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Powers That Be Protect The Rapists - Recent instances in Bihar, UP and Punjab

A call for Justice in Delhi

10 January 2011

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Why is the Nitish Kumar Govt. giving character certificates to rape-accused BJP MLA of Purnea and slandering the rape victim?

Why is Mayawati’s police jailing the gang rape victim and protecting the accused BSP MLA?

Why are rapists of a dalit girl being protected and woman activist jailed in Punjab?

Anti Rape Demonstration organised by the AIPWA and AISA at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on 8 January 2011

These are the questions raised by protesting women at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on 8 January 2011, at a demonstration organised by the AIPWA and AISA, and joined by representatives of several other women’s groups.
The demonstrators, including students and women workers, demanded justice for Rupam Pathak, a school teacher who stabbed the BJP MLA of Purnea to death recently. She had accused the MLA and his PA of rape and molestation some months ago only to be forced to withdraw the case on the eve of the elections. Protestors said Rupam’s attack on the MLA was clearly an act of despair because she failed to secure justice. Rupam Pathak is now in Katihar jail where an AIPWA team headed by AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwary met her yesterday.

They demanded action against the rape accused as well as against the BJP activists who beat up Rupam Pathak. The protestors said, “BJP activists made an attempt on her life, and now the Bihar Govt. is assassinating her character.” Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kr. Modi has publicly slandered the rape victim, accusing her of being a blackmailer of poor moral character, while hailing the MLA who was killed as a man of great moral stature. Protesters said such an attack on a women’s character did not befit a Deputy CM, and demanded that Sushil Modi resign.

Holding that a police investigation was bound to be influenced by the Deputy CM who has already given his biased character certificates to the woman and the rape accused BJP MLA, the protestors demanded a judicial enquiry into the incident. The enquiry must probe why the police did not act on the rape charges made by Rupam Pathak in May, and what pressures caused her to withdraw her charges on the eve of the Bihar Assembly polls. Protestors also demanded protection for Rupam Pathak since her life is in danger.

Protestors also demanded action in the case in Uttar Pradesh, where a 17-year-old OBC girl who accused the BSP MLA of Naraini (Banda district) Purushottam Narain Dwivedi of rape is in jail on charges of ‘theft.’ They said the fact that no medical report was made in spite of the fact that the girl was bleeding severely, and that she continues to remain in Banda jail, is a shame in a state ruled by a dalit woman CM.

Protestors also demanded action in a rape case of a minor dalit girl in Mansa district, Punjab, where the AIPWA activist who raised the rape case has been jailed on false charges of ‘attempt to murder.’ In this case, a 17½ year old girl from a poor Dalit family was gang raped by a havildar, a local advocate, a trader, and a financier. The police initially suppressed the rape case and instead booked both the victim and her rapists on charges of ‘loitering.’ Cases of rape and SC/ST atrocity were registered only two days later, after intervention by AIPWA activists. However, the rapists were not arrested for three weeks after the incident, after continuous protests, and even now the financier continues to evade arrest. But the very same activists including AIPWA National Council member Jasbir Kaur Nat and National President of the All India Kisan Mahasabha Ruldu Singh, who helped book the rape case are now behind bars along with several other peasant leaders, on a patently false charge of ‘attempt to murder.’ This is the same area of Punjab where some years ago, the dalit activist and singer Bant Singh had his limbs chopped off for supporting his daughter to pursue a rape case.