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मर्दवादी और असमान सामाजिक व्यवस्था में स्त्री प्रतिरोध – ‘हाईवे’: धर्मराज कुमार

April 6, 2014

Guest Post by धर्मराज कुमार

वर्त्तमान परिदृश्य में हमारे इर्द-गिर्द जितने भी विमर्श मंडराते नजर आ रहे हैं उन सबके के आक्रामक शुरुआत को सोलह दिसंबर की बलात्कार की घटना से जोड़े बगैर नहीं देखा जा सकता है। इसमें कोई शक नहीं कि उस रात को दहला देने वाली घटना तक को कई खांचों में रखकर देखा जाता है। उदाहरणस्वरूप, आलोचना के तौर पर यह भी कहा गया कि निर्भया अभिजात वर्ग से आती थी इसलिए उसके बलात्कार ने पूरे देश की राजनीति को झकझोर कर रख दिया। जबकि उसी दरम्यान दिल्ली के करीब हरियाणा में कई दलित और सामाजिक रूप से प्रताड़ित लड़कियों और महिलाओं का निर्ममता से बलात्कार किया गया और मारकर फ़ेंक दिया गया और जिसका आज तक कोई अता-पता तक नहीं है। इससे भी इंकार नहीं किया जा सकता कि दिसंबर की घटना के पहले भी अनगिनत बलात्कार की घटनाएं हररोज हो रही थी और उसके बाद भी हो रही है। मगर कभी भी किसी विरोध ने इतना विकराल रूप धारण नहीं किया जिससे देश की राजनीति को हिलानी तो दूर उससे आजतक न्याय प्रक्रिया में गति तक आ सके। इसके कई कारण हैं।
मेरा उद्देश्य उस तरफ ध्यान खींचना कतई नहीं है। मेरा उद्देश्य है मुख्यधारा में इन मुद्दों से जुड़ती सवालों को उठाये जाने की तरफ ध्यान ले जाना। मैं बात कर रहा हूँ मुख्यधारा में चल रही फिल्मों और उससे जुड़े सवालों के ऊपर। फ़िल्म समीक्षा की दुनिया में ऐसा कम ही देखने को मिलता है जब कोई फ़िल्म अपनी रिलीज के बाद एक चर्चा का विषय हो या विवाद का हिस्सा हो। बल्कि तमाम विचारधारा से जुड़े लोग जब किसी फ़िल्म के ऊपर अपनी प्रतिक्रिया जताने लगे इसका मतलब है कि ऐसी फिल्में लोगों को संवाद करने के लिए विवश कर रही हैं। Read more…

De-recognize the BJP!

April 5, 2014

The BJP has been clamouring for the de-recognition of AAP for its ‘anarchism’ and its lack of faith in institutions put in place by the Constitution, but faced with the sting by Cobrapost on its own responsibility for the Babri Masjid demolition, its only response is that  the Election Commission should stop its broadcast in view of the elections. In its characteristic fashion, the BJP leaders went on to accuse the sting operation of being ‘Congress sponsored’ – looks like this party has even lost the capacity to make a reasonable argument about anything. Meanwhile, all of yesterday the major channels were  dancing tango with the BJP in expressing suspicion about the ‘timing’ of the release. Not one of the channels had anything to say about the content of the sting.

Who is setting the terms of ‘debate’ here?

And why does the BJP want the EC to stop the broadcast? Because now it is clear that even as top BJP leaders and the Kalyan Singh government gave their commitment to the Supreme Court of India that nothing would happen to the mosque, the leaders were planning its demolition. That is what the sting operation shows. It shows, in the words of the actual dramatis personae, how the young recruits were trained by retired military personnel, without  being told what their mission was. The training was conducted in strict secrecy and with the full knowledge of at least some of the BJP bigwigs, the RSS and the Shiv Sena. Read more…

Tabloid Law – Framing Sexual Violence: Pratiksha Baxi

April 5, 2014

Guest Post by PRATIKSHA BAXI

When an ongoing rape trial becomes a controversial ‘story’, much rests on journalistic practice: how the story is plotted, the metaphors used, and the visuals that accompany the text. Writing about sexual violence is challenging if one wants to resist voyeurism, yet sell a ‘story’. It means resisting reproducing ‘tabloid’ pictures of law.

Given that there is very little literacy about the newly amended rape law, it is not apparent to many why forms of sexual violence, other than forcible penile penetration of the vagina, should be called rape. Nor is it acceptable to many people that a man be sentenced for ten years (or more) for rape when it is not accompanied by annihilating physical violence.

Is it then incumbent on journalists to indicate that the 2013 amendments to the rape law create new meanings of rape, some which are not accepted as rape in society? Indeed, what role do journalists have in interrogating the social and collective toleration of sexual violence?  Read more…

If a Woman is Raped in the Middle of a Forest and No Camera Sees it Was She Actually Raped? Fulana Detail

April 4, 2014

This is a guest post by FULANA DETAIL

When I was 19 years old I developed persistent headaches. My mother took me to the eye doctor to get my eyes checked. The doctor lived in our neighborhood. He was our family’s eye surgeon, he’d operated on both my grandfathers’ cataract, he was (and presumably continues to be) a well-respected doctor.

After the routine eye tests were done, the doctor noted I had slight myopia and that it, “appeared there was a weakness in the eye muscle that may be indicative of a general weakness.” I was anemic and underweight and he recommended a general physical examination. My mother said, “No problem, we’ll go to our GP”. “Why bother?”, he responded, “after all eye doctors are doctors first and receive the same medical training as everyone else”. Rather than bother with a separate visit he would be happy to do it himself, it would only take a few minutes. It sounded odd, but well he was the doctor. My mother knew him, and who were we to question the doctor? Why didn’t my mother step out, he suggested. I would be more comfortable that way. My mother looked at me: was I ok with that? I didn’t see why not, so she walked out.

He closed the door, I sat on the bed. He walked up to me, stood behind my right shoulder, began pressing my neck, unhooked my bra, felt my breasts, moved his hands down my stomach, pushed his hand into my underwear and began pushing his fingers into me. At this point I pushed him away, jumped off the bed and walked out. I didn’t go back in and my mother concluded the consultation. I said nothing to my mother at that point. She dropped me off at college. I felt strange and upset through the day, but I didn’t speak of this to anyone. In the evening I met my then boyfriend told him some of what had happened, but not the details. That evening, or perhaps it was the next day, I told my mother a version of what had happened but again, not in any detail. She asked if I wanted to lodge an official complaint. I didn’t. So my mother went back and confronted him. At which he flat denied anything untoward had occurred. If I were a victim, it was of a grievous misunderstanding. He had two daughters, he was terribly sorry if I had misunderstood, but really it was not his intention. He was only conducting a medical examination. I was not a child. I was a 19 year old, college educated woman. And I had let an eye doctor do something for which the new law prescribes a seven year jail sentence.  Read more…

Appeal to all Voters to Protect Democracy – People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism

April 3, 2014

Dear fellow citizens

Sixty seven years ago, independent India adopted a democratic constitution that created a platform for equality and justice by ensuring the participation of all. Our constitution-makers were concerned to maintain a secular society free from any divisions of caste, sect and religion. 

What has become of that vision? A large part of the population lives in extreme poverty. Millions of Indians are denied their fundamental rights. There are strong linkages amongst powerful capitalists, biased officials and unscrupulous political representatives. The political system is in danger of being taken over and run for the benefit of the rich, rather than for the vast bulk of the Indian people. Communal forces of all colours thrive in our society. Their growth has been evident since the Delhi carnage of 1984. Biased behavior has appeared in the media, police, bureaucracy and executive. We are witnessing the criminalisation of the state. One example of this is the operation of private armies all over the country.

The Sixteenth Lok Sabha elections are an opportunity for us to preserve democracy. The RSS has emerged as a direct participant, discarding its ‘cultural’ mask. Read more…

What do Tejpal supporters choose to see? Team FeministsIndia

April 3, 2014

[FROM THE BLOG FEMINISTSINDIA]

Tarun Tejpal, who was the editor of Tehelka magazine, is alleged to have sexually assaulted his junior journalist in a lift in a Goa Hotel. The past few days have seen subtle and direct statements that seek support for Tejpal based on the CCTV footage of the survivor and Tejpal outside the lift. While senior journalists Manu Joseph and Seema Mustafa wrote articles dissecting the incident in favour of the accused, well known film maker Anurag Kashyap accused the survivor of not telling the truth – they all were basing their opinions on the CCTV footage they saw. The campaign coincides with a bail application made to the Supreme Court.

Feminists Vrinda Grover and Kavita Krishnan analyse flaws in the arguments made in support of Tarun Tejpal in media and social networks by those who have illegally watched sub judicial CCTV footage.

Read the rest here.

Letter to Press Council re Tehelka case from Network of Women in Media

April 3, 2014

Dear Justice Katju,

The Network of Women in Media, India is deeply concerned about what appears to be a renewed media campaign that threatens the course of justice in the sexual assault and rape case involving the former editor of Tehelka, Tarun Tejpal.

In this connection we would like to call the attention of the PCI to two recent articles on the subject in two publications, The Citizen and Outlook. The article in the former, headlined “Alleged victim’s testimony in the Tarun Tejpal case at variance with CCTV footage” which originally appeared under the byline of senior journalist Seema Mustafa, was later credited, on 31 March evening, to ‘Citizen Bureau’. [This piece has by now been removed altogether]. The article in the latter, headlined “What the elevator saw” is by senior journalist Manu Joseph.

While ostensibly seeking to set the record straight, both articles are clearly biased in favour of the accused and seem to be a deliberate attempt to adversely influence public opinion against the complainant. Indeed, these articles appear to follow the familiar Standard Operating Procedure to silence women in cases of sexual violence, and bolster the impunity of perpetrators. Read more…

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