Article 370 and Valley ‘brides’, media restraints in Sengar case, nun sacked
The 13 August edition of Note This — our weekly round-up of media reports and opinions on sexual assault
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar came under fire last week when reports quoted him as saying that Kashmiri girls could be brought home (for marriage) now that Jammu & Kashmir’s special status had been revoked by the government. While some ‘fact-check’ articles have said Khattar was misquoted while making a contextual ‘joke’, others have pointed out that this is a matter of semantics and Khattar’s amusement is still problematic, especially given Haryana’s disturbing track record for crimes against women.
This week has also seen continuing media updates on the Unnao rape case, as well as on the dismissal from her congregation of Sister Lucy Kalappura, a nun who spoke out against rape-accused priest Franco Mulakkal.
Earlier this month, the Lok Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, which has reportedly received a lukewarm response from those it is meant to benefit. In an earlier interview with NewsTracker’s Manisha Koppala, Rachana Mudraboyina, the creator of TransVision (India’s first YouTube channel for transgender issues), explained why society and the media have a long way to go in understanding and responding to the anxieties and difficulties faced by the community.
Across India: news since last Tuesday
Ever since the government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on August 5, many men in India (including politicians such as BJP MLA Vikram Singh Saini) have been particularly jubilant about the prospect of ‘fair-skinned’ Kashmiri women being somehow more available to them.
In ‘Get A Wife From Kashmir’: Article 370 News Has Sparked A Horrible Wave Of Misogyny’, Piyasree Dasgupta in HuffPost India writes, “[M]en have long used so-called “muscular nationalism” to channel a deep misogyny directed at women who dared to critique a dominant political narrative”.
In ‘Patriarchy in garb of patriotism’, Jashodhara Mukherjee in News18 cites Google trends that show “ an increasing number of Indians have been searching for ‘Kashmir girl pic‘ in the past twenty-four hours” (with Kerala seemingly topping the list!).
Scroll, meanwhile, has reported on ‘a whole new sub-genre of songs about getting Kashmiri daughters-in-law and land in the Valley.
Sister Lucy Kalappura, who spoke out against former bishop Franco Mulakkal after he was accused of rape by another nun, has been expelled from her congregation. Although her dismissal is ostensibly due to her ‘lifestyle’ choices (such as learning how to drive), Sister Lucy has said that she is being targeted because she supported the protest against Mulakkal.
In ‘Sister Lucy is no sinner’, a Hindu Business Line editorial says, “It is utterly disappointing to see the Catholic church… stoop to such levels to protect a rape accused by threatening forthright nuns with medieval diktats”.
in ‘For law or lord’, the Indian Express describes Sister Lucy’s expulsion as “‘victimisation”, also noting, “the clergy has rallied behind Mulakkal, and tried to silence the complainant as well as other nuns who stood by her”.
The Quint adopts a satirical approach in ‘“’What happens when you accuse “powerful” men of rape?’ Urmi Bhattacheryya writes, “ Dear Lucy Kalappura, what were you thinking? You must have known in a country such as ours where rape accuseds rule the heartland — until mass protests and mysterious car collisions force a government’s hand — there are few recourses left to you, if you choose to do the right thing.”
The Delhi High Court has issued directives to the media regarding their reporting of the Unnao rape case. The counsel of defendant Kuldeep Singh Sengar had argued for a complete media gag on courtroom proceedings, but instead six guidelines have been issued, including a ban on reporting the testimonies of witnesses and giving an opinion on the merits of the case.
Last week, now-expelled BJP MLA Sengar was formally charged for the rape and abduction of a teenager in 2017. The survivor is currently in hospital after a road accident last month that was allegedly masterminded by Sengar.
Cops under the scanner
In Mumbai, a court while sentencing three men for the gang-rape of a minor said in the context of the case, “The attitude of the police machinery is a petrifying one; it is paralysing all the legal provisions made to help such victims who are approaching the authorities…
”The police in Uttar Pradesh was “‘lackadaisical” in its handling of the Unnao rape case, the CBI has said in its chargesheet, and that appropriate action was not taken upon the victim’s complaint due to Sengar’s “influence” .
A Delhi police constable allegedly raped a woman prisoner while they were travelling by train in connection with a court appearance.
In Jind, Haryana, a police inspector has been arrested for raping a woman who had approached him in connection with a case.
Less than two months after he was arrested for the rape and murder of a 9-month-old girl, 28-year-old Polipaka Praveen was sentenced to death by a court in Warangal, Telangana. The Hindu reported that the verdict was “hailed” by various parties in the state.
This roundup is curated from the RSS feeds of more than 30 English news publications from across India.
See the full list of rape and sexual violence cases reported this week and earlier on our web tool, NewsTracker Data. Use our search function or select one of our boards (such as #MeToo, #KeralaPriest, or #PoliticsofRape) to read reports on specific cases and/or themes.
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