[Reader-list] Modi government's assault on democratic rights: Bhagana rape survivors & protestors evicted from Jantar Mantar by Delhi Police

Asit Das asit1917 at gmail.com
Wed Jun 4 04:47:33 CDT 2014

from dilip simeons blog

Modi government's assault on democratic rights: Bhagana rape survivors &
protestors evicted from Jantar Mantar by Delhi Police
*NB - **The RSS/BJP/ Modi government has shown its teeth soon, and that
also to women. Does it wish to announce that it is sympathetic to hooligans
and rapists and corrupt policemen? That it will crush all democratic
protest, even of rape survivors? Women will be in the forefront of the
defence of Indian democracy. All those who care for human freedom and the
right to protest should resist this tyranny -* *DS*

Dear friends from Press and Public ,

At morning 6 am today (Wednesday, 4th June 2014), nearly one thousand
policemen came to Jantar Mantar and *forcibly removed the Bhagana
survivors' and other tents and warned the protesters to vacate the Jantar
Mantar by 12 noon*.

At Hissar mini secretariat too, Bhagana's Dalit families were evicted in
the same manner. At both the places the police took away these refugees'
belongings too. Small children and the victim girls are forced to stay on
the open street, where too police is not letting them live.

Jantar Mantar is a place where people have been protesting since years and
all survivors of exploitation and repression find a voice here with other
survivor and solidarity groups andDelhi public.

*We all are gathering at Parliament Street police station at 2pm ( just
after a while) to protest this brutal move of Delhi and Hisar police. *

We urge all  citizens, progressive groups in Delhi to come at
the Parliament Street, at Jantar Mantar and where ever you are, put this
information on your face book, twitter and other media platforms. Forward
this mail. Write protest letter/ mail to Police Commissioner, Delhiand SSP,
Hisar ( please see net for their phone number and mailing addresses), send
sms to them condemning and asking them on what  ground they have taken this
eviction step.

Friends/Comrades, the atrocities on Dalits are increasing day by day and
the democratic space for our struggle is decreasing fast. Let us get
together and act.

In Solidarity,Kiran Shaheen 98180 65092

(On behalf of women's and other democratic groups in Delhi)

*Rape survivors battle for justice*
 The rape and murder of the two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun
district last Wednesday sent shockwaves across the country, and also threw
into focus four rape survivors from Bhagana village in Hisar, Haryana, who
have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in the national capital since April
16. Bhagana is some 170km from New Delhi.

The survivors, aged between 13 and 18 years, belong to the landless Dhanuk
sub-caste, and worked for upper caste landowners. Villagers say the khap
panchayat had imposed a social boycott against the caste group, forcing
about 250 families to leave their homes and flee the village.  The
displaced villagers say atrocities against them began over a 280-acre piece
of common village land two years ago, which the Jats tried to usurp with
the help of local authorities and the khap.

According to the rape survivors, on March 23, they went to a field to
relieve themselves in the evening, a routine the families follow in the
absence of toilets in their homes. Five Jat men drugged them and forced
them into a car. The girls were found the next day at Bathinda railway
station in Punjab, some 160 km from their village. The youngest survivor, a
13-year-old, says she remembers a strong-smelling handkerchief being thrust
on her face. Her next memory of that time is waking at the station with
bruises and torn clothes. She says she also recalls the weight of the
bodies of the men, on her. The four sit silently with their parents and
members of their caste group, hiding their faces with scarves.

Father of one of the survivors said he worked with his entire family of
four in the farm belonging to the village sarpanch, for a sum of Rs 50,000
a year. On March 23, when the girls did not return till late evening, a
frantic search began. Villagers approached the sarpanch, who assured them
that the girls would soon be found. The next morning, villagers said, the
sarpanch, with two of his relatives, drove them to Batinda in Punjab. "He
told us to stay in the car. The three of them went into the station. Half
an hour later, they emerged with the girls, who were in shock, hiding their
faces. Later, the girls told us that he had threatened them and told them
not to reveal anything to anyone. But the girls named all the accused. Next
morning we went the police station and filed an FIR. The girls were sent to
the hospital for tests, they were made to wait for 8-9 hours," the father
said. In 2012, the khap panchayat had called for a social boycott of 130
Dalit families at Bhagana village, over the land dispute. Following the
rape of the girls in March, 90 more families have fled the village. "Rape
is a weapon for revenge, suppression and humiliation against the lower
caste. The police and administration belong to Jats in Haryana. We are
treated like cattle," said Jagdish Kajla, a member of the Bhagana Kand
Sangharsh Samiti, which is spearheading the fight for justice to the four

In last two months, the villagers have made representations to the Haryana
CM, Bhupinder Hooda, National Human Rights Commission, the National
Commission for Women and the SC/ST Commission, but have got no reprieve. Five
people have been arrested so far in this case.  Protestors demand that an
FIR be lodged against the sarpanch and his relatives, and compensation be
granted to the victims and their families, to enable the rehabilitation of
Dalit families. Virender Singh Baghodia of the Bhagana Kand Sangharsh
Samiti said, "The Jat sarpanch knew about the gang rape, but the police is
scared to touch Jats. For us, the government and the khap are just the

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