Wednesday, 6 March 2013



Dear Friend

The AIDWA, along with sixteen other women's organisation invites you to a programme to celebrate the International Women's Day on 8 March, 2013. This year's celebration is taking place in the context of unprecedented protests that have taken place on the issues relating to violence against women. In the aftermath of the Delhi Gang Rape Case, the women's movement has been putting pressure on the government to implement the recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee. The inadequate response of  the government has only forced us to intensify our struggle to fight for lasting measures for prevention of rising instances of violence and support for victims of violence. We therefore invite you to participate in the programme and join in united struggle of all women. The details of the programme are as follows:

Assembly at Mandi House: 11:00 AM
March From Mandi House to Jantar Mantar: 12:00 PM
Public Meeting at Jantar Mantar: 12:30 PM onwards
We request you to participate in large numbers and also forward this invitation to all your friends who may be interested in the programme.

Hoping to see you soon,

With Regards

Sehba Farooqui
General Secretary, Delhi AIDWA.

Thursday, 7 February 2013


Thursday 14th February 2013

Enough!! No More Violence against Women and Girls

According to the United Nation's 1 in 3 women in the world experience violence. That is more than one billion women living on the planet are beaten or raped during their lifetime.

We REFUSE now to stand by as more than a billion women experience violence.
One Billion women violated is an atrocity, but One Billion rising against such violence is a REVOLUTION!

What does one Billion Look Like??
On 14th February it will look like a revolution with 190 countries rising across the globe

We invite you all to join us and show the world our collective strength and solidarity in support of one billion women and girls across the world.

Where: Parliament Street, New Delhi
Time: 5pm- 8pm
Special guests and Artists joining us in solidarity will be announced shortly.

Sign up to join the campaign at
For more information on this global call to action write to
For more information call: Sangat: 011- 26692166

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Most girls feel unsafe on MSU campus: Survey

VADODARA: Going by a recent survey conducted by nine students of M S University (MSU)'s faculty of law, it seems sexual harassment and gender sensitization is issues which the varsity would have to address sooner than later.

The survey conducted on 966 students (766 females and 200 males) is an eye-opener, according to Sahiyar, a women's NGO, which has shot off a letter to the VC, forwarding some of the survey findings wherein 63% girls and 69% boys had a perception that girls were "not secure on the campus". Worse, 24% girls and 19% boys "witnessed" sexual harassment within the campus, but none complained about it to any of the authorities.

Further, only 8% girls and barely 5% boys were aware of the existence of 'women grievance redressal and counseling cell' within MSU, but none of them was aware of its location.

The survey also recorded that 95% of girls and 92% boys felt that women needed some space or avenue where women's grievances could be addressed.

"It is unfortunate that instead of taking positive steps to make the university free from sexual harassment and implement the judgment by the Supreme Court of India (Vishaka committee guidelines)...the authorities have taken regressive steps to put further restrictions on girl students by reducing the time for hostel girls," the NGO wrote to the MSU VC, while seeking appointment to discuss the survey findings.

The complete survey report would be released after discussions with MSU authorities, they said.

When contacted, MSU registrar, Amit Dholakia said, he would not say much on the findings of the survey since he was yet to see the report.

"I am not saying the findings are baseless or incorrect, but surveys have their limitations or different methodologies. Also, I am not denying any reservations about perception of safety on the campus."

He, however, admitted that the grievance cell had to be replaced by a committee to address complaints of sexual harassment. "We realize that a tighter mechanism for addressing women grievances is required, and that the counseling cell's role is different from the committee which needs to be set up," the registrar said, adding they would be setting up a committee "this week" to create a mechanism for setting up the committee, at both the varsity and at faculties' level.

Source: The Times of India29 January 2013

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Rape: the stereotyping of Indian culture and moving from ‘protection’ to ‘freedom’

Apologies for cross posting.

Sharing CREA's views on the recent gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old girl in Delhi, India; sexual violence; and the responses to it on the blog of Reproductive Health Matters (RHM).

A guest blog from Pooja Badarinath, CREA

The recent brutal gang-rape of a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in Delhi, India, resulted in expressions of outrage and anger everywhere in the country. The weeks after the rape saw an unprecedented focus on sexual assault—in formal and informal conversations, protests, television debates, drawing rooms, social media, and official statements. These protests were unique because they brought everyone to the streets. It is heart warming that many of the conversations spurred by this response are affirmative—they discuss women’s right to wear what they want, to walk the streets after dark, and other such issues. And, they take on political and spiritual leaders who blame women for rape in direct and indirect ways.

The feminist movement has been struggling to change the rhetoric from “protection” to “freedom” for a long time. This time, many of these feminist demands, ideas, and positions are of people/groups that do not identify as ‘feminists’. However, there are some demands that are extremely problematic. For instance, the demands for enhanced punishment, death penalty, and chemical castration—fuelled by the media—are decidedly unfeminist. Thus, we need to extend the conversations beyond these ‘populist demands’ and broaden the popular middle-class understanding of gender-based violence and its consequences for all—Dalit women, women from religious minorities, sex-working women, mentally and physically disabled women, women in police custody, women living in ‘disturbed’ areas and conflict zones, women who are sexually abused within the home, lesbian women, transpersons, and gender non-conforming people.

However, the current legal framework for rape is fraught with patriarchal baggage—only when a man has “sexual intercourse” with a woman, without her consent, is it considered as rape (this does not hold within marriage of course, because the wife is seen as the ‘property’ of her husband)[1] . The importance is given to “intercourse” and, hence, there is no acknowledgment of the violence of invasion that always accompanies any case of sexual assault, whether or not it is accompanied by bruises and broken bones. Due to this emphasis on “intercourse”, rape is considered most severe when a “woman loses her chastity/virtue”[2]. The most common perspective is that for a woman, being raped is a “fate worse than death”. This notion has been the most difficult to change over the years, not just in popular culture but also in the judiciary and other institutions. As long as sex is seen as the vehicle to the most ultimate form of purity or pollution, this perspective will not change.

Gender-based violence is a manifestation of patriarchal power structures and inherent inequality in society. It is not about, as some sections of the Indian media are reporting, “illiterate” young men who migrate to big cities and “cannot handle educated young women asserting themselves”. Such privileging of violence and ‘victimhood’ is a result of patriarchal and unequal power structures. Even the reportage in the media abroad has not been without its own bias[3] . Many articles published in prominent dailies in countries such as the US and UK portray rape as a problem that happens only in countries such as India, implying that the so-called North has overcome this completely. The stereotyping of “Indian culture” and of “Indian men” as having “…murderous, hyena-like male contempt”[4] towards women is even more troublesome. The question has been turned into a clash of “cultures”. Such reporting and attitude towards Southern cultures yet again touch upon the North-South divide and the northern gaze, where issues like patriarchy and gender inequality seem to be a problem of only the South. We need to realise that the issues of gender justice is not cultural phenomenon. We must remember that no matter where they live, women and men hold different identities and positions of privilege and powerlessness.

Women’s groups in India have always tried to bring this perspective to the work on violence against women through their advocacy, trainings, publications, messages, campaigns, research, protests, discussions, and events. CREA, for instance, works to address the issue of violence against all women through its work, such as through its Institutes on sexuality, gender, and rights; trainings aimed at creating an understanding of bodily autonomy, choice, and freedom to enable women and girls to be more aware and in control of their bodies and lives; grassroots-level feminist leadership building programmes; and publications on various issues related to violence against women. Violence is also discussed by documenting cases of violence on marginalised women who fall through the cracks in the mainstream, homogenous, violence against women rhetoric (for instance, lesbian, sex–working, and disabled women). We work directly with adolescent and young girls using the medium of sports. Sport, which has traditionally always been associated with boys and men, also challenges stereotypes around gender, and allows the girls to come out of their homes and exert more control over their lives. We also sent recommendations, collectively with other activists and groups as part of the Citizens’ Collective Against Sexual Assault, to one of the committees formed by the Indian government to inform law reform on sexual assault. The submissions were those that we have been making for a while now; we made them again because this time, the authorities were listening.

It is inevitable that this case will fade from public memory, if not now then later. While we hope that the mobilisation around this case will change rape laws for the better, we are aware that a legal response alone is deeply inadequate in tackling what is a systemic devaluation of women. Women’s groups, along with seizing the opportunities that this moment brings, will continue to confront violence against women, like they always have. In addition, we need to revisit our strategies, and perhaps consolidate some, and rethink others. We need to continue the conversations around women’s freedom and build a culture where a woman has autonomy over her body and sexuality.

[1] Rape in the Indian Penal Code has been defined under section 375 and 376 and we have concentrated on a specific aspect of the same. The law also describes what can be called aggravated cases of rape, such as custodial rape, rape on a pregnant woman and gang rape.
[2] An example of the same can be understood through the experience of Sohalia Abdulali
[3] An example of this is this piece by Liz Jones in the Daily Mail, UK
[4] Opinion piece by Libby Purves in the Times, London; Indian women need a cultural earthquake, 31st December 2012

CREA is a feminist human rights organisation based in New Delhi, India. CREA works to advance the rights of women and girls, and the sexual and reproductive freedoms of all people.

CREA works in partnership with RHM journal to publish the Hindi language edition of Reproductive Health Matters

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Memorandum to Home Minister from AIDWA

NEW DELHI-110008
PH: 011-25700476, 25709565
                                                                  Date: 15th Jan.2013
The Union Minister for Home Affairs,
Government of India
New Delhi-110001
 Dear Shri Shinde ji,

Thank you for meeting our delegation on the issues concerning the rape victims from Haryana. We brought to your notice 11 specific cases with the details given in the memorandum submitted by the Akhil Bharatiya Janwadi Mahila Samily (AIDWA) who have been following the cases. Among the 11 cases, two cases are of children aged between four and six, one is a disabled girl who is blind and can neither hear nor speak, aged around 13, two are adolescents aged 15 and 16. Of them seven belong to the scheduled caste community. All of them without exception are from poor families many of whom eke out a living as daily workers. You saw for yourself their terrible situation.

1. Following Supreme Court orders for State Governments to institute measures for rehabilitation of victims of sexual assault, the Haryana Government issued a notification dated December 11, 2011 for rehabilitation and support services for rape victims. However no action has been taken to implement the notification. In the above mentioned eleven cases no rehabilitation measures have been taken. Even in the case of a child, where the family has had to spend over one lakh rupees to get the required reconstructive surgeries done since the child had been violently violated, no help has been given. This you will agree is a most terrible situation. We therefore urge you to ensure that the notification is implemented. In the specific eleven cases we request you to intervene so that the victims can be rehabilitated. Without support, it is difficult for the families to survive.

2. In five of the eleven cases, the police officials are directly culpable for further victimisation of the victims. These include the case of the four year old in Jind, where the police refused to file a case under Sec. 376 in spite of the medical report. In the list given to you, the police in Karnal, Jind, Rohtak,Gurgaon,Panipat (details in the case papers) are responsible for violating the law. However, no action has been taken in a single case. We request you to intervene so that a strong message can be send to the police that such criminal callousness and non-implementation of the law will be severely punished. In some of the cases the main culprits have not been arrested and the families are under tremendous pressure to withdraw the cases. Unless strict action is taken the processes of justice will be even further subverted. 

3. In the matter of court cases, no fast track courts have been set up. In five of the cases which are in court, there is negligible legal support from the State and the families simply cannot afford to hire lawyers. It is essential to ensure legal help and fast track the cases. 
We have come to you because the Haryana Government has not taken any action in spite of our earlier requests. We hope that with your intervention, the Government of Haryana will be persuaded to take the required action and the rape victims and their families can rebuild their lives in a secure environment. Further, we  request you to take whatever action for rehabilitation for the victims, from the Home Ministry which you consider appropriate.

 With regards,
     Sd/-                                                               Sd/-
Brinda Karat                                      Jagmati Sangwan
(Ex. Rajya Sabha (MP)              (National Vice-President AIDWA)

Press Statement from AIDWA

NEW DELHI-110008
PH: 011-25700476, 25709565
Email :,

                                                                    Date: 16th Jan.2013
Press Statement

One month after the horrific Delhi gangrape, the Central and State Governments are yet to learn any lessons. This is shown by the refusal to pinpoint accountability and responsibility for those responsible. Top police officials including the Police Commissioner and those heading the Transport Ministry in Delhi should have been acted against. Why has the Central Government and the Sheila Dikshit Government not acted?

While expressing its solidarity with the family and the friend of the young woman who was also a victim, the AIDWA reiterates its demand for action against the Police Commissioner and those responsible for the Transport department in Delhi. It demands that the Government provide assistance and support for the family now and in the future and for the friend. The case must be completed speedily and the criminals brought to justice
Yesterday a delegation of the AIDWA with Brinda Karat and Jagmati Sangwan met the Home Minister Shri Shinde to press for action from the Central Government on issues concerning sexual assault. However in spite of all the high sounding statements from the Central Government the attitude of the Home Minister did not inspire any confidence of a change in attitude to understand the urgency of issues involved. The delegation gave a memorandum (copy enclosed) on rape cases in neighbouring Haryana which cited 11 cases to illustrate Government attitude. The State Government has utterly failed to take action against police officials who violated the law, for rehabilitation of the rape survivors and for fast track courts. Many of the victims themselves were present.

The Home Minister had no answer as to why there was no monitoring of the Centre’s rehabilitation proposals to the States or why there was no funding for such schemes. It is shocking that there is still no urgency on the part of the Central Government to ensure action to make India safe for women and children which was exemplified by the attitude of the Home Minister.  
The AIDWA demands that the Central Government ensure standard operating procedures in cases of sexual assault which must be followed throughout the country. This must include inquiry and action against police officials on basis of complaints of victims that they were further victimized by the police; rehabilitation for survivors; speedy justice procedures.
Sd/-                                                Sd/-
Sudha Sundar raman                       Jagmati Sangwan
(General Secretary)                        (Vice President)                                                                                                                               

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Seminar on " Exclusions from the Archive: histories of daughters devaluation and female infanticide in colonial India" 10th January 2013 at 3.00 PM

Jawaharlal Nehru University, Women's Studies Programme SSS-II, organised a Seminar on  Exclusions from the archive: histories of daughters devaluation and female infanticide in colonial India"  10th January 2013 at 3.00 PM by Rashmi Bhatnagar(Pittsburg University; currently visiting Scholar, Delhi University)

Venue: Room No. 002, SSS-II, Jawaharlal Nehru University At 3.00 PM