Tag Archives: New Delhi

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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Have Will? Then, You Can Travel in the Indian Subcontinent!


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Up to now I thought overloading was the major trait of transportation peculiar to India alone. But, now, I am really confused …

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Video grab from "Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory!" uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia.
Video grab from “Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory!” uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia.

I grabbed the above image from a video titled Indian train in all its (crowded!) glory! uploaded on November 10, 2011 by WildFilmsIndia. I do not think anyone in the West would have seen a train crowded like this in their country. But in India, it is a common sight, particularly during the festival seasons.

The regular commuters are mainly laborers coming to New Delhi from neighboring states. They would work for a week and then return home over the weekend. Most of them travel without tickets, and the state-owned Indian railways, are compelled to permit this, else their entire railway system will be debacled by these laborers.

Indian Railways ... (Source: imcradiodotnet.files.wordpress.com)
Indian Railways (Source: imcradiodotnet.files.wordpress.com)

I came across the above image captioned “Indian Railway…” on IMC – India meets Classic presents… web page hosted on wordpress.com. I doubt whether this photo was taken in India. I think it was most probably, taken somewhere in Pakistan. Also, I wonder whether all these people are genuine passengers or merely clinging on to the train, posing for the photograph to prove a point.

Recently, I viewed several videos on YouTube about railways in Asia. When I saw the following video titled “End of Ramadan rush-hour in Bangladesh” uploaded by No Comment TV on August 8, 2013, I was dumbfounded.

Eid al-Fitr or the Feast of Breaking the Fast, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). On this day all Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity.

This video shows thousands of Bangladeshis getting crammed on ferries and climbing on trains while leaving Dhaka, Bangladesh on Wednesday, August 7, 2013, to return to their home villages and celebrate Eid al-Fitr. This video needs no further comments.

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India and Day 26 – Part 5: Resurgence of the BJP


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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In numerology, the numbers 8, 17 and 26 mean “money, power,” and are also the numbers of destruction. Numerologists consider the number 8, 17 and 26 emphasize the areas of career, business, finances and authority. These three numbers are the great Karmic equalizers that balance the material and immaterial worlds – forces that just as easily creates as it destroys. So, when 8, 17, and 26 come to the fore, we can be assured that we will reap what we have sown.

On the material plane, the 8s focus on results, often in the form of money, which it sees as a tool, not the end of the rainbow. People with strong 8s in their charts may lose fortunes in their life, but they will never consider bankruptcy a reason to slow down or feel sorry, but rather would surge once again, stronger and more success-oriented than before.

The recognizable traits of the 8s are drive, ambition, discipline, efficiency, organization, management, control, focused and goal-oriented, good judgment, practical, realistic and possess the authority.

According to Cheiro, the number 8 stands for the planet Saturn. This number influences all people born on the 8th, 17th or 26th in any month.

Narendra Damodardas Modi was born on September 17, 1950.

May 26, 2014 – Narendra Modi  sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India

On May 26, 2014, ten minutes after 6 pm, 63-years-old Narendra Damodardas Modi of Bharatiya Janata Party, armed with a decisive mandate was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India by President Pranab Mukherjee at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

President Pranab Mukherjee administers oath to Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)
President Pranab Mukherjee administers oath to Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister of India, at a ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. (HT Photo/Ajay Aggarwal)

The glittering event, replete with symbolism and grandeur, was attended by the heads of SAARC countries like Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 6th president of Sri Lanka, Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, and a galaxy of other dignitaries.

Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan
Nawaz Sharif, the 18th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri anka. (Source - ips.lk)
Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri anka. (Source: ips.lk)

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan (Source - Flickr)
Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan (Source – Flickr)

Modi opted for a small team of 45 ministers: 23 Cabinet Ministers, 10 Ministers of State with Independent Charge and 12 Ministers of State. This is the smallest government to take the oath in the last 15 years.

Another view of Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony. (HT Photo)
Another view of Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony. (HT Photo)

Here is the message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi published in the official website of the Prime Minister of India:

My dear fellow Indians and citizens of the world, Namaste!

A very warm welcome to the official website of the Prime Minister of India.

On 16th May 2014 the people of India gave their verdict. They delivered a mandate for development, good governance and stability. As we devote ourselves to take India’s development journey to newer heights, we seek your support, blessings and active participation. Together we will script a glorious future for India. Let us together dream of a strong, developed and inclusive India that actively engages with the global community to strengthen the cause of world peace and development.

I envision this website as a very important medium of direct communication between us. I am a firm believer in the power of technology and social media to communicate with people across the world. I hope this platform creates opportunities to listen, learn and share one’s views.

Through this website you will also get all the latest information about my speeches, schedules, foreign visits and lot more. I will also keep informing you about innovative initiatives undertaken by the Government of India.

Yours,
Narendra Modi

Let us hope and pray that Narendra Modi and his cabinet with their mantra of “minimum government, maximum governance” will usher in a golden era in India.

Jai Hind!

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 Previous ~ India and Day 26 – Part 4: Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai – 2

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Miffed with Centre, Jaya­la­li­th­­aa to Skip CMs Conclave


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Jayalalitha
J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister, Tamilandu, India.

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Chennai: Chief minister J. Jaya­la­li­th­­aa has decided to skip the conference of chief ministers on internal security being chaired by the Prime Minister at New Delhi on Wednesday, pointing out that the CMs were being gi­ven “very little opportunity” to express their views at such meets that were re­duced to being mere “annual ritualistic exercise”.

In a letter to the PM on Tuesday, copies of which were made available to the media, she acknowledged the invitation from the Union home minister for the present conference, which “no doubt is a very important event since it concerns the primary function of the state, viz, maintenance of public order”.

But then, like all such conferences chaired by the PM, this one too had “a long and weighty agenda of 12 subjects” and even uttering just their titles would take ten minutes, the time being “cavalierly allotted” to ea­ch CM to present his/her views, Jayalalithaa said.

She said the UPA government had reduced even su­ch important conferen­ces “to a routinised ritual rat­her than a consultative pro­cess, with the chief ministers constantly guillotined to cut short their speeches”, despite the fact that they were equal partners in the governance of the country.

The CMs would expect to be able to make meaningful contributions to the discussions and make the Centre aware of the true situation on the ground. “Only this will ena­ble us to formulate policies and allocate resources ba­sed on real need”, she argued.

She said the current conference too appeared aimed at “merely assembling” all the CMs to “rubber stamp” measures pre-decided by the Centre.

Recalling her experience at the National Develop­ment Council meet last De­c­ember when she was fo­r­ced to cut short her speech by the guillotine bell after the allotted ten minutes, the CM said rather than attending a conference wh­e­re CMs would be “railro­aded to finish their speeches within 10 minutes and to merely lay a speech on the table”, she was deputing senior minister K.P. Munu-samy to deliver her speech and it could be taken on record.

“I have given the most earnest consideration of all the agenda items and my speech gives the detailed views of Tamil Nadu on all the subjects listed in the agenda”, Jayalalithaa told the PM in her hard-hitting letter that is bound to trigger a fresh debate on the callous manner in which the Centre has been treating some of the non-Congress states in recent times.

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Re-posted from DECCAN Chronicle

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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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By 

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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‘Follow tradition or you would be thrown out, they warned me’


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Mirror in conversation with Lt Kabdaula’s wife, whose allegations of wife-swapping have rocked the Indian Navy’s boat

By Gitanjali Chandrasekharan

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Three complaints in three cities make you wonder about their authenticity, especially since the 25-year-old complainant has accused Marine Commando officials (an elite unit of the Navy) of wife-swapping. “You can’t file the same FIR in two different police stations,” says the wife of Lt Ravi Kiran Kabdaula, refusing to be identified by her name. “Call me Mrs Ravi Kiran if you want,” she told this writer, speaking over the phone from New Delhi.

Kiran, the daughter of an IAS officer and the niece of a senior IPS official posted in New Delhi, says her complaint against her 26-year-old husband and his colleagues posted at INS Venduruthy, base station of the Southern Naval Command — she has accused them of beating, molesting, and illegally detaining her and forcibly cutting her hair — was lodged in Delhi on March 1.

“Since my husband and his colleagues are posted in Kochi, and the incident also occurred there, the case was transferred to the local Harbour Police.”

The incident Kiran refers to happened in mid-January. A week before that, she alleges that she had discovered her husband in bed with a senior officer’s wife. She also alleges that she was given an injection at the unit chief’s office that left her unconscious. She left the base for New Delhi on the first flight the following day, but left her preparation books behind. Kiran, a 2008 BTech graduate from IIT (Powai), plans to give her Civil Services examinations next month. When she returned a week later to collect her books, she says she was confined in a room by her husband and his colleagues, who tied her up, beat and molested her. One officer, she adds, even forcibly cut her hair.

I used to have long hair. Now it is like a man’s,” she rues.

Her story

This wasn’t the first time she had lodged a complaint. “I had filed one with the Amboli Police Station on February 18, 2012, against my husband, his senior and the senior’s wife,” she says, because the trio had reportedly put up a “bedroom picture” of hers and Kabdaula’s on a social networking platform. The senior and his wife would often make threatening calls, or send her text messages and emails, she says. When asked why, she replies, “Because I was pressuring my husband and his parents to legalise our marriage.”

Kiran married Kabdaula, who hails from Uttarakhand, in a Kochi temple in November 2010, in the presence of his parents. Her parents had passed away earlier that year in a car accident in Bhubaneswar. “My parents knew about Kabdaula — I had been in touch with him since 2008 — and liked him. My brother didn’t approve and argued that Kabdaula wasn’t educated enough.”

Kiran withdrew her complaint and the duo registered the marriage in the following month. However, according to Kiran, the rest of Kabdaula’s family didn’t know of their wedding till December.

Was it a stormy courtship? Kiran says no. Kabdaula had contacted her through a common friend on social networking platform Orkut. He would visit Mumbai to meet her, says Kiran, who was studying at IIT at the time. “He was a good-looking guy and I felt flattered. His parents would also call and talk to me at length. So I felt he was serious about us.

Kiran moved to the United States in 2008 to study Economics and stayed on as an equity research analyst at Morgan Stanley, New York, but returned to India — once in 2010, to marry Kabdaula, and then for good, in 2011 — to be close to him.

While dating, Kabdaula didn’t tell her much about Navy life, she says. “He wasn’t a full-fledged officer till the end of 2011. Perhaps he didn’t know it himself. Perhaps he knew and he didn’t tell me.

The first time she realised that all was not well was in May 2012 when she was living in Vishakapatnam while Kabdaula was posted in INS Kalinga. While out for a walk with her dog, she saw an officer getting cosy with another’s wife. Later, she spoke to her husband who, she says, told her to accept it as part of the Navy life. “He didn’t suggest at that time that he was involved”.

Describing the “Navy life”, she says there are regular parties at the base and a junior officer often makes a round of everyone’s houses, outlining a dress code. Sometimes it would be ‘wear short above-the-knee dresses’, and sometimes it would be ‘sleeveless’. Yet, Kiran admits that she only attended two parties — in May 2012 and March 2013.

Then, in January this year, she returned home to find her door locked. “My husband never locks the door, so I entered the house from the rear and found him with a senior officer’s wife. I cried and abused them, but once again he said this was common in the Navy and that I’d have to do it too. The woman said that if I don’t follow their tradition, I’d be thrown out.” Kiran alleges that when she threatened to call the cops, they started beating her.

Asked how she made an allegation of wife-swapping based on this incident, she replies, “I could make out what’s happening. Young officers (spend time) with married officers’ wives when the seniors aren’t around.”

The split

Soon after the incident, Kiran telephoned the Defence Minister AK Antony’s office and wrote to the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral D K Joshi and the chief of the Southern Naval Command, Vice-Admiral Satish Soni. She complained that she was being forced into sexual relations with her husband’s seniors.

The FIR she filed accuses three senior officers, two colleagues and the wife of one officer. She also accused her father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law of dowry harassment.

Kabdaula filed for a divorce on March 28, claiming mental and physical torture. “He must have done that under the order of his seniors. I am 5 feet 1 inch tall and have never weighed more than 45 kg. How can I cause him any harm?” It is his physical abuse, she alleges, that has left her with a damaged left ear drum and a broken tooth. “Who is he to divorce me?” she asks challengingly. Kiran doesn’t see any chance of reconciliation. “I want to see all the accused arrested. My husband has got an anticipatory bail but what is stopping the Harbour Police from arresting the others?

The Navy denied the allegations and issued a statement which said, “In cases of marital discord, there is bound to be bitter acrimony and mutual accusations and counter-accusations. Such issues need to be dealt with sensitivity and as per laws of the land.” A spokesperson said that the officers were being unfairly dragged into the matter and that they had only tried to resolve problems between the couple. The spokesperson also alluded to a prior instance, where the Navy Wives’ Welfare Association intervened and sent the couple to a marriage counsellor. However, Kiran emphatically denies that. “I have never been to a counsellor or a marriage counsellor. To get an appointment from the Navy Wives’ Welfare Association (NWWA), one has to write an application and submit it. When I never wrote one, how would there have been any counselling session?” Meanwhile, the Southern Naval Command has begun an internal inquiry, and Antony asked officials to take serious note of the allegations, after a previous allegation of wife-swapping — also squashed by the Navy — surfaced in 2011 in Kochi.

Sitanshu Kar, Additional Director General (Media & Communication), said that two inquiries are on in the case. “The Kerala police is inquiring into it and the Navy is also conducting its own inquiry. The final decision can be taken only after reports come in.” He refused to entertain any other questions regarding the matter.

There are also many within the Navy who are raising questions about the truth of Kiran’s allegations. They wonder how a Marine Commando — known for being highly disciplined and hard working — would be involved in such an act. The Marcos is a highly elite section of the Indian Navy. Many who volunteer for this branch of the Navy don’t last the rigorous year-long training, which involves swimming several miles, going without sleep for days on end, and sometimes, spending time in the ocean without supplies.

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Re-posted from Bangalore Mirror

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Iran: 2013 Sistan and Baluchestan Earthquake (Magnitude 7.5). Reverberations in New Dehli, India


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Yesterday, April 16, 2013, at 15:14 p.m. IRDT (UTC+4:30), an earthquake struck the mountainous region between the cities of Khash and Saravan in Sistan and Baluchestan Province, Iran, 83 km east of Khash, close to the border with Pakistan. It lasted about 25 seconds. The Iranian Seismological Center listed the earthquake as 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale.

Pakistanis evacuating nearby buildings following tremors in Karachi on April 16, 2013. (Photo: ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistanis evacuating nearby buildings following tremors in Karachi on April 16, 2013. (Photo: ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The quake was felt throughout much of eastern Iran and southern Pakistan, and as far away as Riyadh, Manama, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, some areas in the neighboring state of Pakistan, and in New Delhi, India. The tremors destroyed many buildings in Iran. People evacuated buildings in far away places such as Delhi, India, and on the Arabian Peninsula. Pakistani news channels showed buildings shaking in the southern city of Karachi. People in panic evacuated their offices and homes.

This earthquake closely follows the 6.1-magnitude quake that struck the southwest coast of Iran near the port city of city of Bushehr on April 9, 2013. Saravan is about 600 miles from Bushehr, on the south-eastern border of Iran near Pakistan.

Overview map of the Arabian tectonic plate boundaries with the Eurasian, African and Indian plates (U.S. Geological Survey)
Overview map of the Arabian tectonic plate boundaries with the Eurasian, African and Indian plates (U.S. Geological Survey)

Iran is well-known for its long history of disastrous earthquake activities. Iran is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, crossed by several major fault lines that cover almost 90% of the country. The Iranian plateau is subject to most types of tectonic activity, including active folding, faulting and volcanic eruptions. Hence, earthquakes in Iran occur often and are destructive.

Yesterday’s earthquake was probably the strongest earthquake in Iran within the last 40 years, and possibly the strongest in the last half-century, equal in magnitude to the one that shook Tabas in 1978 killing 15,000.

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


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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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