even though unable to speak she preferred to write herself the answer to questions. Investigators said that her answers were consistent on both occasions and matched with the statement provided by her male companion. She correctly scribbled the names of four of her assailants that she remembered hearing during the assault: Ram Singh, Mukesh, Vinay, and Akshay.

December 27, 2012

Under a secret operation, the victim was transferred from Safdarjung hospital to the Palam Air Force station, before being flown to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore for further treatment.

December 29, 2012

Jyoti lost the battle of life and died of severe organ failure in the hospital in Singapore.

December 30, 2012

Jyoti’s body was flown back to India from Singapore for cremation.

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Jyoti Singh Pandey - 2

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From then on the violent protests turned into peaceful candlelight marches to mourn her death.

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Peaceful Protest against December 16 Delhi gang rape
Peaceful Protest against December 16 Delhi gang rape.
January 2, 2013

Lawyers of the Saket District Bar Council refused to defend the accused.

January 3, 2013

18 days after the horrific gang rape, police filed a 33-page charge sheet against five accused: Ram Singh (33), his brother Mukesh (26), fruit seller Pawan Gupta (19), gym instructor Vinay Sharma (20), and bus cleaner Akshay Thakur (29). All five adult suspects pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The accused were formally charged in the Saket fast-track court. They face 13 charges that include murder, gang rape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offenses, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under the Indian Penal Code. If found guilty they could face the death penalty.

The sixth accused is a juvenile and the Juvenile Justice Board has taken up the proceedings against him.

It is alleged that out of all the six persons who took part in the rape, Mukesh Singh, the bus driver and also the main accused in the case, was the most brutal.

The “juvenile” living on the streets since he was 11, was the most barbaric for he had abused the young woman twice sexually and ripped out her intestines with his bare hands. According to the Hindustan Times, he is the one who suggested throwing the injured woman and her companion from the moving bus. However, because of his age, he will be tried in a juvenile court and the maximum sentence he can receive under existing law is three years.

January 5, 2013

The Mirror News reported that Badri Singh Pandey, the father of the 23-year-old victim of the horrific gang rape had chosen to release her name to the public. Hitherto, the media referred to her using  various nicknames since her brutal attack.

Badri Singh, father of Jyoti Singh
Badri Singh Pandey

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“I want the world to know my daughter’s name is Jyoti Singh,” he told Sunday People, one of Britain’s oldest Sunday newspapers, founded in 1881. By revealing his daughter’s name he hoped it will give courage to other women who have survived such attacks.

March 8, 2013

At a function held by the US State Department to honour women across the globe, Jyoti Singh was posthumously presented with the International Women of Courage Award by the United States. Nirupama Rao, the Indian Ambassador to the US, accepted the award, on behalf of the victim’s family. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said:

“Her bravery inspired millions of women and men to come together with a simple message: No more. No more looking the other way when gender-based violence happens. No more stigma against victims or survivors.”

Each year the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th to honour women across the globe. Jyoti Singh was posthumously presented with the International Women of Courage Award by the United States. Nirupama Rao, the Indian Ambassador to the US, accepted the award, on behalf of the victim’s family. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said: “Her bravery inspired millions of women and men to come together with a simple message: No more. No more looking the other way when gender-based violence happens. No more stigma against victims or survivors.”

March 11, 2013

Ram Singh, the first of the accused in the December 16 Delhi gang-rape was found dead in his cell in high-security Tihar Jail. Sunil Gupta, spokesman for the Tihar jail told the BBC that Ram Singh appeared to have hanged himself at about 05:00 local time, with an improvised rope made from a blanket. He said Ram Singh had not been on suicide watch and had been able to make a noose and attach it to a metal grille while his three cellmates were asleep. His body would be taken for a post-mortem examination later on that day, Sunil Gupta added.cellmates were asleep. His body would be taken for a post-mortem examination later on that day, Sunil Gupta added.cellmates were asleep. His body would be taken for a post-mortem examination later on that day, Sunil Gupta added.

Ram Singh - Main accused in the Delhi gangrape
Ram Singh

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Ram Singh, who had migrated from Rajasthan, was the first of the accused to be arrested. He was the driver of the private bus that was normally used to ferry schoolchildren. He was a drunkard with a volatile personality and was known among his close friends as a “mental case” who reportedly started picking up fights at the slightest provocation after the death of his wife two years ago. An accident case was also registered against him. According to his close friends Ram Singh was not remorseful about what he did to the 23-year-old female physiotherapist and her male friend on the fateful night of December 16.

Inspector Anil Sharma, who headed the team investigating the rape case, found Ram Singh a cold and remorseless man. During the investigation, Ram Singh told the Delhi Police that he took pleasure in assaulting women. He also said that he went berserk after the young woman bit him when he assaulted her. The alcohol he had consumed earlier and the defiance by the victims made him angry. He picked up a rod and hit the two badly, and his accomplices also followed suit. He had washed the bus to destroy evidence and had told his gang not to worry and had asked them to lay low for some time.

Mange Lal, Ram Singh’s father said that he had examined his son’s body and found “multiple injuries” including marks on his chest, face, an injured eye and had a badly injured hand and so could not have hanged himself. He also said other inmates had raped his son in prison, and he was constantly threatened by other prisoners and guards. “My son has not committed suicide. He was murdered by the three inmates in his cell,” he shouted at the hospital before being ushered away by policemen.

Ram Singh's suicide

Ram Singh’s lawyer V K Anand repeated hits allegation. “There has to be some foul play here,” he said. “There were no circumstances which could have led to Ram Singh committing suicide. There was no mental stress. He was very happy. … The trial was going on very well.”

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Hospital staff and relatives load the body of Ram Singh
Hospital staff and relatives load the body of Ram Singh.

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Amid allegations from his family that he Ram Singh was killed, the government ordered an investigation. The postmortem is crucial in determining whether it was a suicide as alleged by jail officials. “Can’t conclude yet that Ram Singh’s death was suicide,” said Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. He agreed that the death of the bus driver who led the gang that fatally attacked and raped Jyoti Singh is a “grave lapse” and “not a minor incident.”

“All the investigations conducted by us show it is death due to hanging,” said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adding that three doctors at the state-run AIIMS hospital had conducted the autopsy.

Two accused, Pawan and Akshay are held in Jail No. 4 while Vinay and Mukesh are in Jail No 7 of Tihar Jail.

Media reports quoting Vimla Mehra, the chief of Tihar prison say there were 18 deaths in the jail last year, of which two were cases of suicide.

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When a Rape is Not a Rape by Freny Manecksha


By Freny Manecksha

Posted on February 16, 2013 in The Times of India, Crest Edition

2004 - A dozen Manipuri women who had stripped in front of the headquarters of Assam Rifles

Though the Verma Commission recommended that armed forces personnel accused of rape be tried as per civilian law, the ordinance was silent on the issue. Is national security coming in the way of justice?

In 2004, an iconic image, depicted a dozen Manipuri women who had stripped in front of the headquarters of Assam Rifles, holding banners saying “Indian Army Rape Us. ” The protest occurred after the body of 34-year-old Thangjam Manorama was found near Imphal on July 11, 2004. Manorama had been picked up from her home by 17 Assam Rifles on suspicion of being a militant. Says Chitra Ahanthem, editor of Imphal Free Press, “It was the sight of the the body which bore appalling wounds – scratch marks, deep gashes on her thighs and gunshot wounds on the genitals – that sparked off outrage and this unusual protest among the Manipuri women. ”

More than eight years later, Manorama and women of Manipur are still denied justice. In 2011, the Manipur government’s probe and call for action was stalled after the army challenged the Guwahati high court decision in the Supreme Court through a special leave petition saying no sanction had been given to the Manipur government to carry out a probe. Manipur comes under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Section 6 says the state government cannot prosecute law enforcement agencies without sanction from the home ministry.

Such cases have led the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) to make suggestions to the Verma Commission to bring security troops under the criminal justice system. And though the commission in its report recommended that security persons accused of rape be tried under civilian law, the recent ordinance on sexual violence was silent on the issue.

PUDR observes in the suggestions to the Verma Commission how powers of search and seizure under AFSPA work as “permissions to enter households and harass and rape women with impunity.”

Another controversial case was the Kunan-Poshpora mass rapes of 1991 in Kashmir. Men were made to assemble in the fields at night while 23 women of the village, aged between 13 and 80, were raped allegedly by troops of the Fourth Rajputana Rifles on the night of February 23-24. No police investigations were carried out. A Press Council of India committee, headed by B G Verghese, claimed the complaints were fabricated. In October 2011, the State Human Rights Commission, acknowledging the sexual assaults, asked the state to start a fresh probe. But nothing has come of it.

The army, which resists all attempts to lift AFSPA, says it has its own justice delivery systems and there is a strong and vigilant court martial process. Legal activist Vrinda Grover observes, “While they do deliver some sentences, it is not commensurate with justice. There is no transparency since one has no access to court martial proceedings and no information is shared with the public or the victims. ” In several cases Right to Information applications are refused under exemptions.

One of the victims of Kunan-Poshpora, in her testimony to the Independent People’s Tribunal on Human Rights Violations in Kashmir, speaks of the challenge in filing FIRs because of fear of reprisal by the troops. She adds that although an FIR was lodged (RI/1387/83) at Trehgam police station on March 2, 1991, nothing came of it.

Another report “Alleged Perpetrators – Stories of Impunity in J&K” by International People’s Tribunal for Human Rights and Justice in Indian Administered Kashmir and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons shows the lengthy and almost futile efforts of a particular case of torture and sexual assault in Sipan, Anantnag district.

In response to an RTI query the Jammu & Kashmir government in 2009 said sanction for prosecution had been sought from the defence ministry in 2006 but was still awaited. The ministry claimed the request had not been received. What is also significant is that it took 12 years for the J&K police to investigate and process the case for prosecution.

An even more alarming feature is that the culture of impunity has permeated to the police who do not come under AFSPA, some of whom are even awarded despite complaints of sexual violence against them. In Chhattisgarh, where there is militarisation but no AFSPA, police officer SRP Kalluri, who was awarded a gallantry medal this January, has been named by Ledhabai, the wife of a slain Maoist, as an accused for custodial rape and gangrape in a case filed in the Chhattisgarh High Court.

Last year there was outrage over adivasi school teacher Soni Sori’s letter to her lawyer stating that she was sexually assaulted and tortured by police officer Ankit Garg whilst in jail. Garg was given a gallantry award despite the complaints and Sori emerged as a global rallying figure for her vehement stand against atrocities perpetrated on adivasi women. Sori who has been jailed by Dantewada police on various counts won a crucial victory this week as she was acquitted for being a key accused in an incident of opening firing and burning Essar vehicles.

Commenting on this trend of rewarding tainted police officers Vrinda Grover says that by such rewards the state is assuring them that they will be safeguarded. It is telling women, she says, that their bodies are fodder for interests of national security.

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The Gang Rape Near Colombo, Peoples’ Sovereignty and the Absence of Protest by Basil Fernando


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basilfernando1-142x150

By Basil Fernando

A 45 year-old woman was gang raped in the early hours of January 23 in Nugegoda (some reports give her age as 47). This gruesome incident only received a few lines in some of the newspapers and in the media. Yet a similar incident that occurred in New Delhi, India, when a medical student was gang raped on a bus, provoked a nation-wide protest for several days and, in fact, the protests continue internationally even up to now. This protest caused the Indian Prime Minister to intervene and take action, not only to ensure medical treatment and justice for the young girl but also to take steps towards bringing in speedy legislation to prevent the re-occurrence of similar incidents. Protests took place also in Nepal when a similar case came to the notice of the public. There too, heavy demands have been made of the government, not only to bring legislation but also to achieve other reforms needed to protect women.

The media and the active participation of the people and women’s movements, including local politicians, both in India and Nepal reflected the active participation of the people to ensure protection and to express outrage at the malfunctioning of the law enforcement agencies which are duty bound to protect the public.

In both countries, the media responded to these protests and ensured that the unfortunate event came to be an occasion for the whole nation to introspect and to discuss the crisis of the law enforcement agencies and the failure of the government to ensure that these agencies act with the required diligence in future. On the one hand, the role of the media represented the problems of the conscience of the public. On the other hand, the media also created a discussion among the people in order to express concern as well as to critically discuss the deficiencies of the government that make it possible for such crimes to occur.

According to the short reports that appeared in the Sri Lankan media, the police reported that the woman who became the victim of the gang rape had gone to the market and having lost her way, made some inquiries as to directions from a three-wheeler driver. Under the pretext of offering help, the driver took her into the three-wheeler and then, against her will, took her near a well and threatened her. Thereafter, several persons who came in another three-wheeler, gang raped her. She is said to be taking treatment at the Kalubowila Hospital. The items discovered from the three-wheelers include some condoms which, according to observers, suggest that the attackers may have been engaged in such activities on a regular basis.

New approach to scandal management under peoples’ sovereignty

In recent times when such scandals occurred, the police filed reports of arrest and this appeased the public by creating the impression that the law was being enforced. However, shortly after arrest, these matters were forgotten. Through all kinds of negotiations and bribery exchanges, or by the intervention of politicians, the process of justice was subverted. The cases of the murder of several persons, together with a government politician, Baratha Lakhsman Premachandra and the recent murder of an elected local government official in Kelaniya are public events which demonstrate this quite strikingly. The murder of a British national and the rape and assault of his Russian companion at Tangalle, allegedly by the Urban Council Chairman of Tangalle and others, was also hushed up. The gang rape of a child by several local area politicians in another rural locality in the South underwent a similar fate. Similarly there were allegations of rape against government member of parliament, Duminda Silva which too, came to nothing. In fact, the list of crimes that have been followed by no real consequences is quite long.

It will not be surprising, if one of these days, the rape victim of this present incident and her family are called to Temple Trees and given some money from the President’s Fund. Such examples of so-called mercy have been evidenced many times, when such scandals happen. After neglecting Rizana Nafeek’s case resulting in her beheading in Saudi Arabia, her mother was called to the palace and some money was given.

Lawlessness and public apathy

In Sri Lanka while there is a public acknowledgement of the existence of widespread lawlessness involving particularly shocking offenses against women, the public itself reacts to these events apathetically. There is no energetic pursuit of justice or demands for accountability from the government.

Such apathy that prevails amongst the public regarding heinous crimes as well as the criminal negligence on the part of the government to resolve the problems of the law enforcement agencies is indicative of the deeper malaise in the Sri Lankan society and the Sri Lankan system of justice.

The collapse of the policing system has been acknowledged. This was the direct result of the politicisation process which in turn is a product of the total control of the state by the executive president which has paralysed the bureaucratic apparatus in Sri Lanka. Naturally, it is not within the capacity of the Sri Lankan president to enquire into all crimes and to deal with them. The task of controlling crime could only take place through the functioning of the law enforcement agencies within the framework of the law. The duty of the president and the government is to ensure that these agencies function and deliver the necessary services to the public. However, the nature of the Sri Lankan system at present is such that the president and the government do not have a reliable bureaucratic apparatus through which law enforcement as well as other aspects of the running of governance can be effected.

The result is crimes that re-occur and the gimmicks that are played by politicians to create the impression of law enforcement while there is no real attempt to ensure protection to the people. This situation has resulted in the creation of a sense of apathy in the society as a whole, even in the face of gruesome crimes such as the gang rape of this woman.

As an independent media is suppressed, there is apathy, widespread cynicism and shameless manipulation of news in the state media which is the only media that is allowed to function without hindrance.

While the rest of the south Asian countries are rising to demand better performance from their governments and the creation of efficiently functioning law enforcement agencies to protect all citizens with particular emphasis on the more vulnerable groups such as women, in Sri Lanka crimes continue to take place with impunity.

Re-posted from Colombo Telegraph

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Congress Party in India Not for Chemical Castration


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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Peaceful Protest against Delhi gangrape
Peaceful Protest against Delhi gang-rape.

Congress leaders like Renuka Chaudhary had sought chemical castration of rapists.

Unlike surgical castration, where the testicles or ovaries are removed through an incision in the body, chemical castration involves the administration of anti-androgen drugs, such as cyproterone acetate or the birth-control drug Depo-Provera, given as an injection every three months. The antipsychotic agent Benperidol can also be injected for this purpose. Chemical castration does not actually castrate the person, nor is it a form of sterilization.

Chemical castration does not castrate the person, nor is it a form of sterilization. Although reversible on discontinuation of treatment, sometimes permanent changes in body chemistry can be seen, such as bone loss of density due to the use of Depo Provera for a length of time.

From time to time, chemical castration used as an instrument of public and/or judicial policy despite has evoked concerns over possible side effects and human rights.

On Saturday, January 5, 2013, submitted its suggestions on stringent laws for crimes against women to the three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India J.S. Verma.

The Verma Committee set up on December 23, 2012, with a mandate to review the present statute and give recommendations on amending laws to provide speedy justice and greater punishment, in cases of aggravated sexual assault, has to submit its report in 30 days.

The Congress party made it clear that its party chief Sonia Gandhi has not made any suggestion to The Verma Committee regarding chemical castration.

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