Trouble in the House, ‘seven cows raped, one by one’, listening to rapists

The 28 May edition of Note This — our weekly round-up of media reports and opinions on sexual assault

The arrest of a man for the rape of several cows at a bovine shelter in Ayodhya received widespread news coverage last week. Image is representative. Photo: Dhavalsanyaja/Pixabay

The fact that 43 percent of newly elected members in India’s Lower House of Parliament have criminal cases against them, including for rape and murder, has been widely reported in the media. Among them, Atul Rai, an MP of the Bahujan Samaj Party who has been accused of sexual assault, has featured prominently in the news over the past few weeks. In the context of the elections, the issue of rape threats against political “dissenters” was also brought to the fore by filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.

Editor’s pick

In ‘Media pressure forced the Kerala police to arrest Franco Mulakkal’, Korah Abraham, a journalist with The News Minute told NewsTracker’s Tasmin Kurien why taking a stand was crucial while reporting on the case of a nun who had accused a former bishop of raping her multiple times. Mulakkal’s trial is due to begin on June 7.

Across India: news since last Tuesday

Before being sworn in, MP Atul Rai might land in jail as Supreme Court sees red over his crime sheet’, reported DNA when the recently elected Uttar Pradesh lawmaker was denied anticipatory bail for a sexual assault case against him. During the election campaign, Prime Minister Modi had criticised Rai’s party, the BSP, for “seeking votes for such a candidate”. According to reports, an “integrated safety plan for women” is high on the new government’s agenda.

CJI case

Last week saw two retired judges criticising the Supreme Court’s handling of the sexual harassment inquiry against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.

In an Indian Express op-ed titled ‘A one-sided justice’, former Supreme Court judge Madan Lokur wrote that the complainant, who was a staff member at the court, was not “fairly treated” and that “institutional bias” was evident in the inquiry.

In ‘Justice Chelameswar says due process not followed in CJI Gogoi sexual harassment case’, the Print spoke to another retired judge, who questioned “why the procedure for this case should be any different from the law of the land”.

The judges’ comments have led to Bar Council of India (BCI) chief Manan Kumar Mishra expressing “shock” at the “baseless criticisms of the institution”, adding that the inquiry panel’s reports should not be made public as for some reason it would “cause serious harm to the lady-complainant”.

Rape culture

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap made national news last week for tagging the Prime Minister in a tweet against a social media user who threatened to rape his daughter “for me being your dissenter”. Since then, an FIR has been filed against the offender and the PM duly tagged in a thank you tweet.

A woman who had controversially accused actor Karan Oberoi of rape was allegedly “attacked with a sharp object” by two bike-borne men. The assailants also reportedly left a letter telling the woman to withdraw the case. Oberoi is currently in jail.

Cruel and unusual

In the holy town of Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, a man has been arrested for “raping several cows” at a bovine shelter. According to reports, CCTV footage showed the man sexually assaulting seven cows one by one.

In Ahmedabad, Gujarat, a 60-year-old woman was beaten, raped, and left for dead in a ditch, reported DNA.

This week saw several cases of sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by children. In Karauli, Rajasthan, a nine-month-old baby was reportedly raped by a minor neighbour, while in Delhi a 15-year-old boy has been held for sexually assaulting an eight-year-old girl. In Mumbai, a 15-year-old boy was booked for allegedly raping a 20-year-old “mentally challenged” woman.

Conversations with rapists

UK-based academic Madhumita Pandey spoke to dozens of convicted rapists in Delhi’s Tihar Jail for her research. At the end of the exercise she came away with the understanding that sex education in schools is essential to tackle India’s sexual violence “epidemic”. Her piece in The Conversation has been reproduced in several Indian publications, including Firstpost, the Sunday Guardian, and Quartz. Read more about Pandey’s research here.

Read more

This roundup is curated from the RSS feeds of more than 30 English news publications from across India.

See a fuller list of rape and sexual violence cases reported today, and earlier this week.

Use our case filter to read reports on specific cases: #MeToo, #KeralaPriest, #RapeOfMinors, #Muzaffarapur, #PoliticsOfRape (use the dropdown menu in column A).

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