Over 500 women from all walks of life marched from Gandhi Maidan towards Governor’s House on June 11 (today), protesting the increasing violence against women in Bihar and what they said was ‘police cover-up’ of the gang rape of a minor girl in Jehanabad District. The procession did not reach governor’s house but terminated at Dak Bungalow Crossing, due to the fact that there were two other rallies also being taken out on various routes. A delegation of the women is understood to have gone to Raj Bhawan to present a memorandum later in the evening.
Women from different districts and towns came together and began their protest from Gate One of Gandhi Maidan, shouting different slogans, carrying placards and posters. The organisers were various women’s organisations, who joined under the banner of ‘Citizen’s Initiative [Nagrik Pehal] They said that Bihar had an increase in violence against women in almost all towns and villages. One marcher said, “CM Nitish Kumar so called Sushaan Babu and his police fail to protect women and girls of our state. Even the whole administrative fails to maintain the law and order”
According to Recent National Crime Record Bureau crime rate on women violence in Bihar from the 2010 to 2016 had increased to 88%. In this period reported rape cases have increased by 26% in the same period, while crime against children increased 36%
The Question is who is responsible to curb these crimes, the Government or the police?
The protest was also to highlight the ‘anti-women’ attitude of the Jehanabad police and administration. According to the handout distributed at the rally, there was a peaceful demonstration of women against the Jehanabed rape case on 15 May. The district administration did not want to face the women at the rally. When the rally concluded and some of the women were waiting for their bus, three policemen, with faces covered and identity cards removed, took photographs of some women protesters, while using indecent language on them, so as to provoke a conflict.
Ms Rajni, a social activist from Patna told Newsnet One that women are not safe in Bihar. She spoke about the 25th April Jehanabad case, in which a minor (Dalit) girl had been raped and videos of the incident went viral on social media. She said that the police were ignoring all the evidence. “The police are taking this as a mere ‘eve- teasing’ case but the victim has said that she had been raped to the magistrate,” she said. She further stated that when a fact-finding team visited Jehanabad recently, a police team posted near the girl’s house tried to prevent them from speaking to the girl.
Later on it was learnt that the police had filed a false FIR against the organisers of the rally, Padmashree Sudha Verghese, Kanchan Bala and Meera Yadav. This, the marchers said, was a direct attack on democracy and human rights.
The rally also had a few transgendered marchers, one was Mx Reshma Prasad. She demanded that the government set up fast-track courts to deal with violence based gender crimes so that the victims can get speedy justice.
Some of the women said that they are afraid and fear how their girl children will grow up in this environment. A lady doctor, Dr Mamta Anand mentioned that government must take a step for women’s safety. She remarked that the Nitish government in 2010 and the 2018 Nitish government had a huge difference: the present government has become authoritarian and does not listen to the people.
1- Stop the growing violence against women.
2- take back the false cases filed by the Jehanabad Police against the women marchers in Jehanabad
3-The Jehanabad gang rape incident should be speedily investigated by a women officer of Inspector general rank, and the rapists arrested.
4-Steps to stop the new ‘pornography gangs’ and eliminate such pornography on social media
5- Constitute special women courts for fast-tracking of such cases.
Nihal Kumar Dutta – Newsnet Intern
BMC 5th Semester – St. Xavier’s College of MGMT & Tech, Digha